Everything for the sake of speaking Polish fluently.
That is my motto. And I’m working really hard to live by it. So hard even that I did what I shouldn’t have done…
… I went on Tinder.
I sacrificed my reputation and privacy, but it’s all for the sake of talking Polish more often. Nevertheless this turned out to be a good social experiment as well. Find a place where people can show themselves, and you find the true nature of human kind. I promise you. This Tinder thing has been an adventure, but at least a funny one, so I decided to share it with you.
First of all, if you’re not familiar with Tinder, let me explain. It’s an app, connected to your facebook, where you can display yourself by pictures and if wanted a few words about yourself (with a limit, of course). The app will show other people your first picture, your name and your age, and they can swipe. Left means ‘no’, right means ‘yes’. You get to swipe pictures as well, within a chosen age category and distance. If you both swipe right, you have a match and you can talk.
In short, smartphone speed dating.
I put on three pictures, one of which not even showing my face (but with some lovely mountains in the background, that’s why I love the picture) and a caption stating I have to speak Polish fluently by the end of June. And there we went. Swipe swipe swipe. You have no idea how addicting it is to judge people by their pictures! Also, at first I had a lot of guys of course. So I kept on swiping and swiping and had a good laugh.
My experiment led to this model of the Average Polish Guy. His name is Michal, Mateusz, Kuba or something along those lines. He loves fitness and he likes to show off his six pack. If he doesn’t have a six pack, he will show off his car/motor bike. Those are loved immensely as well. Selfies are not a problem here, not even for guys. It’s okay if you take a picture in the mirror, with your phone clearly visible and you staring at your screen. He takes himself very seriously.
You can imagine what I’m talking about. This app is not only for speed dating, it’s also to brag with how strong you are or how fancy your car is, and that’s a very serious matter for some. This also shows in the “moments” – you can take a picture with a caption, and all of your matches will be able to see it for 24 hours. Again, you can swipe left or right. There’s a lot of attnetion whoring going on with those moments. Sometimes just a plain selfie, sometimes withh a caption that barely hides how it’s all about showing off.
Sometimes it goes even further. Then you have a match, so you think he’s somewhat interested (even if it’s just trying to get laid!), so you say something (for the sake of talking Polish) and then… he doesn’t answer. Oh well, it’s okay, I understand that you needed the match to boost up your self-esteem! It’s better not to start talking to anyone. Yesterday I couldn’t sleep, so I said to my latest match ‘Hey :)’. He actually answered (‘Hallo’), which shocked me.
Although, if they start talking, you’re in for a nice conversation for a while. Mostly it will end soon, but hey, at least you’ve talked Polish for a while! Not telling where I am from seemed to be a good idea, because I’ve had a few people asking me that. They all guessed wrong, one by one. And I had a good time not telling them of course. Who would ever guess you’re from Belgium? My name isn’t very Belgian either, which made it hard for them. I’m merciless, you know. Some managed me to flatter though, by saying I have a beautiful name. I’ve also had people ask me why I had to speak Polish fluently at the end of June. But the majority didn’t seem to notice that it’s somewhat strange how a foreigner can talk Polish quite well. (Quite well because of dictionaries.) That’s something that keeps surprising me: some people don’t seem to be wondering at all why someone, clearly not Polish, speaks some Polish.
I’ve met one interesting guy, who was also into languages. We had a good, long conversation and we even met. In my beloved park. It was nice talking to him, because I could understand him, and that’s always a pleasure. Also, talking to people who learn languages themselves is often better, because they understand how difficult it can be sometimes. Unfortunately we never managed to meet again, which also seems to be a sign that he might not be so eager to. It’s a pity, but I’m not the one to beg for attention.
I also had another ‘date’ (I call everything a date) with another foreign student. As it turned out, it’s easier to talk Polish with a native speaker than to speak English with a foreign student. Pity. He was a nice guy, but I don’t want to feel like I have to keep the conversation going all the time. He did remember my birthday though, which was very kind.
By far the most hilarious thing I had, was when my parents were visiting me and we went to Warsaw. A certain evening we were at a restaurant when suddenly a few Italian guys came in, sat down, and took their phones before even watching the menu. Get your priorities straight, people. You’re so close to food! They also managed to complain to the waiter that it took too long to prepare the food. In Italian. As if that would work. One of the guys was clearly on Tinder, swiping everyone right. Pathetic. At a certain moment he suddenly started staring at me, so I thought ‘oh dear, maybe he saw me there…’. I acted natural. (Haha. Sure.) That evening I went on Tinder and started swiping.
I found him.
We had a match. He then said ‘hey, we ate in the same restaurant yesterday!’, but in bad English. I said something along the lines of ‘haha, I already thought so!’. His next message was literally: ‘Tonight fuck?’ I almost laughed out loud, then said ‘Are you serious? Because no.’ He still tried, saying I was beautiful, that I could ditch my parents and go to a restaurant with him, that it was his last night there. I politely explained that I didn’t want to. Politely, because after all it’s Tinder.
He wasn’t even that good-looking, actually.
I’ve come to the point where there are barely new people to swipe, so it’s getting boring. There’s not interesting going on at the moment, no conversations (unless some of them will still answer), so we’re through it. If you were thinking of trying it, I can recommend it for being very funny and interesting form an antropologic point of view. But just yesterday I read an article about a women who tried dating via Tinder for a year, she went on a date fifty times, and yet no man found. I’m not looking for a boyfriend there, at all, but if you would think of using Tinder for that purpose, I will have to disappoint you. They’re just too busy admiring their six pack to actually talk to you…