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  • Caroline Wright

On playing with fire




a dating application [made of] dry, flammable material, used for lighting a fire

"Sadly, after two of the little piggies went on Tinder, their plans went up in flames."


About a year into my ODE (online dating experience), I started talking to this guy on Tinder. He was an engineer and seemed interesting, so we got to texting back and forth pretty regularly. After many hellos, good mornings, how are you?'s, and bit of witty back-and-forth banter, he asked to meet up.

Cool, I thought.

But we never could solidify our night out, since, upon inquiry of his whereabouts (the app said we were only 18 miles apart), he revealed a big, bad truth:

I live in Germany, but I go to Detroit often, for work.


Well, shit, I huffed. Tinder finally went international.


To: Ricky

From: Vicky

A girlfriend and I were up texting one night,

hormones were high and aplenty.

Whenever I asked her for a piece of advice,

she came back with tips over twenty.

I laughed and I wailed,

revealing I was feeling quite blue.

She smacked me with nothing but the soundest advice:

“To get over your ex, just go date someone new!”

I didn’t believe her, but thought: Why the hell not? This time would not be so tricky.

So, after swiping most left, I once swerved to the right

and found me a new one named Ricky.


There's this old board game called "Fireball Island", where a plastic tiki idol named Vul-Kar is placed in the middle of a raised 3-D board representing an unexplored tropical island. Players move their explorer pawns up the sides of the mountain, along paths and through caves, trying to reach the top of the mountain in the hopes of retrieving Vul-Kar's giant ruby. The objective is to retrieve the ruby and take it down the other side of the mountain where an escape boat awaits. However, both the idol and volcanic vents around the board periodically spit out "fireballs" (marbles), which physically roll down the mountain, periling explorer pawns in their path and toppling bridges as they pass.


Dating is like playing "Fireball Island", because 'players' often find themselves in moderately complex situations requiring both skill and luck. The dating environment itself can feel much like unexplored territory—full of smolder pits (places people go when they've been burned), caves (which may or may not be occupied), bridges (that are susceptible to damage and/or falls), and tokens (that can be traded for other useful things). Not to mention, there are plenty of Vul-Kars lurking, holding fort over various zones.

Still, there are also jewels of dating: exposure to companionship, social activities, friendship, courtship, intimacy, admiration, and, ultimately, love. However, the overwhelming nature of both games (dating and "Fireball Island") mean players' perceptions are more often that of an uphill battle, rather than a leisurely climb, especially when such high value is placed on prized gems. (Disappointment inevitably creeps in when said gems are not as shiny and perfect as one suspects.)

[Former chairman of America's Federal Reserve, coincidentally named Paul Volcker, once said: "It was probably a mistake to allow gold to rise so high."]

So, approach dating like you would Board Game Night, and play for fun. It's the best way to stay true to yourself, enjoy the experience, and come out a better player each time. By accepting of the terms of play from the beginning, you allow yourself to approach the game's competitive nature with a lighter heart (depending upon how good a sport you truly are), plus increase your willingness to take turns throughout the adventure, making it more pleasant for everyone involved. Rules may change depending upon who's playing and when, but an instruction booklet is always accessible if you should ever need a refresher of the game's objectives, or etiquette of play.

Jewels and precious metals are imperfect by nature, as are people. Perhaps neither belong on a pedestal-like mountain (unless you're in the middle of game night). Regardless, all ought to be valued, respected, safeguarded and treasured. Thus, always follow these four, straightforward dating rulebook rules:

1) Appreciate the people you meet (they'll always teach you something)

2) Recognize others as individuals

3) Protect their hearts, and

4) Hold dear the ones you call your own.

Utilize this short rulebook and you will perpetually be equipped with win-win strategies at every turn of your dating game.

(Even if you originally met on Tinder.)


Christophe Louis (a.k.a. Quibe) is a French illustrator who focuses on minimal illustration in a very specific one-line style.

Visit Quibe's website to view more of his minimalist works, including one-line style illustrations of musicians, athletes, scenes from film, animals, tattoos, and depictions of love (where you'll find his featured work, Kiss, plus many more):

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