I moved to Antigua, Guatemala in September, after two years of living between Central America and Canada. I got an offer teaching English and thought, “why the hell not?” I knew I wanted to make a permanent move down here but needed an excuse.
For years I was going “home” to make money to travel and I was painfully bored and lonely. I would be home for 4-6 months feeling like an alien for the first part then feeling worthless for the second. I am not interested in parties that start at midnight, wearing drag makeup, lip injections, television, snack food as dinner and basically any form of looking cool. So my time spent in Canada usually consisted of work and family and a very very dry season in the love department. Did I mention I don’t like having sex when I’m impaired? Tell that to a guy who’s worth is in his Alexander Wang top and leased Audi.
FIRST TIME TINDER FAIL
A year ago my friend Forrest got me into Tinder. He’s also old and single and looking. His theory was “all the kids are online now, that’s how things work in 2015.” So I went on Tinder. I hated it immediately. I felt like I was judging men based on what could be bad photos and worse angles. I hated throwing away people. But what I also hated was that my matches seemed to only get a hold of me late at night. I would wake up to find notes left at 1AM saying “hey cutie what are you up to?” Barf. It was just the business of fucking. And that’s fine if that’s your thing, and trust me, I am a full-fledged hippie who believes in free love, but that’s just using my vagina as a drive thru, there is no love or respect in a booty call. Needless to say I not only deleted Tinder but was kinda grossed out when my friends talked about using it at all.
TINDER IN ANTIGUA – LIFE ON THE OTHER SIDE OF HOOKUPS
Skip forward to a year later and I’m not exactly meeting dashing charmers at my English teaching job, and even though I’m learning Spanish, just not quite meeting enough Latino people to practice or well… date (spoiler alert: I don’t like white guys). So many of my friends were on Tinder here and a lot of them were there to practice Spanish. In fact my friend Jude had learned Spanish almost exclusively through Tinder dates six months before and swore by it.
After a lot of prodding, I finally gave in, putting on my profile that I was “interested in friendship more than hookups.” Since then I’ve even taken that off, since only ONE person has ever suggested we get a hotel room and just hook up. Right now I’m talking to about three people on Tinder and not one of them has even asked me to go for drinks. There’s a tall guy in Spain who’s moving back next month and wants to go Salsa dancing in the city with me (with a promise to drive me home after), there’s a guy I met who actually only hits me up to go for trail runs in the day now, there’s even a guy I just met who is trading me a self-defense class for a yoga class next week – his idea not mine. I see people mostly in the day and no one has ever objected. A lot of times they are men who are happy to show me their country and want to take me to fun places here. Sometimes they are from the city and want to go out and experience the culinary diversity of Antigua together. So far, I have had only one guy ask me to go to a bar. ONE!
I’ve also met a few tourists whom I am never interested in romantically but they seem like they have things in common with me and it’s nice sometimes to just be able to talk about home with a fellow westerner. Most of the time travelers have a note that they are only looking for fun and not hookups (even men), and I even had one guy get kinda rude with me saying that he wanted to practice his Spanish and wasn’t interested in hookups.
I met my current main squeeze on Tinder, and I have to say it’s pretty serious between us, but I STILL USE TINDER. I don’t even feel bad about it. Half my friends are people I originally met on Tinder. I’m not going out to get laid with it anyway, so I think it’s just nice to meet people and do nice things together. And it turns out my friend Jude was 100% right, it’s a lot easier to practice Spanish in a relaxed date environment when you have a flirty incentive. I never thought I would be so thankful for a dating app, but it literally took my time here from boring and isolated into diverse and exciting in a few swipes to the right.
Cover Image Courtesy of: Magdeleine.co