“Once upon a time, there was a (not-so) beautiful girl who lived in the city of Kuala Lumpur. She had a regular family,.. A mom.. A dad… and a younger sister.. There was no evil stepmother nor stepsister who would barge into her room every morning demanding for breakfast or laundry service. But like Cinderella and every other princess in fairy tales, she was looking for love. So, this is her story. This is her Tinderella story”
Well, once upon a time, I was a woman who was skeptical about online dating. In fact, when girlfriends started using Tinder app to meet men, I was afraid. More concerned if things went wrong. So, I never tried it until last year.
I was in a happy relationship with an elderly man last year. I was introduced to Pierre years earlier but never recalled him until I met him again at a reception. Things spiraled fast. From the flirtation and the romance, and then, there was the Big C.
Pierre was diagnosed with colorectal cancer stage 2 and had to move back home for treatment, leaving me alone in KL, just as our relationship was blossoming into something deeper. And being someone who has always believed in love and romance, I believed that one day, when he gets better, he will come back for me.
But he didn’t. Just a month after his birthday, also a month before his first surgery, he had a meltdown. He started thinking twice about everything, including me, saying that he was exhausted living that life that may or may not end soon. His question to me that I remember until today was, “What are you doing with an old man with cancer?”
I guess, when I answered “Love”, there was a noisy buzzer in the background like in one of those game shows you love watching. So, there I was… heartbroken… on my way to an event organized by his former colleagues. Darn it! Could it be any more humiliating and depressing?
So I called Hajar and told her what happened. Her response was, “Once your event is over, come back to Setapak and I’ll pick you up at the LRT Station. I might be late, but don’t go anywhere, just wait and I’ll come for you”.
And she did. I stepped into the car and she just gave me the hug that I needed the most that very same night. I believe, I just slumped into her arms for the longest time and she didn’t say anything until I stopped sobbing and could actually say something. She took me to this nice Middle Eastern restaurant for supper and gave me a looong lecture about dealing with a heart break.
You see, among my friends, Hajar is one of those girls who can set her aims straight. She doesn’t take sugar honey iced tea (learn the acronym) from anyone. She is also very opinionated and one of her best traits is her honesty. She may sound feisty, but she is in fact telling us to buckle up and move on.
Then, she took my cellphone, asked for my password and started downloading something. I was curious. Her explanation was simple, “You, my dear sister, need some distractions”.
Voila! There it was. TINDER. The dating app that used to freak me out at the thought of fake accounts, psychopaths and men who only want to jump your bones 5 seconds after saying hello. All sorts of things started flooding into my already cluttered mind. First the break-up and now this???
In fact, Hajar was the one who selected my first set of photos from Facebook and she also swiped left and right for me for the first 15 minutes. Sadly, we don’t have the same taste in men, so all the men she swiped right to were not the kind of men I’d go out with. Then, I started to swipe left and right to some men whom I found interesting.
Of course, after that night, I totally forgot all about Tinder because offline, with my old job, meeting men was not a real challenge. Even before I broke up with Pierre, I had some potentials. In fact, back then I had a choice either to go for Pierre or another gentleman, but that is a story for another day.
I saw the notifications on Tinder, but I didn’t know why exactly I was too afraid to open the app and check which guy I was matched with. It took me a month before I dared to open the app and then I saw a few matches. Not bad, Miss Paris! So, I started chatting with some of them.
One of my earlier matches was a young Irish guy who has been working in KL for a year. In fact, when we matched, he just returned from a vacation in Ireland and Italy. I liked the fact that he reads a lot and writes too. Two traits that you rarely find in men.
Then, there was an English guy, a little older but fun to chat with. He has a wicked sense of humour. After a while, I realized that I’d prefer to have him as a friend. Yup, I’ve friend-zoned him from the very beginning.
And another English guy who also works in KL whom I had a nice chat with. He was funny, but I was not tempted to rush into any meetings.
Of course, there was a French guy who looked like a hippie and had been around in KL for years. He was the first Tinder match I met. Nice, with a very good eye contact, but I didn’t feel any sparks. So, no. I was polite but I was not interested.
Then, there were two American guys whom I’d so love to forget. Those digital nomads who travel around in large groups and love to exchange notes among themselves. Let’s save this story for another time too.
I’ve met some good dates in the next coming weeks. And some bad ones too. Then, there was the gorgeous but psychotic German guy. He is one amazing story that I will share, just not today.
Hajar was right, the distractions really helped a lot. I was beginning to heal from my heartbreak wounds. Not that my love for Pierre was shallow, but I’ve learned not to let it hurt me anymore. Of course it still does from time to time, but I’ve made peace with the fact that he was never meant to be and that I should move on.
So, 21 October 2017 – My First Anniversary as the Malaysian Tinderella!
To Love, wherever you are, online or offline, I will meet you soon. Fingers crossed!