(Note: This is part of a series I’ve been writing about dating in the Tinder era. All names and identifying info have been changed. I wrote this piece back in July of 2018.)
Chase was one of the first guys I swiped right to the night I fell down my first Tinder rabbit hole. Chase: early 30s, 5’10”, blondish hair, tan, lots of tattoos, a smile that is both shy and cocky (how do some guys manage to pull that off?), and a funny profile. It said “I have 128 eggs in my fridge, and I need someone to help me eat them. I have a Costco card; we can go on a date there.” Funny, right? I’m a sucker for funny. That plus the smirk on his face convinced me to message him first, which is so not me. I think back to Single Sara 1.0 and the days where people used phones to actually call people, and I had some rules. I never approached the guy first, and I never called him first. Ever.
Chase and I carried on a sarcastic flirtation for about 3 weeks before we met. I think because he was such a tease, I was even more drawn in, because isn’t it always like that?
For our first date, Chase picked me up at my apartment, and we went out for sushi. Then we went to Downtown Roswell. His I’m-too-cool-for-this attitude was a big turn on. He was quiet, and he nailed those little shy/cocky smirks in person even better than he did in his pictures. He was gentlemanly and opened doors and paid for everything. We talked about music, tattoos, stuff I can’t even remember. I wasn’t drunk on alcohol; I was drunk on Chase. We kissed at the end of the night. It wasn’t passionate, but he was just so adorable.
Over the next week, there were more cutesy texts and stuff, and then I found his Instagram. I stumbled upon this extremely hot picture of him on some beach, shirt off, big smile. Hot. And then I realized it—he reminds me of Jake. Jake was a guy I dated when I was 21, my first real boyfriend. Our relationship was chaotic, and 4 months after we broke up, he took his own life. (I won’t go into that here, but if you want to know more…)
Also, Jake and Chase could not look more opposite of JD. JD is a broad, tall, imposing military guy, and these guys were my height, muscular but wiry, and gave zero f’s. Before I wanted a husband, I wanted the Jakes and Chases of the world. I was in it for the physical, the fun, and always the guys with tattoos, tans, and bratty attitudes.
For the second date, I asked him if he wanted to come over and eat pasta. This should have been my first red flag –why am I asking him out again? Shouldn’t he be asking me out? (yes.) He came over and brought a Colt 45 and a box of Black and Mild cigars, and I thought it was hilarious. We talked about his brother, his dating history, and again I can’t remember most of it because I was drunk on Chase. He has a twin brother –not identical –but Olsen-twins-close. They work together and are best friends. Chase said he had been on Tinder for 3 years and that I was the second person he’s ever met off Tinder. Also, he said he hasn’t had a relationship for the past 5 years. At the end of the night, we kissed again. Same, not passionate, but cute.
I immediately called Ashley to tell her everything. She said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Slow down! He has been on Tinder for 3 years and only met 2 people?! And he hasn’t had a relationship in his prime years?! If that’s true, that’s a red flag. If that’s not true, that’s a red flag. All this cutesy stuff Chase is doing is cute now, but it’s not going to be cute forever.” I was all “whatever,” and over the next few days, I completely threw off the balance of power, freaked him out, and we never talked again.
I laid it out for him and said, “I like you.” Again, this was me going back to the days of Jake. He said that to me. I still remember how adorable I thought it was when Jake kissed me at his doorstep, smiled this huge grin and asked, “So are you my girlfriend now?” It was irresistible. I was trying to force this experience from 2005 into my experience in 2018. It failed miserably, and I felt like a moron.
Also, the twin thing. Nothing against twins, but any same sex twins I’ve ever met have had an unshakeable and mysterious bond, understandably. It would be cool to have that in theory. In reality, though, if the twin always comes first, the girlfriend or boyfriend always comes second. Chase and his twin spend the majority of their waking hours together. They work together, their Facebook posts are all about each other, and maybe they’re each others’ soulmates? Right now they’re both single, and any potential girlfriend would have to get the approval of the twin, and maybe it benefits the other twin to not like the girlfriend so he doesn’t lose his best friend. This is my theory. But maybe twins need to date other twins or a set of best friends? (Ironically, the next guy I met on Tinder was also a twin.)
I ended up texting him again several days later apologizing for texting him so much and hoping he had a good week. I knew I was done, but I had thought I could play this game and win. In the end, I came clean and closed the book on it in my mind. I deleted our text thread, and I quit looking at his Instagram (that habit took a few days to kick, but…). I put myself out there and got squashed. But at least I was honest. If I see him in public, which is likely because he lives like 5 miles away, I can hold my head high and acknowledge him with a wave. I’ll be an adult and go about my day. If I had let the “I like you” text linger and be the last thing I said, I would have still felt stupid. I needed closure for my own sanity.
Weird timing that week brought about the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, which made me start thinking about Jake even harder, so much that I wrote this post about it.. Then I looked up Ryan, who was Jake’s roommate when we were dating and his best friend. Ryan and I had also dated for a short time, and we realized that we worked much better as friends. I found Ryan’s Facebook and realized he lives nearby, which is amazing because I’m new to Atlanta, and how cool is it to have an old friend here?! He came over that weekend, and we spent a few hours catching up. We got on each other’s Tinder accounts and got opinions and gave advice and had fun just like the old days, laughing and talking and laughing. Then I told him about Chase. I showed him the beach picture, and before I could even get my question out (“who does this remind you of?”), he said, “Oh my god, that’s Jake!”
Talk about serendipitous events, because Ryan began reminding me of the really awful things about Jake: his cheating, among many other even worse things. This conversation was exactly what I needed to snap me out of this Chase-fog and back to reality. Not only was I projecting feelings about Jake onto Chase, I was also conveniently blocking out all the things I hated about Jake. A relationship that intense can trump almost anything, and the memories had evidently been hanging out in my brain for 13 years, waiting to pop out and teach me a lesson.
- Chase reminded me of the guys I used to like when I was dating for fun and basing things on what I really wanted, as opposed to looking for a husband ‘type.’
- On the other side of that coin, those guys weren’t perfect either.
- I felt stupid about telling him I liked him, but now I don’t. I’m only human, and I overplayed my hand.
- Chase is the guy who made me realize I am not ready to look for a relationship, at least in the sense I had been. This 2 week roller coaster mentally and emotionally drained me.
- When we talked about tattoos, I mentioned that I wanted a new one on my shoulder blade, and I described the meaning of it because tattoos have to be meaningful. He said this: “No matter what tattoo you get or what it means to you, it won’t mean anything to anyone else because no one else cares.” I was like, “Yeah, that’s a really good point!” The next Friday was the day I got the tattoo I wanted. I sent that final apology text to Chase while I was waiting for my inky pain. He’s right, who cares what it means? If you like it, get it.
- If a guy in his early 30s with no ex-wife and no kids tells you he hasn’t dated in 5 years, run! He’s either lying or emotionally stunted (or both).
- Finally, be cautious with twins. If they already have a ride-or-die, you will always be a third wheel.