I’ve been single for almost four years now, and when I say single, I mean single AF. No texting/sexting, no flirting, no dating, NO ANYTHING. I’m not complaining. I know that I’m in this season where self-discovery and my career are more important, and getting sucked in the vicious cycle of seeing guy after guy with no specific intent or merely just because would be a waste of my time.

I used to judge Tinder and every person  in it. Given that it’s an app for hooking up, I assumed everyone’s agenda there is to just swipe his or her way to a hot fuck buddy. Call me judgmental, but it’s not like there’s no truth to what I’m saying. A lot of people do use the app for one night stands, as blatantly and tactlessly stated in their bios. But, I learned that I must never say never. I never really thought I’d join Tinder, but a close friend of mine told me—much to my surprise—that she’s been part of the Tinder pool and was putting effort in meeting up with her matches. I knew she wasn’t using it to screw around. This goody-two-shoes, no-sex-before-marriage, over-achiever friend of mine (READ: SHEKINAH BANGSIL) is just not the type. Intrigued, I asked her how it’s been going for her. Her words stuck with me: it is what you make of it.

tinder

A few days later, I downloaded the app, uploaded the best selfies from my Instagram account and started swiping. I guess I went for it to prove something to myself—that I wasn’t the same young, careless girl who’d give in to sending nudies (no face, ALWAYS) just because a hot guy typed a few clichéd compliments to flatter her ego. It is what I’ll make of it. This could be good training ground for me to stick to my beliefs and learn the art of uncompromising even if that meant not being the fantasy Cool Girl to these Tinder (fuck) boys. I thought that it could put my womanhood to the test, by putting douchebags in their places and asking sincere “but why’s” when they send me unsolicited photos of their dicks. You know, with the hopes of making them realize that women are actually human beings—not living sex dolls to be used for their pleasure or stroke their egos.

Apparently, not everyone on Tinder is decent enough to keep conversations friendly and non-objectifying with the opposite sex. When some entitled asses resorted to sour-graping and name-calling because I won’t put my busy life aside to meet up with them, I found myself blocking more than holding real conversations with these Tinder men (boys). It’s crazy and hilarious how they would compliment my curves and profess how much they love my figure the minute we match, only to call me an overweight bitch when I tell them I can’t meet them on their preferred date. To this day, I have uninstalled and reinstalled the damn app 4 times. Currently, it’s uninstalled, mostly because I’m sick of filtering out the decent ones from the dickheads. It’s like looking for gold nuggets in a huge pile of dog shit.

Also because I already went out with 4 guys that I’ve matched on Tinder, in a span of 7 days.

 

SATURDAY

Brent*, 25

It all happened during the first week of June. Tinder was already uninstalled from my phone, and I had forgotten about all the unblocked guys I gave my number to. It’s been weeks since I last heard from any of the decent ones left on my radar, so it came as a surprise to see a message on WhatsApp from this Indian cutie I’ve chatted with a few times. He’s a busy man (he just moved here from Singapore as part of a startup company), so we never really had the chance to get to know each other via chat. Apparently, he caught pneumonia (what a way to welcome an expat, Manila!) and had to be hospitalized. He asked if I’d be down to meet for coffee, I said sure. We agreed to meet up on a Saturday.

He let me do all the planning since according to him, I’m the local. I suggested to go to Puzzles in BGC. My cherry for meeting up with a Tinder boy was about to get popped, and I wanted it to be fun and interactive (far from how my “cherry” cherry got popped, but that’s another story). Unfortunately, traffic was unexpectedly bad that Saturday afternoon and I underestimated the time to get to Taguig from Ortigas. He, on the other hand, couldn’t find The Fort Strip, and so we both missed our table reservation at Puzzles. He told me to meet him in Central Square and we can just go find any chill spot from there. When I arrived at around 4:30, I already saw him texting beside the fountain, but I snuck my way to the bathroom to make sure I looked okay. I had to psych myself that this was *really* happening. LOL. Please note that I’ve not interacted with guys for 4 long years, so yes, I was anxious, and I had to shut my dorky self up and be open to what’s in store for me in my very first Tinder date.

