Tinder Nightmares of Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, can we fall in love in a hopeless place?
Fort Lauderdale, can we fall in love in a hopeless place?
Photo by Michele Sandberg

Lost in Laudy is a Fort Lauderdale-based 20-something gal living the independent life and trying to make sense of hook-up culture and dating in South Florida. May her Tinder- and alcohol-fueled anecdotes bring you solace.

PTBE (Post Tinder Boredom and Exhaustion) can push a girl pretty far out of her comfort zone as she becomes more and more desperate for anything deeper than a conversation via Snapchat selfies. Perhaps this is why, when I finally Tinder-swiped a guy with a refreshing sense of humor, I was willing to overlook the fact that he lived in an RV park on the outskirts of West Palm.

Through text, it felt like I had found my Tinder soulmate. Sam* made perfectly timed references to pop culture and had a smooth sarcasm that blended seamlessly with my own. He cut right to the chase, making plans to hang out after an exchange of less than ten messages, and our first date couldn’t have gone better. Though I wasn’t exactly physically attracted to him, I decided that since being shallow and picky had gotten me nowhere so far, it was worth a shot seeing him again.

Still, it was difficult avoiding the barrage of question marks administered by my friends in our group chat when I explained how our third date consisted of drunken shuffleboard, watching Silver Linings Playbook on a 22-inch black-and-white TV, and waking up alone in his bed at 7:30 a.m. while Sam played woodland flute music and microwaved me some bacon.

Despite the fact that I had killed a half-handle of Captain Morgan during our shuffleboard date and we kissed a little bit during the movie, I just wasn’t feeling it. I told Sam I was tired, so he offered me his bed and took the couch a few feet away. I spent the rest of the night texting “I miss you” to the guy I had been going steady with a few weeks earlier. Shuffleboard was fun, and our scuba session the next day was great, but if I’m not into it after half a handle of Captain and several Bud Lights, this just might not be working. Sorry, Sam!

I've begun to notice many of my friends, both male and female, have been having a difficult time coping with fleeting moments of bad decisions. I am writing this because I want you to know, I've been there, and here's what I've concluded: It’s OK to be a mess — unless you’re someone who keeps making the same bad decision over and over again. Then you, my dear, need to get it together.

I’ve managed to work my way up at a job I love while getting my master’s degree at night, I pay all my bills, and have somehow earned the friendship of some of the most incredible people on this planet. So what if I went out Saturday night, ended up throwing up in my hand at Fat Cats, and woke up next to the 25-year-old, socially unimpressive frat guy we all wish we never banged? If you want to judge me for that, well then you can just get off your high horse. It’s OK to be a mess. If you're not convinced of that, I’m hoping the stories of my escapades will help persuade you.

You’re not a bad person just because you went to Scarlett’s and downed enough shots between 6 and 8 a.m. to make a stripper clapping a regrettable amount of ones from your mouth with her buttcheeks a remotely acceptable thing. I know it was the only option you had when the lights turned on at Lucky’s.

There are a lot of really great, but also really lost, 20-somethings (and hey, 30-somethings) out there, just trying to navigate the fine line between fun and fucked-up. We’re all in this together! I want this to be a place where you can come and read something that will make you feel better about regrettably texting that fuckboy at 2 a.m. last night. It’s OK; we’ve all done it — just try to delete his number this time!

So maybe you got yourself in a bit too deep into Tinder and are now fluttering back and forth between feeling like a super hottie who’s deserving of the great love you want and also like a helpless jerk who is exhausted by sending the “I don’t think we should see each other anymore” text — or just straight-up ghosting. It’s OK, because lots of us are out here trying to figure it out too.

*Names have been changed.


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