I met G at a bar after a tour of Dublin Castle. It was only the day before that I had downloaded Tinder upon my best friend’s suggestion. While I had used dating apps before, the internet is dark and full of terrors and meeting up with someone in a foreign country poses risks.
Dating Apps Abroad
Forgetting that I had changed my Facebook birth year from 1985 to 1990, my Tinder account noted that I was 28 rather than 33 years old. This would later come back to bite me in the ass. I uploaded recent photos of myself since only six months prior, I had cut off my 10-inch dreads.
There are several problems with dating apps. While some are minor, like having the same conversation over and over, others are more frustrating. Finding out the true intention of other people can be frustrating and alarming.
“Why do men think it is ok to sexually harass women behind the anonymity of a screen?”
After swiping this way and that (and blocking the crude and rude), I found myself talking casually with a few boys in the area. One was another American on holiday, one was a French guy (who was seemingly still learning English) and one was G, a 25 year old from a more rural part of Ireland.
What set G apart from the others was the ease of talking to him. Within just a few messages he made me laugh, we had an instant repertoire. We decided to meet up in a public place after my sightseeing; he chose the place and I selected the time.
Meeting My Tinder Date
He looked like his photos, always a pleasant surprise. He said I looked prettier than my own. We had a pint and filled in the gaps with the basics of our lives. There were some pauses but, otherwise, he was a good craic, as the Irish say. He asked if I needed to leave or if I wanted to go to another bar.
He followed me as I led him by the hand to a bar that caught my eye. I bought us a second round and we continued to joke and learn more about one another. We found out that our birthdays were days apart, we shared our favorite Oscar Wilde quotes, and he made efforts to procure some “herb” for me.
We went on an adventure to meet a man; I paid for the taxi, G paid for the purchase. Although a risk, I agreed to go back to his place to enjoy what we had sought. He seemed harmless and, being close to my size, I knew I could fight him if that lead to it.
It turned out that his apartment was a five-minute walk from my Airbnb, another pleasant surprise. We discussed the differences between American and European smokers, specifically spliffs versus pure rolls. He gave me two books filled with Irish phrases and, among other things, Oscar Wilde quotes. We smoked, we laughed, we kissed, we undressed.
Before going to bed that night, he told me about his near-religious oral hygiene and offered me a toothbrush. A sweet gesture I nearly refused, as I was unsure if I wanted to spend the night and risk not sleeping well due to snoring or some other reason of his fault. Afterward, I asked where I should put my newly used toothbrush, and he gestured to a cup occupied with nearly other 15 brushes.
The End of a Vacation Romance
The one-night stand turned into a weekend romance. We parted Monday so I could tour and because he had to go to work. We met up again Monday evening for dinner where my little, white lie could stay hidden no more.
“I’m so bad at guessing people’s ages. Like, if I had to say, I would say you are 30.”
I didn’t want to continue the farce. There was no point after all, right? We had connected. He already thought I was three years older, what would another five do?
The look on his face was a mixture between thoughts I couldn’t distinguish. An eight-year difference is huge when the woman is older, I knew this. I just didn’t want it to be so.
We went back to his place, smoked more, and went to bed. I wondered if my lie had ruined this vacation romance. While he had joked about it, I couldn’t help but feel that I had messed up. After all, would a 25-year-old man go out with a 33-year-old woman?
That morning would be the last time I would see him. Leaving for Amsterdam on Wednesday, he texted me that morning with the usual, “It was wonderful meeting you.” And even though I knew before it started that it had to end, I felt sad.
Re-connection on Facebook
A couple weeks later, Facebook displayed a familiar name and face. I requested G’s friendship on the social platform unsure if he would reciprocate.
Apparently, the age difference was only a concern of mine. He had been trying to figure out how to get in touch with me since I’d left Dublin, as I had changed my phone number in Amsterdam. He wanted to see me again, before I went back to the states, and asked about the dates I would be in Barcelona, Spain.
Within hours he had booked a flight to meet me in the Spanish city for another weekend together, this time as mutual tourists.
To be continued…