It was just yet another day of casual swiping in SEAsia. In SEAsia, region: backpacker’s favourites ? Khao San, Bangkok. I was browsing through profiles of yoga-loving vegans, locals, party harders from the US proudly shining their perfect white teeth above the half empty bucket during the full moon party… Nothing, absolutely nothing foreshadowed any unusual surprises…SUDDENLY!
Very handsome, very well dressed standing next to A CAR (not that I was a car whore or something but after all those “I found it on a dump, fixed a bit and now it’s my car and home as well” it came as a shock). After a moment when I was close to falling off the chair seriously surprised I thought:”FAKE!”, because what man of this kind could be doing lost in this same-same crowd?
He had his Tinder and Instagram linked ? good, more stalking possibilities. As soon as I launched the app I’ve noticed that he’d already liked several of my pictures and followed me as well. “FAKE, FAKE, FAFAFAAAAAAAAAAAKE!” I was singing in my head even though everything seemed to be looking just right.
I sat there, at a cafe staring at my phone for good 90 seconds struggling with the decision (and believe me, 90 seconds is an eternity when it comes to tinder choices). “Left or right, left or right…Ahhh dammit, let’s do right, if we’ll match at least I’ll have a chance to tell him what I think about catfishing on Tinder like that”…swiped.
IT’S A MATCH!
The conversation started as soon as the happy tinder notice prompted on the screen along with our profile pictures. “You and S. have liked each other!”
He (yeah, let’s call him S.): Vertigo Moonlight Bar tonight? (it’s a posh as f**k, one of the nicest sky bars in Bangkok).
Me: Nah… Too far for me and I’m busy tonight. Maybe tomorrow.
S: Same place tomorrow?
Me: Actually I work till 10 and it’s really too far for me to go there, so maybe we should meet near Khao San (sic!).
(Sometimes I think that I should write a book: “How to spoil a romance in less than a minute”.)
S: Ok, Darling, see you tomorrow then.
And just like this, I had a tinder date with someone who I believed to be non-existent. But at least it was close, so my brilliant plan was to go there, do “HAHAHA YOU FAKE HA HA YOU SHOULDN’T DO IT BYE!” and go back to the lovely Cinema Winehouse for a glass of red.
The Tinder date day.
I was sitting in Cinema Winehouse, working last minutes of my remote 9 ? 5 (2 ? 10 in this time zone). I wasn’t wearing any makeup, but what I was wearing seemed to be a pretty interesting choice as for a date: flip flops I bought somewhere in China Town for next to nothing, t-shirt with a hostel logo my friend gave me plus torn jeans that remembered my 20th birthday – and believe me that was quite some time ago. Dressed to unimpress level hard.
When the time has come I folded my laptop and passing it to the owner said:
– No worries, I’ll be right back, for sure.
– Have fun!
– I wish…
I started my reluctant stroll towards the Rambuttri road where I was about to meet my fake-posh date. When I got to the place where we were supposed to meet I shrugged, then did this Travolta “looking around” thing and decided: “Of course! He’s not the….”
And then I saw him… All 190cm of him. He was standing next to one of the tables, smiling at waving at (dressed like shit) me.
Oh, you exist… – I said, because in situations like this, looking like a bag of potatoes I’m always able to say something smart and relevant. But believe me or not, despite all the circumstances ? that was the beginning of one of my best tinder dates and non-tinder dates ever…and even something more…
We sat like this for hours: looking each other in the eyes, he holding my hands and being all ears, vividly reacting to everything I was saying. For real! We had so much to talk about that we simply couldn’t stop. The idyllic moment was interrupted by a waitress, who just wanted to say that “it’s 4 in the morning-ka and we are the last clients for 2 hours so maybe we should finally leave-ka”.
He walked me halfway home (hostel-home), because I insisted that I’m more than happy to walk on my own, kissed me goodbye and said:
So, darling, we have our second date tomorrow, right? Same time?
I nodded and turned around to walk back to my hostel in a company of unicorns galloping in my head. I was observing Bangkok slowly waking up to life and trying to figure out what the hell did just happen?
The morning after.
You live you learn they say, so richer with my last night experience instead of assuming someone’s a fake it’s always better to: google him. Oh, lovely XXI century of mine! Tracking my tinder date turned out to be way easier than I anticipated ? because he was a kinda celebrity….
First, he popped up on Wikipedia, then YouTube interviews started springing up like mushrooms, gossip columns, more interviews…and I was just sitting there holding my jaw to prevent it from dropping ? not to the floor but all the way to the basement.
– Hey, what’s up Sophie? – asked Kevin, my friend who runs the hostel.
– My tinder date is an artist…a celebrity artist ? I replied with an unplanned terror in my voice.
