‘Once upon a time on Tinder in Las Vegas’ As told by Khalilah Yasmin
Once upon a time in Las Vegas, I met someone on a dating app that happened to know a couple of people I knew. It took me 5 months from the initial match to meet him in person because dating apps for me are more of a window-shopping thing.
The thought of actually following through to meet with a stranger still makes me uncomfortable. You drive to meet them in an area that is safe and perhaps close enough for both of you. But what happens when you’re no longer having fun or lose interest in the conversation? Do you hold out for at least an hour? Politely excuse yourself to run away? Or leave immediately?
Las Vegas is the worst place for certain dating apps. They take on a ‘hook up’ vibe here as many tourists pass through Las Vegas and look to find a temporary companion for one night or just for a couple of days.
“NO STRINGS ATTACHED.”
“HERE FOR A GOOD TIME, NOT A LONG TIME.”
If like me, you’re introverted & interested in more meaningful connections; the thought of filtering through the bull-shit is exhausting.
In his Facebook profile photo was a picture of him smiling with his mother. She had kind eyes and a welcoming smile. I took that as a potential indicator of his respect for women. He chose the most important woman in his life as the first photo for strangers and potential friends to see. 5 months had passed since our ‘match’ and his invitation to hang out at XS… so I sent a friend request to study him further.
We exchanged a few messages on FB messenger and I noticed we had similar interests to accompany our mutual friends. His blunt candor and humor intrigued me. I thought we could be platonic friends at most. He invited me to hang out and I told him that I would be more comfortable in a group environment and not ‘one on one’. He complied which further relieved me. We finally exchanged numbers & I was invited to a house party-pot luck. Instant chemistry upon arrival. He was wearing a suit jacket.
When he kissed me in the kitchen after everyone had gone outside, I welcomed it and him. Over the next several weeks, we created a friendship and sexual relationship. The first couple of times, it was the best sexual experience I ever had. He was in tune, RESPECTFUL, erotic, and attentive. I had heard of cosmic sex but didn’t think it could be obtained. I let my guard down with him in a way I had not in years. While we weren’t exclusive, I was exclusive to him because I prefer one partner or none.
Despite my knowing that he had other partners, I wasn’t initially bothered by this. He seemed to respect me and I thought I could do this until it wasn’t fun anymore. That faux respect led to me feeling comfortable with a lot of his suggestions. Once again, I felt sexually safe and completely respected.
That is until we were at a show together. ALICE at Brooklyn Bowl. I left him to go to the bar and buy our drinks. When I come back, he and some of his new friends were looking at me with wide eyes and guilty smiles. He had his Galaxy phone in his hand. The screen shined bright across the Brooklyn Bowl audience floor. “Look at that,” he says showing his friends the photo on his phone. When I realize what I am looking at, my smile disappeared. My heart sunk. And any sexual urge in my body disappeared.
My naked body not facing the camera… He had been showing naked photos of me to his friends. Photos I did not know he had taken. I was humiliated and angry with myself for trusting him. Angry at myself for having introduced him to ANY of my friends.
Especially when after telling those friends what he did, and they simply shrugged it off with… “But he’s really cute.” They wanted to keep him around simply because they thought he was attractive. I began to wonder if I had warranted this type of behavior by allowing him to treat me as some type of object? If there were other signs I ignored by being blindly infatuated with his narcissistic charm. If perhaps I should have not been seduced by a man whom regarded his mother so highly but thought all women must be conquered.
He didn’t apologize. He instead called me a “bitch” for being upset. Said it wasn’t a big deal and to get over it.
Tongue tied with rage and embarrassment, my body began to tremble. I consider myself sex positive as fuck. But like all of us, it’s my choice to choose how much of me I share with whom I choose to share it with.
Once intrigued by his healthy lifestyle & success story. He had lost 100+ lbs. and been featured in a local magazine for his victory. Women that he claims didn’t notice him before were taking interest in his ‘makeover’. It seemed later as if he was making up for ‘lost time’ and wanted to get back at women for not noticing him before, despite not knowing him before to be given that chance.
Being sexually exploited for someone’s entertainment is not okay. But what hurt more than that- was the two friends I introduced him to, being more interested in him being attractive than him being disrespectful. If he had not been attractive, if he had looked more like his actions…his actions would have been less forgivable, I imagine. Society tends to excuse certain behaviors as less heinous when the individual looks a certain way. It’s disheartening and disappointing.
I look back on how I reacted that day and should have actually BEEN a bitch, since I was called one for even sticking up for myself at all. I should not have spoken softly. I should not have immediately walked away to gather my emotions in attempts to respect him despite how he had so blatantly publically disrespected me.
Coulda’ been a bitch. Woulda’ been a bitch. Shoulda’ been a bitch.
Instead… I disappeared.