I came up to him, said hi, and he gave me a non-creepy hug. He was probably around 6 feet tall, had a very cute boy-next-door vibe to him, and had a nice set of teeth. I like pretty mouths, so obviously I found him attractive. I didn’t want to walk very far from Central Square so I decided to take him to Rocketroom, which is my ultimate comfort zone in BGC. It’s a good place for a date because the music is awesome and isn’t distractingly loud, and the food and drinks are great. While walking, I already asked simple questions about him, like where he grew up and how it’s like moving countries from time to time. By the time we settled in Rocketroom, I was still the only one asking questions, and he did all the talking. I decided to get a cocktail and he got a beer. By this time I already knew that he spent 6 years in Singapore and went to university there before landing a marketing job for a big brewery company. The more I asked, the more personal I got to know his character. He answered all my questions while interjecting more things to know about himself. He shared stories from his travels and how it’s been like for him as an expat in Asia. He mentioned his love for football and clubbing. He mentioned he was part of the national tennis varsity in high school and was unbeatable.

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He wasn’t being cocky about being such an accomplished man at 25, he was merely sharing. I, however, was getting bored AF. Seemed to me that he was good at a lot of things, except having an actual dialogue with another woman. I didn’t feel like he was trying to make any connection with me. He just wanted to put out as much details about himself out there, and that was it. During our second round of drinks, I found myself cutting him off in the middle of his stories to share a few bits about me, which was unusual because I only say stuff about myself when asked. But I felt like I wasn’t contributing anything to the conversation and I had to at least say a few things about me—just so he’d know something substantial about the woman he’s out with. Still, he would cut me off to go back to what he was saying which made me just quit trying. I asked my favorite waiter in Rocketroom for shots of XO Patron as I listened to story after story of how he’s living the life and his plans for taking up his masters in the US.

At around 6:30, I asked him if he wanted to walk around BGC and he said he wanted to check out a book. I told him I can take him to Fully Booked. I used the bathroom before leaving and when I got back, he had paid for our bill. I had 2 cocktails and 3 shots of coffee tequila. At least I got my drinks free, I told myself as consolation. I thanked him and he said it was no biggie. He never lets women pay, he said. It was nice of him, although I felt like I was a shrink getting to know a patient for the first time than a girl who’s out on her first Tinder date.

While walking to Fully Booked, he was still talking about how he’s been around BGC before and blah blah blah—I’ve stopped caring at this point because 1) I already knew there would be no second date with this guy, and 2) my 5 orders of alcohol just hit me hard and all of a sudden I was tipsy AF. While crossing the street, he just blurted out of nowhere that he might be running late to his dinner (which he told me about earlier) and he needed to get a cab. I felt kinda awkward and I sensed he was rushing to leave, so I suggested he take a cab exactly where we stopped and said our goodbyes.

I was tempted to feel annoyed and rejected, but then again, it is what I make of it. Him rushing off to a dinner to be with his other expat buddies (who he sees every single day at work) didn’t mean that something was wrong with me. He’s just not that into me, and to state the obvious, the feeling was totally mutual. We’ve got zero connection and he didn’t even try. Instead of feeling bad about myself, I actually felt great with how I asked sensible questions and how I interacted with a guy I barely knew for the very first time. I was true to myself and didn’t pretend to be anybody else but me. That, in itself, is already a huge victory specially for someone who used to be so caught up in becoming what other people wanted her to be, even if it meant killing who she truly is.

After our date, I downloaded Tinder again for the third time.

 

WEDNESDAY

Leo*, 26

When I first saw Leo’s profile, he looked awfully familiar. Then I remembered, my gay officemate back then would always express how “yummy” he found this bald dude in a white shirt and jeans combo every time he’d walk by us during our yosi breaks (when I smoked back then). Turns out, it was him. I swiped right. We matched, and the first thing he initiated on Tinder was to play 20 questions. I said sure, and in a few minutes we were taking turns to ask. He gave me really interesting ones, mostly hypothetical questions that were fun for me to answer. “What would you do if you were a dude for one whole day?” “What’s one thing you can’t stand losing?” and “What super power would you have and would you be a hero or a villain?” Within a few hours of chatting, I mentioned about the first Tinder guy I met up with, and how he didn’t really initiate conversation with me. He apologized for the boring experience I had and asked if I’d be down to grab a few beers with him. Since the other Tinder guy I was supposed to meet that night bailed, I said sure.