– But it was good, wasn’t it? Are you seeing him again?
– I don’t kno…I gue…Yes. Tonight.
The Big Night.
The case was obvious: My Lovely Haute KhaoSantoure from the night before had to be gone. I blessed my inconsiderate decision of putting a pair of elegant shoes into the weary, blue backpack. Magenta high heels and some other accessories that were supposed to help me look like a girl, or maybe even a woman. Obviously, also the place of my second tinder date with the handsome artist switched from the Backpacker Mayhem Zone to….yeah, the sky bar.
Stilettos, matching lipstick and a buttoned-up dress: single and ready to mingle, looking like a million dollars (or rather million Thai baht) I was ready for the unknown. I jumped into a taxi, still texting S. Who was already waiting. And then I’d noticed something unusual ? my lovely taxi driver wasn’t looking at the road but at me and his left hand instead of being on a gear stick was moving up and down on a different…hmm..stick. Scared and disgusted as hell I finally arrived.
What a lovely start to the glam night indeed.
In his natural fancy environment, he looked even better than the night before. To be honest we both looked amazing and the whole glittery Bangkok lights blinking below us seemed to be wowing and ahhing at us.
We sat down, he ordered a bottle of champagne and just like the night before we literally drowned in a conversation. Then, one moment he touched my arm:
– It’s a very beautiful dress, darling, is it silk?
And I almost choked on my sparkling ambrosia because the dress was from H&M and I probably paid for it less than he for this bottle of champagne. But these are situations a modern time Cinderella has to deal with so I just swallowed heavily and smiled the sweetest I could.
But my adventurous spirit even captured in a silk and heels situation still craved something more. So as soon as we were excused (ONCE AGAIN) from the place because of the late hours I innocently suggested:
Maybe we should visit the Ghost Tower?
So, because you might be not familiar with abandoned Bangkok features I’m gonna enlighten you. The Ghost Tower is an abandoned 47 stories high skyscraper in Bangkok, right next to the Lebua bar. It remained unfinished and slowly became a legal “off the beaten track” tourist attraction till the moment when someone hung himself inside and as far as I know another hero decided to end his life jumping from this monumental building. The entry was banned and intruders were about to pay 5000 baht (around 100-120 USD) penalty if busted in the object. The whole area still looked like a proper construction site and there was nothing glam about it.
Nothing glam beside us with champagne buzzing in our veins. A dress, heels and a suit go totally well with gravel and concrete.
But the expedition wasn’t as easy as it could look like. The place was fenced, with a Thai security guard sitting (or maybe rather sleeping) on the ground floor.
What happened next is something, that I still cannot get my head around. We ended up drinking illegally bought alcohol with 10 other Thai. Right next to the Ghost Tower. I was introduced as S’s WIFE and we were all lovely and merry, like always after a proper amount of Hong Tong ? a brilliant Thai (rum or whiskey, nobody knows) for 3 quid a bottle.
It was getting closer and closer to sunrise and we in our festive clothes were getting closer and closer to be pretty wasted but unfortunately, no closer to the forbidden Ghost Tower looking down at us like a frozen concrete monster. When I was ready to give up, my lovely Celebrity, S. announced:
– I need to prove my love to my wife, you know? I love her very much and I need to prove my love to her there (pointed at the concrete monster). Now!
I don’t even know if that was S’s gift of persuasion, Thong Song Dong whatever or the “deep love” that convinced them but they let us in…
In all those heels, suits and other dresses….they let us in. And so we went….exploring.
A Tinder story that goes international.
Usually, tinder dates, especially those in Thailand end after the first one. Be ready to meet wild hoards of semi-attractive guys looking “just for fun”, “nothing serious” or a “casual hookup”. I bet there’s an unspoken competition among guys here: How many places did you manage to put your dick in during your Thai holidays. (no judgement).
Anyways, the more I was surprised when after 2 dates, my handsome celebrity texted me and invited to spend a couple of days with him in a lovely apartment on a beach. It wasn’t Bangkok anymore, huh, it wasn’t even Thailand!
S. knew that I was heading that direction and mentioned the “weekend together” thing somewhere between the first and second glass of champagne during our second tinder date but I was way too busy looking into his eyes and trying not to fall head over heels to register something that sounded like a joke or rather a fairytale. But holy shit things were happening!
Being super reluctant and hesitant at first I received a huge support from almost everyone from the Born Free Hostel where I stayed and Cinema Winehouse where I drunk. In the end, not every day one of the hostel guests is having an affair with a celebrity, haha. I called my Grandma and she was also over the moon that her granddaughter was going to have a dating adventure of her life. I simply had to go. Bailing on that occasion would be like showing people an episode of a very intriguing soap opera and switching the tv off 5 minutes before the ending. What a meanness!
