We’ve Met, from His Point of View

Welcome to Tinder

I divorced in November 2019, after about 18 months of separation. I was 51 years old, living alone in a city where I still barely spoke the language. It was my second divorce, at the end of a short and very difficult marriage. I was in therapy to figure out how I got into this situation and how to avoid it in the future.
Even though the divorce was recent, I had been living on my own for well over a year, and I thought I was ready to start dating again. I was determined that my next relationship be a “no compromise” relationship, one where both of us were completely free to be ourselves. Other than that, I was open minded, not looking for any particular “type”. Sure, smart and pretty, but there lots of ways to be both of those things.
I was involved in some social activities where I was meeting people with common interests, but new introductions were slow and most of the women who really caught my attention were already in couples. I thought about trying Tinder,  but it mostly had a reputation as a hook-up app. I wasn’t looking for hook-ups, so I was reluctant to create a profile. But I was visiting old friends over the holidays and when we talked about my dating situation and their attitude was, “Just try Tinder. What’s the worst that can happen?”
Good point.

Those Women

And so I opened my Tinder account, made a profile, and started swiping. Any straight man who has used Tinder knows the female profile types. (It’s topic for a whole post on it’s own, but I will skip that rant for now, rich as it may be.)
Once you get past the profile, you start trying to talk to them, but it is not easy. There are racists and nationalists, who probably should not have swiped right on a foreigner. There are single mothers who can’t (or won’t) make time for a relationship, and why they are on Tinder, I do not know. There are women who assume you are a serial killer or scam artist looking for his next victim. Over 40, there are women who have lost interest in sex but for whatever reason just want a man around. There are women who just want to chat and have some online fantasy relationship and not meet in person. There are women who think that you will be the perfect man, once they change everything about you. And finally, there are smart and pretty women who you can have great conversations with and still not feel that romantic spark.
But I then hit gold, a lot sooner than I was expecting.

The Hit

In June 2020, I saw a new profile. A single picture of a women jumping up and reaching for the sky. Eva. Her face wasn’t visible, but the pose had a playfulness  and positive energy that got my attention. I swiped right and hoped. And a few days later, we were a match. We chatted a little, but agreed to meet in person very quickly. This being Summer 2020, takeout coffee and take a walk in a park seemed like a realistic plan.
I got to the meeting point, a street corner near the park, a few minutes early, just in time to get a message from her saying she would be late. Honestly, I always expect a woman to be late, but it was very decent of her to warn me. A good start already. She said she was wearing “a big red shirt”. I double checked that my clothes matched my description, that I was standing in the right place. I waited.
After a few minutes, I looked up the street and saw a woman approaching in a dark pink linen blouse, one with a large collar that exposed most of her shoulders. She was a little shorter than me, slender, with clear olive skin, and very curly hair, almost like an afro. My first though was, “God, I hope that is her.” I waved to her. She waved back. This beautiful, elegant woman was Eva, my date. I was thrilled.
I had a plan to get coffee at a place on the same corner, and then walk into the park. But Eva suggested it would be better to sit down at a table. With the city still in a semi-lockdown, the nearest option was probably 200 meters away, at a restaurant with some tables on the sidewalk. The excitement of meeting her still had me disoriented, and it took effort to stay focused while I sorted out the new plan and navigated down the street. At one point, I actually said aloud, “Just what am I doing now, anyway?”
We got the restaurant. We got a table on the sidewalk. We checked the menu. The only coffee on the menu was served cold. Hot coffee was not an option. We were both surprised, but Eva took it in stride, joking that cold coffee was still coffee, and that coffee is what she needed. We started talking first about our careers. It turned out that we had worked in the same industry for a long time, on different sides of the world. We talked about her recent career change, how she was still finding her feet in a new professional life. We talked about my company, which was having some trouble at the time. I wanted her in my life, so there was no point in bullshitting, especially when she asked direct questions. If she rejects me for my problems, she may as well do it early. But she didn’t reject me. We had our coffee and our walk in the park while discussing all of this. At the end, we finally looked each other in the eyes, really, for the first time. I felt something “click” and I got the sense that she did, too. I told her that she had beautiful eyes and a beautiful smile and that I would like to see her again. She agreed, but warned me that she was about to leave town for two weeks. We set another date, three weekends later, and on that date we had our first kiss, and became a couple. Three months later we were living together.
In our short time together so far, Eva lost her mother, I am completely rebuilding my company, the lockdowns come and go, and sometimes money is tight. We have seen each other in stress and despair, and we still start every morning grateful to be in each other’s arms. There has not been a harsh world between us, and it really is the “no-compromise” relationship that both of us were looking for.