Two's a Crowd
Profile: Tinder. He’s in his thirties and loves to travel. He’s been all over the globe and his Instagram photos can prove it. He’s gay so he loves the gym and to hike and has some spiritual connection with the Earth’s flow or some shit. I don’t really care because I know he’s trying to replace education with an unseen sixth sense which provides an excuse for his extremely vain lifestyle of eating nothing but non-gluten, non-fat, non-milk, organic yogurt and flax seeds, but at least he has a very strong build and handsome, burly face.
ME: Where’s the best place you’ve traveled so far?
I’m opening with a question that demonstrates I read his profile, am interested in his travel experience, and am actually asking for his recommendation. I’m already starting off pretending I care. Go me!
HIM: That’s such a difficult question to answer.
Oh great, I already stumped him. Kinda snobbish, I didn’t ask the ease of answering my question. That’s ok, I get there are many places in the world and you’ve seen ‘em all. So educate me, well-traveled one.
HIM: I have a few.
The suspense is killing me.
HIM: New Zealand, Thailand, Morocco, China (particularly central China), Brazil, Peru…so many.
Ok Carmen San Diego, calm down. You just listed an Atlas. You said this was a difficult question to answer and, yet, you managed to list several locations with extremely different ecosystems. You expect me to believe that humidity, the desert, and dry, cool, mountain air all has the same effect on you? Also, thank god you specified Central China particularly more than China around that, implying you’ve seen every 3.705 million square inch of this foreign land, for which each inch I’ve never stepped foot on, so would not know what the fuck Central China encompasses.
ME: Oh wow. I’d love to see all those places. China maybe not so much cause of the crowds.
To be fair, I’m not dissing China. I don’t like crowds and there’s 20% of the Earth’s population in that country. Not to mention the pollution levels. I’d like to go to Japan, though, which he conveniently didn’t mention.
ME: You travel a lot! What for?
I’m showing I’m impressed by his traveling, and/or ability to list names of countries. Look how enthused I am; I used an exclamation mark. I’m either really giddy, or I’m screaming a statement at him, as if he doesn’t understand the quantifiable difference between a little and a lot. It’s not every day people get to travel all over, so, once again, I’m trying to seem interested.
HIM: There are ways to avoid the crowds. And besides, many places worth seeing in the world are also crowded.
Yeah, I agree there are ways to avoid crowds, it’s called staying at the hotel! Is this turning into an ‘Aladdin’ moment where you show me the world? Or are you just trying to imply that I’d rather be ignorant and stay put versus try to catch every pathogen known to man. I can’t help to feel this is a bit condescending. In my opinion, any group over five people is a crowd.
HIM: I’m a travel agent for TV/corporate.
You’re a travel agent, is this how you sell a place to visit? I agree, if I want to go somewhere, I better get used to people, but maybe you could start with a sale of the cool things to see versus all the ‘excuse me’, ‘pardon me’, ‘I can’t find The Great Wall!’ I’m gonna have to be reciting.
ME: That’s true. I’d just have to get rid of that anxiety. That sounds like an awesome job. It’s like taste testing the world.
Having immediately felt that awkward sting, the only thing I can think of doing is take it and admit that I am wrong for having any sort of uneasiness when it comes to being, not only lost in translation, but lost in a sea of people. How silly of me to be sharing what is a common anxiety in most people. I continue to be supportive of his chosen vocation and even try to glamorize the very textbook description of his work. You say travel agent, I say genie of geographical adventure!
HIM: A little bit. Yup.
Never mind, you’re right, you’re just a travel agent.
Analysis: That was the end of the conversation. I decided not to continue anymore. Why? Notice anything odd with the punctuation of all of his messages? That’s right! Not one question mark. This ended up being an interview for an article I was not hired to write; this wasn’t a dialogue. I had to supply my own answers to questions I was posing to myself. He was a bit standoffish, wouldn’t you say? I mean, from the first attempt of me showing curiosity, I was made to feel infantile. Especially considering we both had to swipe right for this conversation to even occur. Whatever attraction he thought he had must have quickly dissipated during the time it took for me to match with him, and ask the first question. Lesson learned: Don’t ask someone who travels where their favorite place to travel is. Maybe don’t show interest whatsoever, peasant.