Six weeks earlier, Michael and I had met on Bumble, the dating app where women have to make the first move. Our first date had been in a local cafe. Afterward, I told my eager roommate that the date was “just fine,” but “just fine” was fine with me. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, let alone love.
My female friends, who associate dating apps more with the Grim Reaper than with Cupid, warned me against them, saying, “The guys just want to hook up and disappear.”
Again, fine with me. I was graduating in a few months, and attachment would mean a hard goodbye, which would mean tears, tissues and snot. No thanks.
Michael was also graduating. He was tall, thin, looked as if he loved L.A. and routinely announced, “I love L.A.”
Every Monday night for the next month, I would stuff my contact lens solution into my backpack and walk to Michael’s apartment. He’d lean against my shoulder as we watched movies in his barren living room, which he decided not to decorate because he had signed only a one-year lease. “No point when it’s so temporary,” he said.
Everything about us was temporary. We would talk a little, watch a little and then go to bed. In the morning, I would zip up my coat while he asked, “Heading out?”
I would nod and say, “Thanks for the toast.”
There was a rhythm to it. Monday night, pack my bag. Tuesday morning, walk home.
By asking for more, I knew I was breaking the rules. Dating apps allow you to set obvious parameters: age range, distance radius and so on. But there are also unspoken rules: a deadline for the relationship (in our case, graduation); what feelings shouldn’t be expressed, from affection (“Thinking of you!”) to criticism (“It bothers me when you do x”); and boundaries on what shouldn’t be shared about your personal lives (family details,…