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A Multimedia Story by Jill Marbach

IV. Chat With Your Matches

At least I had other things going on to distract myself. In between all the swiping and worrying about Joshua, Eli sent me a message.

Hey! You should definitely listen to Six, especially if you're into history and catchy songs. It's very Hamilton meets Heathers

I knew I was in a group of self-declared theatre kids, but I was still pleasantly surprised by how knowledgeable Eli sounded. His comments legitimately made me want to listen to Six, so I told him just that.

Whoa, that description sounds amazing. I guess I have no excuse not to listen to it now. What's your favorite song from it?

Boom, that was how you kept a conversation going. Boys never seemed to understand the importance of asking questions. I gave Eli time to respond and decided to see what other guys sent me.

I clicked on a message from a guy named Mack.

May I just say, Mayes, your photos left me in a haze. I'll be looking at your profile for days and days. If we hung out, we could share a pack of Lays.

My only thought was, What the hell. I went back to Mack’s profile. His bio encouraged girls to swipe right for a poem, which only partially explained the cryptic message he sent. He would be better off quoting Dr. Seuss next time.

The next message came from AJ and said, “How you doin’?” At least there was nothing wrong with this message.

I'm good, just swiping on here instead of writing an essay. How about you?

His replies came through in quick succession.

I'm also doing pretty good

That was a Friends reference btw

It's something Joey says a lot

I'm kind of a Friends fanatic

I was left with a lot of questions. Did he just mansplain Friends to me? Who doesn’t know that reference? Even people who have never seen the show know “How you doin’”. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and keep the conversation going.

I got that. I love Friends too. Who's your favorite character?

I couldn’t say I was surprised when he replied with Ross, but I was certainly disappointed. That was plenty of AJ for the moment.

My next match was Mikey.

I really dig your taste in music. I saw Blue October last time they were in town and the show was incredible

Finally, something worth responding to!

For the Balance tour? I was totally there too. They put on such a good show!

Mikey was quick to respond, something I was a huge fan of.

We should make out to Into the Ocean

Conversely, I was not a huge fan of guys who were too forward too fast. Plus, “Into the Ocean” was such a basic song choice. Show some creativity at least. I let myself be mad for a few seconds over Mikey’s boldness, and then I left the conversation. It’s like guys don’t even know how to talk anymore. They never want to get to know you.

All in all, that was three failed conversation attempts. I was still holding out hope for Eli, but why should I expect him to be any different than anyone else? He was probably going to ghost me, or send a dick pick, or just be rude. Another downside to online dating: it’s so easy to be a creep when there are no repercussions. The person on the other side of that screen doesn’t even seem real, so why does it matter how you treat them? If a guy was interested in dating me in real life, he would never comment on my ass after talking for three seconds. Online, anything was fair game.

At the same time, it was hard to chastise guys like Mikey for shooting their shot. If all you wanted was someone to make out with for a while, Mikey looked like a sweet deal. If, on the other hand, you were trying to make a real connection like I was, Mikey was just another obstacle in a long, uphill battle, one that online dating didn’t always help with.

Still, this wasn’t the time to get hopeless about it. I only checked out one bunch, and there were loads more waiting for me. I decided to exit the theatre kids bunch and go looking for something new.

Next: Log Out and Meet People

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