written by Chloe King. Chloe (she/her) is in her final year studying English with Creative Writing at UCD. She enjoys sunny beer gardens, rollies, and having a yap. Her short stories and poetry are inspired by her experiences in Dublin, and her love of strangers.

Audio Recording:

TW: Abuse, Suicide, Violence

Let me just start off by asking if you’ve ever had Tinder. Yes? No? Well fair use to ye if ye haven’t had it at this stage in life then you deserve some kind of medal. See, when you’re bored off your rocker it’s one of those things that seem like a good idea at the time. Whether you’ve had it or not you know full well it’s a cesspool of weirdos and horny bastards, but you can’t pretend to be above it all when you’re swiping on and chatting them all up. 

So, here’s me, minding my own business, tippy-tapping on my phone. Oh look, I’ve matched with someone who doesn’t look like a slapped arse. He wants the snap straight away? “Think about this for a minute” says your brain. “Ye haven’t even garda vetted this young-one yet – don’t give him anything.” “But brain,” I reply, “I’m going to Spoons later so I’ll defo get some drink outta him.” 

So, there’s me in Spoons with my friends. I’m havin’ fun, laughing as some people tend to do. I take the picture of the table number and throw it on my story like the Tinder sugar baby I am. Here we are now, look there’s two Kopparbergs for me from yer one and now I think I’m class. Was it the strawberry and lime ones? Unfortunately. Don’t they taste like yoghurt? Unfortunately, but they’re free. 

Shite. Now he’s looking to get a coffee with me tomorrow. I’ll ask the table what I should do. “Ah for feck sake lads, will I actually say feck it and go? I may as well like? Okay grand I’ll say yeah.”

“Rise and shine you stupid bitch.” Woke up with the fear and now there’s this stinky coffee to get with this stinky young-one who I’ve decided is actually not my type. “It’s only a coffee so it’s no harm, and sure you can leave if it’s weird anyways,” I thought.

(Hello, future me here telling the story, I was violently, extraordinarily wrong.)

So here we are, it’s 5pm. I’m at Stephen’s Green and tippy-tapping on my phone, avoiding eye contact with everyone walking by in case it’s him. He’s late. I’m feeling nervous.      

I get a text off him: “Are you in the leather jacket?” 

I look up, and there he is across the road. He was about to cross when a Luas cut him off. I had to stand there and try not to look at him through the Luas windows. Ick. I gave him a hug hello and we’re almost the same height. Scream. We crossed the road again, got a coffee and went into the park. We started chatting, but I was feeling mad awkward. I was trying to distract myself by constantly rolling and smoking rollies. Eventually, I calmed down and we were actually getting along really well. He was talking about his dogs when park rangers came up and said they were locking up. 

He goes, “Do you want to get a pint?” and I say, “Sure, feck it.”

(You stupid, stupid idiot.)

So here we are, sitting outside Bruxelles. We started to run out of things to talk about so I asked if he wanted to play a drinking game. 

He goes, “Sure what, you thinkin’?” and I say, “We can play never have I ever, and you drink if it’s true.” 

So, we get into the game and we’re having loads of fun asking questions like, “Never have I ever had a piercing” and “Never have I ever been to more than 5 countries” and we kept getting pints to keep playing the game. 

Near the end of the night, the questions took like, a literal break your neck-whiplash- get a claim-and live cushy the rest of your life type of car crash direction. 

He goes, “Has your dad ever hit you?” And I was like, “Ah man… what?” and then he says something along the lines of: “Yeah I hate my dad because we used to be millionaires because he had a patent to something but then he killed himself in front of me, but I don’t really care that much because he was an abusive prick and it’s the anniversary of his death tomorrow.” 

Like lads when I tell you I was just sitting there like literally on life support trying to figure out what was actually going on he turns around and goes, “Do you wanna get a hotel room with me?” 

So I say like, “Here man I’m really sorry but I’m in college in the morning,” and he starts SOBBING HYSTERICALLY and hitting his head on the table being like: “I ruin everything I can’t have one nice thing going for me I always fuck it up, I know you think I’m an absolute weirdo now but can we please start over I’m literally so suici–” 

And I was like, “Ah here man please calm down.” (Like what in the love of god is going on here?) and he got up and walked down the road and was hitting his head against the wall and shouting and crying and I hadn’t a clue what to do with him or myself. 

