Day 99 of 100 Indian Tinder Tales
T from London shares her tale.
“I tried to be myself on dates. Whatever that means. Small talk doesn’t come easily to me, so when I indulge in it, it comes across as fake. But I try. I push. I have opened up on first dates, pretending I didn’t expect anything from the guy. I played the cool girl, you know, the one who doesn’t need anyone. I was too proud to ever admit that I craved company, that I wanted to be loved. It’s a bit complicated when you are not aligned with your own expectations. You say something, you mean something, you passive aggress, you cry silent tears, you question whether you are good enough. It sucks.
Because I wanted to be cool, I didn’t say ‘no’ hard enough. Because I was dying for approval, my ‘no’ was feeble. And trust me, I know what no means. I have preached it much but have had trouble practising it.
There is always a first, instinctive ‘no!’. Then it’s ‘no, let’s not please’. Then it is ‘I really don’t think we should’. Followed by silence – what the hell, just get done with it, you’ve come this far anyway.
So I matched with Mr Blogger, a Phd student, well-travelled, witty Indian guy and of course stalked him online. His blog was full of mostly technical things related to his Phd but some personal articles won my heart. They were simple yet well articulated and substantial and I slipped. I hoped. I dreamed.
I put on a new dress. It was casual and classy. “I want this to be good,” was written all over me. We met at a pub. I was early, as usual. He lived in the outskirts the city and had taken a train to meet me. We grabbed a couple of beers and went pub hopping.
Conversation flowed at a reasonable rate. We had dinner. We talked about how dinner isn’t usually considered a great idea on a first Tinder date. He said – he always does dinner on Tinder dates. He said he was a feminist. He actually knew what that meant (win!). We talked menstruation. I love talking menstruation, and it is such a turn on when the guy doesn’t get disgusted. I always slip it in, just to judge whether men can handle it or not.
We discussed feminism and then he pointed out that I was getting too excited and coming on too strongly. He said, “Guys carry things for girls because they are physically stronger and if he was with an athlete who is stronger than him, he would let her carry his bag.” I tried to make a case of benevolent sexism but he sort of shut me up, telling me that I am letting my emotions interfere with plain, sound logic.
I let it go. I was having a decent time. “Don’t ruin it,” I told myself.
We walked along the river. We had had a lot to drink. We shared stories about our fucked up first relationships. It gives me intense pleasure when a guy opens up and shares. He shared. I shared.
As we talked, he said,”I gotta catch the train back or I gotta sleep over at yours.”
“I don’t want to have a one night stand but you can come over and sleep.”
He came over, we kissed in the lift. As soon as we were in, he undressed me. His hands were everywhere. It was intense, in no time we were on my tiny little bed.
“It doesn’t have to be a one night thing,” I thought.
But he didn’t have a condom.
“No, that’s too much trouble for me.”
“I will pull out.”
Silence. I thought, “What the hell, just get done with it, you’ve come this far anyway.”
We got at it. It was rough and painful. No foreplay, just plain simple banging. I didn’t want to do it. I asked him to pull out. He did. I needed to pee.
There was blood. Suddenly, I was sober. I went back, I told him, “there’s blood.”
“It’s me. I am bleeding.”
I was like, what the actual fuck. Anyway we slept. Tried to. I don’t remember clearly, maybe I am making this up. But it seemed like he was trying again. I started shivering. I didn’t know if it was cold or I was having a panic attack. He freaked out a bit, wrapped something on me, and we slept.
Morning 6am, he left. He ran.
I texted him, asking if he reached alright. He was distant and I could feel something had changed. I asked him if I should take the pill, he said, very curtly,”I didn’t even climax.” The not so subtle insult hit me hard.
I grew pale when I remembered the blood, I called my friends for some advice. I went to the sexual health clinic, and they asked me to take the pill. Pulling out really means nothing. About the blood they said – it’s most likely because it was rough.
“Were you raped?” they asked.
“No!” I said, loud and clear.
I spent the entire day trying to get a check up done and getting the morning after pill. I was unhappy that I have to do it alone, that I had to waste my entire day. I was quite angry and I wanted to know if my panicking made him to be so rude. I really wanted to know and so I asked. He said he didn’t have much to say and that I should see a shrink.
Fortunately for me, I didn’t take that as an an insult although I am pretty sure it was meant to be one. I believe mental health illnesses are as real as it gets. I saw a shrink. I am glad I did. Apparently, it was not the sex that hurt me, it was the sudden rejection of my being, my naked being, that did. I think that’s what it means to be uncomfortable with a one night stand. And it’s ok to not be ok. The whole experience though painful helped me get some clarity. I did not want to consent to the act but I did eventually after persuasion. Consent is important. I realised that I should say no when I am not up for something, and that sex for me is more than just a physical act. I was probably seeking approval and it backfired.
I took a break. Haven’t gone back to Tinder. Not yet. “