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I knew things were different now; I’d heard of dating apps, with Tinder and Grindr taking up most of the space in that particular part of my brain, but I hadn’t ever bothered to check out dating apps specifically geared toward queer women. Whenever I open it, I think of younger me, high school and college me, who thought she was alone as a queer in Montana, that she’d never meet anyone who would accept her, let alone want to touch and kiss and nibble and all the tender things that young me wanted to do.That version of me hung out at the local record shop for days trying to drum up the nerve to buy an Ani Difranco DVD, with the fear that the stoned, pierced bro behind the counter might pick up on the non-straightness I thought made me stand out like a beacon.What I can tell you is that no matter how old you are, getting a message that says, “Someone likes you!” will always be thrilling, and being able to chat with that person pretty much immediately is akin to a miracle.The app centered my location in Kalispell, Montana (good job, app), but because I’d gotten a month of premium membership (which costs .99), I could change my location.This was a good idea for me, because the Zoe app is relatively new, and in Montana, even with the distance on the app set to 200 miles in all directions, there weren’t many options.Our relationship stopped working and the marriage ended.Instead of the life I’d thought I was headed toward, of marriage and children and knowing who my person is and would always be, I was facing down 2018 with a whole series of unanswered questions about my life.
The ubiquity of dating apps didn’t really prepare for actually using one.Eyes the size of dinner plates now, I continued on, freaking out about the very real potential of the kind of rejection I hadn’t felt since the early 2000s, and equally terrified of what could happen if I WASN’T rejected.Then, like teaching a kid to swim by pushing her into the deep end, I was browsing. Did you know there are queer women all over the place?Before you’re allowed to use it, for example, you are given a picture of a person – mine was a woman waving – and you have to mimic that pose in a picture and send it in to Zoe.The app continued to ask me questions about myself, which I answered honestly but vaguely, and then it told me that when I was browsing for ladies, it would show me a triangle with our percentage match.