When I was approached by my editor to write this piece, I thought that surely there would be a limit to its potential. The parameters were clear: interact with matches by using only passages or quotes from the book. I presumed that, given Christian Grey's assumed role as modern day Eros, that this ruse would be up before it began. No one is going to believe that anyone uses language by E. L. James IRL, I thought (stupidly).
As it happens, plenty of men believe it (or as least humor it). There’s a possibility that anyone suspicious of the ploy may have turned a blind eye in order to “lock it down,” sure. There’s also a very good chance that some or any of these men are simply lonely (in which case I'm an asshole, and I'm truly sorry). But the more erratically I responded, the longer they’d engage. “A man will respond to anything,” remarked one male acquaintance.
The bottom line is this: People will put up with ridiculous shit on Tinder. Here’s how my experiment played out.
I’m not very Tinder savvy, so when I set up my profile using a name by which only the government refers to me, I thought I should use a quote that was equal parts inviting and cliche. I assumed this would afford me the highest number of possible matches.
I also used a photo of myself holding a beer, which I felt increased my chances of appearing approachable (a characteristic I objectively lack). I later learned that using literally any photo of myself appearing as a human woman would have sufficed.
My foray into Fifty Shades of Tinder began with: “Even a pain in the ass needs someone to care about them.” Surely, I thought, that will be mawkish enough to drive away even the most sentimental of suitors. It was not, and this wizard replied with a Gatsby reference.
Can you hear that? That’s the sound of Fitzgerald attempting to claw his way out of his tomb to kill us all.
Well in that case please come live in my dungeon.
Hey girl, are you a poet? Cuz I’m a Yeats in the sheets.
That ended abruptly. Celibacy kills the vibe.
“But why u thinking like that?”
“Because I’m fifty shades of batshit crazy.”
My address? Sure. And allow me to also provide you with my social social security number while you’re plotting my murder.
Describing Anastasia Steele’s introspection as “deep and cognitive” is a punch in the ovaries to all of literature, my man.
Here, I unwittingly turned 50 Shades into the plot of Twilight. And while it pains me to see your love go unrequited, I simply cannot live without my benevolent vampire.
Black as the day is long.
Here’s how this ended: With Valentine’s Day nigh, I felt it deceitful to toy with the intentions of any well-meaning suitors. Also, copying and pasting quotations is tiresome work, y’all. I quit.
What I learned: 1) If you swipe right for every man on Tinder, you’ll effectively seal your fate as the recipient of some really unfortunate exchanges. 2) People on Tinder are out of their minds.
In fact, just stay off Tinder all together. We’re better off alone.