Maybe it’s the Austin sun, or the fact that I’ve been locked in a cubicle for the past few weeks, but recently I did something extremely out of character. I don’t know why I insist on letting everyone know – but this story is so incredibly ridiculous, I think it’s worth the embarrassment. Oh God, here we go.
So the other night, my friend Jess and I were sitting on the couch, watching a Harry Potter marathon, as you do, and the conversation turned to online dating. “Hahaha, didn’t **** have a Tinder at one point?!” turned to “Oh my god, Jess, I’m making you a Tinder,” which turned into an hour of hysterics as we swiped left and right on friends, acquaintances, and a multitude of Hemingway-quoting hipsters within a ten-mile radius.
Personally, I’m not the online dating type. Call me old school, but I’m still holding out for the day Julian Casablancas and I bump into each other at a coffee shop, fall madly in love, and ride off into the sunset to Someday. However, for some reason, I found this Tinder thing oddly intriguing, and by the end of the night I was somehow convinced to make one of my own. If you read my last post, you know that I love ambiguity. Perhaps it was that, mixed with a healthy dose of Tuesday night boredom, but I’ll cut to the chase.
You guys. I went on a Tinder date.
(Before you judge me, please note that ~I am already judging myself.)
I don’t really know the best way to convey the catastrophe that was this “date”…so I’ve simply transcribed it exactly as it occurred – the only inaccuracies being that I may have given him more character than deserved. While this may come off as a screenplay or MTV script, trust me, I wish I were exaggerating. For a solid hour, I waited for the Punk’d crew to run out from hiding (at least that way I’d get to meet Ashton Kutcher out of it), but they never came. It was just me, an egg pizza, a ginger we’ll call Falon to preserve the Grade A hipster vibe he was trying to pull off, and the painful dictation that follows.
The plan was cliché, but practical – dinner, Italian to be exact, and I told him I would drive myself (as to not be the next story on the 11 o’clock news). I wore high-waisted jeans and a baggy white t-shirt (mostly to convince myself of the insignificance). I walked in confident about two things – this would either be fun or funny – either of which outcomes I could live with. It wasn’t until he opened the restaurant door that I realized the night might not be so black and white.
Naturally, I did some cyber-stalking before meeting this guy. From my findings (fresh graduate from a small private school in the northeast, mildly Instagram famous, a couple of Thought Catalog articles, lots of pictures in flannel), I expected the conversation to revolve around Oscar Wilde, travel, the new TOMS coffee shop and its exploitation of the Austin coffee scene… But from the moment he opened his mouth, I knew I wouldn’t have to debate A Clockwork Orange with this one – I’d be lucky to get a word in edgewise.
To start off, his voice was maybe…ten octaves higher than mine? However, given I’m 5’ 1”, I’ve learned to make concessions. “What I lack in inches, he lacks in vocals – no harm, no foul,” I thought. I’m sure my voice is annoying in its own right…moving on.
As we sat down at the table, cleverly wedged between a family with children and an old married couple, the waiter laid two menus in front of us. Before I could even take a look, Falon was ready to get the show on the road.
1st Offense – “Did you want a PB&J?”
I suppose Falon was trying to ask if I wanted an appetizer…
Falon: Pointing at each appetizer down the list “Do you want this? …Do you want this? What about this…or do you want this? This? ….This??”
Me: Torn between laughter and confusion “Ahh, that’s alright, I had a late lunch, I’ll be alright.”
Falon: “Do you know what these mean?”
Me: “Err, which one?”
Falon: “Pecorino romano?”
Me: “Oh, I think that’s cheese haha.”
Falon: “Ew, sounds disgusting.”
**I kid you not, Falon then proceeded to walk me through the menu, pointing at each item, sounding out things he couldn’t pronounce, and explaining how “gross” and “disgusting” everything looked…
Afterthoughts: Ehh, should we have gone for Denny’s…? I can be a picky eater too, but for God’s sake, please don’t sound out “bruschetta” again.
2nd Offense – Homesick Blues
I knew that he was new to Austin, so I thought the following would be a natural icebreaker.
Me: “So, how do you like Austin?”
Falon: “Oh God, I hate it here.”
Me: Waiting for the witty punch line…
Falon: “No, really, this city is terrible. I can’t wait to leave. The only thing keeping me here is my job.”
Me: Still convinced this was an attempt at banter “Oh, really. What don’t you like about Austin?”
Falon: “No, you give me three reasons why you like Austin and I’ll shoot them all down for you.”
