Can meeting on Tinder be my fairytale ending?

'But what I failed to consider is if Prince Charming exists, he just might be an e-boy'

I am walking late to class. It is 90 degrees outside but not the 90 that makes you drip sweat and resent living in Phoenix. It is cloudy, and while it is hot outside, it’s breezy. As I cross the street, I clench onto the textbooks in my hands. There are so many people. Nervously darting through the crowd, suddenly, I find myself plummeting onto the asphalt, books airborne in the middle of the crosswalk. 

“Oh, I’m so sorry!” A voice booms. I look up into his eyes. 

They’re blue. 

He stares into mine. 

I can’t even remember what color mine are. 

We have never met, but I feel like I have known him forever. He helps me to my feet and tells me his name is Sam. He asks me if I’m free later and if I like coffee. This all seems too good to be true. No wait, this is definitely too good to be true. 

In reality, he doesn’t say anything. Instead, I pick myself up off the street and dust the red Arizona dirt from my knees. We don’t even make eye contact. He’s already gone, and I will never know his name or his go-to coffee order or even his major. What I will do, though, is incessantly consider every possible outcome for multiple days following the brief one-line encounter with this stranger. 

So I turn to Tinder. In this world it is easier to talk to someone I have never met over an app than to turn to the cute guy who sits next to me in class.

I was diagnosed with social anxiety disorder this year. For most of my life, my greatest fear was never being loved by someone who doesn’t have to love me like my friends or family do. Naturally, meeting the love of my life seems impossible at this point. Someone could point them out to me and tell me that they are my soulmate, and I still wouldn’t be able to work up the nerve to talk to them. My mind is constantly bouncing between thoughts of:

"I should talk to them. 

But what do I say? 

I don’t know, but definitely not the thing you went with."

I lost hope in Tinder three times before it worked out. Download after re-download, nothing ever worked, and even when it did, I just ended up on dates to the dining hall with outspoken “420-friendly” guys who claim Travis Scott to be their favorite grunge rock artist. Sometimes after these dates, if they even counted as such, I would consider the idea that being forever alone might not be such a bad thing. 

Maybe Prince Charming isn’t out there. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for Mr. RVCA tank top

Meeting people is hard. Especially when you attend a state school where everybody seems to have an established friend group from high school. 

The fourth re-download made the other three worth it. I sent the first message, something third-download me would never do. Against all odds, I got a response. Then a date. And then another. I got to delete Tinder again, but this time it wasn’t because I was tired of being spammed by Lil Peep lookalikes from Glendale. This time it was because I actually met a person who understood me.

Sure, we didn’t meet in person when he rescued me and my books from a whirling crowd. We weren’t best friends who grew to be something more with passing years. I didn’t get his number on a piece of paper while I was out shopping with a friend. We don’t have a remarkable story, but that’s exactly what I like about it. 

I have been waiting for a fairytale to happen my entire life. 

I grew up hearing stories of princesses getting swept off their feet and saved from a dragon by some handsome stranger. Truthfully, I was waiting for a similar something. Realistically, I knew it sounded unlikely — but in my head it sounded reasonable. 

What I failed to consider is if Prince Charming exists, he just might be an e-boy.

Tinder can sometimes feel shameful. Like, I really couldn’t meet anyone in person? I have to go on the internet and hope I find anyone of interest? Standards can feel nonexistent, but maybe try-hard one-liners and awkward conversations from a first date is its own story. The nervousness of meeting someone new and the anxiety that comes with it all is natural, disorder or not. 

Dating in the 21st century can be a fairytale all on its own. I don’t have to have what Aurora and Prince Phillip do, maybe I want what Donkey and Dragon have. Or maybe it's time I write my own story. 


Reach the reporter at sarawindom@outlook.com and follow @SaraWindom on Twitter. 

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