A 29-year-old woman’s perfect Tinder one-night stand has a hygiene problem

A true story from the frontiers of Toronto’s app-enabled dating scene

My name is Rachel. I’m a 29-year-old programming coordinator for an arts organization.

I’ve been using Tinder off and on for a few years. For a long time, I would always be the first one to send a message to a potential date, but for the past few weeks I’ve been more lazy about that, and I’ve been chatting with guys who message me first. Which might be why I’m having dates that are a little stranger than what I’m used to.

On this particular day, about a week and a half ago, I’d already been on one bad Tinder date. I had a second one lined up. This one was going to be the perfect one-night stand. The man was good looking. He was a musician. He had an “I stand with Planned Parenthood” badge on one of his profile pictures. He was a feminist. Perfect. He had all my check marks, but I wasn’t worried about him liking me for more than just the one evening.

We met at Holy Oak café, and he was clearly quite ragged. Right away, I suspected that he probably didn’t have access to a shower. He was wearing jeans and a t-shirt, and they were dirty. It looked like his clothes and his skin had a thin film on them. He had a really long beard and and short hair. He was very dirty. But he was a very good-looking dirty person, and our conversation was great. I needed to get past the smell, or get him into a shower.

He said he wanted to change in his van. So we went to his van, which he clearly lived in. It was a white van, with no windows. Inside it was pretty dingy and there was a makeshift bed. At some point I learned that he had been on tour for eight years, so he had probably been living in different vehicles for about that long.

Then we went to Duffy’s diner, which is a charming little dive on Bloor Street. I like having first dates at places where I’m unlikely to run into anyone. We had burgers.

After we were finished eating, we took a walk. I had my bike with me, so I was like, “Let’s at least walk towards my house so I can drop off my bike.” And then, when we got there, I was like, “Do you want a shower?”

And he was like, “No, let’s keep walking.”

We walked around for a while. It was raining, and the wetness was starting to get to me. After a while, I said, “I’m sorry. We have to go to my house so I can get clean.”


My feet were wet from the walk, so I washed them and changed into different socks and sat down. And I was like, “Do you want to shower?” And he said no. And we sat down and continued to talk.

We listened to some records, and eventually started making out. The makeout wasn’t great, and normally if the makeout isn’t great, but I intend to have sex with the person, I just move forward. But I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t make the next step. The guy was too dirty.

So, for the last time, I was like, “Hey, do you want to shower?”

And he said, “Well, I guess you could push me into the shower if you really wanted to.”

I just sat there hoping he’d be like, “Okay, where’s the towel?” But he never followed up, for some reason. And I was still making out with him. And I was thinking, “I have white sheets. I can’t have this man in my bed.”


I wanted to offer him clean clothes, because I knew he probably didn’t have many. In my head, I was treating him like a homeless person—but he wasn’t a homeless person. He was a lovely, nice man. But he smelled so bad.

Eventually, I told him I couldn’t do it. I was like, “I’m just really distracted.”

And he was like, “Are you distracted by the smell of my feet?” And he laughed. Eventually he said, “I think I’m gonna go.” And he left.

He could have had a shower and sex and somewhere to sleep that wasn’t a van. But it wasn’t in the cards. He really didn’t want that shower. I feel like it must have been on principle or something. Still, if he were to contact me next time he’s in Toronto, I would totally be game—provided he’d showered in the last 24 hours.

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