Theatre: Just Keep Swiping

Amy - a twenty-something graphic designer, hard-working, hair pulled into a pony-tail, quirky clothing, disillusioned with the dating world

Jen – late twenties, social worker, sincere, curly brown hair, wears only black, spunky

Amy sits slumped on a couch in a dingy flat. The lights are off to save power and the threadbare sofa features a colourful throw and second-hand cushions. Amy has her feet resting on a coffee table in the middle of the room. Jen, her flatmate, walks into the room and leans over Amy’s shoulder.

Jen:         How long are you gonna keep doing that for?

Amy:         (without looking up) What?

Jen:         Swiping left… there’s gotta be some good-lookin’ boys on there surely?

Amy:     Nah, not many… You know, it’s funny. You spend so long liking a guy, all your adolescent years switching between pining and loathing. All those hormones racing around in your brain and body, confusing the hell out of you, and then suddenly, poof! All gone. No feelings. Nothing. Nada. It’s like it never even happened… it’s actually kind of embarrassing. And I also feel betrayed. Like I betrayed myself. It’s confusing, ya know? Tell me I’m not going nuts. Or tell me I am! I’m not sure which is better…

Jen:     Well, yes, you are. But no, it’s not confusing. You spent years convincing yourself that Brett wasn’t the one and your heart finally caught up to your head.

Amy:     That sounds cliché. I don’t think it has to do with my head or my heart. I think I’ve changed. Somehow my adult person is disgusted with everything associated with my teenage years and it’s working to eliminate anything related to it, even a little. So of course, adolescent crush, Brett, goes out the window too. Geez, it’s like there’s two of me! 

Jen:     Yeah, let’s just concentrate on… Kyle! He’s cute… no! Why did you swipe left? So fast. It’s like you don’t even look.

Amy:     Did I tell you it’s a fine art? (patting the cushion next to her) Come here, ok, you tell me when a cute one comes along and I’ll tell you why he’s a psychopath. It’s psychology Jen. After 10 hours, 23 minutes, and uh, 12 seconds on this bloody app, I should know. 

Jen:     That one! Look at his photos… Mmm Jayden, huh? You cutie! Who’s that, his sister?

Amy:     Ah yes, common mistake. Posing with a girl in your main photo. Is that an ex-girlfriend? Or, yes, a sister? Or maybe just a gal who helps him pick up chicks in the club? This picture says to me that Jayden is trying to say he can hold a conversation with a girl, or he can at least hold her drink… before he spikes it! Neeeext….

Jen:         Oh… well, how aboooout, James?! Nice face, good hair, no creepy piercings?

Amy:     But wait. Second picture, lugging a dead boar. Nothing says, “I’ll bring home the bacon” like that! It’s creepy, disgusting… and, oh yep! 420 friendly…

Jen:         (coming to sit on the sofa) Ok, I think I’ve got this. Hand me the phone. 

Amy:     One cannot learn the ways of Tinderville in 5 minutes. But sure, show me what you’ve got! (hands Jen the phone)

Jen:     Swipiiiing… left! Blurry photo, pulling the finger, bag of weed? Ok… what about this guy?

Amy:         Ah yes, the group photo…

Jen:         What’s wrong with a group photo?

Amy:     As Murphy’s Law would have it, it’s usually the least good looking fella in the photo who’s the owner of the Tinder account. 

Jen:     Pretty sure ol’ Murphy never intended to tie his name to a 21st century dating app. Oh my gosh, he ONLY has group photos.

Amy:         Who, Murphy?

Jen:         What? No…. the guy on Tinder.

Amy:         Oh, yeah… another bad sign.

Jen:         Why?

Amy:     (getting up from the couch) Figure it out… geez, this takes it outta ya! Who knew weighing up a person’s worth in 2.3 seconds based upon a selfie could use up so much energy?

Jen:     Well, it’s gotta work for some people. I mean, four, no, FIVE people at my work are in committed relationships after being on Tinder.

Amy:     Yeah, but Steph said she was on it for 2 YEARS before meeting anyone decent. And I still don’t know if Lizzie’s many, many horror Tinder date stories make up for her slightly sweet, slightly clingy current boyfriend, do you? I’m just about ready to give up…

Jen:     Ah, just give it a break for a few days. New people join up all the time. You’re forgetting that Steph’s current boyfriend, no wait, fiancé, only joined up 3 days before they started chatting. It’s timing.

Amy:     Timing’s a bitch. Never been my friend and I’ve never been its. I say, “screw timing”, it’s time to make my own destiny! Carpe diem! 

Jen:     Dead Poet’s Society?

Amy:     Yeah, I watched it last night… great film. So inspirational. Robin William’s a darling… 

Jen:     He was…

Amy:     And another thing! This perpetual obsession with finding a date, boys, relationships… it’s in direct opposition to my firm belief that there’s a lot more to a girl’s, to MY life, than this. I can be happy with myself. I can be content being single. I can be satisfied drinking martinis with all my girlfriends… who are, yep that’s right, IN relationships.

Jen:     ALL your girlfriends? Hey yo, I’m here too! Single ol’ Jen.

Amy:     Yeah, but you committed to celibacy like three years ago, didn’t you? 

Jen:     Hey! (jumps up to slap Amy, leaves phone on sofa)

Amy:     (dodges) Anyway, I’ve basically liked one guy my whole life. You know, the day I woke up and shed that Brett-shaped hole…

Jen:     Ewwww…

Amy:     …I was a new woman! The world was my oyster, blah blah blah. It was kinda freeing. Until I realised that being single mentally as well as… well, actually, is boring. No boy to flirt with at gatherings. No daydreams or fanciful diary writing. No dwelt on texts and Facebook messages. Overthinking is underrated! 

Jen:     Oh please. You’re happier like this. Look at you! Starting your own graphic design business and taking nightly acting classes! I say cheers to singlehood! It’s time to find ourselves.

Amy:     (shrug) I’ll drink to that.

Jen:     Good thought. G&T or a Martini?

Amy:     Both!

Jen:     Aye aye captain! (Jen disappears to make the drinks)

Amy:     (picks up her phone again, to herself) Maybe I am being too picky. Ok, oh, who’s this? Liam, huh? You surf, you go to the theatre, and that’s your nephew? Geez, who ARE you? Swiiiiping, right! (silence) Eeeek! Oh my gosh, it’s a match! It’s a match! Jeeeen! (runs off stage waving phone)

© Esther Dawson, November 2016