A Lovely Introduction (to Flipgrid)

I had 30 seconds to convey a sensual yet provocative message while also instilling a sense of commonality.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

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By Eleanor Chin

After another day of waking up to a cold bed and empty DMs, the idea was born on September 17, 2020. In a fit of loneliness-induced melodrama, I stood to gaze out my bedroom window. What a cruel joke it was to wake up to the beauty of the coming fall with no beautiful woman to warm me through the crisp winds. It’s said that fall is the season of change, yet my relationship status is static, seemingly immutable after years of steadfast isolation. All seemed lost—until I joined my first class, that is.

Many of our teachers had implemented a new app called Flipgrid. My initial reaction was one of cynicism: yet another submission app to forget my password to. However, much to my delight, I was proven wrong. Flipgrid is a video sharing app, one similar to the ever-threatened TikTok, but with an educational focus. Most teachers assigned introduction videos, while others had us respond to a prompt. While these assignments were really just used to soften the blow of assigning three chapters of textbook readings on the first day, I was intrigued by the idea.

At the time, I sought a relationship in which I could be truly seen, truly heard, and truly known; I wanted a deep interpersonal connection in which I could love and be loved, despite my faults, shortcomings, and imperfections. It was this desire for something real that had me enthralled with Flipgrid, and what deeper connection is there than knowing a girl’s first name and her favorite color? Food is the gateway to the soul, and we both prefer hamburgers to hot dogs. Watching her on this app was the most intimate connection I’d ever known. I felt I could really be myself around her. There is no one I’d rather spend the rest of my life with. And this is how I felt for each and every Flipgrid I watched.

I had to get to work crafting the most intricate Flipgrid I could, creating the most idealized version of myself. What else can you do when you meet a girl who makes you feel comfortable being your authentic self? In 30 seconds, she revealed more of herself to me than anyone ever has. She bore her soul to me, and I must do the same for her. After hours spent scouring my house for the best angle to shoot the video—somewhere that was neat enough to evoke a sense of calm, yet messy enough to look effortless—I realized that I might just have to rent an Airbnb. And so I did, and it was beautiful: clean lines, organic shapes, and somewhere I could see myself living with my beautiful wife, should this all go well.

I set up my tripod and changed into paint-splattered jeans (pre-speckled of course) and an oversized collared shirt to foster a sense of success and professionalism but in an artsy and approachable way. The script was the hardest part. My favorite color? I had 30 seconds to convey a sensual yet provocative message while also instilling a sense of commonality. After 10 cycles of writing and editing, it was time to shoot.

It was beautiful. The light poured over me and touched me with a warmth no woman ever had. I said my favorite artist was Conan Grey, and my favorite movie was “Call Me by Your Name. My mannerisms were refined, my stutters intentional, and my nails painted in alternating pastels. It was all going swimmingly. I would finally know the intoxication that is female attention and the bliss that is talking to a girl outside of a breakout room, or so I thought.

Despite my Keatsian imagery and Vogue-worthy angles, my Flipgrid was largely ignored. Instead, a boy with LED string lights and a skateboard on his wall garnered the most attention. His responses were mediocre at best, but his jawline was impeccable, and his Carhartt beanie worn but not ratty. He was emaciated in a way that highlighted his flawless bone structure, and for this, he was adored. I… was not. Love is nothing but a farce.