Everyone agrees that dating has always been difficult, and that online dating is even worse, as it brings out the worst in us. You know, rude behavior like ghosting, breadcrumbing, benching, and orbiting. According to one study, it’s also encouraged people to seek out potential mates who are way out of their league, condemning the dating pool to an endless cycle of mediocre first dates and broken hearts. In practice, it doesn’t actually result in as much casual sex as you’d think, and plenty of research indicates that many of the people on Tinder are actually already in relationships and just looking for an ego boost. No wonder science says it’s terrible for your mental health.
Recently, one woman’s story of the classic Tinder experience has even turned into its own meme. In an article for the lifestyle website Mamamia, Alita Brydin, from Melbourne, Australia, recounts how a seemingly great match went awry with just a five-word text.
She describes the exciting moment that they matched, when she “looked at his face and thought he had the warmth and kindness I was looking for.” As is so often the case with Tinder, she began falling in love with him even though they’d never actually met, building up a fantasy of what he was like in her mind based solely off of mundane exchanges, including one about making pasta.
“He took pride in his cooking—and I saw it as a sign that he was a man ready to make a home,” she writes. “My phone sat with the chat screen open—and the speed of my heartbeat seemed to be in sync with when he was typing. Every moment I would wait for the message to come through and when it did it was a hit of adrenaline straight to my heart. His name was imprinted into my phone—the chat program had been open for so long it had seared a ghost image of the letters into the screen. I was hooked.”
It took a while for them to meet because he lived two hours away and was always busy (red flag! red flag!). But, finally, the moment came when he texted her to say he was in town and suggested they get together in person. She was elated, spending the next three days obsessed with what she was going to wear and how things would go.
When the moment finally arrived, it was just as perfect as she imagined.
“I saw him confidently approaching me, striding past the Asian grocer, the dingy Chinese takeout. Without saying a word he laid his lips on me, laid his palm on my lower back and kissed me. It was happening. Everything was coming together. A split second later it was 2am and I was at home in bed by myself, shell shocked. The date was over. I’d met him. I’d met the one.”
And then it all went to pieces, as if often does, in just one text.
The following morning, she received a message containing just five words, “Stay away from my boyfriend.”
Yep, he wasn’t single.
According to the mystery woman, at least, he was in a serious relationship—well, if you define “serious” as “having bought an engagement ring.”
Her story went viral on social media, though not for the story itself so much as the headline that The Mirror ran with: “Woman’s perfect Tinder date with ‘The One’ shattered by five simple words.”
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) September 18, 2018
Soon, people were sharing the potential “five simple words” that would shatter a perfect Tinder date with “The One.”
“Jordan Peterson changed my life” was one of them, given that the clinical psychologist is so infamously hated among the Millennial left.
“Jordan Peterson changed my life.”
— Andy Kosinski (@Blackhawkski) September 18, 2018
“My favorite band is Nickelback,” was another, given that the band is abhorred, especially among the ironic T-Shirt-wearing crowd.
Even Tom McClaren, a conservative councillor in Essex, England, got in on the fun. His entry was “Salisbury Cathedral spire soars 123m,” referring to the two Russian thugs accused of the Skripal poisoning, who recently (and somewhat comically) claimed that they visited the small city of Salisbury, England, not in order to poison two people with a deadly nerve agent, but to gaze upon the majestic Salisbury Cathederal.
“Salisbury Cathedral spire soars 123m.”
— Cllr Tom McLaren (@tom_mclaren74) September 18, 2018
All fun in games aside, Brydin’s story is a great cautionary tale to online daters. The message that she comes away with based on the experience is, “Be careful who you trust,” and it’s a good one.
But it’s also true that the real message from the story should be, “Don’t build a fantasy up of someone in your head before you’ve even met them, because you’re bound to be disappointed.”
For more expert advice on navigating online dating, check out how I Hired an Online Dating Coach and This Is What I Learned.
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