So, after all that he goes, “Can you please get a hotel room with me and start over you’re such a nice person and I really don’t want this to get between us,” and I was like, “I will in my shite,” so he starts kicking off again and I facetimed my sister being like, “What the hell do I do?” and she says, “I’m in college tomorrow and you’re after bleedin’ wakin’ me up like … go home,” and hung up. 

Ten minutes later, I’m on the bus home and he texts me and goes, “Can we get a coffee tomorrow so I can explain myself?” and I replied, “Please talk to a professional before going on another date,” and blocked him.

Now… you may be thinking … you stayed off Tinder after that, right? Didn’t ya? You do have two brain cells to rub together in that thick head of yours, right? Here, you might have noticed that my tone implies sarcasm and you’d be dead right. Of course, I’ve never had a single good idea since I was shat out and I haven’t been planning on having one since, so giddy up ye good ting we’re back on the horse and rearin’ to go.

*Ding* goes the phone as it does when Tinder serves me up a new match. I have a goo and it’s another lad who goes to Trinity and thinks he’s god’s gift – joy.

I open the chat and see the following pickup line, “Hey, are you my laptop because you’re hot and I’m getting nervous.” 

I think to myself: “Hmm that was a little bit too good, let me see if he found that online,” and sure enough he did. 

So, I turn around and go, “If you weren’t using the laptop so much to find pickup lines maybe you wouldn’t be having this problem,” and from there we did a little buzzin’ off each other and then, he pops the question: drinks? I get a flashback of the last date and a shiver slithers down my spine. 

I think you can guess my response to this question, and you’ve every right to call me a very silly sausage.

It’s Friday night and lashing rain. I text him on the bus to tell him I’m on the way in, and we meet in Temple Bar. We walked to the quays and queued for a club that rhymes with jerkmans, and eventually got a table inside out of the elements. We chatted for a bit, but I kept getting a whiff and tried laughing it off saying, “Whoever’s in here is on the Irish Olympic fart team.” Eventually after intermittent slagging he told me he had a stomach ulcer and the smell was his breath. Holy. Mother. Of God. I gave him a gum and said, “Sure look and sure listen we can’t all be perfect like me.” We go out to the smoking area and I roll a rollie. 

So, this young-one with long blonde hair and lip filler out the door comes over and starts chatting to yer man. He introduces me and I give her a smile. If looks could kill. I ask her how she’s getting on and like a whippet yer man is gone back to the table. I excused myself, and thought, “That was a bit odd?” and followed suit. We chatted over another pint and then he said he was running to the toilet so I stayed put.

After ten minutes, I was bored off my hole and decided another rollie was needed. I went out into the smoking area and asked someone for a light, and in the corner I see yer one and yer fellah gobbin’ the face off each other … I almost fell over. 

Gobsmacked, I turned around to the lad that gave me the light and told him the story, and sure enough he invited me over to his table. A few minutes go by and I see yer man I was with zoomin’ around absolutely gunnin’ for me. I watched his eyes bounce over the tables until he saw me. He came over and asked why I’d moved and I just said I was bored. 

He told me to come back to the table and I said, no invite yer one over, and asked me what I was on about. I turned around, she’s still giving me daggers and I go, “I saw yous eating the stinky breath off each other,” and he calls me a liar. At this stage everyone at the table was like, “Man, we saw you.” SHE comes over and is like, “Don’t you dare talk to him like that,” and I said, “Ah here, yous are both wreck the heads,” and she starts demanding I give her an apology.

At this stage the whole table is ganging up on them and if there’s any group you don’t wanna mess with it’s a table full of mullets and tattoos. The pair of them left without a shred of dignity between them and I enjoyed my night hanging out with my temporary mates.

Until . . .

I left the place at close and see the two stinky onion heads standing outside and locked eyes with the girl. I turned around to the bouncer and said, “Keep an eye on me cause they’re about to kick off.” She started pacing it towards me and another bouncer grabbed her by the arm and she went bananas. The lad goes to try calm her down while she’s kicking and screaming trying to take a crack at me. 

I’m on the bus home, I see a Tinder notification, and delete the app.

Image: Morning Journey by Freya Rothwell. Freya is an English, Drama and Film student from County Wicklow, and has always loved documenting her journeys through photographs – be it on her way to college or a hike in her local forests. Her main muses are sunrises, sunsets, woodlands, and the sea.

Audio recording narrated by Chloe King and edited by Colm O’Shea. Music: Rain and Thunder by Reinsamba.