"I guess we don't have anything in common,"
were the words of my college ex-girlfriend nearly three years ago, as I sat in my new home with a new job nearly 3,000 miles away.
We dated my whole senior year, and she decided to end things barely a month into my first real job in California. I can't say I blame her since we were so far away, but it is what it is.
Just like any 20-something millennial, I decided to look into this "Tinder thing" because (and you can choose whichever excuse you told yourself when you tried it) "I was bored," or "it's just for fun," or "I live in a shitty town called Lompoc, and it's 50 miles away from the nearest girl."
I tapped the little flame icon, and my career in right swiping began.
As a total novice with this app, I started by reading each individual profile, and only swiping on girls I was really interested in. Fast forward a few months, and I would wake up, swipe 200 times in a row, and then revisit the five or so matches I got.
Anyway, I eventually matched with a Santa Barbara college girl, we'll call her Jessica, and arranged for a date that weekend. Little did she know, this date was about to be a combination of the movies Take Me Home Tonight and The Notebook.
I started by picking her up, and holding open the door so she could jump in my Mustang named Harambae.
I literally took some pages out of my own book, and started the date by taking her out for ice cream, convincing her to sing along in the car, and then swing dance under the headlights at night.
Photo from The Notebook
After this routine that would become a standard in many more Tinder dates, we went for a walk on the beach. It was as Notebookie as you can get. Full moon, barefoot on the sand, deep conversations, all those shenanigans.
As fun as it is to be romantic and cliché, it was time to switch gears to the Take Me Home Tonight part of the date.
We jumped back in the Mustang, and I told her I had an idea for a contest.
I explained the rules:
We would drive slowly through the streets of downtown Santa Barbara, attempting to convince pedestrians to approach the car and give us high fives. Whoever gets the most, wins.
I pulled out two pairs of sunglasses, turned on the interior neon strobe lights, and turned up the volume to Fetty Wap's "Trap Queen".
We cruised through the packed streets at a comfortable 5mph, while revving the engine and living a literal movie. People loved it. I think the total high five count was approaching 20.
Photo from Take Me Home Tonight
Then blue and white lights flashed in my rear view.
If you know me, I'm no stranger to this situation. And I'm not saying this to come across as some gangster badass, I'm usually just a goofball behind the wheel. You'll see what I mean.
"Don't worry," I looked over at Jessica, "I got this."
I had no idea if I really "had this." I could be in trouble.
"Good evening, sir!" The officer approached the side of my car, beaming a light straight into my face.
"How's it going?" I handed him my license and registration.
"Do you know why I pulled you over?" He asked.
"Well, it can't be speeding, we were like 20 under...?"
"You're correct. I pulled you over for noise violations."
"I'm sorry, what?" I was confused.
"We heard your music, and your car is pretty loud. Maybe just keep it down since California law states we shouldn't be able to hear your music more than 50 feet away."
"I'm so sorry! I didn't know that was a rule," I explained that I had just moved to California, and this isn't a law, to my knowledge, in my hometown in North Carolina.
"No problem, sir!" the officer replied. "We're looking for kids who are doing more reckless things tonight, so we're not going to give you a ticket," the officer was about to step away.
"Oh wow! Thank you!" I was lucky. Again. "Could you tell me though, how far away were you when you heard Fetty Wap?"
Now, if you've read my posts before, you know the saying, "if someone is writing the check, shut up." In other words, once something is already going your way, don't open your mouth and potentially ruin it.
Photo from Take Me Home Tonight
"Well," the officer said as he turned back around, "we were two blocks away."
"I'm sorry." I said.
"Goodnight." He said.
That was awkward.
I looked back at my passenger, and a very impressed set of eyes met my slightly embarrassed ones.
"I can't believe that worked!" She said.
"Yeah...uh...me neither." I replied.
I decided to keep the momentum going. We drove a few miles down the street, and pulled into an empty parking lot.
"I was telling you earlier that we shouldn't be afraid of how we look, or what we do. Just own it, and be in the moment, right?" I asked Jessica.
"Sure. Where are you going with this?" She asked.
"Music video. Right now." I said, as I turned up the music (again), and climbed onto the roof of my Mustang with a water bottle in my hand as a microphone.
Ariana Grande from the music video for Break Free
Ariana Grande was singing lights out underneath my feet, while I danced on the roof like no one was watching.
Jessica laughed, and couldn't handle what was happening. Needless to say, it was more of a solo performance than a "music video". To this day, I have big dents in my steel roof from jumping around to "Break Free" in Santa Barbara.
"Let's try one more thing before I drop you off," I was setting the record for the wildest Tinder date in California.
"What do you have in mind?" Jessica asked.
"Well, life is like a video game. We get to pick the rules, and we can break some of them. So I want to see if some dudes will go along with what I have in mind," I explained.
"Who?" She asked.
"Frat guys." I said, as I pointed to a nearby house. "We're going to knock on their door, and convince them to give us something they love. Follow my lead."
She wasn't sure about how this would end up, but she was down to try.
We parked, and I knocked on their door.
"Uhhhh. Suh dude," a member of the house answered the door confused. Who rings a frat house's doorbell unless they're delivering pizza or Uber Eats?
"Hey man! My name is Rob (used a fake name, because why not), and I'm part of a contest called Knocks For Shots." I was making up everything on the fly. "This is my friend, Jessica, and we're representing The University Of North Carolina!" I happened to be wearing mostly UNC gear at the time.
"Ok, what are you doing?" He asked, as Jessica looked at me totally confused.
"We're going door to door asking people for shots. Jessica keeps score," she waved with a smile. "Whichever school gets the most shots in one night wins $5,000 to a charity of their choice. Want to help?"
Photo from Animal House
"Wait, are you asking to do shots?" He asked.
"That's exactly what I'm asking."
"WELL COME ON IN!"
I looked at Jessica, we had this.
"Hey dudes! These guys are with shots-for-shots or whatever and they need a shot of something to win the contest!"
Suddenly, a group of 10+ guys asked us to take our pick from their massive selection of liquor. I don't remember what we drank, but it was free, and everyone wanted us to win that damn contest.
"Can you drink multiple shots here?" our new friend asked.
"No!"I remembered I had driven there. "Only one per house, thank you!"
"Well get on to the next crib, dude!" the frat guys high fived us (count is beyond 30 at this point), and sent us on our way.
As we ran out towards the car laughing, I decided to take one last leap of faith and went in for the kiss.
"I can't believe we just pulled that off," Jessica said as I was holding her by the car. "That was amazing."
To be honest, I couldn't believe it either. We had fit in quite a lot for a Wednesday night in Santa Barbara. From that point on, each date following a right swipe would be equally as unpredictable and adventurous.
I can't say I regret losing that ex three years ago, but I can confidently say that I love Tinder. And if Tinder was a girl, I'd swipe right.