*read all of the chapters for Swipe Right – The Chronicles of an Unpaid Prostitute in order here
A week later I stared at my closet full of new clothes. My victory of banging the guy from the club was starting to fade and I needed to fill that void, that empty loneliness I didn’t want to acknowledge and the next best thing to strange dick was shopping. Remembering the attention I’d gotten in the scraps of clothing the weekend before, I bought more outrageous clothes, things my mother would never approve of. I could almost her hear voice now, telling me with absolute certainty that I was a tramp or a tarte or a trollop or some other ridiculous name that started with a t.
In the past week, I had refused to look at any social media since Aaron broke up with me. Finding the courage, I pulled my computer onto my lap as I sat on my bed, stacking the pillows behind me. Pulling up Facebook, the first thing on my newsfeed was Aaron. The bastard stared back at me with a shit eating grin in a photo with two hot girls hanging on each arm. I felt sick. Angrily, I slammed the keys a little too hard on my keyboard as I immediately changed my status to single (and ready to fucking mingle!) and deleted and blocked my prick of an ex-boyfriend. Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath. Releasing it slowly, I cracked my neck and opened my eyes, the urge to shatter something slowly disappearing. My gaze caught on an ad on the side of the screen for an online dating site. Cocking a brow, I hovered my mouse over the overly happy couple on the image. I felt it, the revenge. It fired through my blood and before I could make a decision, I heard the click of the mouse and the watched the screen change from my newsfeed to an overly large slogan telling me I am in control of my love life. Pursing my lips, I clicked search and entered the shallowest search I could think of. I didn’t even bother looking at any of the questions about schooling or hobbies, because really, I didn’t care. And damn Gina, look what I found! The first page of my search results showed two or three cute guys in my area, the next page showed more. I clicked on sign up.
I chewed on my thumbnail as I stared with glazed eyes at the still blank ‘Create your profile’ page. I had written then deleted the first sentence three times already. I needed to show that I was witty and fun and totally bangable. The best thing about an online dating profile was that I got to pretend that all of those things were actually true. And hey, everyone lies on their dating profile, right? After twenty minutes I’d come up with pure gold;
My bedroom walls are black, as is the colour of my soul. I’m told I’m good with my mouth, often as I spew overly sarcastic comments at people when I’m uncomfortable. My idea of flirting is being as awkward as I can and seeing if you can handle it. If you offer me the world, I’ll tell you I can get that on my own, offer me a drink and you can have my panties. If you ask me how much attention I need I’ll tell you all of it. My favourite food group is wine.
Good enough. Moving on to the next set of questions I frowned at the screen. What the hell was an average body type? Average by whose standards? Who are these body type specialists and how does one get that job? Guessing, exaggerating and hiding my way through the rest of the questions, I finally hit submit and felt my stomach plummet as my profile flew out into cyberspace where it would live on forever. Or until I deleted it, whichever came first. Waiting for my confirmation email, I looked up at the sound of a knock on my door.
Looking through the peephole, I contemplated just pretending I wasn’t home. “Hi Maddie.” Damn it, why did I open the door? My neighbor Darryl leaned against the doorframe, a drink in his hand, his leather jacket draped over his shoulders. It was clear he’d had a couple and although he tested my patience unlike anyone else, he was just a lonely man who wanted someone to talk to. A part of me felt sorry for him which was why I continued to listen to his ridiculous stories.
“Hey Darryl. How’s it going?”
“You’ll never guess what just happened to me.” I waited for him to continue as he took a gulp of whatever red liquid was in his glass. “So I was across the street grabbing some food, right. And there was this girl in there, she was with her mother and I’m telling you, she was absolutely gorgeous. Like should have been on the cover of a magazine, gorgeous.”
“Yeah?” Already, this story was too much.
“Yeah. So you know, I go up to her and I tell her that she’s really beautiful. She smiled and said thank you and told me I was handsome. She told me that! I didn’t even have to pull the whole, ‘oh, is this your sister?’ line to her mom. It was clearly her mother. So then I grabbed my food and came back home, then I realized as I walked up the stairs that she was hitting on me. Can you believe it?”
“So then, I thought, I should probably go back, right?”
Oh god, no.
“So I did.”
Of course you did.
“But she had left. I even asked the guy behind the counter and he told me she had left a few minutes before I got back there. I can’t believe it, the most gorgeous girl was hitting on my and I had no idea! I’m such an idiot. I should have realized and got her phone number.”
“Yeah, that would have been good.” I could hear the lack of everything in my voice but Darryl heard nothing but his own voice. Oh lord, if women were hitting on Darryl then I really needed to take a good look at myself. He was a nice guy but every shirt he owned had rips and tears, and not because they were modern and cool. He was balding but refused to admit to it allowing his hair to grow past his shoulders and upon meeting Darryl for the first time I thought he had two black eyes only to realize they were just dark bags.
“It’s always been like that, you know. Girls, they just flock to me for some reason.”
I really struggled to not roll my eyes.
“I don’t know what it is, I mean, I know I’m not the best looking guy, but they just want me.”
“It’s a gift,” I told him. Darryl was clearly in his own little world looking in a mirror that provided miracles. I wanted that mirror.
“It is. I’ve been engaged five times and every single one of them, the girl has asked me to marry them. I’ve never asked a girl to marry me.”
“And have you ever been married?”
“I was once, but in the end that was too much of a commitment for me. I can’t be tied down, you know? I’m a free spirit, Maddie, I can’t be shackled to one woman.”
“Right, makes sense. Fair enough.”
He sighed, almost as if reminiscing about his make belief past before downing the rest of his drink. Holding it up to show me it was empty, the ice cubes clinked around the glass. “I guess I should go get a refill.”
“That sounds like a plan.” I smiled at him as he turned and walked back into his apartment. I took the opportunity to do the same, shaking my head as I slid the lock in place. Hearing the ding of my laptop, I pulled it in front of me to see what the commotion is all about. Surfer_Dude69 wanted to live chat – hell no. “Nope, not ready for that,” I said out loud as I closed the chat window. Another immediately sent me a rose emoji. That was it. An emoji. “Really? Stop it. No, yuck.” Making a gagging noise I closed my laptop, having had enough for one day.
Walking into work the next day, my head was pounding with a non-alcoholic hangover. Which was the worst kind of hangover. Not getting much sleep the night before, I dragged my feet all the way to my little cubicle. Even though it was small, it was my own, one that I’d worked hard for. In my last year of college I’d applied to three different advertising agencies hoping with all I had to get the opportunity to work under the most talked about name in today’s advertising world – Melanie Moore. And it was the day Mel called me herself to tell me I had the job. Unpaid of course. Young, innocent, virginal, some would say I was as I walked into the office for the first time and found my jaw on the floor. I don’t know what I was expecting but I could feel the vibrancy of the creativity boxed into these four walls. Six months later, the last day of my internship, Mel pulled me into her office and offered me a permanent position with the company. Paid – like a boss! Even though Mel was a hard ass; she pushed me in ways that sometimes had me on the verge of tears but I knew it was with good intention, in ways that I needed to be pushed. I’d come up with some of my most creative campaigns under her thumb and I didn’t hesitate when I accepted. It had been almost two years of paying my dues and I was pulling over the idea of requesting more responsibility. I knew I was still a rookie and I’d completed a number of successful campaigns for small businesses but my eyes were set on the big time. I wanted that one campaign that would get my own name out there. Eventually I wanted my own agency, just a small boutique business but it would be one where the creativity would be of my own construction. Ah, dreams – the sound of my phone summoning me into Mel’s office pulled me right out of those.
*tomorrow – Chapter Five