I’ve consciously resisted the online dating world up until now because, honestly, I just don’t like that many people when I first meet them. Even with Whiskey goggles, Ron Burgundy’s voice comes into my head by the end of the night ("I immediately regret this decision!") How am I supposed to go on one date (with a stranger!) and decide if that’s the person I want to commit another 3 hours to for a second date? Not to mention enduring the countless minutes of small talk through text messages or phone calls (yes, endure is the correct word).
I can be one of those too-nice people. 3 hours turns into 3 weeks, turns into me trying to figure out how to let the guy down gently through non-confrontational means like text messaging and ghosting (I only recently learned this term. Very fitting).
On the same token, I told myself that there’s no more avoiding it—this is the year I will actively date...
I recently joined a social networking community and got a message out of the blue from a guy asking me to coffee (lets call him X for the sake of anonymity and concision). His message was incredibly tasteful in comparison to the bites I’ve gotten from online dating apps (things like: "Sup girl?”—Is “sup” even a thing anymore?!)
So, I gave him the option of Tuesday or Wednesday with the added note that I was going out of town after that. X said Wednesday.
But Tuesday night I got a call from him, asking, "Are you free right now?”
Technically, I was…except I was already in pajamas and in the groove writing. And also—who makes plans one second in advance?
I told him no and asked if we were still on for Wednesday. He said yes, but he’d let me know an exact time later, along with some options for places to meet. Worked for me.
We hung up and at 11 am the next morning I checked in. And… Radio silence. I went about my day, contemplated getting ready around 5pm, but decided against it—Thankfully. I didn’t hear from him until 7 pm Thursday night. His text read: “My bad. Work got crazy!”
That’s maybe worse than “Sup girl,” right?
My sister told me I should respond cordially so I told him I understood and we’d check in when I was back in town (though, I had every intention not to).
But on Tuesday night of the next week, X called and left a nice voicemail asking if I’d be free Friday. Well, I was. And since I promised myself I wouldn't turn down any date offers, I texted him that I could do it.
This time, he texted me the night before: “What are you doing tonight?”
URGH. I told him I’m busy and confirmed that we were still on for the following night.
To my surprise, at 5:15 pm Friday night he checks in. I ask him if he’s hungry and he says he already ate, and, that I "should probably eat first too.” No subtleties there.
We agree to meet at 7pm at a bar/lounge in Studio City. At least, that’s the plan for an hour. At 6:15pm he asks if I want to go to a different bar in Silverlake—an area not close to either of us. I make some excuse about not being able to get a table on a Friday night and he agrees.
At 6:50, I leave my apartment. In my car, I get a text from him: “running a bit behind schedule.”
"A bit" is no big deal! I tell him I’ll get us a table and wait.
What is the cut off for “a bit”? Maybe 15 minutes? An hour goes by. I’m already halfway through my 12-year McCallan.
Finally, he calls, “Where did you park?”
I tell him there’s valet and his reaction is as if I just told him some mind-blowing fact like Space X finally sent Rhianna to space (someday, right?).
In X walks, ten minutes later. All 5 feet of him (don’t get me wrong, height doesn’t technically matter, but its an important fact for later). We do an awkward side hug thing and he says, “I wish you would have called before you left.” (This was puzzling since we'd solidified plans not an hour before we were set to meet). Anyway, he sits down with shifty eyes, looking for a waiter. He says he likes a Hefeweizen, but he doesn’t see one on the menu. I point to the word Hefeweizen on his menu, but still he asks the waiter if they have one. The man points to the same drink I did and X orders it.
The conversation starts with him asking me what I do, even though I told him over the phone. Then he tells me what he does, “I’m a data analyst at Nestle.” He says it like he’s telling my 10 year-old self that my pet fish died while I was at school. With nothing else to go on, I ask if he likes it, which spins him off on a rant about how you have to be ‘somebody' in LA, that working at a reputable company is all that matters, that you need money to get girls and he doesn’t have a problem with gold diggers, that LA is a hard city because people are cliquey and that you need to be rich to do anything fun in the city.
I’ve finished my scotch by now and decline a second pour. I can’t think of a way to stop him from ordering a second beer.
I manage to steer the conversation to lighter topics, but X eventually veers back to his thesis. He tries to convince me that girls only like tall guys because its one thing that doesn’t change (I mention bone deterioration to no avail). Then he reveals he used to be a millionaire when he was younger. He invested in bitcoins and put his well-earned money into a bank in Tokyo (because no one is going to question an American millionaire in Japan, but they’re sure to do it in the US). Sadly, the bank went under and took all his bitcoin money with it.
He makes sure to mention that he doesn’t like to drive to a girl or pay for a girl on a first date if he doesn’t know her. Because he’s not sure she’s worth investing in. In passing he mentions how good looking he is (no comment). And the rest of the conversation is more Napoleon complex and more money complex and more over generalizations about what girls like.
He might have asked me 3 questions overall.
Finally, our blessed waiter comes back and I ask for the check. When we get it, X opens it and then fishes individually folded bills from his pocket. I put my credit card in the mix, because I always offer to pay on a date. And this is the first time I haven’t been denied. Women’s empowerment? It sure didn’t feel like it.
The waiter comes back before X can unfold his second $10 bill and I slap my hand over the check, telling him we aren’t ready. X manages to count every penny of the $20 he owes, and I’m pretty sure he only tipped $1. After the waiter takes the check, X says, “Wait. You didn’t order food, did you? Just the one drink?”
“Yup,” I say. He nods and says nothing else.
As I sign my check, he looks around at the books lining the shelves. “Man, I never read. Do you read?”
Do I read? Do I read? That was the last straw.
By some stroke of luck, I parked at the wrong valet and waved him a flippant goodbye as I strolled down Ventura Blvd. I was so hungry I almost overshot my apartment to get Taco Bell, but went home and made a quesadilla instead.
I’ve concluded that dating in LA requires the same disclaimer that 90’s sweepstakes used at the end of their commercials: “Many will enter; few will win."