Saturday, 12:00 p.m.
For the second time in my life I’m headed to New Orleans. And for the second time, I have resolved to get over a recent breakup with voodoo and beignets. Three years ago, having my tarot cards read by Miss Hope, followed by a double order of beignets at Café du Monde, helped soothe the sadness and emptiness. I figure it should probably work again. It’s also bloody cold home in New York, and I can’t remember the last time the sun was out for more than 30 minutes.
I’ve decided to use Tinder Passport™ to check out the guys in advance. I’m not only craving sunlight and warmth, but some male attention — whether that’s a date or a round of online flirting. I need something to give my shattered ego a little boost after my breakup.
I’m not sure what I’m looking for, but I definitely get a lesson in the cultural differences between New York City and New Orleans within the first few minutes. Almost every third photo is a guy posing with either dead deer or a dead alligator. One guy is even posing with the head of decapitated deer in one hand and a Bud in the other. I flip through profiles for close to a full half hour, not once Liking someone. Oh, I should also mention there are a lot of gun photos. I said I’m from New York City, right?
Saturday, 3:41 p.m.
I get a notification that I’ve been Super Liked™. From what I saw earlier in the day, I’m a bit nervous. It’s a guy named Tacos, presumably a pseudonym. Tacos “enjoys long walks on the beach with my dog until the LSD fades and I realize I’m dragging a stolen stuffed animal around the Taco Bell parking lot.” I get that he’s trying to be funny and I do chuckle, so I Like him back. I mean, he was kind enough to Super Like me. He tells me he likes my profile picture, and I thank him and ask him about his name. I wait a few minutes and don’t hear back. Assuming he’s walking a stolen stuffed animal around a Taco Bell parking lot, I accept he’s busy and go on with my day.
Tuesday, 2:23 p.m.
In between articles, I decide to check out the guys in New Orleans again, hoping to see fewer dead animals. No such luck. But this time I do Like a few people and match with two of them. In each case, they mention in their bios that they’re anti-Trump and Trump supporters should move along. These are my people. I figure I’ll wait a day to send a message.
Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.
I wake with the intention to message the two guys I matched with the night before, but first notice I’m Super Liked again. This time by someone named Charlie. Hoping this could maybe be the man of my dreams, if he’s not carrying a dead animal or draped in a Confederate flag, I check him out. He’s 13 years younger than me. But considering the cultural differences, I dropped my age minimum to 25; normally it would be 32 or so. Interestingly, it is the guys in their 30s who are really into hunting.
Physically, he’s not my type, but Charlie has a sweetness about his eyes. I Like him and he immediately messages me about how it’s his dream to move to New York City. I figure we’re off to a good start, because anyone who can drop NYC in their first sentence immediately wins points with me.
As it becomes more clear that we have a lot in common — aside from the age difference that would have my friends and family lecturing me. He asks me if I want to go out to Bayou Beer Garden or Finn McCool’s. I explain to him that I’m using Tinder Passport, which pretty much puts me anywhere in the world, and won’t actually be there until Sunday.
I message the other two guys with whom I matched, asking about their days, because neither had anything for me to work with in their bios. I still haven’t heard back from Tacos. He must still be at Taco Bell.
Friday, 4:50 p.m.
I’ve been chatting with Charlie a lot. Like, a ton. But because you can’t place all your bets on one horse, I continue flipping through Tinder — left; almost exclusively left. I haven’t heard back from any of the other matches, so when I match with a three more guys on Friday, I figure I’ll let them take the lead. Perhaps I’m being too aggressive for Southern boys by making the first move.
Sunday, 1:40 p.m.
I have arrived in New Orleans. I still have only been talking to Charlie, and it’s complete radio silence from everyone else. At this point, I’ve matched with eight guys, but two have since unmatched me.
In the cab to the hotel, I hop onto Tinder again and Like someone who’s from New York but is also in New Orleans. “OK, then,” I think, “here we go!” We’re a match. Before I can even take a breath, he messages me to tell me that he, too, is in Nola to escape the cold — something I mentioned in my bio. His name is Mike and he suggests we meet up the following night, but I already have plans to see Charlie. I learned a long time ago not to double book, as I always fail at it.
Monday, 8:00 p.m.
Since I’m in Nola with my friend, we’ve go to Antoine’s for dinner — as suggested by Charlie and with plans for him to join us for dessert. It’s pretty much an institution in New Orleans, similar to the Odeon or Veselka back home. Oysters Rockefeller was also created there, but not being an oyster fan, I order the soft shell crab instead.
Monday, 10:20 p.m.
Charlie shows up. I knew he was tall, as he said he was 6’3”, but even in my heels, he seems so much taller. I can tell he’s far more relaxed than me, so I’m hoping I’ll catch his confidence. He’s one of those people who actually looks at everyone when he’s telling a story, so that’s definitely winning me over. We’d already discussed our love of the Oxford comma, so that also had me impressed. There are Oxford comma people and there are those who aren’t. Honestly, I’m not sure how compatible I can be with someone who is anti-the Oxford comma.
Monday, 11-something p.m.
My friend heads back to our hotel, and Charlie and I head to the Ace Hotel. He introduces me to some local IPA and tells me about his love of theater. But what really sticks out is the fact that his mother had him in her teens, which means that I’m far closer in age to her than to him. But I remind myself this is a modern age, so anything goes.
The conversation flows really naturally and although I’m 90 percent focused on what he’s saying, a part of me is thinking of all the other places I can put myself with Tinder Passport. I have a trip planned to South America in a couple months, so I can start checking out those guys soon. Or I can put myself in Paris and just enjoy the eye candy, because I’ve always had a thing for Parisians.
