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A few days before my outbound flight home to New York, Eleanor texted me: “Come outside!
” We had just spent the day in Parc Monceau with friends, eating pesto-flavored chips and making fun of each other and lazing in the sun.
Ruby from New Zealand had only one OKC profile picture, and it was of a small, distant, short-haired figure sitting in a kayak.
I had no idea how I’d recognize her in a crowd unless she brought the kayak along with her.
It’s hard enough finding queer women out in the wild, let alone the wilds of a place very far from home.
When we got tired of walking, Ruby and I stopped for coffee. I drank my espresso and tried not to stare for too long at her bare arms.
For the couple weeks before I enthusiastically deleted the Tinder app, a few French girls did answer my shitty tourist texts, and I went out, once, with one of them. We got drinks somewhere in Le Marais, the city’s gayborhood, many streets of which felt like sleek and rainbowed New York bars poked into pockets of Paris.
But that didn’t end up mattering, since outside the Gambetta metro stop on a sunny spring day, she was the one who found me.
Ruby was pretty: tall, reddish-blonde pixie cut, luminous skin. Because I am (like most people on online dating sites, I presume) a bit of a shallow asshole, I didn’t think someone who forewent advertising what she looks like on her profile was someone from whom I could realistically expect sparks.
After returning stateside, I’d have plenty of time to worry about what, if anything, this all says about me, and about culture, and about connection.
But for the time being, I was passing my days eating pastries and smoking cigarettes in bed with an extraordinary girl, indulging the shit out of every tired cliche about what it means to be 22 and in love in Paris.She had a mean, dry sense of humor and a beautiful accent.