Going on a Tinder date whilst backpacking is the most stressful thing a human can do. I know they say that it’s actually more stressful to move house, have a baby or change jobs, but I’ve done two of those three things within the last year and I can confirm that they do not compare even a little bit. Don’t believe me? Allow me to break it down for ya.
First, let’s talk profile pics. The main image of this post is the one that I’m still using in my Tinder profile, despite the fact that it looks nothing like travelling-me. This is false advertising, I know, but I’m running with it. This is a selfie I took before a recent date:
Despite only being taken a couple of months apart, these two pictures look like different people. One of them has money, good makeup, and a haircut, and the other is significantly older-looking and has a forehead of alien proportions. HOW DO DATES EVEN RECOGNISE ME?
Once I’ve snared a date with an old picture and a provocative ‘about me’ blurb that I got a walking tour guide to write for me in Spanish, I then have to think about getting ready to meet my *fingers crossed* dreamy dude/broad. And how the hell am I supposed to get spruced up with the contents of the backpack that I’ve been lugging around for five months?
First task: personal grooming. Ain’t nobody getting waxed whilst backpacking (well, some folk do, but not this gal). That leaves me with the option of letting my body do its own thing, or tackling my fuzz with the semi-rusty disposable razor that I’ve been carrying around since who-knows-when. I’ve chosen to go for a combination of the two, giving me a rather attractive stubble/hair/razor-rash combo pretty much everywhere below my eyebrows. And speaking of eyebrows, with a lack of careful maintenance, my over plucked monstrosities are at their very worst. Seriously, you can I.D girls who are backpacking by their eyebrows. If they actually have decent ‘brows, then they were not at school in the late 90’s when getting rid of the bastards was totally on fleek.
Now, what to wear? It’s a tossup between the stained t-shirt that I wear every other day, and the other stained t-shirt that I wear every other day. On my bottom half will be the jeans that I’ve worn actual holes in with my massive thighs, and my outfit will be finished off with trainers that proper stink after five months of solid wear. Sexy, right?
Once I’m suitably done up (or clean, at the very least), there’s navigating to my chosen date location to be dealt with. Well, I won’t have chosen it because I don’t really know where things are in whichever city it is that I’ve been calling home for about an hour. I’ll have opted for a taxi because I don’t want to risk getting sweaty and/or lost on public transport, but my driver won’t know the place I want to go and won’t understand me trying to explain it to them in my broken version of their mother tongue. But, I’m a smart, independent person, so I’ll finally make it. Also, because I’m English, I’ll be 15 minutes early and feeling unbelievably awkward while I wait for my date to arrive.
So, that hellish part’s over, and I’ve managed to locate my date. Next, there’s conversation. Small talk is tricky with a stranger at the best of times, but when your first languages are different from one another’s, that adds a whole new dimension of ‘fun’ to the mix. Plus, no other nationality wants to talk about the weather, so that’s my number one secret weapon topic straight out the window.
If my date goes badly, it’s no great loss. My last one, with a Peruvian chap in Lima, was the dullest two hours of my entire life. Dude didn’t ask me a single question or start any conversations, leaving me to talk solidly to avoid those dreaded awkward silences. But, what happens if I have an amazing date? I meet my other half, they’re just so perfect for me blah blah blah. It’s guaranteed heartache: I’ll more than likely have a night bus booked for my next destination, which will sever any chance of having a proper romance. So, I’ll sit on that poxy bus weeping quietly to love songs and dreaming of what could’ve been.
Come to think about it, what exactly is the point of Tinder dating in a city that you’re only going to spend a couple of days in? It can sometimes be worth the hassle though, which keeps me hooked, so I’ll come back to you on that once I’ve finished my daily swiping.