Right. Nice suit. No Match.
Dead fish. Left.
Snapchat filter. Left.
No Fish. 5 o’clock shadow. Right. Nothing. No Match.
Only group pictures. Left.
Septum piercing. Gages. Dead fish. Left.
Blue Lives Matter. Absolutely not. Left.
Right. You’ve got a match!
The man staring back at me isn’t holding a fish so that’s a win. He’s thirty-two, so at the very top of my age range. He has no kids, another plus. He knows how to dress, has a well-kept beard, and there isn’t a single group photo on his profile. I match because his profile had a nice rhyme about bees and saving trees.
It is fun to break up the monotony of endless swiping with a match for once. I don’t plan to send a message first. I mainly just want the dopamine boost that comes with the match. I also know if I respond first and don’t get a text back, I will delete the app in its entirety.
The problem is I have been swiping for an hour and it stopped being fun ten minutes in. The problem is my Hinge account ran out of likes like twenty-five minutes ago and Bumble is too boring to pretend to enjoy. The problem is Tinder is practically a form of self-harm for me at this point.
The problem is I’m Black and fat in the middle of bum-fuck nowhere Oklahoma and while that’s perfectly fine for writing it sucks for my dating life. I have nothing to distract me from my empty word document. From the silent tapping of the insertion point that begs me to make a move.
When you are fat people just want to fuck. I learned that at an early age. I was in seventh grade when I realized all of my friends had changed their Facebook status to “in a relationship” with the boys in our class. My status never changed, but my Kik messages were filled with grown men who wanted pictures.
I was in twelfth grade when I asked a guy I liked to prom. I sent a questioning text; I knew better than to plan an entire promposal, public rejection was worse than private back then. He told me to hold on because he wanted to ask someone else. Oh. The craziest part was I knew he liked me back. Or maybe he liked that I helped him with his chemistry homework. It wasn’t a No. But it also wasn’t a Yes. It was a not now. I was already holding on to those springtime we-regret-to-inform-yous so what was one more?
I went to prom by myself.
I have grown used to hearing not now--hold on. I’ve also grown used to hearing what is actually being said. “Not now” really means there is someone smaller than you. “Hold on” means there is someone brighter than you. Both mean they don’t need you anymore.
I catch up on my swiping. And I run away to Oklahoma--to a writing program—to dry heat, barbecued flavored “not nows.” Left. To moderate men, in looks and politics, who swipe right on me every two hours, despite voting to extinguish my voice. Left. To white men who’d rather not be seen with me in public but who would love to see me. Left. I sit in the wasteland, in the quietness of my room, and I swipe some more.
The man with the bee poem won’t message back anyway.
I wait for a right now