Me: “Err, it’s a really nice mix of city and country…”
Falon: “False. I’m from Maine – that’s the real countryside. Everyone in Texas thinks they’re so country because they come from some little no name town, little Shitsville, TX. And this skyline – is this a joke? What, are there two buildings taller than 30 stories? Cool.”
Me: “Oh, haha, I’m actually from a little no name town outside of San Antonio…and our skyline’s no NYC, but at least you can breathe here, haha.”
Falon: “Name another.”
Me: “Ehh, you’re just going to negate it with some comment on how much better the Northeast is, haha.”
Falon: “No really, name another.”
Me: “Well you can’t argue that the people are much nicer down south, even in Austin.”
Falon: “Exactly. It’s so fucking annoying. All of you are so polite it’s inefficient. I’m from the north, we’re all assholes and we like it that way. I’ll sit here at a light for two minutes waiting for people to let off the brake, it’s annoying as hell.”
Me: “Haha, we just don’t feel the need to live in a rat race all the time.”
Falon: “Mmm, okay.”
Afterthoughts: There’s a pile of legislation out there trying to keep people like you out of Austin…I suppose there are always holes in the system…
Main Course Misfortune
At this point, I was still convinced Falon was just shaking out some nerves. Sure, he embarrassed himself with the menu and insulted both my hometown and my current residence, but I thought maybe he was just the kind of person that resorts to insults to strike up conversation. Well, I was correct about the insults…and I suppose you could call the following “conversation”…if you can call one person speaking and the other person staring in bafflement “dialog”…
3rd Offense – Degrees of Freedom
Me: “So you said you went to Northeastern, how was that?”
Falon: “Oh, I really hated college.”
Me: “Oh no! Why do you say that?”
Falon: “It was just a complete waste of time and money. You don’t need a degree to make it in the digital age.”
Me: “I mean, I definitely don’t think college is a blanket solution for everyone, but isn’t your degree in digital marketing helpful now that you’re at a social media firm? And work so much with Instagram?”
Falon: “Come on, we both know business degrees are bullshit. They don’t mean anything, they’re just easy classes for people who can’t do anything real.”
Me: Swallowing pride, “Well regardless of the classes, I think a lot of college has to do with the people you’re around. So many of my classmates are brilliant and I love bouncing things off of them…”
Falon: Cutting me off, “I’m actually not really sure I even got the actual degree.”
Falon: “Yeah, well I took a few months off to go bartend in New York and then San Fran. I came back after a while, but I skipped graduation, so I’m not really sure if I got it.”
Me: Starting to see where this was going, “Didn’t they ask you for a transcript at your job?”
Falon: “Oh no, they asked for a resume, but I just lied about it and fudged my GPA a bit. They’ll never know, and now that I have my first job, no one will ever ask. My boss is never even at the office and I don’t even work more than three hours a day. It’s a pretty sweet con.”
Falon: “Oh yeah, I literally don’t do anything. We have a lot of mom and pop clients who don’t know how to use social media, so we basically monitor their Facebook posts and just take their money.”
Me: “And you’re okay with that?”
Falon: “I mean, yeah. It’s their fault for not keeping up with the digital age. It’s just like my Instagram. I post some crap poetry, add a filter, and done. I literally hate poetry. Companies pay me to write two sentences in my car. It’s all bullshit, but the 14-year-old girls fawn all over it and I get paid.”
Afterthoughts: You. Don’t. Know? There are so many other ways you could’ve phrased dropping out of college and you chose “I skipped graduation so I’m not sure”? Come on man, say you wanted to become a writer or YouTuber, travel, creative expression, self discovery, eat pray love, something. There’s an unspoken confidence interval of respectable/inspired reasons to drop out and you chose ignorance? That’s past my threshold of believable responses, bud.
And for the record, I work hard for my crap GPA. People like me hate people like you. As for the fake resume thing…you’re wooing me with your unethical attitude and lack of work ethic – someone hold me back, I think I’m falling in love.
4th Offense – The Future’s So Bright, You’ve Gotta Be Shady
Falon then proceeded to ask me what I wanted to do with my useless degree.
Me: “Well, I think I’m interested in consulting. Maybe management or tech.”
Falon: with a look of surprise and intrigue “Ahh, so you like conning people too!”
Me: with a look of defeat “Err, not exactly. What do you mean by that?”
Falon: “Consulting is just like a big con with bigger clients and higher stakes. If your solution doesn’t work, you just say that you forgot to include one variable in your prediction and bam, they can’t blame you for failure. You take the money and go.”
