One month after the breakup, Julia decided to make an account on a dating app despite what happened with her boyfriend. Well, ex-boyfriend. She was still trying to get used to that.
The first question the dating app asked Julia was: What are you looking for?
A.) A serious relationship
B.) Something casual
E.) Open to anything
Julia picked A.) even though she was not at all ready for another relationship. She could not allow the dating app to think that she was on there for those other ridiculous reasons.
She was not sure why she wanted to make this account. Boredom? Loneliness? In need of male validation? She doubted an app could fill the gap that her ex-boyfriend left.
Nonetheless, Julia found herself typing, backspacing, and retyping the bio that would appear beneath the photos of herself and would remain unread by most of her gentlemen callers. The pictures mattered most, which Julia knew all too well with those apps.
Julia struggled to pick what pictures of herself to put on the profile. She spent half an hour scrolling through her camera roll. When her breakup happened, Julia deleted all of the pictures she had with her ex, but there weren’t many. Five, maybe, despite it being a two-year relationship. He was never one for pictures. He was not one for most things a boyfriend ought to have done like hand holding, going out on dates, cuddling. All he wanted to do was what he called “chilling.” In other words, having Julia watch him smoke weed and play video games. Julia looked for those five pictures in the recently deleted folder, but they had already vanished into the black hole of her smartphone.
For the profile, Julia settled on a few of her best selfies in which she did not entirely hate how the phone’s camera distorted her face. She also added a photo of her with her dog. Apparently, the suitors flock like vultures to a carcass when they see a girl with a dog on these apps.
Upon completing the profile, Julia proceeded to assess her buffet of options. She kept swiping left as if she were flipping through the advertisements in a magazine. Then—oh, boy—she found somebody who “super liked” her. Julia scanned his profile, was completely unattracted to him, and swiped right anyway out of pity. A match. She continued to swipe left on the rest with an exception being one man who had known the importance of camera lighting, wore something other than sports jerseys, and didn’t only take pictures when he went fishing. That one was not a match.
After keeping her eyes glued to the app for hours, Julia accumulated ten suitors. The super like guy messaged her and said, “Do you have any kinks?” to which she never answered. Some of the other guys—all of which Julia only matched with just to match with somebody— either sent boring “heys” or asked for her snapchat. One said, “Wow, you’re absolutely stunning.” Finally accessing that dopamine rush often gained from these apps, Julia said thank you to this compliment. He said in response, “So, when are you coming over to chill?”
Julia went to bed and woke up the next day to an overwhelming number of messages from strange men who said things varying from “Do you like anime?” to “Do you give head?” With each new match, it was like Julia had planted an array of flowers for her garden, but each one refused to take root in the soil. That or Julia didn’t care to water the flowers. Probably both.
Julia looked at every single profile that she had matched with. With fresh eyes, she found them all to be reminiscent of her ex. This was no surprise to her since she had caught her ex using this same app while they were still in the relationship. Looking through his phone, she had found that he sent girls compliments that he never bothered to give Julia after the honeymoon phase wore off. Perhaps, Julia realized, she made the profile on the app just to remember what it felt like to be wanted, but it reminded her of just how unwanted she had been made to feel for years.
In less than twenty-four hours, she deleted the app.
Isabella Perri graduated from Temple University with a degree in English. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from at Arcadia University and is in the process of earning an MA in English there as well. In her free time, she travels, reads tarot cards, and loves up her dog Lupo. She lives in Philadelphia, PA, her hometown.