Wilson, I have a story about Tinder. A big overarching theme of what I try to tell people is that reality is not just what we imagine, but that it is a story written by God in which we are the characters, and everyone’s life ends up being a story written for them that includes everybody else also living the stories that compose their lives. The only way that something like this can happen is if God is completely beyond time and has determined the total of reality according to his omniscient will.
However, a big character in my story is Satan, who doesn’t believe any of this, and who does what he can to prove that idea false, interrupting and shutting down the stories of our lives, trying to make things not make sense, and most importantly, destroy our hope. Hope is the expectation that future events will come true. It is intimately related to the concept of faith.
I see my life making a certain story. I don’t exactly know which of my expectations will literally come true, or which ones will come true in a literary, general, or metaphorical sense, or which of my expectations are simply false. I have more hope and faith in some events than in others.
Israel has a special place in my expectations. But Israel is quite a concept. There is the land of Israel, and there is the people of Israel. The New Testament, and actually some Jewish sources as well, talk about “spiritual Israel,” meaning the people of God, regardless of whether they may be Jewish or not. I’m wondering about the role of the actual land of Israel and the idea of “spiritual Israel” in my life. Right now I am trying to go to the actual land of Israel, and I have been encountering difficulties. This has actually been going on for a while, and posts such as Bucharest and We Don’t Have to Have a Reason describe with some zany religious language that these difficulties go way back. Now that I am in Jordan, my last couple of posts have been describing unusual bureacratic difficulties. But that’s all they are. Probably some of the least interesting blogs I have written in a while, Wilson. Just Jonathan complaining again like he always does.
But the bizarreness isn’t limited to expensive lawyers and newspapers that don’t answer the phone. I’ve been complaining (yeah, the eternal complainer) that my electronic devices have been functioning evermore strangely over the last few years. On this bike trip and afterward here in Jordan, that strangeness has been over the top. I can assume that this is because I have been going through so many countries. Networks change, espionage organizations want to surveil people, etc. But I have a story about Tinder that doesn’t fit in with any of that. It struck me as a violation of the laws of probability that fits a lot of these instances of Jungian synchronicity that I have been talking about.
Now Wilson, apart from this thing that happened to me recently, I’ll have to confess that Tinder has always been weird for me. I first got on the app when I was down in Mexico. If you don’t know it, the kids say it’s an app for hookups and casual sex. I’ve been on that app when I was in the mood for hookups and casual sex before, and I never found any. I found the most bizarre mental cases one would hope they would never find anywhere. At the time, I viewed that as God keeping me out of trouble, as I am fundamentally not the kind of guy who really wants hookups and casual sex, but only went there exploring, or in some mood of loneliness or whatever. I think God was keeping me from finding things I didn’t really want to find.
I didn’t get back on the app until Athens on my bicycle trip a couple of months ago. I think I mentioned that Athens was an incredibly bizarre week. I went partying a couple of times, and I was in a hostel and hung around with folks in their 20s. One of the guys there brought Tinder up, and to humor him I got back on the app. I promptly forgot about it, though in Egypt I swiped through it a few times to see who was around. Swiping is what you do to approve or disapprove of a particular person’s profile on the app. So if you see a profile you like, someone you want to meet, you swipe right. If you are uninterested, you swipe left. If the other person swipes right when they see your profile, they like you too, and you are a match. The two of you can chat and arrange to meet or whatever.
When I got to Jordan, I found that I would be here for longer than I thought. The first place I stayed was a hotel by myself, and I started swiping through Tinder looking for people to meet. Now normally on dating apps, in my experience, there is a certain progression of interaction as people get to know each other. Guys say things to impress, there is some flirting, there is some overcoming of barriers, and then people exchange numbers and continue to chat or head out to meet each other for whatever. But in Jordan, the girls want to meet you instantly. And they want to tell you where to meet them. It turns out they are scamming you. I met some chick. I forget her name. She told me to meet her in front of a bank. We were supposed to go to a cafe.
When I got to the cafe, it ended up being like a strip club with no strippers. The chick was there. She was a bit rounder than her profile conveyed. She was apt to talk, but we had nothing to talk about. I ordered a beer. It ended up costing me 15 Jordanian dinar. That’s a bit over $20. She told me she was originally from Lebanon. She moved from Lebanon to Jordan to Dubai. She invited me to go to Dubai with her. Pretty unusual request, right Wilson? “Nice to meet you! Let’s run off to Dubai!” (Anything to distract me from Israel, of course.) Beyond that, we could barely make conversation. The only thing that came cross was that I should go to Dubai with this surprisingly rotund chick who invited me to a cafe. I got the impression that nothing she was telling me was true.
I asked about the cost of the beer, and the response was that I had also purchased a table for 20 dinar, and the beer nuts on the table were another 20 dinar. In an act of supreme chivalry, I threw 50 dinar on the table and walked out. The bouncer was close behind, but I wasn’t having it. The check would have been something over 100 dinar if I paid everything they had in mind to charge me, but that was just too much. I hit the street, and the bouncer wasn’t up to following me.
