If, like me, you're single, sexually charged and looking for love and validation in all the wrong places, then you're probably on Tinder.
There's just something so gloriously gratifying about recklessly swiping left and right over a lonely glass of wine on a Sunday evening, isn't there? Plus, I'm good at Tindering. I've got a nose for sniffing out the "catfishes," the creeps and the crazies (most of the time).
To further toot my own horn, I think I'm a pretty good flirt, too. Unless I like you of course, then I turn into a shrinking violet with zero personality. But that's not the point.
The POINT IS, this past Friday, I found myself at my mother's house in sunny Sarasota, FL. I needed to get out of New York, visit my depressed brother, get a bit o' sun on this ghostly white bod of mine and indulge in some much-needed motherly snuggles.
The moment I hopped off the plane, I was whisked off to a family dinner at a sushi restaurant in town. My mother and I ordered a bottle of champagne and immediately began discussing the dark and stormy waters of dating and flirting in the big, bad city of New York.
"Mom, you're such a good FLIRT! I learned how to flirt from you. So, what's your secret?" I pressed, attempting to pull some of her notorious sexual prowess out of her and take it for myself.
"It's not just about being a good flirt, Darling," my lovely mum purred, twisting a perfectly golden lock of hair around her diamond-adorned finger. "It's about choosing the right man."
I raised a freshly plucked brow at her. "Man?" I repeated back at her.
"I mean, in your case woman," she said, quickly correcting herself. Sometimes she has temporary brain lapses and forgets that I'm a giant lez who exclusively plays in the girl-on-girl pool.
For the record, I take zero offense; she has a sh*t ton of needy children, all of whom are extremely dependent on her for love, affection, attention and life advice. It's hard to keep track of everyone's names, let alone sexual orientation, so I give the ol' girl a break.
"Darling, looks aren't enough. Sex is important, but it's not everything, Puppet. You go too much for the SEX. It's all about making smart choices. Smart choices in romantic partners," she lectured, giving me one of her classic winks and nudging her blonde head toward my father.
"I have a brilliant idea, MUM!" I cried, an electric surge of excitement catapulting my voice. "While I'm here over the weekend, why don't you take over my Tinder app and swipe for me? You can show me all about making SMART dating choices."
I slugged back the rest of my champagne, hoping the soft sweet bubbles would fizzle away my brain cells before I completely regretted this potentially fatal experiment.
Cut to the morning after:
I wake up with a sore chamPAIN head, but I'm still ready to engage in this epic social experiment.
It's around 4 pm before we are no longer hungover. (A glass of white wine cured that). We are huddled around the kitchen table devouring a wheel of cheese like it's going out of style.
I hand my mother my phone: "It's time."
"Oh, all right... how does the bloody thing work?" she asks.
I softly explain the ins and outs of Tinder to my mother (no easy feat).
"So wait, you just look at their FACES AND SWIPE?!" she asks, her face twisted and visibly horrified.
"Well there is a little profile," I explain, showing her my half-assed "bio."
I must admit, explaining Tinder to my sophisticated mother was a little jarring. I can tell she disapproves, and I can feel my heart sinking.
"MOM, I met Cindy* on TINDER, and you loved her," I say, seeking her approval (story of my life).
"You're sure it's not just for sex? Auntie Marie says you young people just use Tinder for SEX," she says primly, scrolling through my Tinder pictures with her fashion editor glasses pushed up to the tip of her nose. She's suddenly a posh English rose, and I'm her slutty, wayward daughter who seeks meaningless sex via dating apps.
"MOM, I'm a lesbian. If anyone can find love on Tinder, it's a lesbian. We fall in love at first f*cking swipe," I respond, setting the record straight (er, gay?).
Suddenly, it occurs to me that not only has she never online dated, let alone APP-dated, she's also never hit on a woman (as far as I know). I realize this is Mum's first dip in the lesbian pond, and I begin to feel a whole new layer of complexity added to this experiment: Straight mother attempts to find lesbian daughter a date, via an iPhone app.
"Let's have a swipe together," I say, ready to ease her into this foreign way of life.
