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"How can it not be working in Port Chalmers?" asked Croydon.
I know. Port Chalmers is full of young beardy chaps in mucky boots and high vis vests, yet Tinder kept showing me pictures of sad old men.
However, it occurred to me that a business opportunity existed, coaching these smashed bachelors on appropriate presentation in the new media age. I mean, if you had less than a second and only one picture to sell yourself as my prospective new Snugglebumpkins, wouldn’t you at least put your teeth in? And why include your children (at least I hope they’re yours)? Its creepy. Stu’s theory was it showed that the plumbing worked.
"Change the country to somewhere other than New Zealand," he suggested.
I tried that but it just started showing me foreign, sad old men.
I caught the bus in the rain and dripped on the upholstery. Summer in Dunedin, love wasn’t in the air. Everything smelt like wet dog and old fish and chip papers.
It was the day before Valentine’s and what happened was, I’d swiped everyone left and then felt guilty for being so mean and judge-y — yes, they all looked terribly worn out and rumpled but I don’t look super first thing in the morning either — hair everywhere, last night’s makeup gone voodoo (and maybe it wasn’t their fault the only picture they could find was with a boa constrictor, a toilet in the background or a wedding photo with the bride cropped out), so I went back on and swiped right four or five times. See how shallow you aren’t, I congratulated myself. You are an equal opportunities kind of woman.
The thing is, a serial monogamist, I’ve always gone for the same type: blond, fit and extremely good-looking. If you put my last three boyfriends in a line-up, as well as resembling a casting call for Vikings, it would be difficult to tell them apart, and scientists searching for a cure for male pattern baldness would want some of their DNA. Although recently I thought, where has dating good-looking men got you? Maybe you could love a bald man.
My phone started vibrating. I’d been super liked. Which sounds nice, but the chap who’d super liked me was 84, if he was a day. I’d be surprised if he had meant to do it, his hands were probably just trembling with some kind of palsy. I’d be surprised if he made it to the toilet in the middle of the night without paid help.
It was the day before Valentine’s and I’d just written an article about Lure, the jewellers upstairs on Stuart St, knowing no-one was going to be buying me anything from there this year. No-one was going to write me a poem that rhymed, or secretly admire me; not in a stalky manner, parked outside my house in the middle of the night, chain-smoking, but for my manifold, endearing quirks such as my sense of humour and inability to cook.
Out on the streets there were couples everywhere, strolling smugly arm in arm, seconds away from feeding each other bon bons. It made me want to spit and kick shins while screaming. It was the day before Valentine’s and I was interviewing Jonathan Howard of Heritage New Zealand about the importance of gathering stories and galvanising the community to engage with buildings as part of their own history, in the hopes they’d go the extra mile to save them, if it came to it. Dunedin wasn’t immune to architectural creative destruction.
"We have scars and wounds from missing buildings," he said.
"Sometimes you have to lose to know what it is to win."
How poetic, I thought grimly. My phone went prroop. A new match. His name was Ryan and going by his profile picture, he didn’t have a head.
"What brings you to the sordid world of Tinder?" he asked.
"Boredom," I said.
"I’ve got a recipe for curing that," he said.
I don’t think it was roast chicken with all the trimmings, which I really like, especially if the potatoes are crunchy and there’s apple pie for dessert.
It was the day before Valentine’s and the kids were tapping and gapping (having sex with someone then asking them to leave afterwards — a one night stand without the night) and romance was dead and I just wanted green laser beams to come out of my eyes so I could shoot anyone who looked the slightest bit happy.