My Tinder surprise

(Design: Caitlin Dutt/AQ)

Sad and alone, I slumped on my couch immersed in my zero phone messages. To be specific, I was sitting on my parents’ new brown couch.

I went on Tinder. I don’t do well with online dating where a photo makes or breaks your opportunities. I have a smile that looks forced and ears that could tune in to Sirius XM. My selfies once got compared to the McDonald’s value menu. (I accept that as a compliment befitting my love for Junior Chickens.)

A bad picture means your bio needs to be so fabulous that prospective dates forget about your appearance long enough to swipe right and say, “Aw shit.”

Mine reads, “Don’t let the photos fool you, I’m much more underwhelming in person.” One year of stand-up comedy and 10 years of rejection have taught me that.

Suddenly, my phone buzzed. “Congratulations! You got a new match,” the banner read.

Her name was Sabrina. She had blue hair, blue eyes, blue eyeliner and a blue shirt. All that was missing was, “Da-ba-dee da-ba-die.”

I messaged her first. Millennial chivalry.

[/media-credit] (Young Joo Jun/AQ)

Matching is a two-step process. You need to have a clever one-liner ready right away because the hardest part is getting a reply.

“I’m going to Sobeys. Want anything?” I typed, borrowing from Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, wittily adapted to my small Maritime city of Fredericton. The original line was: “I’m going to Whole Foods. Want anything?” Now Sobeys is no Whole Foods, but then again, I’m no alleged sexual predator.

I hoped it would make her giggle enough to think that I’m more than a guy who looks like he enjoys an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet.

“Haha, good line. What’s up?” Sabrina replied.

Silently, I thanked Mr. Ansari, and carried on.

“Not too much,” I said, “Wondering what to do now. Never gotten this far.”

(Young Joo Jun/AQ)

My sparkling repartee shows how great I am with words. At least my mom thinks so. “You are an escape artist with the English language,” she said when I was growing up. “You always managed to get out of doing the dishes.” (I always fussed loudly about my eczema flaring up in the soapy water. My four dishwashing siblings resented my rhetorical genius.)

Now, my idea of a first date is coffee or dinner. I’m not into two hours of texting, the equivalent of 15 minutes of in-person talk. I only need five to put my foot in my mouth.

“Well, I’m not really looking to chat,” said Sabrina, with a winking face emoji. “But I have a proposition.”

I had a pretty good idea of where this was going, but I didn’t want to say anything and turn into Aziz Ansari.

“What’s that?” I asked, feigning innocence.

Sabrina said she was lonely. “I’m looking for something with no strings attached, one and done, and you’ll never hear from me again.”

As I was crafting a message politely declining a one-night stand, another message popped up.

“I just want you to get me pregnant.” Oh. She’s the sexual predator.

“…’Scuse,” was all the eloquence I could muster.

When I’m lonely, I buy a pizza and watch Netflix.

Still, I was mildly flattered. Not only did she think I’m attractive, she thought I’m attractive enough to make a cute kid. Everyone can be a Big Mac to the right person.

Then I looked at my parent’s new brown sofa. I think my siblings were all conceived on its predecessor. My parents wouldn’t be pleased if I deflowered the new one. (Note: It’s not a floral couch.)

“I’m flattered, but that’s not something I’m interested in,” I said carefully.

“That’s fine,” she said. “You’re ugly anyway.”