A 28-year-old woman finds out her Tinder match is a serial dater
A true story from the frontiers of Toronto’s app-enabled dating scene
I’m 28, and I work in marketing. I downloaded Tinder in 2013 when it became a thing. It wasn’t long before I was hooked on that rush of success I got when I matched with someone. For weeks, I’d strike up conversations, but they would just drag on and on and never lead to a date. Just as I was about to give up on the app, this guy sent me a note that read more like a work e-mail:
You seem like a really interesting girl that I’d like to get to know better. We should get together after work for a beverage. Let me know your thoughts.”
I was impressed with his to-the-point attitude, so I agreed. He suggested we meet at a café, which seemed a bit odd, since a “beverage after work” implies a beer or glass of wine. When I countered with the idea of heading to a bar instead, he told me he didn’t drink—which also seemed odd, considering the fact that one of his profile pictures showed him swirling a glass of Maker’s Mark. I didn’t think much of it, though. We agreed to meet downtown at 8 p.m. Luckily, my co-workers took me out for a few cocktails before the date; it was my first Tinder rendezvous, and I was nervous as hell. In retrospect, I’m glad I had a bit of a buzz going.
When I arrived at the café, it was totally empty. I sat and waited for 10 minutes, awkwardly refreshing my app to see if he’d sent any messages about being late. A couple minutes later, he strolled in, wearing a dirty old T-shirt and white board shorts that looked 15 years old and were almost see-through. He was kinda cute, though, so I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. We said hello and went to order our drinks at the counter. There were dozens of weird teas, and I didn’t know what I wanted, so I just ordered the same as him, expecting him to pick up the cheque. Instead, he put his $2 tea on his credit card and I had to scrounge for a $5 bill. I totally believe in halfsies, but when the credit card fees are almost as much as the cost of the item, it’s weird. Throughout all this, the counter staff were staring at me.
He suggested we go for a walk. It was a gorgeous August night, so I was down. Also, the tea he chose tasted like peat moss and leather, so I was hoping a walk would distract him from the fact that I wasn’t drinking it. We strolled and chatted about his job in software development. “Follow me,” he said. “I know a place.” A few minutes later, we arrived at this beautiful courtyard I had no idea existed. I also had no idea how to get out, which made me nervous.
I told him that this was my first Tinder date, expecting him to respond in some way, but he looked at me blankly. I’m used to carrying conversations, so I asked, “How about you? Have you been on many?”
“Oh, you don’t want me to answer that,” he said.
I was beginning to feel annoyed. “Actually, I asked because I want to know,” I said.
“How many is a lot?”
And that’s when it came out: he told me he went on two dates a day, every single day, and that he’d been doing this for four years. He explained that he’s been on Match.com, Plenty of Fish, E-Harmony, you name it. He was especially excited about Tinder because of its efficiency. I suddenly understood why he hadn’t paid for my tea. His beverage bill would have been hundreds of dollars a month if he was in the habit of springing for two.
By this time, I knew there was no chance in hell this would work out, and my brain was teetering between “this guy may kill me and make a coat out of my skin” and “this is actually really interesting.” I asked him how many times he’d been on this exact date, with the café. “Oh,” he said, “Maybe 100 or 150 times?” That explained why the staff were staring. I asked him whether I was that day’s first date, or the second one. He said I was originally supposed to be the second, but it had rained earlier so he’d had to cancel the first. “So you’re one out of one,” he said, apparently expecting me to be flattered or something. Then he told me his parents are divorced, and he doesn’t believe in love, or wasting time on a girlfriend. “Why would I date one girl when I can date 16?” he asked, rhetorically.
At this point I couldn’t imagine what kind of girl would ever go home with this guy, especially after paying for her own tea. I told him so. “Well,” he said, “my biggest flaw is that I’m too honest. I’m always very upfront with who I am.” “No,” I thought to myself. “Your biggest flaw is that you’re a piece of shit.”
“We’re done here,” I said. I got up, threw my tea out, went to the gate and realized I had no idea how to get out of the labyrinth he’d led me into. He walked me out in silence. My skin was crawling.
The next day, obviously, I circulated a screenshot of the guy to my girlfriends. Some of them matched with him on purpose. His opening line? The exact same message. Talk about efficiency.
In the three years since this happened, I’ve seen him on dates at that same café three different times. Once, I ran into him on my lunch break outside my new office. I guess that’s where he takes date number one.