If you want to think I’m a narcissist for assuming Millie’s Spotify playlists were about me, go ahead. In any case, they probably weren’t about you.
Before Millie’s playlists, there was just Millie, the trombonist from Tinder I matched with in my first month of an ill-timed year abroad at Oxford University. It was September 2020, seven months into the pandemic. Most study-away programs had been canceled, and my homebound friends — denied the tapas of Barcelona, the techno of Berlin and the cannabis of Amsterdam — said I was lucky to go abroad at all.
I was lucky, for sure, but lonely. Between remote coursework and Oxford’s restrictions on socializing, I realized that meeting actual British students — the reason I had come — was going to be difficult. I had traveled 3,000 miles to get marooned on Zoom.
Tinder had never been my thing in America, but abroad I wondered if a dating app might offer me what my program couldn’t: a pool of potential British connections.