You Chang waved at his parents, seeing them off with a bright smile. As soon as the car vanished around the corner, he ran back into the house, entered his apartment, and closed the door behind him. Leaning against it, he took a deep breath, and then a magnificent smile broke out on his face.
Ah, he was finally free!
With only a slight hint of a guilty conscience, he took out his phone and then downloaded the dating app he had had his eyes on for quite some time. Anyway, he was old enough for this. It was just that his parents wouldn’t understand. There was no need to overthink this. He was just trying to have a few experiences. And what better time for that than when he was finally on his own and wouldn’t have to be afraid that they might see anything when they took his phone again?
No, from now on, he would be free to do what he wanted and try all those things they had forbidden him from doing. Having your own apartment was definitely so worth it!
He pressed his lips together to not burst out laughing and then rushed over to his couch, flopping down while he watched the progress bar turn to a hundred percent. He closed the app store and then switched to the app instead. He couldn’t help but curl his toes while doing so, eagerly hovering with his thumb directly above the screen.
The screen finally loaded, making You Chang sit up straighter. Alright, first of all, he’d have to set up his profile.
He clicked on the slot for the picture, first searching through the albums he already had on his phone. Slowly scrolling through them, he wasn’t quite satisfied with any of them though. For a dating app, he should take something that was a little cuter, right? Showing yourself from your best side should be a given.
Anyway, he didn’t feel that he looked too flattering in any of these photos. He sighed and closed his gallery, instead clicking on the camera symbol, before raising his phone.
He meekly smiled at the camera, opening his eyes wider for that extra hint of cuteness. After snapping the photo, he looked at it with furrowed brows though. Well, this was quite alright but still not as good as it could be. The lighting didn’t look good and there was the corridor behind him. This wasn’t optimal yet. He could do better.
He deleted the photo and then went over to the window, leaning against it before once again raising the phone. He smiled in the same way and then took the photo. Looking at it this time, he felt that it was quite good. Thanks to the natural light, his eyes seemed to be shimmering, making them more expressive. His haircut also looked much nicer, even at a glance it seemed soft to the touch. If it was him, he’d definitely want to try dating! Furthermore, the beautiful curtain he had chosen made for a nice background. Yes, it seemed that he could take this photo.
He clicked on the accept button and then positioned the frame to get the best cut out of the photo. Finishing, he smiled to himself. Ah, just this alone should get some people interested, right?
Next up … “Username?” You Chang lowered his phone and pondered. What did people usually name themselves in dating apps? Prince Charming? No, that sounded too desperate. Pan An? People would probably think he was insufferable if he took that. Cute puppy? But then the other men might just think that he was easily bullied. He didn’t want that either.
Still, since he had taken the pains of taking a picture that was as cute as possible, he might as well go for a cute username as well. Anyway, he was still young so being adorable really wasn’t bad. As than a stupid puppy, he’d rather be a lovely kitten though.
Smiling to himself, he finally clicked on the slot and started to type. “Lovely kitten. There. That should do the trick.” He nodded and then continued to fill out the rest of his profile. Most things were pretty easy but he wasn’t quite sure what to do when he was supposed to fill in a short text about himself.
What did people write in this kind of text? Ah, he wished he would’ve been able to look at a few other profiles first! Then, he would be able to draw some inspiration from that. Now, what if he wrote something that was totally untypical for this kind of app? Wouldn’t others think he was an idiot and refuse to have to do with him?
Anyway, it couldn’t be helped. He’d just type something in for now and then he could still change it afterward when he had been on the app for a few days and knew his way around it a bit better. There was no need to get it right immediately.
“Let’s see …” He put a finger against his lips, pondering deeply. “I should probably tell them something about my life? How about ‘just started university’? Yeah, that can’t be so bad.” He typed it in but then continued to ponder.
He definitely couldn’t just leave it at that. People would think he wasn’t interested in anything besides studying and just super boring. “I should probably write something about my interests as well? How about … ‘Huge movie fan and like to go to concerts’?
“And maybe I should also mention what kind of man I am looking for? ‘My taste in men is just as varied as the movie genres I’m watching’?” He typed it in but then shook his head and deleted the last line again. That sounded as if he didn’t have a bottom line at all. Having varied taste was alright but he didn’t want to seem as if he would go out with just anybody.