I met up with him at a restaurant in McKinley Hill, and again, like my usual dorky self, I suddenly felt anxious. After all, this was just the second time I’m meeting yet another dude from Tinder. Just like the last time, I didn’t know what to expect. He was wearing his usual white shirt and jeans outfit, and he gave off a no-fucks-given vibe. As soon as I sat down beside him, I started asking questions, and I didn’t notice I was talking fast. He made a comment on my swift interrogation, which made me laugh at myself. He said this must be why Brent* kept on talking, because I kept asking. I apologized, and justified that this was something new to me. There’s no other way but to be honest, so I told him I haven’t been around dudes in a while. He brushed off my slight awkwardness and started telling me about his life. We talked about real stuff. Nothing about each other’s favorite movies or music or anything like that. He talked about his family, his years spent in the US, and what he’s passionate about. The way he told his stories was very animated, and I found that amusing about him. I must admit, I thought he was pretty cool. He told me about this girl he’s currently dating and a gist of his past relationships. I told him about mine. Eventually he asked me about what I did, and I told him about the advocacy, my modeling career, and the book we’re about to launch. The conversation was going really well until he started talking about religion. I began to panic! He wasn’t an atheist, but his beliefs were far from the Christian perspective on spirituality. He was all about science and logic, and though I believe the two do not go against the claims of Christianity, I was left in a stump as he took his time explaining to me the things he believed in. The conversation felt like it was turning into a debate, as he kept asking me to defend my beliefs. He asked what made me so sure that God really cared about each and every one of us, when we’re merely human beings.

Leo: “How sure are you that God really cares? What if we’re just like molds left inside a container? Who are we to even be that important to God?”
Me: (these are all rhetorical, these are all rhetorical, there are all rhetorical… If I don’t say anything he’ll just continue talking.) *shuts the fuck up*
Leo: Did God really create us in His image and likeness? Isn’t that vain? For us to think that God would do such a thing?
Me: *still shutting the fuck up*

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I tried answering (more like stammering), but he hurled more why’s at me. At this point I just wanted to change the topic desperately. I haven’t been actively seeking answers to my doubts regarding my faith, hence the baffled reaction to where our discourse was going. I’ve been dealing with my own issues and hurts with church culture, so my spiritual walk isn’t something I’m actively making effort in as of the moment. He kept asking and asking and asking, to which I responded by just shaking my head and keeping silent. I felt dumb and embarrassed. I didn’t even have anything to rebut what he said about us being freakin’ molds in a freakin’ container. But again, I wanted to be transparent. I told him I didn’t know the answers, but him sharing his beliefs and questioning mine was a wakeup call to not be blind in my faith. He apologized and tried to downplay what just happened by saying he usually isn’t one to talk about the issues he brought up. I assured him it’s fine. If it weren’t for him, I wouldn’t realize how much I have yet to discover and learn about my faith. I can’t just believe in something and not know why. He changed the topic nonchalantly by pointing to a motorcycle parked across our table and said he wanted one. I felt relieved, but I was already too embarrassed and careful to say anything more until we said our goodbyes. We ended up just talking more about him and his adventures as a professional cook in the US.

I didn’t feel good about myself going home. I was pretty sure that that night would be the first and last time I’ll be hearing from him. Surprisingly, he still messaged me the following morning. I told him I felt pretty lame for how our hang out ended, and he told me it was all good. He proposed to talk about something else next time, like “everything awesome in my life.” To this day we still message each other, and have a few banters via chat. He’s a cool guy, and I’m sensing that he’s genuine (so far!). It goes without saying that we’re keeping things friendly, and I think it’s good to have a guy buddy around for when I need a man’s perspective on things. (Or whatever perks you get when you have a guy friend. I wouldn’t know, I have none. Meh)

 

FRIDAY

Marvin*, 26

I really don’t know why I swiped right with this one. He wasn’t really attractive to me, but I swiped anyway. Turns out, he was a college school mate and he took the opportunity of us matching to tell me that he had the biggest crush on me back then. I was flattered. This guy was interesting to talk to. He knew how to play things to his advantage. He was talkative, asked sensible questions, and wasn’t afraid to let me know that he was into me. He asked if he could see me in person, and I said yes. We set a date to meet up in an area near mine.

