Work It Girl, Swipe To The Right

I am a model. I don’t have trouble meeting people. My work is social. I’m surrounded by designers, photographers, industry people all day long, but I found myself looking for an escape. Just for a night I wanted to live someone else’s life. So I started swiping.

I had ended a three-year relationship about four months before I decided to try out Tinder. To be honest, I don’t mind being single at all. I have a busy schedule, I’m constantly traveling, and I think that’s pretty much what ended my last relationship, so I wasn’t looking to jump back into anything right away.

I spent a Thursday morning in Central Park swiping through the infamous men of Tinder. It wasn’t exactly what I expected. There were a lot of good-looking guys. Grown-ups with real jobs. A lot that I would totally consider dating. But I didn’t want to chat with multiple guys. I was looking for something specific. Someone whose path I would never cross in my daily life. I swiped through a lot of guys before I finally swiped right.

His name was Chad. His photo struck me because he looked fun and kinda flirty, even though he didn’t smile in his pics. He was four years older than me. A criminal psychologist.  His bio said he was here to explore New York. No promises. No expectations.

I started the conversation. He was sweet and a bit sarcastic. I knew we’d get along. We agreed to meet up Saturday night. He only asked me one question: “Fancy or not fancy?” I replied, “Not fancy.” He offered to meet me in my neighborhood so that we could travel to dinner together. I was living in Harlem, taking classes at Columbia. He lived on the Upper East Side. We planned to meet at a coffee shop down the street from my apartment. Of course, I was half an hour late, which wouldn’t have been a big deal, but he had made a dinner reservation for 8:30 at Vandal in the Bowery. We barely introduced ourselves when he said, “See that cab? We need it. Can you sprint?”  I laughed and we were off. And let me tell you if you’ve never been there—the best thing about living in Harlem is the street narration. At one point, as we were weaving through pedestrians on the sidewalk, I heard a guy yell, “Well, what do we have here? Two white kids running. But…who chasin’ em?

So we made it in time for our table, with a little perspiration of course, but it felt like it went with the scene: graffiti art, wall murals and upscale street food. He chose a cool place. I finally checked him out a little more. He had a good sense of style, he was smart, total confidence but not cocky. He was clearly highly educated, but I knew he wasn’t judging me or looking down on my profession. He had a wicked smirk and the kind of steady eye contact that feels like he’s constantly throwing down a challenge. He was hot.

He was also exactly the guy my parents would love for me to bring home. But I knew, just by looking at him, that I was probably his parents’ worst nightmare. Believe it or not, I was OK with that. I just wanted to enjoy a night in the city with a stranger who could surprise me.

And he did. As we left the restaurant he turned to me and said, “Since there’s a chance I’ll never see you again after tonight, are you up for another drink?” I said, “Of course.” But instead of finding a bar, we went into a wine shop, where he took his time picking out a bottle of Bordeaux. We left with a brown-paper-bag-wrapped $90 wine and a $2 corkscrew. “Are we going to drink from the bottle?” I teased. “Almost,” he replied.

We walked over to Lex and took the 5 train south. He didn’t tell me where we were going and I didn’t ask. But after we passed Wall Street, I started to get nervous. “Are we going to Brooklyn?” I asked. He smiled, like he was up to something. “Just trust me,” he said. He took my hand and led me off the train at Bowling Green.

We walked south to the ferry terminal. Staten Island…seriously? I was ready to bounce. He could totally read me and he was laughing at me now. He put his arm around my waist as we boarded and led me to the top deck. He sat me down and said he’d be right back. He returned with two plastic cups from the concession stand and did a phenomenal job opening the wine with the flimsy corkscrew. “Free boat ride. Brilliant. I’ll give you that.” He smiled, leaned back, and put his arm around the back of my chair. “We’ve got about half an hour each way. Think we can polish off this bottle by then?”

I’ve seen this city all lit up at night hundreds of times, but I had never seen it from the south side on the water before. Looking back now, I realize we didn’t ask each other a million first date questions or talk at all about work—not mine, not his. I guess in the end I wasn’t interested in his profession, I was more interested in meeting the kind of person who would choose that profession. Maybe he was thinking the same of me. For a night we had our own thing…not his scene, not my scene…and we had no idea if we’d ever see each other again. That’s what made the night so perfect.