dtfI’m about to walk into my Tuesday evening class when I get a buzz in my pocket. I check it.

New Tinder Match!

Oh that’s nice. I take a quick look at the match. It’s a pretty-ish woman in her early 30s. A nurse. Traveler. Before I can put my phone back into my pocket, she sends me a message. It reads:


I groan. An acronym. Oh goodie.

I guess I will be communicating with this person in letters and signs. I am 41, not young enough to be fluent in textspeak, netspeak, Tindercode or whatever the hell is going on here. Can’t she just write me in a language I understand, like English, Czech, or sarcasm? And what the hell does dtf mean?

Before I can put any thought into deciphering it, class begins.

It’s mid May, so my head is elsewhere. It’s everywhere. Or anywhere. It’s sort of like the Matrix if the Matrix was tired and desperately holding onto its sanity until summer holiday. This is not uncommon at this time of the summer semester. I am tired. They are tired. Everyone is tired.

While the students are on a task in the middle of class, I take the opportunity to look up one or two collocations on my tablet. I note them down and it comes to mind again. dtf? I look it up.

Down to Fuck?


My first thought is that it’s a Tuesday. While I understand that the f part of dtf? surely takes place on Tuesdays all over the place, I just don’t associate this sort of a query with a Tuesday evening. I associate Tuesday with finishing class, taking the metro with a friend and student in the class, who is a police officer, shopping on the way home, cooking a sensible dinner, listening to jazz, cleaning my kitchen and preparing for my breakfast and morning routine, and then reading until I go to sleep, because I have a busy Wednesday.

So this whole dtf? thing throws me through a minor loop. While I do not (I swear) for one moment actually consider f-ing, a part of me wonders for that moment why I am not considering it.

The thing is I have been on a bit of a quest to break out of my comfort zone. I love my routine, but I am too dependent on it and I have been wondering if I am missing out on things because of my dedication to it. So each time nowadays that I find myself saying “no” to something in order to adhere to my safe and normal routine I question it.

This time it doesn’t take long for me to conclude that accepting this offer would not be something I’d be able to pull off with any kind of smoothness. The etiquette concerns alone are enough to send me into a fit. Where would we meet? Would it have to be incognito? I don’t have any sunglasses. Would I have to cook dinner for this person? What if she didn’t like my cat? Would she still be dtf then? Would we talk or just f?

I end up stressing and worrying for a few moments over a hypothetical scenario that will never happen, which is one of my specialties.

While this situation is novel to me, it is surely nothing new to many Tinderites. Especially women. In discussions with female friends who are on Tinder I have learned that this is not only a common query, it essentially describes the overwhelming majority they have with men on Tinder.

I won’t lie, it’s kind of nice. I feel like I’m being allowed in a been there, done that club. Oh, what about these dtf? people on Tinder? I practice casually asking Collin if he’s received a dtf? message. Oh, you haven’t. I got one. Of course I didn’t do it.

I don’t write back to Ms. dtf? But I do tell my colleague who is still in the office when I get out of class. Then I take the metro with the police officer, shop, cook something sensible, listen to jazz while I clean and cut strawberries and grapefruit. I do it all worry free.

My routine has never felt so comfortable.

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