Welcome to the Jungle
The Tinder jungle and looking for love in all the wrong places

Welcome to the Jungle
Michael Jennifer - 05/19/2022

The line of straight men trying to get in goes around three city blocks. The cover charge is $25 a month or half of that if I commit to six months. They let me walk around inside to see who is there before I pay. I see a cute face across the way and make eye contact and wave at a woman smoking a joint wearing a FWB T-shirt and no bra. She ignores me. I see another older lady constantly taking selfies with her duck lips posed. I try and make eye contact and smile, but she doesn’t even notice me. Close to her is another gal wearing sunglasses and a Salt Life baseball hat, holding a freshly caught fish and her three, small children. Now it is I who ignores her when she smiles and madly waves at me.

The demographics of this Durango dating spot are all over the place. When I talked to the guy at the front, he told me there would only be women there who are within 10 years of my age and live close by. I realize how untrue this is when a 60-year-old wearing make-up that looks like a princess Instagram filter says to me, “My kids have all moved out, and I love Jesus.”

Oy, vey! What kind of place is this, I think, as I avoid her gaze.

I sit down and drink a beer while I decide if the cover charge is worth it for this strange meeting place. There is a table of five women from northern New Mexico, all winking at me as I approach them, chanting: “We might be fat, but we love to cook!” I am tempted to say hi and get a nice meal out of it, but I want to see all of my options before settling down.

There is a woman I recognize who is kind of cute, so I say hi and sit down. She says hi back and smiles. We start with a contrived, witty banter that suddenly ends when I ask her what her plans are for the weekend. She just stares through me and doesn’t respond. I awkwardly get up from the table and continue looking around while she sits there staring, as if in a coma. I wonder if she is alright.

At this point, the guy at the front tells me there are three women there who want to meet me, but I have to pay this month’s cover if I want to know who they are. Feeling desperate and optimistic, I cough up the $25 and he points them out. He says this payment will also allow me to use the one-way mirror in the back to look at women without them knowing it, as well as send them a message through him.

One of the notes is from a crazy lady I met through work a few years ago and didn’t even know was there stalking me again, and for some reason, she still looks like she did over 10 years ago. I outgrew dating crazy women for crazy sex a long time ago, no thanks. Another note is from a lady in the corner wearing a T-shirt that says “Trump Won” who starts yelling at me that only pussies wear a mask, but she is not judgmental. I do not even look over to see if she is cute, and I keep walking. The last one I go and sit next to and say hello, despite the fact she is wearing a ski suit and goggles, and I can’t make out what she looks like.

I say thanks for taking the first step and “What do you do in town?” She responds, “I don’t actually live in Durango, I am just here for the night.” I think, cool, maybe she is down for some no-strings fun, but then she continues with, “I am not looking for a f***boy. Do you want to ride bikes tomorrow?” The answer might be yes for someone else, but I do not need to make friends with tourists – I am looking for a local companion.

So, I get up and keep looking, starting to feel fatigued and jaded from the effort of trying to find a partner at this strange locale. I know there are a couple of other places like this in town, but I just paid for the month, so I feel like I need to get my money’s worth.

I notice in a dark corner a woman, but I can’t see her face. Her tattooed legs are bare up to a short skirt that leaves only so much to the imagination. I can see her deep, inviting cleavage, too, as she leans forward to invite me over with the come-hither of a curled pointer finger. As I approach and introduce myself, she listens patiently until it is her turn to talk. I still can’t see her face, but in a sultry voice that suggests beauty, she says, “I am a married MILF/ hotwife looking for a fit, handsome, articulate fella with previous MFM/ Bull/ Poly experience to join my husband and I for an ongoing relationship.” Ugh, no thanks. No devil’s threesome for me.

I am running out of options and ready to throw in the towel, but there are still a few more women remaining.

I then lock eyes with a cute, younger woman. I saunter over to see if she is old enough for me when I notice she is at least a foot shorter than me and has something all over her face. I can’t tell if it is make-up or tattoos or something else, but she still has a gorgeous smile, so I sit down and say hi. I tell her a bit about myself and she decides to lay it all out and shares, “I really just want someone that will wash my car every week and maybe fix my sprinkler system. I am not emotionally available, but you must be a good cuddler.” I laugh but realize she is 100% serious. I excuse myself and walk away.

There is no one left to meet. I sort of regret coming here and spending the $25. I know this is just one night and other ladies could show up in the future, so I am not completely hopeless about finding a partner in Durango. It just seems that it won’t be on Tinder. I almost go back and find one of those ladies to cook me dinner, but I just go home alone to rest and perhaps find a date another day.