Me: “Not exactly. Consultants are a pair of trained, outside eyes that can go in and help a company see problems they didn’t know they had. A lot of the time they don’t have the time or resources to fix their own problems, and they’re so deep into it, it’s hard to step back and see what can be fixed…”
Falon: “And what makes your pair of eyes better than anyone else’s?”
Afterthoughts: Fair. But I’ll start with the degree that I. Will. Actually. Possess.
5th Offense – Sprichst du Englisch?
At this point, I knew I couldn’t believe a thing that came out of this guy’s mouth, but for some reason I kept asking questions out of curiosity for the next great groundbreaking idea this self-proclaimed “con artist” would share next. I asked him where he saw himself going next since he hated Austin so much, and uncovered his truly adventurous spirit.
Falon: “Well, I’d really like to spend some time in the Netherlands.”
Me: “Oh, really? That sounds amazing, doing what?”
Falon: “I just want to sit on the beach with my typewriter and write all day.”
Me: Surprised by the first normal thing to come out of him “Oh, I’d love to be able to do that someday. I’m going to Austria in the spring and I hope to find some little café to write in in my free time.”
Falon: “Austria? Why Austria?”
Me: “Oh, I’m a German minor and I’d really love to get better with the language.”
Falon: “Ugh. Really? I hate foreign language. It’s actually the most annoying thing to me.”
Me: Mistaking this for a joke, “Haha, no but really, it’s the best way to learn about a culture and its history. I’m going to be so embarrassed at first, but I hope to get to the point where I can converse with the locals.”
Falon: “Why? They should just speak English. That’s something that really bothers me about this world. Clearly, Americans have taken anything any other country’s done and made it ten times better. Including language. I just love the way we sound, the Brits should speak American English now too, it’s only practical. It bothers me being in Austin with so many people speaking Spanish all the time. You’re in America, speak English.”
Me: Dying a little at this point, “Haha, if you weren’t from the Northeast, I might mistake you for a redneck. So you don’t plan on learning any foreign language before going abroad?”
Falon: “Absolutely not.”
Me: “Then your argument’s invalid, haha. You can’t just expect everyone to cater to your close-minded, American needs.”
Falon: “Why not? What does a foreign country have that America doesn’t?”
Me: “History, art, architecture…”
Falon: “What are you going to do with architecture? Stare at it for 45 seconds? Then what?”
Me: “It’s not the amount of time you get pleasure out of it, it’s more like the feeling you get from looking at something older than the 200-year-old buildings we have here.”
Falon: “200 years is a long time. I like to call myself US-centric for a reason. We don’t need to be old to be the best.”
Afterthoughts: It’s called ethnocentric. And it’s awfully charming, isn’t it?
6th offense – Upper Middle Ass
As Falon tried to save himself from his apparent impending doom, he asked me where I wanted to go and what I was passionate about. As I started talking about where I was travelling with my roommates in the spring, he so graciously interrupted with his own idea of adventure.
Falon: “Oh no, I never want to go to Africa, even Morocco.”
Me: “Oh really, why’s that?”
Falon: “I mean, as bad as it sounds, I’m an upper middle class white dude from the northeast. I haven’t really had to deal with hardship in my life and I’d like to keep it that way.”
Me: “So your plan is to just act like it doesn’t exist…”
Falon: “Well, exactly. Unless it’s going to knock on my door, it doesn’t bother me much.”
Me: “So you’re okay knowing that you lead a comfortable life when there are people all over the world trying to get enough to eat?”
Falon: “I don’t like to think about it like that. I like to think that the little starving kids in Africa want me to take advantage of what I have. Like, they’d be mad at me for wasting it.”
Me: “You don’t think they’d want your help at all…”
Falon: “No. Come on, you’ve got to be the same way. Social movements are all just a charade. It’s not like people are really passionate about it.”
Falon: “Well, what are you passionate about?”
Me: “Well to start, I come from a military family, so I’d love to help improve veteran affairs one day.”
Falon: “Ohh, I love the military. My sister’s getting her military degree right now on their dime, it’s a great con.”
Afterthoughts: You realize that by “I come from a military family,” I also meant to add that I used to shoot competitively…
The Great Escape
By this point, you couldn’t have paid me to endure this dude’s presence any longer. As the check came, I feverously tried to figure out how to get out of the movie he proposed seeing afterwards. I texted my roommate Emily, and asked her to call me in a minute, saying she was locked out and needed me to come let her in ASAP. The tables were so close together, and Emily called faster than I could get up to take the call, so I was stuck lying through suppressed laughter two feet away from the guy. I’m a terrible liar, but in retrospect, this probably worked to my advantage…