By Cassy Martinez
This summer I gallivanted around Europe, collecting Tinder matches from different countries like they were passport stamps. Faster than I could say “Super Like,” one month turned into two, and my matches were a veritable who’s who of international cuties down for a croissant and chill.
While I swiped in foreign coffee shops until my thumb and soul were numb, I envisioned my once-in-a-lifetime travel love affair. My daydream looked like days that faded into nights locked in a hotel overlooking the water, smelled like fresh macaroons split on a park bench, and felt fuzzy like first date kisses over cheap glasses of wine.
This is not that kind of love story. This is an ode to the matches that didn’t quite pan out in person. AKA, the dudes that should totally meet your best friend.
This one’s for you, Platonic Tinderfellas.
First, there was Julien. Julien was a sexy marketing professional from Paris. We didn’t chat much before meeting up. I was stunned and slightly impressed with myself when I looked back at our chat. He had sent just two Tinder messages before I gave up my WhatsApp digits. Cassy abroad is bold.
So there I was two hours post-match, walking unknowingly in the wrong direction to see my little French croissant. 30 minutes and a €10 Uber in the right direction later, I arrived to my date with Julien, decidedly late and sweaty.
Turns out my sexy marketing professional only wanted to talk about… marketing.
The ice slowly broke over a heated debate regarding the best co-working cafes in Paris, and soon we were comfortable enough to delve into other subjects like B2B vs. B2C. And unfortunately no, that isn’t code for something sexy. As our date progressed to dessert, it became evident that our feelings toward each other were more comparable to chummy colleagues than lovers.
While different than expected, this turned out to be totally OK.
As we sat by le canal Saint-Martin and talked growth projections, the city was no less romantic, the sights no less striking. Sure, it would be better if this local wanted to French me, but this moment suited me just fine.
After we parted ways, I took my time popping into cute Parisian shops cause f*ck it, I was on vacation and the only other event on my schedule was a pub crawl. In the midst of flipping souvenir Eiffel Tower ice globes and spouting “Bonjour” with the sincerity of Belle traipsing through her tiny French village filled with folks who just didn’t get it, I realized I had just inadvertently had my first international business meeting… And that I could now get away with expensing my Tinder Gold Membership.
*True love update: Weeks after I settled back into my decidedly less Tinder-filled life in the states, I got an email from Julien. He had added me to his marketing newsletter.
Then there was Matthias. I’ll be honest, Matthias was a filler date.
My boo thang of the moment was out of town for a couple of days and I needed some surface-level attention, stat. It’s usually not a good sign when you decide to go on a date because your main squeeze is busy, but c’est la vie.
I suggested we meet up for a drink, but Matthias was getting over a concussion and couldn’t partake in alcohol. Yep, you read that right. A few weeks before we swiped eyes on each other, Matthias drank and biked. As can oftentimes happen, he totally fell and hit his head, hard. Like, getting regular MRIs, hard. So instead of cocktails, we got lunch.
If you happen to be going on a date with a recently concussed guy from a foreign country, you’ve come to the right place, cause honey, I have got some tips for you:
Concussed or not, Matthias knew the city like the back of his hand. He followed up after our date with a four-paragraph WhatsApp message laying out the best spots for locals… and those trying to flirt with locals, like me. What a guy.
While Matthias and I may not have hit it off romantically, partially because his brain was a bit bruised, and largely because I was in travel-love with someone else, it was his recommendations that helped me fall for his city. No injuries.
And how could I forget Samuel? Samuel platonically-waltzed into my life at the perfect time. When we met, I had just arrived in Prague. And by just arrived, I mean left my suitcase at the hostel and met him downstairs.
After closing the chapter on a two-week love affair with a chef from Copenhagen who had a heart and six-pack of gold, I needed to fill the void. It was either that or drunkenly send questionably long audio notes on the merits of long-distance relationships. I chose the former.
Samuel was a sweetheart from the start. For our first (and only) date, he took me for a tour of Prague, topping it off with a beer at one of his favorite spots. This enticed me. Particularly because I had just spent the first few weeks of my trip going on a “free walking tours” that were, surprise, not actually free.
At this point, I had been in Prague maybe three hours. The city – gorgeous, no doubt, the streets undeniably soaked with history, but something was different and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I had never been to Eastern Europe before, and I hadn’t done any research. Yep, I was the girl who showed up to her first formerly Communist country blind.
I was clueless to the customs, culture, language and making faux pas at every turn. For one, I kept smiling at strangers and making small talk about the weather. For someone who makes the point to smile at every salesperson, waiter and bartender I come in contact with, like I were Snow White and they were furry forest creatures, this was alarming.
Suffice to say, when I met up with Samuel, I had questions. As we strolled the Charles Bridge, he broke down the vibe the Czech were putting down. It was while we sipped Pilsner Urquell in his favorite underground bar (literally, this thing was a terrifying three flights belowground) that he patiently explained: “The Czech are just different.” They’re known to not like small talk, can yield a natural distrust for optimists from time-to-time, and aren’t afraid to be brutally honest. It was nothing personal and I’d get used to it.
And Samuel was right. I did get used to it. After our date, I pulled out my laptop and educated myself about where the hell I was. By the end of my week in Prague, I understood, and more importantly, empathized with the Czech’s side-eye. One simple Google search can really teach you the Czech have been through some s***, and understandably can be a bit grumpy sometimes, OKAY?!
Looking back on our date, I still have no clue if Samuel was into me. Sure, I interested him… In a “Gee, you’re so American” kind of way, but honestly who knows. Also, we met up in broad daylight. Want a Tinder date to immediately go down ten notches in sexy? Meet up before 4 PM on a Tuesday.
While our date may not have ended in typical Tinder fashion, Samuel gave me a clue — and for that I’m grateful.
Originally published on Shut Up and Go.
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