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Reasons to Love New York 2014

33. There Has Never, in World History, Been a More Efficient Time and Place to Be Single


Illustration by Zohar Lazar  

New York has always been a good city for going out: thousands of things to do and millions of people to do them with. But never before in New York—or, for that matter, in human civilization—have technology and geography produced a cornucopia like this, enabling us to leverage every social opportunity to maximize personal enjoyment at all times. Facebook and Instagram allow me to monitor the guest lists and activities at every party I am invited to. Text messages deliver real-time updates from friends and acquaintances. And by the power vested in Tinder, I know every eligible bachelor within a one-mile radius of my home. (And because this city is this city, that’s a lot of eligible bachelors. And a lot of married men masquerading as bachelors.) I’m exaggerating, but only a little: I’ve been a prolific Tinder user for a year, and the app regularly tells me that there are no new men in north Brooklyn for me to review. Thus, when there are new options, Tinder is basically alerting me to the fact that a new hottie has stepped foot within a one-mile radius of me.

When I recently explained this to a girlfriend, she recoiled. “So there’s no one left?” she gasped. “That is bleak.” Au contraire, I replied. It is comforting. I have seen the options; I know what is available and I know what I forgo. But is it possible, I wondered, to forgo nothing? On a recent Saturday night, I tested the limits, setting up five Tinder dates at five different bars in Williamsburg. I allotted one hour for each date, telling the men we should “grab a drink” before I had to “meet up with a friend” nearby. (Not a lie, exactly. They were all my new friends!)

Date No. 1 was at Noorman’s Kil, a bar that specializes in whiskey and grilled cheese. Explaining what he did for a living took about 30 minutes—the paradox of underemployment is that those who do the least take the longest to explain it. Date No. 2 took place at The Drink, a bar that specializes in spiked punch and smoked meats. He told me about a near-death experience that awoke his “true human sentience,” a quality that cannot be accessed without a brush with the beyond. “That means he’s into choking,” a friend advised via group text while the choker was in the bathroom. “Bring him to our party,” another chimed in. It was 10 p.m. and I was exhausted. I texted date No. 3 to haggle over a place to go, demanding that he meet me near but not at my current location, lest the two dates collide. “Oh shit you’re stacking dates,” my third suitor said. We’d just met but he really seemed to know me. “Are you my soul mate?” I asked, then canceled the next two dates. (Date No. 4 threw an iMessage tantrum. Date No. 5 said we could reschedule if I promised to put out. To be fair, his date had been scheduled for midnight, so he was planning for a booty call.) Two hours later, Date No. 3 had finally summoned the courage to kiss me when my phone began to buzz. The 12 people in the party-text thread were making a persuasive argument for my joining them. So I said good-bye to my Tinder soul mate. Parting is sweet sorrow, but FOMO deferred is sweeter still.


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