She flips through her phone, thumb swiping rapidly, keeping windshield wiper. Left, left, left, left, right (match!), left, right (no match), right again (match!) The casual observer could see what she was doing, so ubiquitous was the swiping hand of the average twenty-something—she was dating.
Dating might not be the best way to describe it, really. An idle swiper, she’d fire up the app whenever she had nothing else to do. She quickly scanned the faces laid out like a deck of cards before her, dipping into their complete profiles if a face was cute, but not quite cute enough, for an instant decision. The extra info sometimes was a dealbreaker; if you weren’t that hot then the least you could do is have a good personality. She matched often but rarely made the first move, she was old-fashioned like that. The opening message was another gauntlet the boys on the cards had to run. A joke or a question would always garner a response, while a simple “hey”? Depended on her mood. The conversations might start off strong then fizzle, some would never begin. But the old rules of dating did still apply. You couldn’t call a date a date until you planned to actually meet.
She liked coffee shops. Independent shops, ones with atmosphere. Cozy shops with people to observe, just in case talk ran thin. Shops with closing hours, just in case she needed to plot an escape. If things went well-and they almost always went well—they would stand outside, smiling at each other shyly, until he said, “You hungry? Would you like to get dinner?” and she would always, happily, say yes.
She was a good date, naturally flirtatious and quite gregarious. She relished making the boys laugh. She watched their laughing faces and their easy smiles and remembered how she first met them, their faces glowing on her iPhone screen. She loved them best like that. So she pulled out her phone. Laughing. Click. Smiling. Click. Holding her hand. Click. Their faces ate up the gigabytes.
Time moves on and so would her boys. But her phone never failed her. She kept her thumb in motion, always looking for a new face. She kept an eye on all the boys she’d known before, revisiting her favorites like any good collector. She’d see when a new photo had been added to their deck—a picture of a look that she knew had been just for her. She’d see and smile, “Yeah, that one’s mine.”