All Stories, General Fiction

Neither of Us Are Boyfriends by D.T. Mattingly


Bailey and I met two years ago. Since then, we’ve found comfort in quantity, since quality failed us before, and so many times. We found each other on the same platform we often fiddled with—two people fighting the conventions of monogamy at the time—fed up with a pattern of receiving the short end of the stick in previous partnerships.

There’s an irony behind being deterred by selfish tendencies to only later accept them. Engaging Bailey served as a catalyst, as did I for them. Arguably, there’s nothing wrong with that, and even then, ‘lighthearted’ precisely described our relationship. Yes, Bailey’s important to me, but so were the countless options awaiting us on the other ends of our phones.

“Riley, what do you think of him?” Bailey asked, resting their head on my shoulder and shoving one of our phones inches from my eyes.

Compromise, most people I’ve been with were terrible at it. At least with Bailey, the toughest decisions stemmed from our inability to agree on the next doormat. The lucky few we’d settle on usually knew what they were getting into. Total transparency.

I rolled my eyes. “What’s up with you and men with shirtless mirror-selfies?”

Bailey sneered. “Hey, I don’t criticize your preferences! What’s wrong with them?”

“They’re airheads.”

“You act like we’ll see them more than once, maybe twice,” Bailey replied while continuing to swipe left. “Like we’re going to have insightful dialogues amidst all the fun!”

“Whoa,” I worried the quicker Bailey’s thumb moved. “Slow down. There are only so many candidates.” Snatching the phone from Bailey’s hands, I found myself immediately drawn to the beauty of a brunette woman, named Sophie, with round-framed glasses and the word kinky written all over her virtual mien.

“You like her?” Bailey probed, wincing. “Of course, of course.”

“She seems down.”

“Following that same prejudice has led us into some awkward conversations before. You know the drill, read her bio.”

“Sure,” I agreed while clicking on the woman’s picture. Her biography was fragmented by line breaks. In all capitals, the first point read: DON’T ASK ME TO HAVE A THREESOME WITH YOU AND YOUR BOYFRIEND.

“Easy now,” Bailey whispered.

Without hesitation, I swiped right. To see Bailey’s reaction, and because I had a feeling Sophie was down. Bailey could call it prejudice all they wanted. But, I was well aware of my knack for these types of things—deciphering people’s digital dispositions—reading crucial underlying intentions masked behind a few pictures and the occasional biography.

“Riley! What are you doing!” Bailey exclaimed, giggling more under a playful attempt to take their phone back.

“Well,” I prefaced while maneuvering around Bailey’s advances, “neither of us are boyfriends. I say we have a fair shot here.”

The phone flew out of my hands, slamming loudly against the hardwood floor. The event elicited a sudden change in our moods, to check if the screen had cracked. We certainly couldn’t afford to pay for a new one.

In silence, we both glanced towards the floor. The phone landed face-up, and the screen revealed a reality we should’ve already been used to. No cracks. Just one phrase: It’s a Match!

“Wait, she’s interested?” Bailey questioned.

“Knew it.”

“Our bio explicitly states that we’re a couple, regardless of pointless titles.”

“Maybe she’s like us.”

Bailey nodded ambivalently.

“Let’s just hope she isn’t into shirtless-mirror-selfie men too,” I teased.

After a brief pause, Bailey beamed, appearing ready to impishly attack me again. I loved it. The frivolity kept our partnership afloat—that and the anticipation of finding more doormats. However, to be fair, I’ll invite Bailey to decide on the next person we swipe right on—airhead or not.


D. T. Mattingly

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4 thoughts on “Neither of Us Are Boyfriends by D.T. Mattingly”

  1. Hi Delvon,
    This was relevant. And what I enjoyed most was that it didn’t preach, it was simply a character based story beautifully told.

    Liked by 1 person

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