This might be the first time he had the chance to be on a dating app or date anyone for that matter but he wasn’t that desperate to go out with somebody. Anyway, since he would be starting university in a few weeks, he would also be able to meet new people. Maybe he wouldn’t even need the app at all and could find somebody outside.
While that particular description was off the table, he still liked the idea behind it though. Maybe he could say it differently?
“Mn … How about this? ‘I’m giving everybody a chance but it would be nice if you had a good sense of humor so we can watch lots of comedies together and aren’t afraid when seeing a scary movie so I can hold your hand. Also, I don’t mind romantic flicks so you should have a big heart.'” Looking at the message, he deleted the word heart and exchanged it for an emoji. This should look much cuter, right?
Smiling to himself, he finally saved the text and then went on to create his profile. A moment later, a message congratulating him for having set it up popped up. You Chang giggled to himself and looked at his new profile. He felt that it looked quite good. If it was him, he would definitely ask this person out on a date!
He put the phone down on the table, and then went over to the kitchen, taking out something to eat. You Chang had just opened the package when he rushed back into the living room, and picked up his phone again, looking if he already had a message. Unfortunately, there was nothing there yet. His profile didn’t seem like it had gotten any attention yet.
He sighed and hung his head, putting it back down. “I shouldn’t check it for at least the next two hours or so. How likely is it that anybody would see it right after creating it? There is no chance at all.” Anyway, he didn’t want to look at it again and again only to be disappointed each time. After two hours, there should have been at least one or two people who had a look and with the effort he had put into his photo, he should get a message, right? If not …
He huffed and then went back to the kitchen, begrudgingly opening the box of cookies. Right now, this felt a lot more like gorging himself on comfort food than actually eating. Ah, why was dating still so hard after getting out of his parents’ clutches?
Grimacing, he finally went back to the living room with the box in hand and then went to get his laptop. He might as well start watching a movie for real. Maybe some romantic comedy so he could suffer with the leads and feel like he wasn’t alone in this.
Scrolling through the list of recommendations, he finally stopped in the lower half. He had already seen the previous ones but this one had slipped through his attention even though it was already a few years old. “The Rise of a Tomboy? Seems like it’s about a university student.” He laughed to himself, feeling that this fit quite well. If it was about commiserating in failed or nonexistent relationships, then it sure was nice to find one of his own age group.
Clicking on it, You Chang leaned back, put the laptop down on the table, and started to watch. Unbeknown to him, the phone that was lying behind it was already blowing up with messages.
One and a half hours later, You Chang closed the laptop with a huge grin on his face, already having forgotten about how depressed he had been before. Sure enough, a romantic comedy could always cheer you up. And the female lead was just adorable! If even a nerdy girl could get herself a boyfriend, then a handsome gay guy like him shouldn’t have much trouble. Anyway, the box of cookies was also empty by now so that might have helped as well.
Humming to himself, You Chang picked it up to throw it away. When he did so, he finally noticed the phone again and his expression derailed.
“Shit! How could I have forgotten about this?!” He threw away the empty cookie box and picked up the phone instead, hastily checking his profile on the dating app.
Indeed, he really had missed quite a bit. “What is all this?” He hadn’t really paid too much attention to the app yet so he wasn’t quite sure how it worked. From what he knew about this kind of app, you were supposed to match with people and you could also get messages if he remembered correctly. From the look of it, about fifty people had tried to match him and almost half of them had written him a message. His eyes went wide, wondering if it could really be that great.
Sure, he thought he was cute and his text probably hadn’t turned out half bad but this seemed like quite a lot. Anyway, even if this was just beginner’s luck, it was a good thing.
Since he wasn’t quite sure how that matching thing worked he first opened the messages. The first one … You Chang furrowed his brows and immediately deleted it. While he was flattered that somebody thought he was attractive, he still expected a bit more than that just a picture for the first message. After all, if the person wasn’t willing to invest even the slightest bit of effort, then they probably weren’t interested in a relationship anyway and would just want to hook up once or twice. He wasn’t up for that. He wanted an actual boyfriend.