A few days later, in order to save money, I checked into a hostel. At the front desk there was a cork board with a variety of tips and instructions. They avised to take Uber instead of taxis, as the taxis overcharged, but with Uber you would get a fare before they arrived. I found this advice solid. I’d already paid 10 dinar for a taxi to find that Uber charged me 2 dinar for the same route.
Right below the advice about the Uber, there was a bold-faced sign saying: “Never use Tinder in Jordan.” I have to love that hostel. Apparently no one of repute uses Tinder in Jordan. Being as stubborn as I am, and devoid of wisdom, I tested the advice. I continued to use Tinder, only from then on I would insist that I choose the place where we meet. Dozens of girls responded to my swipes. And as soon as I told them that I would only meet at such and such a place, they would all invariably disappear. I’d paid my 50 dinar to learn about the snare.
Now during this time, I was thinking a lot about my difficulties entering Israel. I think I told you already, Wilson, that before relying on the few, casual, busy acquaintances that I knew for help entering the country, I wanted to see if there were any strangers there with whom I could connect, and from whom I could enlist succor.
I set Tinder to show me people within 85 miles. That would show me people in Israel. I am not that far from the country. For some days I would check Tinder, but absolutely nobody from Israel would show up. It was only people in Jordan. I swiped left in every case. That is, I passed all of the offerings by. I thought it had to be odd. Why was nobody from Israel showing up?
Such remained the case until one particular day. I’d been in the country for weeks. After the hotel I stayed in a hostel for two weeks, but I found I needed some space and privacy and needed a space of my own. I got a VRBO, but found that contrary to being a private apartment as I’d thought, it was a room in a house with a couple of other guys who lived there. I ended up not being bothered by this, as the guy I found myself staying with most of the time ended up being pretty cool. Maybe I’ll tell you about him sometime, Wilson.
The details of that stay don’t have much to do with this story, though. I’ll just say that one evening, I found myself slightly tipsy on some red wine on the couch in that house, and I started swiping Tinder. That night, and only that night, everyone that popped up was from Israel. Everyone. I decided to just swipe right on anyone from Israel. That is, I decided to accept and offer myself for meeting to absolutely anyone from Israel. I had already said on my profile that I was just looking for friendship. So I had no regard for who was beautiful, for who was intriguing or interesting. Just anyone. I swiped and swiped until Tinder had to tell me, “There is no one left in your area.” I had swiped them all. I just wanted to know who would respond and how they would respond.
The interesting thing was, Wilson, that for a number of days after that, nobody responded. That is, coming to Jordan, initially absolutely everybody on Tinder was from the local area in Amman. They all wanted to meet with me instantly…but only to scam me. Pretty much every time I swiped right on someone, they swiped right on me too. Then, all of the sudden, everybody on Tinder was from Israel, but after swiping right for what must have been a couple of hundred people, none of them swiped right on me. Nobody wanted to meet.
The message here seemed to be, stay in Jordan, everyone in Jordan will swipe right. They will all want to meet you. But they are just going to take from you. Nobody in Israel will want to talk to you, on the other hand.
After some days, something else happened, though. Two people from Israel matched me: a swinger and a transsexual. I had no idea I had even swiped right to a swinger and a transsexual. But okay, there were some points where I was just swiping without really looking.
So I really have no problem with swingers, Wilson. They know that their lifestyle is way, way outside of the norm. They keep in very private communities. They want to keep out undesirable sex maniacs on the one hand and keep themselves out of view of the sexual conservatives and of children. They are probably the least harmful group to society that identifies itself by a sexual behavior. Also, don’t forget, Wilson, I’ve been to a couple of sex parties in my wilder days. And to this day I am not a moralist, and I think true morality has been confused with sexual purity to the detriment of mankind.
After these two matches, things then went back to a combination of locals who were always wanting to meet but were scammers, and Israelis who never matched and never wanted to meet.
On the other hand, transsexualism is a kind of an issue for me. For one, you’ll remember from my book that I ultimately saw attacks on my sense of gender and manhood as coming from Satan to destroy me during those psychedelic experiences in 2019 at a time where Jeffrey Epstein and Harvey Weinstein were in the news and my masculinity had been impugned by religious people. All of that gave me a respect for the centrality of gender in the human psyche. Further, unlike homosexuality, or even polyamory, transsexualism is something that can’t be kept out of view. I just don’t want men ruining womens sports, I don’t want men in my daughter’s bathroom, and I don’t want a man telling me that I have to call him a her. This isn’t a sexual behavior or a private understanding of self. It’s a strong imposition on the world. I recognize these people are very vulnerable in many cases have lamentable weaknesses with which I commiserate, but there certainly isn’t a sense of casual acceptance that I have with other groups.
