I had been craving donuts for at least two weeks. I kept bringing it up in my day to day conversations whenever there was a lull in conversation. I think I may have sent a few texts out regarding my desire for donuts as well. “Cake donuts with sprinkles are delicious.” “What’s your favorite donut?” “Doesn’t a glazed donut sound good?” Finally, after a work day that began at six in the morning and ended at five in the evening, and in a slight delirium, I sat in my car ready to drive home, when my pupils dilated and the devil inside spoke. I’m going to get my freaking donuts. I paused before starting the car. Am I having a…yolo…..moment? Ugh. Yum Yum Donuts is apparently a less classy donut place to fancy donut connoisseurs, but to someone, me, who is used to buying sugary fried confectioneries from ABC Chinese Food and Donut on North Cahuenga Blvd, Yum Yum Donuts is an exclusive donut boutique.
When I walked in, the little man, who could barely see over the counter, eyed me suspiciously. It was just a pair of big, suspicious looking eyes over a glass case of glistening fried dough. Sure, I was wearing workout clothes, and sure, donuts are naughty, but I instantly knew I had to show this man I wasn’t messing around here. “How much for a dozen donuts?” I asked him, my eyes wild. “Eight dollars,” he said. “Ok, I’ll have three of those ones, two of those ones, one of that kind, two more of those cinnamon bun things, wait how many is that? Do donut holes count as a donut? Can you sprinkle them in between the other donuts? I’ll pay extra.” He stood there not moving. “Um, let me get the box, one second.” As he handed me the surprisingly heavy box full of fat and sugar, I ran to my car. My friend Breck, when he would text “laughter” would always write “hehehehehe.” It drove me batty, because I would imagine him sitting across from me saying “hee hee hee hee hee,” and that whole image just unsettled me. “Don’t say hehehe, say hahaha! God!” Now, in this moment, as I was rushing to my car in the dark with a box of donuts, all I could think about was hehehehe. And I was unsettled with myself.
When I got home I sat at the kitchen table and opened the box. It smelled so good I almost dropped dead in euphoria. As I stuffed my face, I took my phone out and opened Tinder. I first found out about Tinder when on a Friday night before going out to bars, my friend’s guy friends were “Tindering” on their phones. “What’s Tinder?” I asked. “A dating app.” “Dating app,” means Tinder links with your Facebook and uses the GPS on your phone and connects you with other people in your area. I think it’s mostly a hook up app, one that helps you find a person in close radius who may want to bang you based off only a picture of you. But of course, my insatiable curiosity and blood stream pumping full of sugar from the dozen donuts I was consuming, told me that if I was going to investigate, now was absolutely the best time.
The first picture I came across was Nick, he was 23 and the picture was him playing the violin passionately. I say passionately because his eyes were closed. Aw, that’s nice, I thought. Under his picture was an X button and a heart button. I looked at the picture closely. There was no other information listed about Nick, and the violin picture didn’t offer much about what he really looked like, his eyes were closed and he was kind of far away, probably so that the entire violin would fit in the shot. Eh, I don’t know, he’s too young I guess? Can I nope him but send an encouraging message about following his musical passion? Tinder doesn’t offer the possibility to “nope” someone and also tell them why, so I just “noped” him. The next picture was of Tom, everyone’s first Myspace friend from the pre-Facebook days. Nope. The next was Zebastian, who was 25. His picture was a portrait of his face, he had shoulder length hair and was wearing a hat. He wasn’t smiling in his picture but instead had his finger in his mouth seductively. Zebastian and I had one common interest according to both our Facebook profiles, we both liked science. Nope. The next picture was of Austin, who was 22 and his picture made me choke on my donut. He was siting on a horse in the middle of crystal blue water, no land in sight, just him and his horse. The horse was almost all the way submerged, it’s legs were all completely underwater. Fueled by sugar, I began to laugh so hard that tears began to roll down my cheeks. I hearted Austin obviously. Austin appeared to be an adventurous man who may get me and who one hundred percent enjoys doing the same life activities I do.
