Tinder’s Tambourine Man

by Rachael Hevrin

I had no idea what I was walking into.
Although, I did read her Tinder profile 37 times so I wouldn’t say I was entirely unprepared with the information given. I knew her name was Indigo. She was a holistic nurse from Santa Fe both fifty times more cultured than I was and fifty levels out of my league. Jackson was the one who swiped right, actually. He said he was taking an initiative. I think he did it for a joke. Funniest part of that joke was we matched, and she messaged me to meet for drinks. So there I was, thanks to Jackson, walking into Sycamore, this “industrial warehouse bar” with pumpkin flavoured craft brews and vegan espresso martinis. Last I checked, espresso martinis didn’t have dairy in them anyways but neither did hairspray, and people are labelling that vegan now too… so what the hell did I know. I recommended we go here since I figured a girl named Indigo probably only consumes things she finds on the ground in the woods and would be into vegan hipster places like this. Though despite my recommendation, I had never been there. Ever. In fact, I usually made fun of the people that went there. Then I saw her. This vixen of a woman, wearing a flowing kimono, made out of cruelty free cotton, woven together by fairly paid baby sea turtles, rescued during an eclipse. Or something. I don’t know. She was hot, alright? She was fucking hot. Looking up at me, the recognition clicked. She could identify me from my profile. That was a good start. By the grace of gravity my body shoved itself forward, as she stood up to walk towards me. She moved like liquid—effortless. Surreal. It was becoming more apparent how above my weight I punched with this one.
I’ve got this. I’m decently attractive. I have the potential to be funny. Sometimes. Maybe. Given the right crowd. Maybe she’ll be easy to talk to. Maybe she’ll be cool. Maybe she’ll laugh at my jokes. Maybe she’ll…
“Jared?”
“Uh, yeah. Namaste.”
Nope, I don’t have it. I definitely don’t have it.
For the next half a second and eternity, she stared at my blankly. I couldn’t tell if she thought I was making fun of her, or that I was a complete asshat. Both just as bad. The latter I was starting to believe wasn’t too far from the truth. So, I rambled.
“Sorry, I saw that on an open sign at this yoga studio. It says it when it’s opened and when it’s closed like Aloha, or something. You looked like you were into yoga so—”
She smiled, like she knew at that moment she had the upper hand in this and bowed in prayer position.
“Namaste and Aloha to you too, then.”
It was my turn to stare at her blankly, so I conveniently filled the emptiness with girlish giggling and another…
“Yeah, Aloha! Uhm, you wanna drink something together?”
Aloha, you wanna drink something together? Who talks like that?
“No, I don’t come to bars to drink.”
She smiled again. It took me a second to process she was joking. And again, I giggled, feeling that last bit of testosterone drain from my body. I had to assure her this wasn’t my typical behaviour, so instead of asking what she wanted to drink, l rambled again, intentionally knocking my voice a couple octaves lower.
“You know uh, sometimes I can be funny too. At least, Sometimes. Maybe. I mean, it has to be with the right crowd and you’re just…”
I really dug myself a proper hole.
“Hot.”
I saw serious consideration flash across her face on whether or not she wanted to stay for that drink with this giggling psycho. I also considered if I could even handle a drink, since I couldn’t even handle an introduction. But somehow, she stayed.
“So, what do you drink?”
We ended up sitting down at a corner table. Her with a Hendricks and tonic, me with a vegan espresso martini because… I don’t even know. To be honest, I don’t even know what this drink means.
“So, you’re a vegan?”
“Yeah and Sycamore’s my favourite. These vegan espresso martinis are amazing. You wanna try? The came out with them a couple weeks ago. I really like them because they don’t use dairy, you know? They actually use this really good local… uhm, acorn milk.”
“What?”
Now I had to go with it.
“Acorn milk. Like from trees. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it. Aren’t you supposed to be a holistic nurse? Acorns are so good for you. You should use them in your… healings.”
It came across way more pretentious than I intended.
“Uhm, no I haven’t. I just graduated with my RN, so I haven’t been practicing for long. I moved here to start with the National Institute of Integrative Medicine, actually. It’s my first job.”
“Wow. Congratulations. You’re in good hands with the National Integration… Hospital. I love them.”
“Oh, nice. Thanks. So, what do you do?”
She seemed eager to change the subject to one I wasn’t so obviously full of shit on. Truth was, I was an assistant manager at Office Works. But what did I do? I reinvented myself to greater lengths than just a pretentious, vegan martini drinking, National Integration Hospital regular. I became an energy healer who trained under that guy Reiki. Of which, I realised later, Reiki wasn’t pronounced Ricky and Reiki wasn’t a person. I also became an activist for cage-free coconut milk, who played the tambourine and kept a haiku journal. The fantastic load of shit I came up with to support my already sinking first impression could’ve led the next American election. Indigo remained silent for the entirety. Not that she had much other choice. I didn’t stop talking except to breathe and take sips of that vegan martini I kept reiterating to be “amazing.” And after being asked if we wanted to order anything off the bar menu, I turned to her only to hear she wanted…
“Chicken strips with ranch dressing. Take away, please.”
This vegan chick I was struggling so hard to impress wasn’t even… vegan. She apologised for the take away but her sister just messaged her that the cat got sick. Or something. She also was a bit hungry and didn’t want her dinner to well, offend me. At this point, you might think I fessed up to my shit seconds before she walked out the door, told her how unprepared I was for her attractiveness and for that reason, wanted to pretend to be anything I thought would impress her. Even a tambourine man, apparently. You may expect that she found it endearing somehow and agreed to a second date. I would then spin a twist ending, announce we were happily engaged after two years of dating, recently sold all our belongings, bought a caravan, and now successfully work from our laptops and travel the world with a rescue dog named Baloo, who also eats vegan. But that didn’t happen.
Moral of the story, is if you ever have a shot with an Indigo—don’t be an asshat. And also, don’t try a vegan espresso martini. They are physically painful to drink.