Words by Chelsea Oliver
Editor's Note: We are going to be following Chelsea's journey for the next six months as she navigates single life in the current world of Tinder, hook-up culture, and single-shaming.
After everything had finished with *Austin, before he moved out of state, I was ready to have more of an actual single girl experience. Up to this point, I felt like I went from long serious relationship to one mini relationship to another.
My girlfriends, fellow bartenders, and waitresses from the restaurant Austin and I worked at together did their best to keep us separate until he quit and ultimately moved. Those angels are who got me through that struggle of a summer. They are also the reason I was even introduced to the wonderful world of Tinder which is the next story in this series.
One particular evening, the bar that stayed open two hours longer than ours was packed full of people I had never met before, but that had graduated high school with my girlfriends. The guy they pushed me onto, with no hesitation from myself, was *Mason.
He had recently split with his fiancée and was also looking for nothing serious.
We played pool with him and his friends and had a few drinks. He offered to drive me home and I agreed under the condition that he'd get me Taco Bell first. We sat in the parking lot, talked for hours, and scarfed down burritos until he drove me to my house, gave me the greatest kiss of all time, and never asked to come inside.
I liked that he didn't expect anything outside of some good company for a night. We had a month of an intense but casual romance, until the morning he was driving me home and asked if I had feelings for him yet. I was unsure of how to respond and sat stunned in his truck as he drove.
Mason and I had made a strict "rule" to not catch feelings and not to speak of them if we did, so I felt a little trapped not knowing how to answer. Thinking that if he was asking it probably meant he was hoping I caught feelings too. But I told him no.
I then spent the entire day (like girls do) floating in my friend's pool talking with her about how to make this situation with Mason work. You see, the thing I left out until this point was that Mason was high on the list for a heart-transplant. So getting into something serious with him was a different kind of commitment and at that point, it wasn't looking like he'd get to have a transplant and wouldn't be able to live "normally" much longer. Something serious with Mason would mean the most intense relationship that my life had yet to encounter with a hovering expiration date.
After our all afternoon into the early evening float session, my friend and I decided that this relationship could work. I was strong enough to handle that Mason and I could potentially be very serious, very intense, very real, and very short.
We grabbed a quick dinner and met a group of friends out. Mason was there, I pulled him aside and he told me he was testing me with his line of questioning from that morning. Testing to see if I was still the girl that would keep feelings away. He grabbed the hand of another girl and walked out.
I could really only blame myself. I was the one who let my girl brain get in the way and overanalyze everything he had asked me that morning. I was the one who spent the day imagining myself in life or death situations with him and talked myself into becoming a caregiver to my dying lover at the age of 26. But for some odd reason, something about having all of those scenarios racing through my brain all day and then immediately erased as I watched him walk away with another girl, left me devastated.
Within the next hour, my friends got me four shots of Fireball and created a Tinder account for me. The games had just begun.
*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
Chelsea Oliver is a lover of life in heels, coffee in hand, who runs the marketing department of a credit union by day and makes sassy stationery for her own business by night. Chelsea is an old soul in a power-lifting millennial body. She craves authenticity while loving every filter on Instagram and tweeting in all caps as necessary.