The decision was made.
Like every respectable woman instead of searching for a flight ticket or establishing some details with S. – I went on a bikini hunt. When they were already safely placed in my backpack I finally texted S.:
– Hey, so I can come Thursday morning and stay until Sunday afternoon, what do you think?
– Oh Darling, but my plans have changed and I’ve got a meeting with the Ambassador on Saturday morning so I’ll have to leave on Friday. Can you come earlier?
But unfortunately, I wasn’t on my vacation and like every digital nomad I had to work. Even though outside the office. And no tinder date even as dreamy as this one could stop me from doing my job.
I took my phone and with a heavy heart texted:
– I’m sorry S., but I need to work. I could take 2 days off, but not anything more than that.
– Ok, Darling, give me a while.
I was waiting in suspense not actually knowing what I was waiting for. What, is he going to call my boss or what? Noooo Sophie, stop being ridiculous.
When the phone beeped I jumped in my chair. The display was showing a preview of S.’s message:
– Darling, I cancelled the meeting with the Ambassador, please come over.
By the time of our 3rd date, I’d managed to properly stalk him not only on YouTube and Wikipedia but I Googled him back and forth to see who I was actually dealing with.
Our Lovely Reunion.
He was waiting for me at the airport: tall, handsome in his smart casual outfit – typical S.
– Hello Darling, it’s been too long!
– Just 4 days…
– 4 days is definitely too long for us. Come with me to the car and the driver is going to bring your suitcase.
– S….but I don’t have a suitcase…
– How come, Darling, are you travelling without the luggage?
– I….I have a backpack.
And just like that, The (back then) Backpacking Princess was about to enter The Lavish Weekend with all its surprises…
Even more celebrities.
The staff behind the hotel counter nearly passed out seeing one of their colleagues bent in half under my weary blue backpack my lovely friend Julia gave to me when she decided she won’t need it anymore.
The place was fuckinamazing. Private swimming pool in our suite and the patio with a waterfall between the bedroom and bathroom also ? pretty neat.
Chilling in the sun with some rum like proper pirates S. asked me:
– Do you know XYZ? (I need to protect the privacy of my lovely date so unfortunately this other person also has to stay anonymous, just in case someone would be too smart in connecting facts).
– Yeah! I used to listen to his songs when I was 11!
– Well, he stays in the suite next to us, with his wife, I met him the other day. Maybe you’ll have a chance to meet him too?
The night has come. Ready to go for a dinner (served on the beach) we bumped into a lovely couple. I squint my eyes for a second just to be sure. Yes, it was this lovely couple.
– Hey, S. are you going to grab some dinner at this restaurant on the beach?
– Yes indeed!
– Ok so please join us!
I guess all my good karma I’ve ever collected decided to come back to me on this one particular day.
We had a short introduce session (AS IF I DIDN’T KNOW THEIR NAMES FROM WIKIPEDIA) and then proceeded to the beach.
We were sitting in a lovely scenery, chatting, eating delicious seafood and drinking wine. S. was holding my hand, stars were shining, just perfect. Nothing could spoil such an idyllic moment, nothing….except myself.
XYZ’s wife: So, how long have you been together?
Me (with a speed of light before S. could even take a deeper breath):- We’re not, I met him 4 days ago, maybe 5.
XYZ’s wife widened her eyes with surprise: Oh, but you look so great together! Like you’ve been together for years!
S.: And this is how it’s going to be.
I just swallowed a giggle.
XYZ’s wife: So how did you two meet?
Me (again without even a second of hesitation): Tinder. It’s such an app, you know…
LET’S HAVE A TOAST FOR THIS LOVELY EVENING ? that was, of course, S. probably not willing me to give a detailed explanation of what Tinder is to this lovely married couple.
The rest of the night went without any bigger fuckups on my side (I just had to tell XYZ while he was pouring my wine that “I’m a huge fan and this is a super surreal situation”).
Later on, back in our suite, we lied down on a mattress next to the pool, holding hands and studying the beautiful star-painted sky that you’re unable to see in the city.
S.: I really believe we’ll continue on seeing each other.
S.: Of course, Darling, of course.
A few days later we flew to different cities, haven’t seen him since (and it was almost a year ago). Maybe because we’re always on different continents?
Every couple of months we have a casual small talk on Facebook and he still calls me “Darling” and says we have to meet soon.
Oh, and my Grandma keeps asking about him.
That was a story of a Tinderella, probably one of the best tinder stories you’ll ever gonna read. Remember: the chances of something incredible happening are great.
Oh, and right after this weekend, I bought a suitcase. Just in case.