I was just a couple of weeks into the the tinder-verse, and was taking the app across the international date (ha!) line to Japan for a week in the snowy mountains. What the hell was tinder in Nagano going to look like? I hadn’t even gotten used to it in NYC yet.
Well, let me tell you – Nagano tinder is loaded with Aussies and Kiwis, many of whom are there working for the winter, and presumably looking for people to hang out with AND who speak English! I got to chatting with one Aussie there who had just arrived a couple weeks prior. He said that there was a rarely scheduled Taiko drum presentation at one of the bars in town that night and that I should go. Traveling with a group of six friends, I ran it by them. To my surprise, all but one was down.
What an expat/foreigner bar. The only Asians in the room were the ones playing drums, and my one friend and I! #awkward In any case, the bar wasn’t overly crowded, and we were able to score a table near the stage. I couldn’t tell if tinder guy #1 was in the room or not; to be honest, I kind of hoped he wasn’t because I couldn’t remember his name and had no wifi to launch the app and check!
Knowing that there was a guy that I’d talked to online somewhere in the room was uncomfortable. I felt like I was being watched so I was constantly trying to play it cool, all the while subtly scanning the room to see if I would recognize him. Eventually I spotted him by some standing-height tables and at that point, really had no idea what to do. I avoided eye-contact with him because then it’s like he’s not even there, right? Had he seen me already? Does he even recognize me? What do I do? Anything? I’ll just sit here and enjoy the show. Is he looking this way?
Once the drummers finished, my friends and I went over to the pool table, and tinder guy was nowhere that I could see. Maybe he left? I would be OK with that. I was standing by the bar when a tall guy appears next to me and asks me what I thought. Eek! It was him!
<insert small talk here>
Eventually he and a friend left, and unlike most encounters I have with men, he didn’t ask and I didn’t assume that I was going to go disappear with him somewhere. I didn’t know if he had manners, or if I should be insulted that he didn’t think I was smash-worthy.
We stayed in touch a few days after that encounter, but that was it. In hindsight, I thank him for gently breaking me into the tinder-verse. What I learned is that people may actually really use tinder for meeting people in new locations to find out what’s happening, and not for a hook-up!