I couldn’t remember seeing him back in college. Maybe because he got toned physically and knew how to dress up better that he looked far from how he used to. I kind of sensed he got nervous when he saw me. He started to get antsy and slightly fumbled with his words. I kept it casual and friendly. We ordered one round of drinks and started talking. He kept paying me compliments, to which I just humbly responded with a thank you and a chuckle. He also let me know that he “stalks” me online and has watched my YouTube videos. That was the first time a guy ever told me that. He kept telling me how impressive it was that at my age, I’m about to publish a book. I didn’t even think about it that way until he mentioned it. I guess being an author hasn’t sunk in yet. We talked about college and his current job as a freelance writer and filmmaker. After a few minutes of breaking the ice, he suggested to watch The Conjuring 2. I said I’m a wuss, and not really a fan of horror films. It was partially true, but I was also not comfortable to watch a scary ass movie and reveal how freakin’ jumpy and scared I was around a guy I just met. I didn’t want him to see me freak out, because it could make him think that it was an opening to “comfort” me inside a cold, dark, theater. Was that too paranoid of me? I guess. But something in my gut told me not to watch The Conjuring 2, so I followed my intuition. I suggested to watch Now You See Me 2 instead, but 40 minutes in the movie we both realized how cheesy the entire film was, and walked out.

The night was still young, and he wanted to hang out some more. After all, it’s only been an hour and a half since we met up and almost half of that time was wasted watching yet another tacky Hollywood film. He wanted to go some place quiet, so I suggested to go to Sentro in Estancia. We get there, but the place was already closed. Right next to it was Black Olive, and though it wasn’t really a quiet place, we settled there so we can resume our getting-to-know conversation.

We talked about the kind of music he listened to and the films he liked. He was charming in a geeky way, and I found myself laughing a lot with him. In the middle of our conversation, he goes, “So what can you say about this?” and waved his hand over his body like he was presenting a prize. LOL. I was confused. I asked what he meant and he clarified by telling me he didn’t want me to assess the ongoing date. Apparently, he was referring to his looks and his body. I laughed. “Well, you’re cute,” is what I replied. I didn’t really mean it 100%, but what the heck was I supposed to say? It was starting to dawn on me that this man was kind of… well, socially awkward.

He then started talking about sex. I dunno how that happened, but he did initiate the discourse on it. I tried to steer the spotlight away from me, and asked him about girls he’s been with in the past. Apparently he’s never had a girlfriend, but he’s looking for a partner.

Me: What kind of partner? Sexual partner?
Marvin: Well yeah…
Me: Then you’re a fuck boy then!
Marvin: No. Of course not. Not just for sex. But someone to hang out with din.
Me: So a girlfriend?
Marvin: No, I have an issue with the term boyfriend-girlfriend kasi.

At this point I was already rolling my eyes on the inside really hard. Isn’t he just another fuck boy who just can’t take to be called one? WTF is wrong with our generation? Everyone wants the damn benefits of being intimate with someone without the messy and real stuff that go with it—a.k.a. A RELATIONSHIP. It sucks. We’ve become addicted to picking out just what feels good for us out of the natural design of things. We’re creating chaos and we don’t even know it.

Next thing I know he was telling me about how he really preferred big girls. I asked why. “More to love” was his quick response. He also made a gigil face after he said it. Eek. Something told me that he brought up sex so he can get clues if I was DTF or not. I was starting to get iffy. I am not someone who’d get anxious to talk about sex and stuff, but if and only if the conversation is for healthy discussion and nothing else. If I sense that the conversation was brought up with a hidden agenda of any kind and a perverted undertone, I get uncomfortable. In this case, my gut was sending me signals.