So after sending a few messages to the swinger, she basically said she wasn’t into any connection. I was too verbal and entitled. As for the transsexual, I am reminded of the commandment to love everyone, friend, stranger, or enemy. I reached out for communication. Immediately the transsexual wanted to discuss issues of my location, and in almost the next instant, s/he didn’t want to talk.
The next thing that started to happen with Tinder, however, is that even though I have my settings set to show me people within 85 miles, and I have only been swiping right people within 85 miles, I have been getting matches from people all over the world. I matched a girl from Finland who is a few percent Jewish by DNA and learning Hebrew. I’ve been matching people from France, Canada, literally everywhere. I have no idea how this is possible because I have to swipe right to match them, but I haven’t swiped right to anyone in Finland or Canada.
The whole story with Tinder has been a bizarre episode that I would lump in with my devices not functioning properly that I have been complaining about. Yeah, I’ve ben getting a kind of moral gist from what’s been going on with Tinder, but that is going to happen in general, as I tend to see messages from beyond in what happens to me. But the strange way that Tinder has been behaving differently week by week is just a violation of the law of probability. First only Jordanian scammers. Then Israelis who won’t answer. Then two Israelis who most religious guys wouldn’t be able to handle. Then people from out of the area. Every week there is a radically different make up of the types of people I deal with on Tinder. And yet for all of the hundreds of people I have swiped right with, I have not been able to manage a single person to have regular conversations or meetings with, friendship with, casual sex with, romance with, NOTHING. It’s just a huge wasteland. A total and absolute utter wasteland of distinct groups of people week by week.
Now just the other day I met a professor of neurospychology in my latest hostel here in Amman. This guy is actually the third neuropsychologist that I have met on my bike trip, Wilson. The first was the Dutch girl in Rome. I actually blogged about that. The second was a college-aged Canadian girl named Katrin here in Amman at the hostel I stayed at before this one. Also, Katrin was easily the most charming person I’ve met since I have been in Jordan. Probably the most delightful person to talk to since Sasha in Valencia, actually. I could literally just watch her speak all day. She had a way of saying unusually clever or astute things while speaking in a kind of giggling girl way that just made me feel comfortable in every way. I almost can’t believe I don’t get to watch her sit on the couch and talk to the other guests at the hostel about this or that anymore. She will be missed.
But now I’ve met this professor of neuropsychology and wasn’t able to hang out with him beyond this one conversation I had, though I did get his number and do hope to maintain contact. I was having a bit of anxiety, and just by his natural conversation he seemed to slip into a kind of therapeutic mode, heading off some toxic thought patterns that crept into my head as I described some of my previous adventures. I ended up describing just a bit of the strange Tinder happenings, and his answer was that maybe I was being plagued by bots. That in itself confirmed somewhat that my attribution of bizarre behavior to the internet and my electronic devices had gained some kind of validation from a neutral observer.
So here’s the thing with this post, Wilson. I’ve been complaining about negative things in the last few posts. I’m going to complain in the posts that follow as well. Actually, I do have one in mind that I do hope will be kind of funny and interesting that I hope I can squeeze in. But I’m going to be doing some complaining, and all of this complaining is generally going to have to do with Israelis. But I want this one in here complaining about Tinder. The Tinder thing is weirder than the insanely expensive lawyer. You tell me, Wilson, if it is more or less weird than the Newspaper that was impossible to connect with. I have a post in mind that is really going to top the list for weird, and it is also going to be complaining, and also complaining about Israelis. But this one is about Tinder. So I want you to understand that I am fighting the forces of evil, not just Israelis. I am trying to get into Israel, so obviously the majority of the forces of evil are going to be Israelis. But this force of evil that I have been fighting also includes a dating app. This dating app is trying to scam me with local girls trying to take me to ripoff lounge bars. It’s trying to frustrate me with a bunch of Israelis who won’t answer. It’s trying to tempt me away from Israel with a bunch of women from far corners of the world. It’s trying to frustrate me about Israel by only getting me in touch with Israelis that I should have difficulty getting along with. It’s trying to make me not like women by reminding me that I have swiped thousands of people and interacted with dozens without ever finding anyone remotely balanced and sane or suitable for me. And last of all it’s trying to make me feel like I am insane by behaving so oddly that it can only be exlained by the idea that it is possessed by an evil AI chatbot that is out to get me.
I want you to remember, Wilson, that if I am complaining all the time about Israelis, it’s not out of hatred for Israelis. I’m also being thwarted by a freaking dating app from hell, and yes, the Antichrist may just be an artificial intelligence chatbot. So if I complain about Israelis, just know it’s not that I hate Israelis, the way they are, etc. I’m fighting against the forces of darkness in the world, and right now the forces of darkness just happen to be using Israelis. But it’s the forces of evil that I hate, not Israelis, and not the Tinder app.