There is perhaps nothing more panic inducing than running into an ex. (I know, I know, if I was a stand up comedian in the 90s, this would be my “Women, am I right?!” joke. Relax.) Luckily for me, the majority of my exes became wildly successful both personally and professionally once they dumped me, and these successes have taken them far out of the 4-miles-surrounding-Sunset-Boulevard-McDonald’s-radius that I tend to occupy, making any unplanned run-ins non-existent. However, no amount of 10 piece nuggets could prepare me for the run in I had last week: seeing my ex-boyfriend on OkCupid.
Thanks to OkCupid’s myriad of ways to find your future life partner (or, well, future Wednesday 7 PM one craft beer and then please get me the fuck out of here partner), they’ve come up with a nifty little “Locals” app where all you see are photos of a person and how well you match – no username, no profile to weed out the ones who can’t differentiate between your and you’re – and you either say yes or no. If someone says no to you, you’ll never find out, but if you both roll the dice and say yes, you get a message that says you both were superficial enough to choose each other based on an image the size of a thumbnail and an artificial match percentage based on a mutual proclivity for having your hair pulled gently during sex. Yippee. Yes, it’s just like Tinder. Except on Tinder, things like this happen and now I’m scared for my life.
I digress. Needless to say, after half a bottle of Moscato and too many “Yes, Dear?” reruns to count, I found myself flipping through the OKC locals section. After 5-10 swipes of no to the European tourists, and 5-10 swipes of yes to the tall, nerdy Jews, I came across a photo I’d recognize anywhere: my ex-boyfriend Evan*, hanging out on a balcony in New York City, Central Park and the New York City skyline behind him, smiling that smirk-y smile that’s made me jump him in bar bathrooms/subway stations/Brooklyn Zoo’s on more than one occasion (in our defense, bedbugs were a big concern at the time).
Now, I’ve run into people I know on OkCupid before, and you always have to take a moment of pause before you stalk. On one hand, it’s super fun to see what people you marginally know put out there as the best version of themselves, but on the other hand, they then know that a) you’ve stalked them, and b) you, too, are unlucky in love. And that’s just with regular people! With an ex-boyfriend, it’s a whole new snake pit. Do you check out what he’s looking for to measure up how you fell short? Do you run the risk of seeing a photo that you were blurred out of, because it’s the one time his arms looked amazing? (Just kidding Evan, you always had great arms.) And god forbid he know that your life has so devolved post breakup that you’re looking for love online, even though he clearly is too. This is literally the digital equivalent of running into your ex on the street while doing a hungover walk of shame, with a little bit of a stranger’s swimmers still in your hair. (Just me?)
I only found Evan on this OkCupid Locals section, which means that even if I said yes to him, unless he also stumbled upon me and said yes, I still wouldn’t be able to stalk him. And thanks to a horrible breakup, I knew there was no way he’d make that mistake. Drunk on that sweet, sweet apricot wine, I swiped right, assuming that would be the last I’d see/think about Evan (aside from the two weeks, give or take, that I’d be torturing my friends with this new development). To my surprise, I INSTANTLY got a message that said we’d both chosen each other, and did I want to see his full profile? Which means that not only had he already seen me…he’d said yes, too. And now we were both free to stalk each other. Shit.
I can only imagine two scenarios in which Evan would have picked me: 1) He didn’t recognize my adorable flippy haircut, or 2) we both indulged in the same moment of schadenfreude, and just had to know what the other was up to. While neither was quite the reconciliation I’ve been holding my breath for over the last couple of years (what’s that you say? You didn’t realize just how pathetic I am? Oh hi, welcome to my life!), both were good enough to justify the full stalk. Two hours later, I’d ascertained that while his favorite photos of himself hadn’t changed in two years, his desire to actually be in a relationship had.
Unless I’m doing this whole being a girl thing wrong (very possible), I’m pretty sure that no matter how over an ex you might be, the possibility of running into him is always panic inducing. With Evan, I’ve spent months avoiding all of “our places”: my favorite bar, located in a strip mall next to his house, where we had our first date, the only grocery store in town that doesn’t have shitty produce, because I know he shops there, and the entire club level of Dodger Stadium when the Giants are in town, because god forbid I run into him while looking less than perfect. Seeing him online may not make it any easier, but at least I can rest assured that when Evan stalked me back (and he did, the next day, at 3:43 PM – thanks creepy OkCupid), he saw the best version of myself…or at least the one that I fabricated and put online to get guys to want to date me. And that’s the best me of all, right?
*as always, names changed to protect the guys who fucking hate me with good reason