Continuing through the messages, the others were a little better but most of them had just messaged a short ‘hi’, not even bothering to write a whole sentence. You Chang pursed his lips, feeling a little bummed out. Was he really not worth any more of their time? Maybe being cute really wasn’t helpful in this kind of app.
You Chang sighed again but still looked through the rest of the message. At the very least, there were a few that had made the effort and tried to relate their first message to what he had written in his text about himself. One of them was asking what the last movie he saw was, one of them wanted to know his favorite movie and if there was a genre he especially liked, and another one suggested going out to see a movie this weekend.
You Chang smiled slightly and answered all of them, feeling that this wasn’t too bad. While he felt that going out right this weekend to do something together might be a little fast, the other questions were quite alright. They could probably have a decent conversation and then he’d see where things went from there.
Having sent the last text, he looked through the remaining messages. When he got to the very last one, his brows raised.
[A lonely poet writes at night
Eternal lines suffused with light.
His muse had left him one dark morn’
Their splendor from his eyes now torn
To leave the poet once again alone
For neglecting them he should atone.
Seriously though, I have a cat hotel (three rows with 14 places altogether), a custom-made cat tree with five scratching posts and four elevated seats, three dozen variations of cat toys, and 56 hideout places all throughout the house.]
You Chang blinked his eyes, completely unable to understand what was going on. This message … what was going on?
He hesitated and then sent a row of question marks over. Brother, I don’t understand what you’re talking about at all! The poem was nice but why do you have to ruin it with that crazy talk about cats?
He furrowed his brows, wondering how the guy came up with it. After a moment, his brows twitched. This … wouldn’t be because he had given himself the name ‘lovely kitten’, right? This guy! The first and second parts still had nothing to do with each other!
Before he could send an angry message after the first one, he already got a response form the other person:
[Lovely kitten, this is cat lover. I happen to be a poet. Well, actually, I happen to be an author but that wouldn’t work with the movie as well.]
You Chang was once again completely dazed. The anger also subsided thanks to this new riddle. In the end, he could only raise his phone and write back: [What movie?]
The answer came promptly: [Oh, it’s “Fairy Cat” with Chen Si Che. You haven’t seen it? Do you want to see it together? I have a collection of 39 other cat movies and series as well.]
“This …” You Chang was at a loss for words. Frowning, he typed back: [Is there something up with the numbers?]
[Oh, no, no. But if you count them, that’s the number they are. So, do you want to discuss the cat movies first? Or would you rather see a picture of my cats?]
You Chang deeply felt that he didn’t understand a single word of this conversation and could only try to take things in stride as they came. [The picture]
[Very well, here you go.]
The guy attached three pictures. Before You Chang had the time to look at any of them, he was already typing again.
[The Shandong is called Wen Ai, the tabby’s name is Xiao Hu, and the exotic shorthair listens to Xue Jiao Tu.]
You Chang didn’t write back immediately this time around and instead looked over the pictures of the cats. They were … really, really cute. The Shandong looked a bit stand-offish while the tabby was playing around and the exotic shorthair was just lying around, playing dead. He couldn’t help but laugh out loud when he saw the latter.
[They’re really cute.]
The other person reacted immediately: [You’re really cute as well. The tabby likes to go out. If you want to, we can meet up, and I’ll bring her along.]
You Chang was at a loss for words once again. Meeting up immediately … hadn’t he just thought that that would be too much when he was asked to go and watch a movie? How could he say yes now?
He cleared his throat and glanced at the picture of the tabby again before replying: [Xiao Hu is really cute but isn’t that a bit fast?]
[That’s called an adventure, lovely little kitten. You can decide the time and place. Poets don’t need to care about work schedules so I’ll be there as soon as you call.]
You Chang hesitated for a moment longer and bit his lip. He … really wanted to have a try. In the end, he sighed and clicked his tongue. Anyway, if he wanted to date, he’d have to meet up sooner or later. Hastily checking Baidu to see where there was a good place around, he finally sent his response:
[Alright, this Saturday, 3 pm, Café Heaven at the south gate of the university!]
[I’ll be there, little kitten! Xiao Hu is very excited to meet you!] With that, he sent over a picture of the tabby cat staring into the camera with a puzzled expression, obviously wondering just what its owner was doing.
You Chang couldn’t help but laugh again. He couldn’t help but feel that maybe, this would be a nice adventure.