I joined OKCupid in March under the impression that with an IKEA bed finally built and curtains, however lopsided, securely hung, I was of a maturity that favors a relationship. I have since deactivated and reactivated my account in either self-pity or desperation, respectively, on multiple, shameful occasions (5 times. I’ve done it 5 times).
I’m not good at it. I don’t know how to read beyond the egotism of a self-summary, nor, albeit calling myself a writer who writes of life experiences, know how to write about myself. I blank on my interests while filling out a profile (Do I like boats? I mean, how much do I like boats?). And I don’t get much better on the actual date. I have a natural bored face, thus I exaggerate my intrigue with a lot of smiles and head nods, making me pretty creepy in candlelight.
But enough about me, lets talk about the guys. That sounds more fun/this may make me a bad person.
1. The Date for Sex
I let him choose the place and he lands on a craft beer bar in his neighborhood. He waits outside, his hand in his pants pocket, and I note immediately, pleasingly, that he is handsome beyond photographs. We hug hello and I should have known from one whiff of cologne.
Inside we order our drinks and he hands the bartender one of those black cards with weight, though we both agreed on having only one beer and there is a $20 minimum. At the sight of an AmEx, I know what date I’m on. I would bet the limit of that card this bar is in an ideal proximity to his apartment, a long enough distance for small talk and a brief warning that he neglected washing this morning’s dish because, no, of course he didn’t anticipate this. His phone buzzes with match.com notifications and after his comment on the cleavage in my photographs, I cannot feign surprise when he says he went on two dates with the woman at the table behind us. I thought this man only existed in angst blogs or to provide gravity to the feminist movement, but alas, here he is, my first date in the city.
After an evening of flattering himself, he invites me over. No, I say, early day tomorrow. Really, I won’t be up until noon but I have Cheerios and a long shower awaiting me, anything to eradicate this date from memory. I show my friends the text he sends at 1 a.m. a few nights later:
“Wanna make out?”
2. The Dater Who Needed Online Dating
Some people have dating boiled down to science and strategies and whitened teeth; others prevail behind the barricade of a computer screen. Neither is wrong and, to be fair, I’m here, too.
Throughout the date he slouched and insisted I order more beer. He tells me all the tired, rehearsed first-date-material and eventually, with abandon, his ardent love for the sport of pinball. Yes. He went on: how he came to be a pinballer, the competitions he won and those he lost, the bartenders who cheer him on nightly from their designated sideline. In detail he described his favorite machine. I enjoy a man with eccentricity. I once fell for a guy who mulishly believed aliens had abducted him. The pinballer deserved a chance.
I must commend the man; he played with finesse, and his passion, though alarming and one can only hope somewhat misplaced, paralleled my own for writing. But as the ball slipped past the stoppers and out of rotation, he grew belligerent, and this unbridled loathing he violently displayed was, well, scary. To lose a ball in pinball was to him life’s most vexing misfortune. He apologized for his aggression, offered condolences with another beer, but still, I have never so quickly hailed a cab. I am sure he understood.
3. The Little Dater Who Could
This man dates with enthusiasm. We exchange all of two messages before he asks for my number and follows up with a time and location the next evening. His initiative was at once intimidating and attractive; I felt desired. Something I said in three paragraphs compelled this man to spend money on me. I mistook that as promise.
Our conversation hindered and peaked in places, as most dates with strangers do. Our two hours of sipping Stellas only resulted in a heightened suspicion that we have nothing in common. No matter, we leave the restaurant for a jazz bar. The musicians did their part filling the lull of our conversation and the canned PBR eased the part of me slowly introverting. He decides to walk me home – thirty blocks too many for a banal, overwhelmingly platonic, at best, date. I believed us as a couple dead-ended hours ago, but he has a point to prove. I am on the marathon date and we are closing in on hour four. At this offer I suggest Jameson shots.
We walk without holding hands, our most physical moment being when his arm mistakenly brushes mine. We near Penn Station and he invites me to beers with his friends. I am poor at exits, so I say I can’t, express my gratitude and descend the nearest stairs that lead me to the wrong train. The inconvenience of traveling one stop in the opposite direction is worth getting home, finally, alone.
4. The Date He Thought Went Well (But I Never Answered)
For this, I can only apologize. He was kind and intelligent, a graduate student of an Ivy League. He read the book I recommended, and a word of advice for men I date (LOL I’m not getting any dates after this), you should read the books I recommend. They are the beginning and end of everything I want to talk about.
He walks me home and asks if he could see me again, at which I should have said no. Instead I lied. I am sorry. It isn’t him, though it is that I am not attracted to him, but that was never his decision. I am human and damned with shallow preferences. Also, his tongue swirled about my lips and wrestled with my tongue, and thou shall never violate a mouth the way he did mine.
5. The Date I Thought Went Well (But He Never Called)
In hindsight, this is for the better – or that is what I tell myself as mantra to ease the bitter voice inside me, because, really, I let him eat that burger and chili fries ruthlessly, not once mentioning my vegetarianism or that he got ketchup on his cheek. I was on my best dating behavior.
He performs spoken word and few things thrill me more than a man with a creative investment in or a sincere appreciation of poetry. I don’t even care how pretentious that sounds. We meet last minute for beers after a week of composing essays to one another, after a week of refreshing my account in hopes of words from him. When we finally meet I feel I know him with intimacy. He is refreshing; this is promising. This is what dates are supposed to feel like: like something resembling a tangible, blossoming relationship.
I was wrong and all things I believed of that evening dissolved to a hopeless romantic’s musings. We hug goodbye at the train station where he asks to see me again, and I smile. Oh, did I smile; I was damn near beaming. For three days I await his text message, an exclamation of us, a prospective evening for us to rekindle our majestic partnership. Nothing. He texted me nothing. So, boy who took me to that bar on the Upper West Side, whom I have since chalked up to some cruel cosmic retribution: you should have called. We would have made cute babies.