“Out There”
by Kate Folk
from the March 23, 2020 issue of The New Yorker

I hope this post finds you healthy and safe in spite of so much disruption and uncertainty going on. Some things will presumably carry on per usual, such as The New Yorker fiction. This week we get a story from Kate Folk, another writer I don’t know. Folk has published stories in Granta and McSweeney’s, among other places, but this is her first story in The New Yorker, and I don’t see where she has a book published (if I’m wrong, please let me know!). I hope many of us have the chance to get to know this young author’s work.

“Out There” is definitely for a generation younger than me. I have never used a dating app, and so I don’t know all of the nuances and risks involved. This story seems like one to get me caught up. Here’s how it begins:

I was putting myself out there. On my return to San Francisco from a bleak Thanksgiving with my surviving relatives in Illinois, I downloaded Tinder, Bumble, and a few other apps I’d seen Instagram ads for. I resolved to pass judgment on several hundred men per day, and to make an effort to message the few I matched with.

There are many reasons I’m glad I didn’t grow up with online dating apps, but one of the scary ones is the fake accounts used to collect personal information. Folk calls these “blots.” Her character, though, figures: “But what choice did I have? Apps seemed to be the way everyone found each other these days.”

Again, I hope you’re able to enjoy some time reading . . . and letting me here know how you’re doing and if you liked “Out There.”

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