Just as I get totally consumed in my own world of potential love matches across the globe, Charlie gets up to use the bathroom, so I check my phone. I notice that I’ve been unmatched by Marcos, Woody, and Timothy. I’m having so much fun with Charlie that I’m not bothered by it. Also, Marcos, a Brazilian, was quite clear in his bio that he was looking for a wife, so that wouldn’t have worked out. I just love Brazilian accents. I also notice that Mike wants to meet later at a place called Monkey Board, but I’m willing to see how things go with Charlie first. So I kindly tell him I have plans. When Charlie comes back to the table and kisses me, I know I’m a goner, so I decide we should end the night there. I also deliberately didn’t shave my legs so I’d be more likely to stay out of trouble — not that a proper romp with a Southern boy is trouble, per se.
I’m back at the hotel before 1 a.m. and my friend I watch “Ocean’s 11,” because George Clooney is always a good idea.
Tuesday, 11:15 a.m.
I wake up to several messages from Charlie. He wants to see me again. Not just that, but he thinks I’m perfect and wants to sing “Mary Poppins” songs to me. (We had been talking about the new movie coming out; it’s not as though he just pulled that out of thin air.) As anyone would, I get an ego about being called perfect while fully knowing that I’m anything but.
None of my other matches seems to be in a rush to respond despite the fact that I’m in Nola for only a few more days and, clearly, Tacos’ LSD, as he mentioned in his bio, hasn’t worn off yet. Oh, Tacos! Thank you for at least complimenting my photo!
Although this is a working holiday, to say that I spend most of the day messaging with Charlie is an understatement. I’m pretty smitten but have every intention of being cool about it. Meaning, I’ll never let him know. That’s how I roll and probably why I’m single, to be completely honest.
We agree to meet for dinner at a place called K-Paul’s on Wednesday, which I have heard great things about from friends in the city, and I will be bringing my friend again. It’s not that I need a chaperone, but I’m not going to ditch her and tell her to eat alone somewhere — I love her too much to do that.
Tuesday, 10:34 p.m.
I spill the beans to Charlie and tell him I’ve been having dirty thoughts about him. I figure, why the hell not be honest? I’m leaving soon anyway. He admits he is too and so, like the sexually charged people we are, we exchange some eloquently raunchy messages. But not before jumping from Tinder to WhatsApp.
Wednesday, 8:00 p.m.
My friend and I meet up with Charlie for dinner. As I watch him across the table, I’m really conflicted. Should I be giving this Mike guy who keeps popping up a chance or should I go with my gut on the Charile thing I have going on at the moment? Technically, I could have gone out with Mike on Tuesday, but since he didn’t initiate it, I didn’t either. My time here is limited — I’m not even here a full week — and, like I said, I’m smitten with Charlie.
Wednesday, 11-something p.m.
Again, my friend heads back to the hotel, which she’s fine to do. She’s getting over a cold and apparently “Ocean’s 12” is on tonight.
Charlie takes me to a dive across town in an area called CBD, which I later learn stands for the Central Business District, but it looks more like Bushwick, Brooklyn to me. Since I told him I love upscale bars just as much as I love dives — actually, preferring dives — we go to his favorite dive, Ms. Mae’s. Between the neon sign, the pool tables, the super-cheap beer, and the fact that it stays open 24 hours a day, I realize I’m home. It may be no Double Down, my favorite dive in NYC, but it’s close enough.
We play a lot of ’80s and new wave music on the jukebox and I find myself giving love advice to a crying a woman who’s going through a divorce…which might explain why she’s drunk at Ms. Mae’s around 2 a.m. At least I think it’s 2 a.m.; I’ve lost track of time.
After kissing me at the bar for the probably the 10th time, I decide that Charlie and I have to leave. We have to go to his place immediately. He tells me there’s no running water, as the plumber has yet to fix it, but the only other option is my hotel and, obviously, my friend is there. So it’s an easy call: no water and Charlie. I figure if he’s even half as good in bed as he is at kissing, I can’t lose.
We get back to his place, stumble out of clothes, because apparently we can’t get them off fast enough, and, well, have sex. Lots of sex. Multiple rounds of sex. I mean, he is 25 after all, and he has far more stamina than the men I’ve dated and slept with in their 30s or 40s. Or maybe it’s a Southern thing. Like, maybe all that spicy food does something to them.
Before I leave several hours later, I’ve already decided I’ll be returning to New Orleans — for no other reason than to see him. Although I’m not sure whether there’s long-term potential for us, we’re definitely, as they like to say in France, “lover material.” Honestly, I’m not sure the last time I was that sexually compatible with a guy.
Thursday, 1:00 p.m.
My friend has already left, and Charlie and I are excited to go to Galatoire’s, a pretty swanky restaurant in Nola that’s supposed to be phenomenal, then have the hotel room to ourselves — along with running water. But fate has other plans. I get a message that my father has been in a car accident. I have to get myself up to Boston ASAP, and I leave New Orleans without saying goodbye to Charlie.
In the chaos of trying to get out of New Orleans, I lose track of time. Mike sends me another message asking to hang out, and I just ignore it. I’m not being rude, buy my priorities are elsewhere.
Thursday, 9:40 p.m.
I hear from Charlie, who is anxious to make sure my father is OK. I’m anxious to know where this charming and darling human has been been my whole life. I fill him in that’s Dad’s OK. After the car accident, the doctors were concerned he’d had a stroke, but that didn’t seem to be the case after all. Instead, it was an allergic reaction to some new medication.
It’s after this that Charlie tells me that he told his mom about me. I’m flattered but, again, am trying to play it cool. He lives in New Orleans, while I divide my time between New York and Europe.
We continue to text well into the night.
Friday, 8:30 a.m.
Again, I wake up to a text from Charlie telling me I’m perfect. I have a lot of work to do, so I thank him and get on with my day. But not before giving him a few compliments, too.