…continued from November 13 issue
I didn’t think Anne was desperate at all. In fact, based on the amount of conversations I’ve eavesdropped in that club, the struggle is universal. For some, Tinder offers a temporary physical relief from the sting of loneliness. Other people seek Tinder for emotional satisfaction. It’s not my style, but I can understand its usefulness in the broader population.
On Saturday night, I went out with my Danish roommate, Trine. Trine is blond, blue-eyed and beautiful. I wasn’t even trying to be alliterative, that’s just how she is. At six-foot-three, Trine has legs for miles and miles. She can get it. She’s a medical student at Copenhagen University and when she isn’t studying at the library, she’s studying the male anatomy. She recently got out of a relationship and wasn’t looking for anything serious. Trine, like many Danish women I know, does not prioritize marriage but does express the desire to have children before the age of 30. “If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’ll figure it out,” is the mantra she lives by. I share the same philosophy, but my family doesn’t. Trine’s parents didn’t get married until she was nine years old and divorced before she finished high school. They still cared about each other, but keeping a marriage together wasn’t as important as keeping the family together. In America, marriage and family are often conjoined entities. Even though it’s 2015, the domestic ideal is still dating, marriage and family. As a woman in my family, if you don’t get married before the age of 30, you’re branded as the crazy spinster. I appreciated the Danish mentality of enjoying someone else’s company without the pressure of making it serious.
As soon as we arrived at the concert hosted by her university, we went straight to the bar where we met a sprightly man by the name of Steven. Trine left after a while to pursue a brooding brunette, so I introduced myself to Steven in broken Danish and he was genuinely impressed with my lackluster ability to speak Danish. I taught him some Chinese and he taught me how to swear in Danish. It was great. Every time he spoke he smiled so sincerely it made me want to feed him cookies. His smile was so sweet that I had an urge to check for cavities. I confided in him about my mom and marriage conundrums and he had the best response.
“Why can’t you just do you want?”
He was so right. I’m young. I don’t need self-imposed pressures. I liked Steven’s free-spirited vibes. After we polished off our beers, I held out my hand for a high-five. I guess high-fives aren’t that popular in Denmark, so he just held my hand. It felt completely natural and his hand was so warm that I forgot about the depressingly cold Nordic weather. In a spontaneous moment of unspoken solidarity, I asked Steven if he wanted to skip with me. If he thought it as a weird request, he didn’t let on. He grasped my hand just a little bit tighter and we skipped down the halls of Copenhagen University.
Even though I didn’t go on a date that night, I enjoyed myself and I made a new friend. I think the Danish have a more relaxed dating culture that emphasizes present happiness over unnecessary preparations for the future. I even decided to go on a Tinder date. The following Wednesday I met Adrian for coffee at a café nearby my apartment. After having a positive experience with befriending Danes, I was more open to the idea of using Tinder. I can confirm that Adrian was not a serial killer. He was a literature major (also studying at Copenhagen University) who was slightly awkward, but endearingly so. When we spoke, he would try to make eye contact at first, but couldn’t help blushing and looking away. As a fellow socially awkward person, I knew that Adrian and I had potential to be good friends. With five days left in Denmark, I felt a creeping sense of sadness that Adrian and I would realistically never see each other again. It was a temporary friendship, but a worthwhile friendship nonetheless.