soul death in a digital dating app

A black and white ink drawing of barren plants surrounded by a thin, wiggly border
Image by Aimilia Eft


Audio transcription:

Have you ever walked into a room on a warm evening and noticed an unpleasant odor? So unpleasant and complicated that it is visible to the naked eye? 

I haven’t smoked for two months, yet I wake up every day with an acid taste in my mouth. The bitterness that I reflect to others mirrors the bitterness within me. It’s a bitterness so rich with associations, so raw and complicated. 

A warm digital touch initiates a brief erotic encounter. You fell in love with someone  who isn’t really there, who you’ve never really met. Trying to figure out how to look interesting on Tinder, you take selfies in dirty mirrors while sending carefully crafted messages. In the time spent looking into a space that is not your mobile screen, you float in each other’s room through astral projection.

I never understood this running-away-from-those-who-excite-you, as I never understood how orchids can smell so bad, or how someone can express breakability early in romance. 

In the world of perfumery, orchids have a spicy and floral note, which is why the mouthwatering scent of velvet flowers cannot be real. The actual scent offers you neither value nor beauty, not even a promise of a beyond, other than sadness itself. 

By holding back a passion that will not flow you enter a room that smells like rotting bananas. A wet voice whispers: when your desires push you away from the  normal, take an empty promise — empty enough to be filled by anyone. Write it down, and then erase it.  

Checking out skincare routines on my phone is something residual. It only happens in desperate times. A rotten banana face mask can reduce the appearance of wrinkles. Spread it on your face, and then drink it as a smoothie.  

This is my first month of being unemployed. As an attempt at being disloyal to  capitalism, I tell everyone who asks me online that it’s fine. I finally have time for myself, to stop being a tourist in the world of art, and actively participate in physical  encounters. Every morning consists of activities like swiping right or left, or massaging the wrinkles near my eyes with a jade roller. Refusing to give up on my  desires, I say that I am optimistic about the future; I suffer.  

Unable to face how abstract it all has become, I swim in the stagnant waters of  dating apps, where half people wear swimsuits and the other half wear turtleneck sweaters. Through the eyes of traditional idealistic normality, Tinder is a transition area, a city of lost souls. It’s rumored to be possessed by adventurous types and vulnerable narcissists.  

What mode of transportation do I need to take to get to the area where everybody  feels? To the place which locates itself in time but not in space, and where the sun  rises outside the horizons of capitalist realism? 

Plastic flowers are the only things that blossom in the place where a beautiful sunset is earned through enchanting someone meaninglessly.

A question you constantly ask yourself deserves to get answered in some way. Oracles of the web are performing rituals with their fingertips, as they believe that happiness is completely unexpected. Destruction of one element for the production of another, the act of killing excitement in order to provide yourself with structural consistency.

Doing that diet of not eating for sixteen hours gives me the same feeling as when  my phone doesn’t work. Sitting the bad way on my chair, I crave intimacy as a way to get out of my head, and when I get a new match, I hear echoes of old traumas.

I still haven’t found the lost parts of myself but I feel a tingling on my skin every time someone stares at my profile pictures. We live in a haunted world. Everything around us, every smell or shape can preserve a feeling. What I once longed for and what I still want is poison and happiness at the same time.  

Memories decay but nothing disappears. The walls enclose sadness and once  you are there, you have to play a trick on yourself, which is that there is nothing  wrong about it. 

The moisturized air of orchids chokes every dreamer. I mean someone like you and  me. I mean someone whose past longings will always be tangled with the present  ones. 

Listen to the thoughts of the rotten: no one knows how to achieve normality because  normality doesn’t exist. If you lower your expectations to zero and abandon every  delusional hope, you will eventually fool your cravings. Your fears will hide inside a  drawer in an office with white walls and wooden desks full of spider webs.  

A desire would never be satisfied, said the girl from the perfume campaign. The orchid’s perfume is pure poison. 

Words and Images by Aimilia Efthimiou


Aimilia Efthimiou started reading tarot cards when she was studying Fine Arts in Athens. Instead of being in the studio, she was sitting in the school’s cafe, talking to strangers and listening to their secrets. Currently, she lives in Rotterdam where she draws on ceramic surfaces, while providing individuals with tips and guidance in order to cope with their needs and desires.