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After already having used the app for a year, I went on my very first Tinder date. I use the term “date” semi-loosely, because it definitely wasn’t your classic dinner-and-a-movie. He came to campus, to my dorm room, where we proceeded to hang out with a movie. I distinctly remember him arriving with a whole binder-full of DVD selections, but ultimately we went with Mean Girls on Netflix. As these activities usually go, it led to him predictably putting his arm around me, itself alone an act suggesting we do more. And we did hook up, short of actually sleeping together. It was literally Netflix and Chill. Not unusual behavior. Except I was nervous, and said I had changed my mind about potentially doing any of “that.”But I ended up taking part anyway, albeit not too enthusiastically.
I’ve told very few people of this experience for one reason and one reason mainly: I knew I’d get scolded. I didn’t say much of anything then, and I still don’t, but my reasoning for choosing to do so has changed.
Back then, a mere two and a half years ago, I didn’t want to say it aloud because they’d berate me, and I didn’t want to hear it because I believed they were right. I was twenty-one, who met a guy, welcoming him into the total privacy of my room. Of course in this scenario it’d become wholly sexual; how could I not have seen it coming? I had, quite literally, invited the situation through my door.
He’d made a trip for me. When there was a lull in our watching Netflix and he wished for “more,” he employed some guilt, stating “I drove all the way here, I wanna do something.” I felt like I couldn’t say no. Because wasn’t he right? He did go out of his way; if it was me and nothing ended up happening, I’d be a tad disappointed as well. But I’d understand. I wouldn’t push anything. I went along with his insistence; arguing or denying it would just make me seem ungrateful and difficult. I was alone with a guy on my turf; I couldn’t just up and leave. Resisting his desires just didn’t seem all that wise.
In the end, what had happened that I didn’t genuinely want, or whatever could’ve happened that I didn’t want, culminated to the blame being placed on my shoulders. Self-blame, too, saturated by years of hearing "This is just how guys are. It is what it is."
Now, even as so much time has passed, I don’t tell many people because I know I’d get admonished. However, this time I don’t want to listen because I know they’d be wrong. Yes, I allowed him in my room, on my bed, just the two of us. Yes, everything that eventually unfolded between us was consensual.
That said, there were plenty of other options to make the trip worthwhile— ones that didn’t involve less clothing. Our meeting wasn’t even a promise for sexual activity. Our text exchange would’ve shown we didn’t give each other our word that it would be explicitly sexual. It was whatever we felt like, which then easily morphed into whatever he felt like.
Do I 100 percent regret ever agreeing to this so-called date? Yes and no; it's 50/50. Yes, for all the obvious reasons above, but no, because up until the awkward fooling around, it wasn't an awful time. But no, because I ended up glimpsing the real him, and the way his entitled mind worked. But no, because it showed me certainly who I didn’t want to be with again.
More importantly, though, I learned a valuable lesson I only wish I could’ve taught my younger self sooner: that he was never the one who was right.