We call it “Tinder Twenty Questions” but it often turns into “Go Fish!”
It’s a brief interview process designed to determine preliminary interest beyond the superficial “You’re cute!” of a right swipe. Deal breakers, preferences, and scheduling are discussed. Boundaries are negotiated and common ground identified. Compatibility is explored. One of the most important questions that comes up is “What are you looking for?”
The question is asked in many different ways — like “Are you looking for fun or for something serious?” I usually answer, “Why can’t it be both? Shouldn’t it be fun regardless?” The people who just want to get laid usually unmatch at that point. The truth is, I’m looking for something with potential for legitimacy, but something that is also fun and joyful. I’m not looking for casual encounters. I don’t want to be someone’s friend with benefits.
This isn’t the first time I’ve answered a fairly common question in a way my prospective match didn’t anticipate. I am a writer, after all, so my perspective is a bit off the beaten path. The way I describe what I long for is pretty outside the norm and I struggle to make the majesty of what I’m seeking fit on a smartphone screen.
You see: I’m looking for someone worth crossing a bridge for.
Building and crossing that bridge
Over the last couple years, I’ve developed an almost crippling level of anxiety about crossing bridges. I’m not sure what I’m afraid will happen; I just find the structures ominous, looming, and intimidating. It makes me catch my breath a little on approach and if there is any conceivable way to avoid driving over a bridge, I will take it. Given the geography of my home community, this is incredibly inconvenient.
I’m looking for someone worth crossing a bridge for in that I want someone I am so excited to see that I will forget how uncomfortable I feel and just go for it. I want a reward that mitigates the racing pulse and the momentary sinking feeling before I face my fears. I seek someone who is going to challenge my self-imposed limitations, broaden my horizons, and encourage me to go further than I have before.
Something I go the extra mile for already is sunsets, and I’m looking for my sunset. I yearn for something beautiful. I will drive completely out of my way to find the optimal vantage point from which to gaze upon pinky-red tendrils of cloud setting the skies aflame. I flirt with the speed limit to reach the lake in time to sink my toes in the sand and watch the sun go down, even if it’s just for five minutes. I want someone I’m willing to speed to see, even if it’s fleeting, just to bear witness to their radiance.
I love the lake but I’m looking for the ocean.
I desire incredible, dizzying depth. I wish for the predictable tide patterns and documented currents of an established relationship. I crave the overwhelming, crisp smell of familiarity and to feel refreshment like the wind off the water.
Like a sailor surveying the waters, I want to be able to read the ripples of my partner’s countenance and know what to expect to chart a course. I’m looking for something that makes an impression in the same way the water laps against the sand and leaves it forever changed. I thirst for something that can be still, peaceful and comforting, but also strong and unstoppable. I’m watching for a force of nature that can overwhelm, a tsunami of emotion that will break up the shores of loneliness.
The ocean ebbs and flows over time, like the seasons — and I’m looking for summer. I aspire to scorching heat, summer breeze, and the freedom of days passed in any way we choose. I’m looking for warmth that endures and the time of year that is my favorite. All year I long for the advent of days that seem to last forever, melting into night skies full of fireworks. There is something enchanting about a season of adventure, of making maps and plans and the giddiness of ongoing exploration.
I’m looking to play tourist in a town I want to live in forever.
Is Tinder a true matchmaker?
So yes, I’m looking for fun and yes, I’m looking for serious. I’m looking for something with potential for legitimacy. I’m not looking for casual and I don’t want to be someone’s friend with benefits.
It’s hard to make the majesty of what I’m seeking fit on a smartphone screen, so I just swipe right and hope for the best.
I might not know how to answer the Tinder Twenty Questions, and people might not understand me when I explain what I’m looking for, but I know what I want. They might tell me to “Go Fish!” but I’m looking for someone worth crossing a bridge for. I’m looking for sunsets. I’m looking for the ocean.
Most of all, I’m looking for summer in a place to live forever.