Welcome back! I have a lot of exciting news to share since my last column. The definition of “exciting” can be open to interpretation. Not because I found an incredible man to date and now I am completely fulfilled in my life, but because I have managed to go on some completely and utterly ridiculous dates within an insanely short time frame. In brief, I have been incredibly productive.
It may be hard to believe, if you know me well, but I do sometimes give people the benefit of the doubt. I am trying to be more open with dating. In the past, I have found myself too quick to eliminate potential matches. Through the mass popularity and rise of online dating, the selection of potential suitors has become incredibly specific. With a filter option, I can wipe out thousands of potential matches in the New York Metro Area. You smoke? No thanks, Next! You’re under Six Feet Tall? I love heels, Next! You live more than five miles away from me? Sounds complicated, Next!
At first, the ability to be incredibly specific sounds promising. Much like ordering a custom car, you can log-in to OkCupid (insert preferred dating site here) in the comfort of your own home (read: in pajamas eating Thai food you ordered from Seamless) without the fear of judgment. Meanwhile, you are judging away like it is your job! I began to think why I wasn’t getting my desired results. I would love to date a tall, non-smoker that lives close to me. But, what I was failing to ask myself was: does this person also want to date me? It is easy to judge when the subject is not yourself. Once the proverbial mirror is reflecting back all of your own imperfections, reality sets in. While we all think we are great, it is humbling to think that not everyone may be of that same opinion. The reason I bring this up, is because this introspection has led me to try to stop treating dating like an Amazon shopping cart. The profiles I scroll through while on OkCupid belong to actual people, just like me, that have hopes and dreams.
In the spirit of accepting myself and others, I have begun to cast a wider net to attempt to catch a match. I have given you this entire back story to explain how I ended up on my most recent date, a date that most certainly fell into the spirit of wider nets and open minds. I’m no wallflower and certainly do not cross my fingers and hope that someone I am interested in will reach out to me through a dating site. I am more than capable of making the first digital move and I often do. That being said, I love receiving inquiries. I recently got a message from a gentleman (more on that later) that would not have made it through my prior screening, mainly due to height. His message seemed thoughtful. Unlike many I have received, it contained fully formed sentences and respected grammatical rules. As much as I love a message that starts with “Hey gurl how r u?” or “Can u send me some booty pics!?!” I enjoy being surprised with a message written in English that acknowledges something I wrote on my profile. I certainly didn’t write the profile for my benefit!
I was stressed with my internship winding down and completing my final project, so I responded to this suitor with the request to meet in a week or so. He happily obliged and I was impressed. In my experience, there is a short shelf-life on the time frame between the initial contact to the first date. Given the sheer number of options on OkCupid, many people start to get ADD. For example, “You cannot meet me at a bar in 5 minutes? Go F Yourself!” Ok, maybe not that extreme, but I’m making a point. I was also impressed with his date suggestions. He had good taste and gave me several options known for delicious cocktails. I had not been to the Crosby Street Hotel, so I chose that spot. I was taking a new approach to dating, so why not try a new spot, too?
I had really high hopes for the date. I decided to be positive and ignore the red flags, all five of them, until I was asked point blank this series of questions: 1. Do you think we are compatible? 2. Are you unhappy? 3. You are not attracted to me, are you? So, what were the red flags that should have warned me before this Dr. Phil-esque series of questions?
1. He texted me about 20 minutes before the date letting me know he would be late, but with no update on timing. Did late mean 5 minutes or an hour? I decided to sit my ass down on my comfy couch and watch TV, because as much as I like to look like a call-girl lingering at a hotel, I’d like to avoid that. It took multiple texts for me to conclude he would be about 45 minutes late. This is sort of a big change. He said there was traffic, which meant he was driving, which meant he lived far away. I was very confused. I decided to wait until he parked this alleged “car” before I took my fairly predictable subway to the hotel.
2. He constantly checked his phone during the date. I made a comment and asked if he needed to step away to deal with his pressing messages. I wasn’t sure why his messages were so urgent, especially since he is a manager of several pharmacies and not the part of a SWAT team, but, in the spirit of being positive, I let it go. Benefit of the doubt!
3. His phone rang and I saw the contact “Mommy” – he didn’t hesitate to pick up the phone and have a lengthy conversation with his mother in Italian. It is always a pleasure to hear a one-sided conversation in a language you don’t understand. Joy.
4. He was utterly overwhelmed with the cocktail selection and mentioned that he “barely” drinks. As a passionate cocktail lover, this seemed like it could be a challenge. I was foreseeing the need to order multiple drinks at this point and it would have been nice to have him order as well, but this didn’t stop me. Especially given red flags #1, #2 and #3.
5. He consistently portrayed himself in an unfavorable light which seemed to hint at some serious, deeply rooted insecurity. I’m all about modesty, but self-depreciating humor can get a bit awkward after a while. How do you respond to someone constantly saying how chubby he is? Aren’t first dates for best impressions? SOS.
Ok, about three-quarters of the way through the date, he asked me if I thought we were compatible. I am a fairly direct person, but this seemed a bit weird. Once you let that horse out of the barn, it is hard to go to “before” the question was asked. Now, keep in mind, at this point, all red flags (see above) had been revealed. I was getting a bit over it, but was intrigued to hear what sort of BS would come out of his mouth on this line of questioning. I told him that I was more curious to hear what he thought on this topic, since he clearly had thoughts on our compatibility (as an aside, did his mother have thoughts too, did she share them during the Italian phone call?). He shared that he didn’t think we were compatible. Hmm…I needed to know more. But why! He asked if I was happy and I said very much so. Dr. Phil shared that I wasn’t and sounded bitter. I had to take the bait- But why! He could provide one (!) example: he said it didn’t sound like I enjoyed life because I had negative comments about my experience at Sleep No More (an expensive interactive theater experience). I politely explained to him the difference between being bitter and having an opinion. This seemed to not “click” for Dr. Phil. He continued his diagnosis of our compatibility.
Next, he shared that he felt I wasn’t attracted to him because I made “weird faces” several times. I asked when I made these faces, and he said throughout the night. I offered specific examples of when I may have made the faces: 1. When he spoke to his mother in Italian on our date 2. When he said he didn’t drink much 3. When he constantly made disparaging remarks about his appearance and sounded insecure. I shared that I typically make a “stank face” when I hear something that sounds ridiculous. Again, didn’t really resonate.
I decided to finish my third cocktail and call it a night. Our date was going nowhere fast and quite frankly I wanted to go home to watch Breaking Bad. At least Walter White could salvage my evening. I have several dates lined up in the coming days. Check out the next Oppy for an update!
Until next time,