Throwback Thursday: First In-Person Tinder Encounter

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?

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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!

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