I’ve had a lot of awkward encounters in my life…but I’m about to share with you guys the most awkward of them all.
This story was brought to you by Tinder and a bit of soju.
Yes, this is another Tinder story. But don’t worry! It’s not as long as my Korean Tinder horror story…
My awkward, naked Tinder encounter happened two weekends ago when I went to the Jinju Lantern Festival and Oktoberfest in Namhae with a tour group. It was a three-day weekend, and I wanted to go somewhere other than Seoul. If you’ve read my Tinder horror story, then you may understand why. A lot of things went down in Seoul the previous weekends, and I wanted to get away from it all.
The itinerary was to spend the first half of the trip at the lantern festival and the second half at Oktoberfest. The first half of the trip went by normally. It’s not until the second portion of the trip that my awkward Tinder encounter happened.
So I was at Oktoberfest with my close friend Kaylee and a group of new friends from our tour group. We were walking around the festival, chatting it up when all of the sudden I saw him.
Now, you’re probably wondering “who the hell is him?”
Well, he’s this guy I matched with on Tinder in the U.S. about four months ago. We matched while I was passing through Dallas on my way back to Oklahoma City.
After matching, we started chatting on the app. Since it’s been so long, I honestly don’t remember what we talked about. In fact, I don’t even remember this guy’s name or anything about him. All I remember is his face.
We talked on Tinder for a few days but I eventually stopped talking to him because I didn’t think it would go anywhere. For one, he lived three hours away from me. Unlike in South Korea where I can just hop on a train and meet someone who lives three hours away with minimal effort, meeting someone who lives three hours away in the U.S is a pain in the ass due to the lack of inter-city public transportation. Another reason I stopped talking to him was because I was already planning to move abroad. I was mostly Tindering to kill time at that point.
I eventually unmatched him sometime after we stopped talking. (Occasionally, I’ll go through my Tinder and unmatch everyone I either never talked to or stopped talking to.)
I never thought about this guy again until I ran into him halfway across the world. The moment we saw each other at the festival, we held eye contact for a good minute. I’m not sure if he recognized me from Tinder, but he probably thought I looked familiar at least. We ended up passing each other without saying anything.
An hour later, I was wandering around the festival by myself because my friends were taking a break. As I was walking around, I ran into him a second time. But this time, he didn’t see me. After walking past him, I started thinking,
“maybe I should’ve said ‘hi’…..”
Eventually, I went back to where my friends were and told them about my Tinder encounter. My friend Alex then told me if I see him a third time, it’s fate. So I told myself if I run into him one more time, I would say “hi”.
A few hours passed, and he was nowhere to be seen. Then just right before I had to head back to the tour bus, I spotted him in the crowd of people. I thought to myself, “this is the third time, so it must be fate, right?”
I stood there, debating whether or not I should approach him. But before I had time to make a decision, he walked away. My friend Kaylee then hurried me to leave because we were already supposed to be on our way back to our tour bus.
On the bus ride back to our pension, I realized it was probably not meant to be. I let it slip from my mind, thinking I’d probably never run into him again.
After getting dropped back at our pension, my friend Kaylee and I decided to hit up a convenience store to grab some soju before heading to the beach for the afterparty. As we entered the convenience store, I saw him inside. This time, he was talking with a group of people. I wasn’t ballsy enough at that point to break up a group conversation, so I grabbed the booze and left.
About an hour later, we decided to head to the beach. There were three different tour groups there. I figured he was probably with one of the other tour groups, but I didn’t know which. However, I had a feeling I would run into him again.
When we got to the beach, I hung out with some new friends from my tour group. We were chatting, drinking, and just enjoying the ocean breeze. Then suddenly, I spotted him on the beach. I turned to my friend Alex and told her this is the fifth time I’d seen him. She then told me I have to say hi. I hesitated a bit, so she pulled me up from the sand and said she’ll go with me.
So we were walking toward Tinder dude when another girl approaches him. We stopped midway and decided to go back as it would be awkward now to interrupt their conversation. When we noticed their conversation ended, we got back up to approach him again. But before we could even make it to him, he started sprinting away from the beach.
My friend Alex, who was sure this was fate, looked at me and asked, “should I chase after him to try to stop him?” I shook my head as I thought it’d be a bit too weird. “Well, maybe he’s just going to the convenience store,” she added.
We sat back down on the beach and resumed our drinking and chatting. Some time went by, and we don’t see him again. I asked her if she thought he had gone home already, and she nodded. She then exclaimed she was tired and was going to head back to the pension.
I decided to stay on the beach a bit longer to talk to my friend Nick. While we were talking, we saw some people take off their clothes to go skinny dipping in the ocean. I wasn’t really shocked because I had heard people went skinny dipping the night before.
My friend Nick and his friend decided they were going to join in on this nakedness. They simultaneously threw off their clothes and ran into the ocean. I was left standing at the beach next to this blonde girl I’d never talked to before. We started chatting a bit about the whole skinny dipping party going on. Here’s roughly how our conversation went:
Me: I can’t believe everyone is going skinny dipping.
Random girl: Yeah, me neither!
Me: I’ve actually always wanted to go skinny dipping.
Random girl: Hmm, I’m not sure if I would do it.
Me: Yeah, but I don’t think I’d do it here.
5 minutes later~
Random girl: Let’s just do it…for shits and giggles.
Me: … okay!
So we threw off our clothes and ran into the cold ocean water, joining the crowd of naked people.
Side note: Skinny dipping feels amazing. 10/10, would recommend trying at least once.
Not long after I got into the ocean, I saw…you already know.
Yep, that’s right. I saw him.
He was standing by himself, a bit of a distance away from the main group of naked people. In my mind, I thought, “maybe it’s fate after all…” This was the sixth time I’d seen him.
I started mulling over whether or not to “hi”, making a mental list of reasons for and against doing so.
Reasons why I should say “hi”:
- I’d seen him six times already.
- It must be fate.
- I might never see him again.
Reasons why I shouldn’t say “hi”:
- He’s naked.
- I’m naked.
- He might not remember who I am.
- I unmatched him on Tinder.
- This could be awkward.
After about 5 minutes of contemplation, I decided…
YOLO! I’M GONNA DO IT.
I slowly moved away from the group of naked people I was with and started wading toward him. When I finally approached him, I realized I definitely didn’t think this through long enough. This is a gist of how our painfully awkward conversation went:
Me: Hi, I’m Jasmine.
Him: Hi, I’m _______. (I forgot his name…)
Me: You look familiar.
Him: Oh, really?
Me: I think we matched on Tinder.
Him: Oh, cool.
Me: Aren’t you from Texas?
Him: Yeah, I’m from Dallas.
Me: Cool. Yeah, I think we matched while I was passing through there.
Him: Oh, okay.
Me: So, what are you doing in South Korea?
Him: I’m teaching English here.
Me: Oh, me too.
Me: I think I’m gonna swim back over there now.
Hands down, the most awkward conversation I’ve had in my life. But no regrets, because at least now, I won’t be wondering, “what if I had talked to him?”
I ended up seeing him one last time that night while walking with my friend Nick to the convenience store to grab ramen on our way back to our pension. But this time, I thought to myself, “it’s definitely not fate…”