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Not long after, much to what I was half expecting and half hoping not to happen, he started his following sentence with, “So… If you wanna get busy tonight…” WOW. I couldn’t even remember what went after that statement. What a little perv. Figuratively and literally. I was taller and bigger than this man, and I knew I could put him down with one push if I needed to. I was shocked and caught off guard with the unwelcome sexual advances. I didn’t want to let my claws out right away, so I played dumb. I pretended I didn’t know what fucking “get busy” meant. I kept asking, “whuuuuuuut?” with matching head-tilt and eye-squint. He reiterated it two more times until he gave up. I kept saying I couldn’t understand where he was getting at, and he eventually apologized for the “gibberish.”

I was getting irritated. Guys like Marvin are annoying. Was he expecting me to just jump in bed with him simply because he wasn’t afraid to say he liked big girls? I genuinely wondered what his thought process was to even muster the audacity to ask that. Was it because he thinks that fat girls are that desperate to get laid? Sheesh. Boy, please. I’d rather spend a whole afternoon with my hand and my imagination than have sex with an overconfident man who thinks he’s the gift to all the fat chicks that are in dire need of some action.

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I didn’t let the night drag on any longer. I was itching to leave to get busy with my bed. This man was a millennial, and despite me being considered as one, I am not really a fan of the principles that my generation is mindlessly embracing. Like how “Kanye is a genius” and how there can be “partnership” that’s more than “friends with benefits” but not quite worthy of the label boyfriend-girlfriend. WTF, right. *rolls eyes so hard I see the inside of my brain*  Towards saying our goodbyes, he told me he made a playlist for me called “Sexual Lion” on Spotify. I laughed. We spent our last couple of minutes talking about his taste in music. He was pretty confident I’d like the playlist and reminded me again to listen to it before I hopped in my cab.

No one’s ever been that sure of himself when recommending a playlist they made, so I was intrigued to hear what’s inside the Sexual Lion. (LOL. The name is just too fucking funny.) True enough, the music in it was amazing. I’d have to admit, I’m really impressed with Marvin’s choice of tracks. He put some Rhye, Ta-Ku, and other music from similar artists. Even the way it was arranged on Spotify has very good transitioning. I never even thought I’d listen to Drake ever again (after What’s My Name feat. Rihanna), but he introduced One Dance to me and it’s been on repeat for days now. The whole Sexual Lion is, actually. LOL.

He messaged me two days after our date to let me know that I’d “been in his mind.” I told him I’d like to keep things friendly. He said that’s what he’s doing. I told him up front that friends don’t hit on friends. He made it seem like he was getting the message loud and clear.

This morning I got a half-naked selfie from him. There goes being “friends.” The chances of me saying yes to a hang out with him again gets slimmer and slimmer by the day.

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*Update: Marvin just sent me another selfie, this time from SnapChat. USING MY FACE AS A FUCKING FILTER. WITH THE MESSAGE, “THIS IS OUR LOVE CHILD. GANDA ‘NO? MANA LANG SA NANAY.

He is now on my blocked list.

 

SATURDAY

Sean*, 30

Sean was the one I had the most fun chatting with on WhatsApp. He’s easy to talk to, down-to-earth, not cocky, and I found him really cute. He’s Indian by blood but grew up in Canada. He came over here for a business trip, and his week was extremely packed with meetings. Despite his hectic schedule, he made me know about his whereabouts so we can try to see each other before his flight on Sunday. Luckily, he was checked in at a hotel a stone throw away from my place which made meeting up easier.

We met in a German bar around our area. He seemed like an overall good guy, and I didn’t receive weird vibes from him or anything. He was just your regular nice guy.

While drinking our first round of beers, we talked about his life in Canada, what he did for work, and all that. He asked questions about what I do. He sincerely congratulated me for all the work I’ve been doing for our cause. I felt flattered. He even knew about our features on magazines because he checked my Instagram.

After one drink, we were both tired, so he invited to chill in his hotel room. I said sure, because I never sensed an ounce of creepiness from him while we had our one round of beer. I wasn’t drunk or anything, so I had good judgment and was secure with the thought that I’d be able to handle myself if ever things got weird or uncomfortable.

