The Tinder Diaries #1: No Corkscrew


Having recently split up from a long-term relationship, Rory Carrick is getting to grips with a much-changed gay scene. So, how was his experience of dating with Tinder?


I recently broke up with my partner of seven years and I’ve only ever dated one man, so I didn’t have a lot of experience when I plunged back first into the male dating pool. I actually had no idea where to begin. The good old-fashioned days of meeting someone in work, or through a friend, or God forbid in the local pub, have been replaced by the world of mobile app dating. It’s cheaper, it fits in your hand and you don’t need to leave the couch to do it, which all sounds very convenient indeed.

After some investigation I signed up to tinder, a mobile app with a logo featuring a red flame, which I assume signifies the ignition of some kind of fire. Tinder streams pictures from your Facebook account and allows you to write a short sales pitch in an ‘About Me’ section. You swipe right if you like the picture and left if you don’t. If you swipe enough pictures you will eventually find a match with someone else who decided they liked your picture too. Then you can both settle down happily ever after.

I ended up matching with a guy in the town next town mine. We swapped a few exhilarating messages like, ‘Hi how are you?’ and ‘Where do you live?’ Clearly he had much more going on in his life because he took ages to reply. I, on the other hand, was nimble of finger and fired off quick responses, probably making myself look clingy and needy.

After a few days of chatting back and forth I took the plunge and proposed that we meet. Actually with my brazen new voice I suggested to my Tinder Man that he make me dinner and I’d call in on the way home from work to sample his culinary efforts. I figured I had nothing to lose. The worst that could happen was that he’d refuse, in which case tinder also has your back with a handy ‘block’ option. It’s the equivalent of ignoring someone when you are in a real relationship.

As luck would have it he said ‘yes’ and we arranged for him to pick me up at the train station. The day arrived and I headed to my train, via the off-licence for a bottle of wine and some beers, and made my way to my date. As arranged, he picked me up at the station and we chatted politely on the drive back to his house. He seemed nice enough and that’s always a good start. When he opened the door to the house, two excited dogs came barreling towards us. They also somehow managed to recognise me as a close friend and welcomed me by jumping all over me. I don’t dislike dogs but these mutts seemed to literally shed their entire coats on my trousers. To be fair my date did notice my discomfort and promptly secured the hounds in the laundry room.

At this point I produced my ‘thanks for agreeing to make me dinner in your house even though I kind of forced it on you’ gifts of wine and beer. He had mentioned he drank Coors so I gave them to him and asked for a corkscrew for my Chablis. “I don’t drink wine,” was the response.
I was a little confused, to be honest. Who doesn’t own a corkscrew? For that matter, not to appear to stereotype anyone, but what gay man doesn’t own a corkscrew?

Not to be defeated at the first hurdle I quickly switched into MacGyver mode and came up with a plan. Having watched a YouTube video where a man opened a bottle of wine with his shoe I was certain that should be my next move. So, much to Tinder Man’s bewilderment I took off my shoe, stuck the bottle of wine in it, leaned out his back door into the rain and started hammering it off the wall. Five minutes later I was the owner of a wet sock, and a bottle with its cork still perfectly intact. YouTube had lied to me.

At that point I’m sure Tinder Man thought I was for the birds and was wondering why in hell he let me into his house. Yet he was obviously somewhat amused by my antics and suggested using the end of a spoon to push the cork into the bottle instead. I’d had my fill of experimentation for the night, so I passed the bottle to him with an ‘off you go’ nod. He rammed a spoon into the top of the bottle and low and behold the cork popped. Funnily enough, at the same time as the cork went in, the wine came flooding out, all over him. I suppose all that hammering on the wall with my shoe might have been to blame for that. To say he was less than impressed was an understatement. There was a flash of anger followed by a storming off to change his shirt. I had a quick swig out of the bottle while he was gone.

A more composed Tinder Man returned and busied himself in the kitchen, checking the oven. I stood idly by, holding the bottle of wine and wondering if he owned a wine glass at all. To quell my curiosity, I went ahead and asked him out straight.

“I don’t drink wine” was the response.

My Chablis eventually made it into a tumbler and we sat down to dinner. I was thinking to myself, either this man is very bad at entertaining guests or I’m really high maintenance. After a couple of false starts we actually had quite a nice evening with not a single lull in conversation, although we did talk about bailing hay for about twenty minutes. I’m not sure what surprised me more, the fact that it was interesting or the fact that we were two gay guys talking about it. Not a single mention of Britney Spears all night. Apparently men who like men can still be manly men. Who knew?

After dinner he dropped me back to my train and said he would like to see me again. Sure, why not, I thought? It had been a bit of a laugh and not too bad for my first date as part of the world of singles.

I got a few texts the next day and then never heard from him again. I sent him a link to the YouTube video of the man opening a bottle of wine with his shoe – just to prove I wasn’t crazy. I guess he’d already made up his mind.

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