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To preface this article, I’d first like to disclose that my Tinder settings do not discriminate. Whether you are 75 years old and have five grandkids or are an overly aggressive female body builder, I have probably swiped right out of sheer curiosity if we would match or not.
I don’t know about any of you, but my Tinder profile is mainly to kill time when I am bored and have already consumed an entire carton of Ben & Jerry’s “Half Baked” while watching five-year-old reruns of Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
This does not mean, however, my right swiping is only reserved for people whom I would not consider going out with in real life. There are plenty of people that I have swiped right to in serious hopes that they would message (because lets be real, unless I am feeling extra witty—I do not message anyone first) me to find out more.
One day during my junior year of college, I was swiping around on Tinder (most likely procrastinating doing something pretty important like, uh, homework?) when I came across a profile that caught my attention.
The first thing I noticed about “Bee’s” profile was their picture. I don’t know if it was the blocked out faces that caught my eye first or the incredibly fit bodies attached to these black blocks.
Immediately curious, I wanted to find out more—so I read Bee’s bio. The bio said something along the lines of a clean couple looking for an open-minded adventurous female.
Well, it was pretty obvious I swiped right because an attractive couple (based on their bodies, since their faces were blocked) just described me perfectly in their Tinder bio.
Instantly “It’s a Match! You and Bee have liked each other” popped up on my phone. I do not recall how much time went by that day before I received a message from them, but all I remember is being excited to find out more about this mysterious couple.
After some back and forth conversation for a few days, I learned a few things:
Their Tinder name “Bee” was an easy way to combine their real names (Ben and Dedra), they have been together for 14 years (married and in the swinging life style for four), and eventually we agreed to exchange numbers so they could prove to me they were real people and not just block faces with great bodies.
Over the next few months Ben, Dedra and I friend-ed each other on every social media network we had and talked about everything from our pets to the swinging lifestyle. During these months we talked about eventually meeting up for dinner or drinks so we could finally meet each other and then, if we clicked, we would go from there.
Admittedly, I was extremely nervous when even the thought of meeting them came up. Not because I thought they were some elaborate catfish (we had Snapchatted each other by this point so I knew they were who they said they were), but because instead of having one person to hit it off with I had two.
This doubled the importance of making a good first impression, an impression I did not even know how to go about making.
Honestly, I was more nervous about impressing Dedra than Ben. Why? I couldn’t even tell you because I am not sure myself—but I was. I feel like girls are always trying to one up each other, but in this case I was hyper focused on what I could do to impress her.
Back to planning on meeting Ben and Dedra. I found that I kept putting off meeting them because the butterflies in my stomach could not even handle the thought. We kept in touch throughout the summer when I was abroad and we were determined to get drinks when I got back to the states. I was getting more confident in myself at this point.
In late September, I received a Facebook message from Ben, a message that would ultimately turn my life into a story a lifetime movie could not even make up.
In the message, Ben told me that him and Dedra were being featured in a new reality TV show called “Neighbors with Benefits” that would follow their unique lifestyle. Ben mentioned that they wanted to film him and Dedra going on a date with a single lady to show what it was like for a married couple to do so.
He wanted to reach out to me to see if I would go on a date with them on camera since we were all planning on meeting each other anyways. At first I thought he was kidding but I soon realized he was serious—and I agreed.
Even though I was nervous, I was serious about planning on meeting up with them and I just figured agreeing to appear on a TV show would hold me accountable so I couldn’t back out from my overbearing nervousness.
Ben had the producer call me to go over logistics about where and when the date would take place. Somehow, we all were free and able to meet on Ben’s birthday.
If you were wondering if all of these factors made my nerves worse, you would be correct. For the weeks leading up to our date, my stomach was in knots and my palms were constantly sweaty.
Days seemed to fly by and suddenly it was D-DAY for my nerves aka date time. I spent hours getting ready, while my friends gave me advice and kept my stomach from falling out. Packing me anti-diarrhea medicine and tums (I had serious anxiety at this point, you guys), my roommate sent me off on my way to be filmed meeting Ben and Dedra for the first time ever.
I met with one of the producers at a hotel to get mic’ed up and to sign some papers stating it was OK for them to show my face on camera. This was the time I started wishing this show was scripted and instead of dealing with my nerves that I would work on dealing with memorizing my lines.
This was absolutely not the case. This was real life and I was about to be filmed meeting a couple that I had been talking to for months for the first time.
I was excited, obviously nervous, and so ready to finally go and meet Ben and Dedra! You know that feeling when you are so nervous for something you could vomit, but once you actually start whatever it was that was making you nervous your nerves suddenly disappear? That was exactly how I felt when I walked in the restaurant and met Ben and Dedra for the first time.
They made me feel comfortable immediately—standing up to give me hugs and expressing how excited they were to finally be meeting me. Conversation flowed so naturally between the three of us that I forgot that we were even being filmed for a television show.
Just being able to watch Ben and Dedra interact with each other and with me, I could immediately see how remarkable their relationship really was. Though many people have the misconception that swinger couples are insecure in their relationships, just from looking at Ben and Dedra you can tell that is simply just not the case.
They told me how the most important part of their relationship is being able to clearly communicate with one another. Talking to them about what had and had not worked in their relationship made me reflect on my past relationships and clearly see the things that had gone wrong.
Making a relationship work for 14 years and counting is an impressive feat for anyone. I found that I was no longer trying to impress them, but really focused on getting to know them better. They asked me about my interests, my hobbies, my career goals, and why I decided that I wanted to meet the two of them.
I talked about my feelings about the Kinsey scale and how I do not like to confine myself to one definition, but instead take life as it comes. I think the rest of my night with Ben and Dedra proved just that.
To this day, Ben, Dedra and I are still friends, but because we live in different cities I have not seen them since our date in October.
Through my experience with Ben and Dedra, I have discovered a newfound confidence in myself. They indirectly taught me how to not stress about what other people think about me, but to focus on doing what makes me happy—for that I am forever grateful.