We get to his room and we talked about music, his family, and the pressures of looking for a mate from our parents. The Indian and Filipino culture in terms of parenting is pretty similar, we both concluded. We talked about TV shows and found out we have a lot of favorites in common like Breaking Bad and Shameless. When silence became too long to bear, I suggested to watch TV. We were lucky enough to catch 22 Jump Street start, so we just zoned in on that. By this time, I was already wondering if he’d make a move on me. He started getting fidgety (which I found a little cute), but I kept my cool. I stayed cool as a cucumber. I thought it would be nice if we kissed because (1) he was such a gentleman the entire night, (2) I was very much attracted to him and (3) I haven’t been kissed in years (!!!). 30 minutes of watching and he still couldn’t figure out how to make his move. I could tell that he wanted to, but he was also scared of the uncertainty. The more he hesitated to do anything the more I wanted the kiss to happen, but I didn’t show him that I did (#pacool #pabebe). The credits of 22 Jumpstreet was already rolling in front of us and still, nothing. I gave up expecting. Maybe he wasn’t going to kiss me after all. I asked him if I should go. I told him I didn’t want to overstay since I knew he had an early flight the following morning.

He said he wasn’t really tired, and it’s fine if I stayed. So I did. It was already 2 in the morning. I channel surfed again and we caught The Amazing World of Gumball on Nickelodeon and talked about our favorite cartoons. During a moment of silence, he just looked at me and kissed me. I kissed him back, and we started making out. (At this point my mind was just going WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!! THE STREAK HAS FINALLY BEEN BROKEN!!!!!!!!!!!)

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He would stop kissing me only to tell me I was a “hot kisser.” I just smiled. His compliment made me want to keep kissing him all the more, and that’s exactly what I did. He kept his hands on my neck and my waist. One hand wandered higher, and I thought he was gonna go for second base, but he stopped and rested his hand just above my waist. *kilig dahil hindi siya manyak!* I would open my eyes in the middle of our makeout sesh to look at his face. His eyes were closed the entire time. Soooooooo cuuuuuuuute!!! While we were busy eating each other’s faces, I felt my phone vibrate, and it was the twin calling. I just let it ring (#sorrynotsorry). After 2 missed calls, I said it was time for me to go. I told him I had fun, and he said he’ll keep in touch. He’ll be back this October for another business trip. I’m not expecting anything. I was already happy knowing that gentlemen still exist, and of course with our spontaneous makeout session (he was a good kisser too). He messaged me the next day before boarding his plane and said it was great knowing me.

Will I keep using Tinder to look for guys to just genuinely hang out with? Maybe, if there are decent ones who won’t eventually send me morphed photos of our faces and call it our “love child.” But not anytime soon. All I know is after four long years of not having any interaction with guys, that week-long of dating did me good. I wanted (READ: WANTED NOT NEEDED) a little attention and that’s exactly what I got. More than that, I put myself out there and stepped outside my comfort zone too. I got over my anxieties and learned first hand that it’s not that difficult or complicated to connect with strangers.

As for what I’ve learned about myself from seeing 4 different guys in 1 week… Here’s a list:

1. I get bored in one-sided conversations (aka a fucking monologue).
2. I still get dorky around guys (that’s normal, I guess).
3. My gut is very trust worthy (and I should always keep listening to it).
4. I really have low tolerance for fuck boys.
5. I need to learn how to respond to unwanted sexual advances (that’s still in a classy, graceful way).

I can say with confidence that my friend, Shekinah, was right. Tinder is what you make of it. It doesn’t have to be an app for hooking up if that’s just not your thing. You can use it for your own benefit, like what I did. If you’ve always been scared to be around guys, why not use Tinder to get over that fear? If you’re just curious to how you’d handle a first date, then swipe away. Just make sure that you’re sure of what your intentions are, and always do the first meet up in a public space. You wouldn’t want to be that girl who’s desperate for validation from guys, as it can lead you to going out with any guy you match with. Who knows, you could end up spending (more like wasting) your time with a douche who only talks about himself, gets in a debate with you when he finally lets you talk, and then ends the date by asking if you wanna get busy.

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*not their real names

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