When I ended up single in a small town, I turned to a dating app. But finding someone fully and messily human was harder than I thought

I did not intend to be single in the rural village where I live. I’d moved there with my fiance after taking a good job at the local university. We’d bought a house with room enough for children. Then the wedding was off and I found myself single in a town where the non-student population is 1,236 people. I briefly considered flirting with the cute local bartender, the cute local mailman – then realised the foolishness of limiting my ability to do things such as get mail or get drunk in a town with only 1,235 other adults. For the first time in my life, I decided to date online.

The thing about talking to people on Tinder is that it is boring. I am an obnoxious kind of conversation snob and have a pathologically low threshold for small talk. I love people who fall into the category of Smart Sad People Flaunting Their Intelligence With Panache. I love Shakespeare’s fools and Elizabeth Bennet and Cyrano de Bergerac. I love Gilmore Girls and the West Wing and Rick And Morty. I want a conversation partner who travels through an abundance of interesting material at breakneck speed, shouting over their shoulder at me: Keep up. I want a conversation partner who assumes I am up for the challenge, who assumes the best of me.

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