I’ve gone to bars with friends and alone and, mostly, it’s the same. Somehow I end up opening that app. You do, too, every time. No one has a name, just like the bar. People are rude...just like the bar. It’s the same experience, see? Every time. Let’s start at the bar. It’s dark and you’re wearing jeans. Sure. Just jeans, a straight leg, I guess, nothing particularly fashionable or unfashionable. Like I said, it’s dark —who am I trying to impress?— You lean into my side as we wait for our drinks. —My friends!— I smile big, show you my teeth.
Now when I move to the other side of the bar I open my phone. Lockscreen is barren empty not even a tumbleweed. (Imagine the internet like a spaghetti western like the blue line showing a page loading is a cowboy running a horse across some dry plains. Don’t think about what’s on the other side.) Then my screen is filled with small squares, each aligned perfectly and humanity is on display. The app is too bright and there are no jeans.
That’s the conversation I have...ten times? Every time. There is some variation, but each one follows the template. At some point, you just take a chance.
Now when you said —im discreet— I know what that means. We all know what that means, but I went with it anyway. It was just one night and either you or too many vodka sodas. We’re all a little soft some nights, I guess. Giving. Charitable. (Now I’m making jokes.)
Some people turn this sort of arrangement into a game, a sort of fetish to “catch” the discreet ones. But that’s too much work. (I won’t even talk to someone at the bar). Anyway, you’re already playing a game and I don’t like competition.
I didn’t ask your name, your job or any references (you’re welcome), but I did text my friends your address and I’m not sorry about that. When you opened the door to the apartment and I saw you in a tshirt and some basketball shorts, barefoot, —I thought you’d be in jeans— I joked and you welcomed me in anyway, no explanation. You gave me a glass of wine in a pint glass and we talked. For a bit.
What I want to remember now, though, is falling asleep with you. That’s what we did after. A little bit of light came through your window. It would’ve been cold, but, well. We did all of it: you held me, sometimes I held you, I felt your breath on my neck and then, in the morning, you had work and I had to go.
I called my own car. Never got your number. Never saw you on an app again.