I’d met many, many girls online but this was my first, daring trial of Tinder debauchery. Swiping an image without considering any other qualities, meeting at short notice and, if all goes well, freely exchanging bodily fluids – why hadn’t I tried it years ago?
I got many matches but they usually failed to message back, probably because they were just after attention and weren’t serious to start with. Isabella was different. She replied immediately and in a few minutes we’d arranged a date for the following weekend. She wasn’t a local – she was from the Philippines.
She lived a long way away, over in the industrial port area like all the other Filipino migrants in the city. She worked in one of the electronics factories over there, like all the other Filipinos. She had to meet me near her house because her company wouldn’t let her ride a scooter, like all the other Filipinos. She was late and couldn’t find the meeting spot. I waited because I am familiar with the eccentricities of her countrymen and I hoped that, like all the other Filipinos, she’d be up for some cheeky white boy bedroom action within just a few hours.
Isabella finally arrived. A gorgeous girl, early twenties, petite frame and dark skin. Her wide, black eyes were beautiful, languid expressions of supplication and third world torpor. She smiled warmly when she spotted me and she was friendly and affectionate as we sat in the shade of the park. She told me about her life back in the Philippines and asked me all about myself. Most girls I meet only ask questions that indirectly reveal my current and future access to resources. A perfect start.
After a while I proposed going to the beach to watch the sunset. She jumped on the back of my scooter and we dropped by her nearby dorm to get some things. Men aren’t allowed in, she said. I know. All Filipinos are held in dorms like that. In a moment she was back. We grabbed food, drinks and headed to the beach.
Isabella was chatting excitedly as we walked along the shore with the other couples and the young families. She works night shift so she must have been exhausted. She didn’t show it. We walked to the end of the long pier and waded in the broad, sandy shallows, picking up tiny crabs and splashing each other. The sun set, a golden fire burning through the thick industrial smog. She brushed against me whenever she could. She grabbed both my hands, told me how glad she was to be here on her one day off. She rarely got the chance to visit such a beautiful place. She said, she’s glad to be here with me.
The moon came out. I forgot, it was a blue moon, lighting the beach like a wide, tranquil nightclub. It had been some time since I’d last had a romantic adventure and I recognised that tonight, the gods had chosen to smile upon me.
We held hands as we walked back to the pier. She walked close as though she feared I might get away. As though I were just a dream from which she might wake at any moment. She looked at me frequently, like she might never see me again. She took photos of us together. Some, just of me.
There was a love hotel a few minutes down the road. I’d researched it beforehand. This, I thought, would be my life from now on. Come down here on the weekend. Hang out with my girl. Spend the night, let her sleep beside me the next day as I read the classics or compose a masterpiece like this. Ah, Filipinas. God loves his children, he do, he do.
“Have you met other girls on Tinder?” she asked.
“No, just you.” She probably thought I was lying. “You?”
“I’ve met a lot of guys. Some of them are really aggressive.”
“What? They punched you?”
“Ha, no. They wanted to have sex on the first date. Can you believe it?”
I squinted at the glowing moon. That wasn’t supposed to happen.
“So . . . you’re saying you don’t want me to invite you to a hotel now.”
“Of course not! I’m Christian. I will be a virgin until I marry. It is my greatest gift for my husband.” She went on to complain that all the other guys she’d had met had disappeared after she’d told them she didn’t believe in sex before marriage. “Can you believe it? All they wanted was sex. There aren’t many girls left like me. We’re a dying breed.” I asked if she’d ever had a boyfriend before. She said no but her dark, distant eyes said yes.
She tried to show me photos of the guys she’d dated since being born again, the ones who’d disappeared after she’d announced her pious intentions. I tried to dissuade her. She prevailed, showing me a photo of the last fellow. It was a white man who looked a lot like me except a bit cooler. She attempted to show me photos of others but I managed to stop her. I thought of a serial killer displaying the body parts he keeps in his fridge, wondering why his guest is not taking much of an interest in his hobby.
I took her home. She massaged my shoulders as we drove, telling me she’d been learning how to so that she’d be better able to serve her husband one day. She was quite good.
I dropped her off, smiled an ambiguous goodbye, and began the long, long drive home.
Further reading: A Tale of Two Girls