Dear Portland Mercury readers—Brace yourself to see the glistening, jagged blade of the cutting edge of comedy as I unsheath it from the weathered, Semitic scabbard of my intellect: DATING SURE IS WEIRD, HUH? Especially weird in OH! THESE MODERN TIMES.
Forgive me for being so achingly late to this party, but I've never really dated before. I've mostly just gone from relationship to relationship, 'cuz I'm a hot fucking commodity with a tight college bod, and you can't keep this dick on the shelves or even buy it on eBay. (Either that or I fear being alone more than I value the actual health of a relationship, because of my parents' divorce. Science has yet to definitively answer this question.)
I've joined the apps for the first time in my life: Tinder, Bumble, and Raya (which is Tinder for people who've been on television). Now I'm not here to just flat out complain about them, but this shit is dizzy. Depending on your mood, the vast array of digital suitors can either seem like a car dealership full of romantic potential, or the dating equivalent of the Highway of Death. Just an asphalt graveyard full of bombed-out, broken, on-fire girls named Amy (OR LIKE GREG, IF YOU CAN'T GENDER SWAP THIS ON YOUR OWN).
After you learn that Tinder is essentially just setting up a booth at the Comic Con of fucking, the next you thing you learn is that MOTHER. FUCKERS. BE. HIKING. They be hiking! Everyone is fucking hiking. Maybe I've just surrounded myself with overly likeminded individuals for the last 15 years, but I don't remember motherfuckers fucking hiking like these fuckers be fucking hiking these fucking days. I don't hike, but I've already caved to the pressure. I drove to Joshua Tree just to take pictures that make it look like I hike. And look, if you want to hike, that's fine—but do that shit in private. The idea of hiking on a date is horrifying. "Hey, lets get to know each other in the sweatiest, most unpleasant way possible, and then pretend to enjoy the view of a number of trees." Fuck hiking. I honestly think I'd rather be alone.
I'll probably get my wish, too, because flirting on Tinder is difficult. There's no opportunity for nuance—every exchange hangs in permanence to be overanalyzed. A flippant comment that, in normal conversation, would have drifted off on the breeze now sticks to your face like a walked-through spider web. I was talking to a woman on Tinder, things were going great, we were complimenting each other, and then she told me that I was, "Cute, like a chubby Jack Black." If she said that at a bar, we'd laugh and move on. She said it on Tinder, though, so it gave me time to realize that Jack Black... is a fat person. She said I'm a chubby fat person. That's like telling someone they're like Shaq, but tall. We still got a coffee, but the whole time I was obsessing over how I was just a Kmart knockoff version of Jack Black. There was no second date.
Anyway, now that I'm back on the market, this column will probably just become me complaining about dating. Thank you for your patience.