“That dating app for ugly people is perfect for you”. Nadia kept replaying her friend’s joke on her head while her crooked finger was swiping right on every profile. Ngandu had just gotten married and became arrogant enough to throw shade on his single friends. Her barely blinking eyes reflected the changing colours of the screen. She was certain he was right, though. Nadia had enormous ears, a witch-like chin and her lips were nothing but a thin line. To find someone just as ugly as she was would be the answer to no longer be lonely.
Nadia recalled the brief time when she wasn’t alone. Thirty-five years and a history of one steady relationship. She was the one who labeled it a relationship, he called it a steady fuck since his wife couldn’t stand him anymore. Six months of crappy sex and the guy disappeared into thin air. Nadia felt that despite being with someone it didn’t seem like the opposite of being alone.
After a few hours, a match happened. Aella, dog-person, Netflix lover. Nadia’s heart raced not from infatuation, but out of nervousness. What to do? Ignore the only person who would have her? Maybe she did the automatic swiping as well. Maybe she swiped right by accident. Maybe she only did it in order to mock Nadia. Their chatroom opened by itself after the match. The stranger called Aella was typing. Nadia was bracing for the worst.
Ten million different interpretations of two single letters rushed through Nadia’s head. Most of them resulted in humiliation and despair. That was the most obvious conclusion since nobody could ever find her attractive. Not her ugly face, disproportionate body, screeching voice, unpleasant smell. Her fingers hovered above the screen up and down. What to say? How could she trick somebody to want her? What were the words she could use that could make up being so damn ugly? The stranger typed again. Maybe she got tired of waiting. Maybe she is angrily writing a message saying how disgusted she is to have seen Nadia’s profile picture. The stranger hit send and a new message came through.
“I think you are one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. Would you like to grab a coffee sometime?”