Suddenly the screen changed and both my face and Austin and his horse appeared next to each other. It’s a match! Yessssssssssss. I high fived no one and a message from Austin popped up. “Hey.” I paused, thinking. What should I say? I ate a donut hole and then responded. “Hey, I like your horse pic.” Right after I sent it, I realized I sounded like such a bitch. I sent another message, I like horses too. Where are you there? The water looks so pretty. I suddenly did not want to talk anymore because I realized I wouldn’t want to talk to me with that opening. Keep it simple Jenn, just say “hey.” I left the chat and went back to browsing men. The next one was Mike, whose picture was a ginormous fake jack o’lantern that took up the whole dimensions of the photo and down at the very bottom, by the jack o’ lantern’s gap toothed grin, was a man’s tiny head, I could barely make out the face. There was some information about Mike, he had a tagline that read “I love America.” Nope. The next picture I came across was Danny, who was 31 and who was sitting in a hot tub alone in front of a very large mansion. Nope. Following Danny was Justin, who was 24 and was not the only one in his main picture. He was standing with two other boys in front of a poster that read The Altar Boyz Welcome You To Tent Theater. “Tiiiiiimmmmm!!!!!” I shouted to my brother, who was in the kitchen. “Come here!” I ordered him. He entered the room and took one look at me, slouched over a half eaten box of donuts, my face tear streaked, and holding my phone. He turned to leave. “No, no come back, look at this!”
Tim tried not to, but he started laughing at the sight of the Altar Boyz, and then sat down next to me. “Donut?” I asked him, sugar from my last donut all in my hair and smudged across my cheeks. “No thanks,” he said. “Huh?” I stared at him. “What’s the next picture?” he asked. I grabbed my phone and held it between us so we could both look. The next one was two, shirtless, muscular guys wearing sunglasses and backwards hats at a beer pong table. “Noooope,” Tim and I said in unison. The next one was Victorp. “Victorp?” I looked at Tim, who shrugged. Victorp was a little Asian guy who was posed smiling next to a bust of an unidentifiable person of significance. “Who is that a bust of?” I asked Tim. He looked closer, “I have no idea,” he said. We looked at Dustin who was wearing a chicken costume, Randall who was forty, Paul whose picture was of him kissing a blonde girl, Ajay who was petting a lion on what looked like the plains of Africa, and Carlos who was flipping the camera off. “People meet people using this?” I asked Tim, appalled. “Have you talked to anyone?” Tim asked. “Only Austin on the horse in the water,” I said, and looked back to see if he had responded. He hadn’t. “I think I got rejected,” I told Tim. Tim was not shocked like I was.
I thought of my parents. They didn’t have to deal with this shit. I suddenly became overwhelmed with anxiety for my children. Will this be dating for them? I looked at Tim. “Tim, you will meet your person, the girl who will make your life brighter..not on Tinder.” Tim smiled. I kept going, “Hearts are no longer tender, they are…tinder…” Tim got up. “Jenn, delete Tinder,” he said and then left. But my mind had filled with a million questions and thoughts. Tinder is just another advance in technology and social media that grants everyone access to an influx of people they would most likely never ever come into contact with in their life otherwise. Someone could be sitting on the toilet, casually browsing through pictures of people who are geographically, mere miles away from them, with the added ability to strike up a conversation with a stranger in the privacy of their own bathroom. The creepiness of that thought was enough to end my curiosity once and for all and I deleted Tinder. Goodbye Austin and Austin’s steed. I had three more donuts left, but I closed the lid. I could feel fat forming on my thighs and I stopped worrying about the state of authentic human companionship and began using skewed logic that reasoned calories were somehow burned via laughing over Tinder pics, an ab workout, enough calories in fact, to somehow cancel out all the donuts I had just eaten.
Before I went to sleep that night I did one last Internet search. I Googled “Tinder deaths.” The first article I got was titled, How Tinder Lured 70 Guys To A FroYo Shop In Search Of Dream Girl. I had nightmares that night. The next day I walked into work and my manager was standing there with a box of donuts. “For you!” he said grinning.