self improvement

4 Life Lessons I Learned From Tinder

Last night, out of nowhere, my roommate and I decided to create a Tinder double date for ourselves. Within 30 minutes the candidates were found, and the arrangements were made. On the way to our meeting spot, the chatter between Julie and I fluctuated between giddy excitement and ‘Oh god- what are we doing?’

We arrived at this cozy pub, and the instant I laid eyes on my date I knew: “nope.” In contrast, I saw clear potential between my friend and her boy. Now he was cute. We all sat ourselves in a red, buoyantly-cushioned booth. After a couple minutes of awkward introductions and knee bumping, (these boys were so tall that their legs trespassed onto our leg space) and after accepting my disappointing utter lack of interest in my date, I decided ‘fuck it’, I can still enjoy myself.

Lesson no. 1:

When you truly, genuinely, whole heartedly do not care, you set yourself free. And people will respond.

Because I was not in a space of trying -to- impress, and because I had the comfort of my best friend seated right beside me; this very blasé, bold and detached, unafraid-to-embarrass version of myself emerged. Usually, I am more reserved, careful and controlled in my socializing. But not tonight. I had opinions and reactions. And they were expressed. We were all enjoying the dynamic of the group…so much so that we all agreed to allow continue the night together.

Our next destination was their friend’s house party. Upon arriving, we stepped in the front door, and were greeted in the cramped hallway by 5 university boys. Perhaps ‘guys’ is the better term. After shaking hands with each of them, and warily eyeing the dirtiness and messiness of the place, we struck up conversation with the one sober guy, chatting about his life: ‘What are you studying? Oh, nice…do you like it? What is that exactly? That’s a lot of protein powder on your window sill…’
After this exceptional/original/one-of-a-kind exchange, it was clear that me and my roommate were losing steam. This was not our scene. And these were not our people- university ridden, stressed out (but proud of it) and unpassionate about their subjects…a different universe from the one we resided in, operated by the ‘Live the life how YOU want to live it’ outlook, and all that other self development stuff.
So we left, in the same easy and breezy fashion that we came in. Or rather, I left, since I was disconcerned over the state of my date. After a minute or two Julie and her boy, then mine, followed suit. It was clear we’d had enough. But the guys wanted more of us. They were entranced by our strength and directness. So we decided to visit Sneaky Dee’s, a famous bar nearby on College Street.

Lesson no. 2:

Treat your desires as valid. Pay attention to what you want; how you feel about your surroundings, and don’t be afraid to act accordingly.

A younger version of myself would have felt much more uncomfortable and intimidated in that house- (especially when this one intoxicated boy became blunderingly violent against another boy whom he’d thought stole his phone) yet I would have stayed longer, feeling a whole lot of obligations and ‘shoulds’. Feeling like if I left, it meant I had failed to fit in. Failed to get people to like me. It would have intensified my belief that I’m a loner. I would have felt totally ashamed. But tonight, in my bold fashion, I wasn’t troubled by what they would think. I was only concerned with my opinion. And it was ‘I don’t like it here, I want to leave.’ So it became very easy. I did just that.

After a few more destinations, changes of plans and cab rides, our final target became the infamous Uniun nightclub in downtown Toronto. Upon arriving, my roommate and her date began dancing together exactly as they should have been: like they were on a date and enjoying themselves, leaving me and mine right beside them acting like nothing was wrong and like we were enjoying ourselves too. But it was clear in our distant body language (and body placement!) that it just wasn’t so. It took me about 5 minutes of pretending this way before I just left. I left to go pee for the fifth time in the night. And when I came back, I didn’t bother looking for my partner. I was a free bird, roaming the dance floor, actively seeking out the most fun and free souls to dance with.

Lesson no. 3:

When you release the ‘shoulds’ of your life, like, I ‘should’ stay within the safety of my group so I don’t look like a loner, you set yourself free. (Again!)

Once I got over the initial embarrassment of dancing by myself amid the crowd, I truly transformed; and I swear to God- I was having the most fun out of everyone there. I was, as they say, in the zone. When I took a breather from the pumping fuel of the lights and music, I observed my fellow clubbers. What I saw was that most of the people were thoroughly not enjoying themselves. But they also carried a nonchalance that told me they came to these things often. Perhaps weekly. As they ‘should’ right? Because its the cool way to go out and it’s what everyone else does when their young, right?! Well, I’ll tell ya, most of the youths weren’t looking very stoked- many had their eyes glued to their phones, (shock) whilst others noncommittally and awkwardly fist pumped or stepped side-to-side trying to convince everyone and themselves they were enjoying this. And of course, there were the many hyper-sexualized individuals scattered about also. But that’s a whole other topic.

Lesson no. 4:

In conclusion, the night was amazing. And it was amazing precisely because I was not reliant upon the conditions. I was non-conditional. I accumulated such power and momentum within myself that whatever happened around me almost didn’t matter. Whenever I was able to shrug my shoulders about a moment or a circumstance, I set myself free. I took responsibility for my choices and enjoyment- and truly, it will be a memory I hold in joy for the rest of my life.