Tinder Hearts

“I’ve been shopping for some tools for work and some household stuff: like tee-ow-ills,” Jason the 26 year old Australian cabinet maker tells me. We re waiting for our lunch at L’Artista in Golders Green.
“Some what?” I ask.
“You know, tee-ow-ills,” he says. He speaks softly and has a strong Melbourne accent.
“What are they?” I say.
“For the bathroom. Tee-ow-ills,” he says.
He is very cute: a head full of soft blond curls, blue eyes, very white teeth. He’s lost a bit of the dark tan he sports in his photos. Suddenly, I realise what he is trying to say.
“Oh, you mean towels,” I say.
“Yis,” he says, smiling.
Conversation flows – to an extent. The music is too loud and we’re just under the speaker and Jason speaks softly with an almost impenetrable accent
“I’m sorry, I’m going to have to ask a waiter to turn down the music. I don’t know if it’s my advanced age or if restaurant music is getting louder,” I say.
“No, it’s my fault, I speak too quietly,” Jason says.
The waiter comes over, acquiesces to my request and a couple of minutes later the music fades.
Jason is very sweet and lovely looking, but comes across as less confident than in his photos. Out of his natural beach environment, tan faded, clad in jeans and a checked shirt rather than board shorts and flip flops, he is a just another boy.
“What do you do for work?” He asks me, sipping his beer.
“I work at an authors’ and actors’ agency and I write fiction and non fiction,” I say,
“I don’t really like reading,” he says. “I like being outdoors and sport.”
“I swim and go to the gym and ride. You can read and ride, just not at the same time,” I say.
He laughs, flashing his very white, very even teeth.
“Do you play cricket or rugby or…”
“I don’t like cricket or rugby,” he says.
“Really? I thought all Australians loved cricket,” I say.
“Yis, I reckon I’m the only one. I just play AFL.”
“What’s that?” I ask, willing the food to turn up – I’ve almost finished my glass of Chianti.
“Aussie Rules. Australian Rules football,” Jason says.
“And how do you play that?” I ask, a bit interested.
He starts to explain but is interrupted by the arrival of our food.
Mmmmmm melanzane parmigiana: one of my best things, I think as I put some of my huge salad on a smaller plate and spoon some of the aubergine dish on top of it.
“Big portions here,” Jason says. “Do you want some of my pasta?”
“Is it vegetarian?”
“I don’t think so,” he says. “Are you vegetarian?”
“Yes, I…”
“So many people are vegetarian here,” he says.
“Probably more than in Australia,” I say.
“Is it still raining?” I say. “I keep hearing a rumbling sound – is it thunder?”
He looks at me, puzzled. “It’s the trains passing overhead,” he says. “We’re underneath the train tracks.”
Argh, I could kick myself. “Sorry,” I say. “I’ve only lived here all my life. I’m not very observant: probably why I’m not a more successful writer and…”
“Yis,” he says, nodding.
“Oi – my writing could be brilliant as far as you know. You’re not meant to agree with me!” I say, not yet recovered from my own idiocy.
“So, what brings you to Tinder then?” Jason says, putting his cutlery down, half his pasta still uneaten. “I can’t eat all this.”
He wants to leave because I’m so stupid, I think.
“Um, curiosity I guess,” I say. “You?”
“To meet sophisticated older women,” he says, winking. “Do you always date younger men.”
“Er, sometimes,” I say, anxious not to portray self as a sort of Michael Jackson/ Jimmy Savile/ Michael Barrymore figure.
“So, why are you single?” He says, unexpectedly.
“Well, the love of my life became a monk and,” I find myself blinking back tears. Oh my darling Sebastian! Life is cruel.
“How are you finding it on Tinder so far then?” He says.
“It’s ok,” I say.
“What did you do for dating before?” He asks, finishing his beer.
“Nothing for about a year,” I say.
His blue eyes widen with surprise. “Were you with someone or…”
“No the opposite,” I say, thinking – oh, fuck it, why not tell him and see what happens.
“You were a nun?” He says.
“Heh, no. I’ve been ill,” I say.
“I’m sorry to hear that. With what?”
“Breast cancer,” I say, pausing to allow for his no doubt horrified reaction.
“Oh, right,” he says, without a look or hint of surprise.
“I had a year of tests, chemo, surgery, radiotherapy – basically spent a whole year in the hospital.”
“Right,” he says.
Wrong footed by his lack of reaction, I finish my second glass of Chianti. I was expecting horrified surprise or at least surprise.
“Let’s go,” he says. “I need to go to a tool shop in Shepherd’s Bush.”
“Ok,” I say.
The bill arrives. Jason pays – good boy.
In the street he says, “Which way are you going?”
“That way,” I point towards the flat.
“I’m going to get back on the tube,” he says, opening his arms for a hug. We hug.
“Do I get a snog?” I say.
Cue that puzzled look again. “A what?”
“A kiss,” I say, aloof unavailable ice queen as usual.
“Oh right,” he says, and we have a desultory snog outside Costa for a minute and then go our separate ways.
That wasn’t too bad – telling him about my cancer journey, I think as I walk back to the flat in the sunshine.

One thought on “Tinder Hearts

  1. Pingback: Tinder Hearts | TinderNews

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s