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"Nice forearm stand," I write to Ashley, a woman of striking cheekbones and auburn hair, who in one photo is doing the classic yoga pose, a cup of tea by her side, the newspaper spread before her, as if to convey that this is how she spends most mornings. "Have ." As it sinks in that Michelle is probably an enterprising 15-year-old boy in Bangalore, earning pennies to direct me to a pay site, both Ashley and Lori get back to me. In fact, Ashley and I have been getting along so well in 2-D (or is it 4-D?) that we decide to meet up in 3-D, making plans to have drinks the following night.Nope, nope, liked, nope, liked, liked, nope: This is what romance looks like on Tinder, the fastest-growing mobile dating service in the nation, and either the most superficial one to be invented or the one most honest about the primal instincts that have been drawing strangers to each other since the beginning of time.Using the magic of GPS, Tinder finds potential mates nearby and presents them to you.Good morning") and feel, as I hit send, like a ninth grader who's just passed a note to the cheerleader in algebra class. While waiting for Michelle to respond, I instigate conversations with both Ashley and Lori. I try to steer us into more innocent terrain: "What part of the city are you in?This is the digital equivalent of hitting on a woman at a bar while the woman you've been hitting on is in the bathroom, a tightrope walk the analog would never attempt. " The question doesn't seem to register with Michelle: "I want a guy that can make me cum...." she replies. political science – an appealing combo, since I've taken up yoga and pretend to be interested in politics; Lori, meanwhile, informs me that she has just graduated from LSU and, having "fallen in love with the Ebola virus," plans to attend medical school in a year.But mainly what I'm drawn to in Michelle is her looks: brown hair blown straight, white jeans that seem to have found their way onto her slender frame via skin graft, a face punctuated by the sort of vaguely suggestive grin made culturally ubiquitous by the selfie."She looks like fun," I think, and so I press my thumb onto the screen and swipe her to the right, a gesture that passes for flirtation here in the peculiar world of Tinder, the mobile app responsible for "introducing" us.
But the truth is, the moment I see Ashley at the bar of a dimly lit restaurant in the French Quarter, I know exactly where this is going. It isn't that she isn't beautiful, but physical attraction is a beguiling force: instantaneous, , one no amount of digital chemistry can will into existence.
Should two people independently like each other, a "match" is made, prompting a private text-message box to open up, and leading to the fiery, 21st-century beginnings of... For all I know, Michelle, the first woman I've liked, has already gone and given me the nope.