Tindering the Distance

SEPTEMBER 12, 2013
Our Tinderella is taking a road trip. And by road trip we mean she bought a plane ticket to fly from DC to LA to take a chance on love and meet a Tinder match. Cheer her on and follow her journey with us here:
Part One

There’s a hard vibrate on your desk.  It’s the desperate texter once again.  Ignore, delete, make it go away.  Then there’s the smooth talker.  But you know you’re a smooth talker, too.  Gosh, he just seems to know all the right things to say.  But maybe you do too.  He’s the one who makes you smile.  Somehow you glow, feel warm inside, yet you have yet to meet him.  Of course you’ve let him be the first to tell you that he feels this way.  You’ve exchanged PG pictures & establish a connection based on talking alone.  In a world where we are full of choices that fulfill our need for instant gratification, we are also practicing the act of patience is a virtue, manifesting some type of build up until you two are in 3D.  From conversing on the regular, you’ve perceived this person as having a crazy personality so close to yours that you have to meet.  Not want.  But need.  But holy crap, he’s geographically unattractive.  You’ve never done anything like this before.  Why would you get on a plane to go meet a person in a different city?

Because you’re a risk taker.  Because you starve for adventure in your life.  Because you want to live your life.  You want to enjoy what is now.

And because that person is me.

I’m trying not to form any expectations in my head; attempting to imagine zilch!  But if I did, it would be parallel to the Cruel Intentions scene where Sebastian is waiting at the top of the escalator for Annette, and the song “Color Blind” comes on right after she says, “I’m impressed.”

Except in my version, The XX “Intro” plays.

Stay tuned… because just like you, I don’t know how it is going to begin, or how it is going to end.  But I will be updating you all throughout the weekend. So check back here to find out it “it’s a match!” in real life.

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Part Two

As my trip draws near, I’ve already learned my lesson to have zero expectations. I couldn’t find a bar at Dulles Airport to enjoy a filthy martini that was to my liking. So instead, I end up at a wine bar called Vino Volo chatting with a complete stranger who ended up sharing a table and a toast with me. She was going to LA, too, but Lower Alabama.

She asked me my itinerary. I told her I didn’t have one. Again, NOT setting expectations resonated in the back of my head. Then, as I sipped on the second glass of the flight I ordered, I started thinking to myself, “I know exactly how my day is going to pan out on Monday, yet, I’m not sure how things will be less than six hours from now.”

Now I’m not even nervous, but incredibly excited about whatever it is that I put my faith into. Thank you Calvin Harris for getting me to chair dance at my gate. And thank you Vino Volo for the harvest red flight. Spicy, big and bold, just how I like them.

 

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Part Three

Three fourths of the way through my flight, I decide to open up Women by Charles Bukowski and order a vodka. I realize I’m reading, but having to rebrief myself on what I had just read. It’s late and I’m distracted by the semi-awesome playlist I made on the Virgin America media center.

I figured I would need a drink or two prior to landing in the city of angels. I’ve never been on a blind date before. This was the first summer I’ve ever openly signed up for dating sites and actually agreed to meet prospectives. Sometimes never agreeing to meet them. Yet, here I am, flying across the country taking a chance on what could be. Or what could not.

I have been nervous on the drive to first meetings, first dates, and second dates. Usually, THOSE drives are thirty minutes or less!  Yet, I don’t have that feeling of nervousness. It’s an excitement. As if I’m reconnecting with a long lost friend. But is that going to hold true? Or will our connection only be technologically attractive?

Taxi-ing to our gate now… And he’s en route… Ellipses are all I can think of now…

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Part Four

Finally.  I have time to myself to reflect on the last two days of my visit here.  I escaped my hot bungalow in Echo Park and walked down to the local coffee shop, Chango, to grab an iced chai latte.  And by hot, I don’t mean just aesthetically, but literally.  It was sweltering in there.

I’ll admit, it has been challenging trying to put into words how the initial meeting went, but the easiest way to describe it is effortless.  I think that’s what most people hope for when they are meeting someone for the first time.  Good thing we covered plenty of ground prior to my visit here.  I can’t say that I will hop on the first flight out every time I feel a connection with someone, but it probably didn’t hurt that Southern California, especially the Los Angeles area, has been an obsession of mine.  A place where I feel I belong.

He picked me up at the airport in his convertible which he had told me he had.  “Good” (I thought to myself), “I am not catfished,” which is always someone’s main concern when meeting someone from the internet.  I remember him saying he was 5’11”, but he seemed more like 5’10”.  I know, I know, a little shallow of me to think one inch makes a difference, but all the stilettos are now packed away for the rest of my weekend visit.  Personality wise, he was your typical Gemini male.  Liked to hear himself speak.  I had previously sworn off of Gemini males (being a Leo female), but the dynamic between our signs has always intrigued me, as much as I try to stay away.  I enjoyed the back-and-forth throughout the entire ride to the place I had booked.  I couldn’t help staring at his piercing blue eyes and enjoying that endearing smile that hooked me in the first place.  5’10”, dark and handsome, just how I like them…? Maybe he really is 5’11.” I’m pretty tall for an Asian girl and had 6″ heels on.