"Oh, she's pretty!" Mum exclaims, her eyes lighting up at a picture blonde girl in a tight, sheer shirt.
"She looking for a threesome with her boyfriend."
"How can you tell?" she asks, bewildered.
"Because I just know these things. Anyway, we are defeating the whole purpose of this exercise. I'm leaving you to do this alone!" I declare, dramatically exiting the room.
"But what do I SAY? I JUST MATCHED?!" my mother frantically cries behind me. I can feel her panic. I'm honestly surprised she isn't jumping all over this. I would think it would be her dream to be CEO of my dating life.
"Message her, Mom! Come on! You're the world's best flirt!" I coax her, my voice echoing down the hall.
I check on her 45 minutes later; her legs are propped up on a chair, and she's deep into swiping and messaging.
"Oh, I'm really into it now," she robotically drones, not even looking up from my iPhone. The woman is addicted.
"Is this what I look like on Tinder?" I wonder, fear creeping into my bones. It's not a pretty sight. She's all manic eyes, swiping with the ferocity of a crack-seeking addict, clad in $150 Lululemon leggings.
Suddenly, a new fear sets into my bones. I mean, she's swiping in Florida, where I don't even live, but what if she starts talking to people I've already SWIPED for in NEW YORK?
But my mom is cool, right? I mean, she's a notorious date slayer. She was an "it" girl in the '70s. She has a more active social life than I do. If anything, she will play the game better than me, right?
I let my mom play TINDZ until I'm on the plane about to head home-o to New York. I don't look at what she's done until I'm safely nestled into my seat. This is what I find.
OK, I get it. MOM is a little thirsty and a little heavy on the "!!!!!!"
Definitely a pretty match -- but I WOULD NEVER "...mmmm..." And who the f*ck is Mom's mysterious friend in Bali?
Why, dear WHY, did she correct her on the ZED? And she totally forgot that I'm her American daughter who lives in NYC!
I wish I could tell you more about that first conversation she had on Tinder, but sadly, it's been deleted. I looked at it on the plane, and today, it's GONE. Either the girl in question got back together with an ex (very common in lesbian land), or my mother scared her off Tinder completely.
From what I gathered from their long convo, my mom (as me) and the now-deleted chickadee talked in depth about DOGS. My mother used the word "lovely" in every exchange (She's English! Give her a break!) and talked way too much talk about how obsessed she is with her King Charles Cavalier Spaniel. The other girl had a pitbull.
It probably wasn't meant to be, anyway.
The sad truth is that my gorgeous mother got her wayward daughter ghosted in all of her conversations. Three different times. And that's NOT including a TINDER DELETION (or unmatch), which even I think is way harsh.
I mean, considering all the crazy dykes I know, saying "lovely" and talking too much about your dog isn't even up there in the ranks of lesbian looniness.
Maybe the first girl was a little thrown thinking my scandalous onesie selfie profile picture didn't match up with the brain of a dog-obsessed "lesbian" who says lovely, but hey. You can like slutty onesies AND love dogs.
My mother is freaking hot and cool. Do I think it was maybe the juxtaposition of a girl who looks like ME acting all English that freaked the girls out? Maybe.
But I also think that my darling mum wasn't aloof enough. My mom likes her ellipses and exclamation points. In a world of personality disorders and endless baggage, it's enthusiasm that gets you ghosted.
It got me thinking: Screw this "play it cool, apathetic" dating game. Why are we so scared off by a bit of excitement?
As for the girls, they were all cute, but let's face it, baby, I'm turning into my mother. More and more each day. We're two peas in a Chanel pod:
My future will probably have a lot of exclamation points and ellipses. So that's what those girls will be getting eventually, and if they can't handle it now, forget 'em.
I would rather be a single and enthusiastic replica of my mother than a watered-down version of myself tethered to a girl who can't handle the BARRIE WOMAN spirit.
And I'm thankful to my mother for reminding me of that. If you can't handle my mother's exclamation points, well then, sugar, you can't handle ME.
*Name has been changed