So you’ve matched with an artboy on Tinder. He’s charming, he has polaroids lining his bedroom, he knows the words to a Mitski song or two and has done a performance piece about the horrors of Grindr on the unconscious mind. You know artboys are trainwrecks but here we are again and again.
You know you will probably ghost him in a month or he’ll ghost you, but you could also picture yourself in his Provincetown photoshoot. You desire some of the glamor his media connections afford. Your first date must be at an art museum. But which? Which kind of artboy will you inevitably ghost?
The Met Is For The Academics Who Hate Academia
You re-match on Tinder after he “deleted his profile and lost all his messages”. You come early to people-watch from the veranda. You see him come in. You imagine a Wes Anderson-style pan shot of you watching him, him seeing you, you looking powerful and symmetrical. You catch a glimpse of his Calvin Klein briefs, he is a graduate student at NYU and is writing a thesis on Keith Haring. He tells you he once tried mining cryptocurrency and now has enough money to live comfortably. He asks if you have roommates, and when you say yes, he decides to call it a night. You decide to unmatch him and stop watching Wes Anderson movies.
MOMA Is For the Chic and Easily Hateable
You’re in the big leagues now bb, you are STYLE. You wear velour and paint-splattered white overalls—queer chic if not a little mismatched. You reach out after you see his profile picture is a thirst-trap of himself behind the scenes at a Paper Magazine shoot. He is a serious photographer and stares at each piece for more than a minute, forcing you to slow down—so you end up staring at his eagle-like nose. As you both head for the door, he shakes your hand and says he is doing a photoshoot with Jaboukie Young-White. He says he uses Tinder for “networking” and hopes to see you again. He shakes your hand cordially. You internally scream, “next!”
The New Museum Is For the Truly Weird and Wild
You post on Instagram once a month and he posts collages of animal carcasses with queer icons like Judy Garland and Rimbaud. Out of the blue, he messages you “you up?” You go and see the Sarah Lucas show and tell him you love her work even though you just Googled what show was at the New Museum an hour ago. When you are standing in the stairwell alone he comes close to you, as if to kiss you, and talks about his new art installation instead: videos of him in bed with models with their faces blurred out. You wonder: Why am I not a model? He tells you he’s a Sagittarius and you know it is fated not to be. You mutually part ways.
The Brooklyn Museum Is For The Artists Who Don’t Make Art
You get a text from a number you don’t recognize until you Google his number. You matched months ago and texted until it fizzled out. You decide to give him another chance. You’re new, enlightened, and open to any kind of connection. Still, you didn’t want to go far, so you chose to stay close to the park—Prospect Park. He comes from the other side of Brooklyn than you and wears a beanie. He asks if you “420” and you try and joke that you’re only 23. He doesn’t laugh. He talks about how much he loves David Bowie for twenty minutes. His kiss is like the reluctant sigh of someone who has to get up and answer the door but he’s the one who kissed you. You quickly call a car and decide you can do better. You hear rumors he plays drums for some emo band at Baby’s All Right.
The Whitney Is For Social-Media-Free Carpenters
After a spell of bad dates, you decide to return to simpler men. You match on Tinder and have a good conversation about high literature. He loves both David Wojnarowicz and Andy Warhol. He doesn’t have an Instagram anymore after a “social media cleanse” and works as a carpenter. He smokes clove cigarettes. He bikes to the Whitney to meet you. He is somehow also a coder, a Buddhist, and an ex-Deadhead who lives on St. Mark’s. You think you are in love. You certainly love hearing about his apartment near Union Square while staring at light displays. Suddenly, on the roof by the Calder sculpture—yes that one—he tells you he is leaving for Hamburg to join a commune and then leaves. You have been ghosted.
As you walk home from your rendezvous, you realize you and these artboys are no Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe. Your Mapplethorpe is probably not in Chelsea, and maybe he is not even in Brooklyn. You gulp down two bodega coffees full of soy milk and decide to delete Tinder. At least for a week.