He always told me he couldn’t wait until I was in his arms.  “Canoodling,” I like to call it.  And that’s exactly what we did.  Blame it on those vodkas from the flight that night, but I giggled as I said:  “Was this everything you ever imagined?”

It has been some time since I felt this comfortable with a complete stranger.  When I start dating someone for the first time, it usually takes awhile to get acclimated.  Perhaps we are even more inclined to get comfortable quicker, knowing there is an end to my visit here.  Today, a hearty vegan breakfast followed by a lot of naps.  Tonight, a little more of the unexpected as he returns to the bungalow and we attempt a night on the town prior to my departure late tomorrow evening.  Maybe I will get more performances of Kermit the Frog singing Papa Roach, or listen to more of his own renditions of Trey Songz “Say Aah” on guitar.  There is still so much more to discover in less than 24 hours.  And yes, in case you’re wondering, the Kermit the Frog actually happened.

 

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Part Five:

Everything is more than copacetic. He’s a big Kansas City Chiefs fan, so we left Echo Park fairly early to drive back to his place in Santa Monica to watch the game against the Cowboys. Thank God they won. Men and their football, if it’s a loss on their end, consider your day over. And thank God I rented a bungalow from Airbnb.com, as I could barely stand five minutes of hearing his roommate speak. He couldn’t agree  more.

We both agreed that this whole experience has been pretty surreal. Last night, we even talked about Catfish and were thankful things worked out the way they did. I guess you can’t ask for much else.  I’ve said it before, but it really is all in the experience, the journey, the moment. Just memories to live by and be glad you did it. I’ve made much worse decisions in my past, and going out on a limb like this has allowed me to get in touch with the adventurous side I rarely explore on my own.

I’m sitting at my gate back at LAX waiting for my redeye back to DC.  Hours ago, I started writing this, wondering if I will ever hear from him again or see him again. I questioned how I would feel once I settle in back on East coast soil and reality sets in. I thought I wouldn’t be able to understand how I truly feel until I returned home. But I know how I feel now. Now that I’m preparing to board.

After football, we caught the sunset between Santa Monica beach and Malibu at 6:59pm. It was the first time I had even seen the sunset with someone of interest. And I was so content just sitting there, perhaps relishing the moment as I knew two hours from then, I’d be headed back home. He took charge and treated me to an amazing vegan dinner somewhere near Venice beach. After dinner, I said, “Thank you for making me laugh.”  It was the first time, in years, that I had been with someone that could make me laugh that way without being embarrassed (I’m surprised I’m date-able at all with my obnoxious hyena laugh).

I was sad as he pulled up to Terminal 3 to drop me off. He took the luggage out of his car and said, “Gosh, it was just yesterday I picked you up.” As he looked at me, this bittersweet feeling hit my body. When he hugged me, he said, “You know we have to coordinate to see each other again, right? You didn’t think this was just for the weekend… That this was a one-time thing, did you? I like you.” And I responded, “I didn’t know WHAT to expect. I didn’t want to have any expectations.” And still, with that being said, I don’t know what’s next. I do know I’m going to miss him. Of course, I let him tell me first.

For now I’ll just smile, knowing that I took a chance on something that more than exceeded my expectations.

Tinder deleted.

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3 COMMENTS

  • I like this a lot! It takes a great deal courage to let yourself open up and be vulnerable to a complete stranger. I have a similar experience meeting someone online and so far it has blossomed into a happy relationship today. There is always a risk but if you don’t try, you will never know! I wish you all the best! Thx for sharing :)

  • I’m so glad your experience worked out! I had a similar experience and it was much less than my (too high) expectations. We had no physical chemistry and he never called me again, after he spoke of wanting a long distance relationship with me. C’est la vie I suppose.

  • Lauren Mazzoleni 4 years ago

    Hey Sharon!

    My name is Lauren and I’m a Journalism student at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. As part of my magazine writing class, we have to create our own magazine and write a couple of department articles. My magazine revolves around relationships and career. I decided to write one about my own Tinder experience. I tindered for one week, and well it didn’t turn out as well as yours did (congrats, by the way!), so I was wondering if you were able to offer any kind of advice to anyone who is getting a Tinder. What should a person expect when signing up? How do you know who’s on the other side of the screen? And most importantly, how do you stop telling yourself “Online dating isn’t the thing for me,” and start taking risks and meeting people in person?

    To answer my questions and contact me, my e-mail is included in the comment box. Once again, great job on the article and awesome story!