She just grabbed the last box. A doctor. It was always a doctor. Even if he had a PhD. in interpretive dance, he was technically still a fucking doctor. Which meant more status than a broke writer. Fuck it, he thought. The best way to get over someone is to find someone new.
He pulled open his laptop and typed OkCupid in the google search bar. The screen loaded and he filled in his credentials.
User name: Mischief_Creator
But his password tripped him up every time. It was either Pussyslayer34 or NeedleDick14, both nicknames he’d received in college. Finally the screen loaded. “Welcome back Tom! There’s been a few changes since you’ve been away. Click ‘Next’ and we’ll walk you through them.”
“Strange,” He thought. “But I suppose it was bound to happen.” Tom had been a veteran since 2011. His Friends with Benefits neighbor showed him the site one night before heading to the bar. “It’s like shopping for Men! I fucking love it!” She said. Yet I would always seem to get a text after each date that read “Come over & Brg Condoms”.
He read on. “In an effort to be more personable. We’re no longer using user names. Please type your real name.” I guess internet dating has finally become the norm. No longer a shameful back alley thing. Couldn’t argue with that. I’d been on hundreds of dates myself. He typed ‘Tom Swartz in the column and clicked next.
“Thanks! We’re almost there!” A virtual pat on the back. “Now we need you to update your profile!” He figured this was normal protocol to update after he’d been away. Tom took a brief glance. “It’s all still relevant,” he thought. He scrolled down and hit Next.
“ERROR!” appeared in giant red letters. Beneath it read, “Too little emoji’s on profile!” What the fuck? Since when did that become a thing? He had to google how to use emoji’s on iOS as he only knew how to do it with semicolons. Finally he placed an upside down smiley face that he found funny and pressed next. The error message appeared again. This time it said “A minimum of 15 emoji’s needed.” Well this is stupid. He placed 14 more next to the first one and continued on.
“Great! Just one last thing.” Finally. This shit is taking forever. “We just need the link to your YELP! Dater” Tom took a sip of his water. What the hell? He clicked the hyperlink. “Yelp Dater: Because you need to know what you’re getting yourself into.” There were different sections for men and women. He clicked at random. A picture of chiseled jaw appeared below it read Jack Williams 9.5/10 reviews: “A real Gentleman. He let me wear his jacket on the walk to my Hyundai WD” Another read: “Great Girth 😉 WD”
Tom typed his name in the search bar. It had a random picture of him firing the finger guns at the camera. Underneath it said Tom Swartz 4.5/10 and only one review. “Only date if you like getting your insides scraped by a q-tip for 45 seconds WND” He had to google the last acronym. It meant exactly what he hoped it didn’t.
“Can’t win ’em all,” he thought. He copy and pasted the link. “Thanks Tom! Now get to swiping!” Swiping? I thought this was OKC, not Tinder. Oh well. The first girl popped up. Gloria. Her pictures where of only her giving a kissy face and showing maximum allowable cleavage within the particular shirt, accept for the last one in which showed her ass poking out enough to demonstrate she’d done a dead-lift or two. Maybe the profile demonstrated something. “This sums me up: smiley face, frowny face, beach emoji, airplane, crying face, water drops, mouth.” Huh. He swiped left.
Tom went at this for a while but all the profiles were the same. Same styles of pictures. Same “Live.Laugh.Love” and sixty five emoji’s demonstrating the slow death of the English language.
“Fuck this!” He thought. I’m trying to get back out there. I’m tired of hearing all this shit about leagues and staying in my lane. I don’t want to swipe a certain way and prey to the gods they swipe the same way. I want to choose. I want to find someone that likes words. Someone that can express themselves. Someone that want to understand and be understood.
He showcased his determination while walking into Starbucks and ordering a coffee. As he was getting a straw, he laid eyes on a beautiful dark haired girl. She was typing away on a Mac. “Actual words,” he thought. He walked over and just when he was about to speak he noticed her Spotify on her phone. Modest Mouse. Old School Modest Mouse. Lonesome Crowded West baby! Back when Issac had a drinking problem and a lisp. The glory days!
He tapped her on the shoulder. “Excuse me. I got to give you mad props on your music choice. It’s one of my favorite albums of all time.” Her eyes lit up. “Mine too! My brothers introduced me to it back home in Michigan.” “Get the fuck outta here!” Tom said. “You’re from Michigan too?”
They hit it off. Time felt like it stopped for a while.She had came down to Texas for law school at SMU. He use to work in the Patent Office and talked about the struggles of being a lawyer. He told her how he had the same dream but realized while working there, it wasn’t for him. That made her frightened. Tom said, “Look you can’t be afraid of your destiny. This is why you’re here! Get Excited!” She smiled after that. They talked for a while longer until finally there was a break in the conversation. Tom knew what that meant.
“I need to let you get back to studying but I would love to see you again sometime,” He said, ” Let’s exchange numbers Ms._____”
“Alicia. Alicia Horner. And I’d like that too Mr.___” Responding with the same happy tone.
“Tom Swartz” He answered.
She began typing in her phone and Tom followed suit.
“My number is 267….”
“Wait. Wait.” She said. He saw her smile vanish.
“I’m sorry. I can’t do this.”
“I only date guys with a 7 YELP Dater rating or higher.”