Modern Love – What’s the catch?

For what feels like the first time, I am not thrilled by when Blinding Lights starts playing – just as he tells me he’s recently divorced after a five year marriage. As recently as in the last 6 months.

I see, I say, quick to add a not-too-intrusive follow up question after registering that I see’s are my go-to in Zoom meetings precisely because they are too plain, too matter-of-fact and definitely too insensitive for this first-date exchange. I am glad the lights at “the grill place” aren’t too bright, yet our faces were fixated on each other’s and one couldn’t miss it if I so much as slightly grimaced, which I didn’t.

It’s not an off-putting detail. It’s probably just something you might want to mention on your Tinder bio, or at least reveal in the early conversations.

Okay, I guess this is in fact early. He did get that right.

I’m over it already as we talk about the books we left unfinished growing up, and at length about our Harry Potter houses (he was definitely Ravenclaw). Yet in the 4-second pause before we resumed talking about our families, the skepticism bounced back briefly.

Yes it’s early, it’s theoretically the safest spot in the early spectrum to introduce the fact – I can now imagine upvoted Reddit answers to the thread When should I tell my date … ? Yet it’s a bit disenchanting when it follows another reveal of his roommates, whose lifestyles he had elaborated within the walls of Tinder, turning out to be his parents. On which date would the cat turn out to be his child? Too harsh perhaps but there’s a reason that stuff is usually on a bio.

But of course one had to meet to really find out : dress up, delight in fussing over whether to wear sneakers or light heels, change outfits since it says it’s going to be chilly at night, change outfits again to not appear too dressy yet not too casual.

We talk about prints and Tokyo and it’s genuinely fun. Once in a while my thoughts drifted further than my eyes did, as did his I’m sure.

I caught the father and kids sipping drinks from their tall straws at the table behind him, and I had the inevitable thought of whether I had a similar piece to compare to his –

What was my catch, then?

And was this the mirage of all dating apps? That everyone told each other How else do you meet people during the pandemic, but really nobody on there was pursuing good old love as they claimed they were? That all the seeming effort on real talk was in fact devoted to changing the narrative of real-life stories and setting stage for slipping in disclosures at the perfect time?
I am not an accomplice in all of this, surely?

For a brief moment I saw a fleeting image of myself as the protagonist in Modern Love’s Doorman episode. Except there was no Guzmin to disapprove of the guys, only me, ending up reading all day on park benches with my legs curled up and riding my bike to cozy cafes – alone.

The thought was more amusing than unpleasant, and I tried to grace a full smile to mask any other emotion. I think we were onto discussing the strangeness of allergies of freshly-cut grass and strawberries at that point.

I later wondered, as one must I assume, if there was something about my profile that conveyed to emotionally unavailable men that I’d serve as an accessory to their early healing/moving-on journeys (because this wasn’t the first time). I’m open-minded and we all have our own deals going on, but I’m not sure any of us want to mess with it unless it were worth everyone’s time.

It suffices to say we had a great evening, and for that I’m glad. I really should’ve asked about the cat. Too late.

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