I have never been on a real live “grownup” date. Up to a few months ago, I had been in a six- year relationship which started when I was 21. I’ve done my fair share of hanging out with guys, but it usually wasn’t over drinks and a nice dinner. (Those things came well after the relationships had started). Like a typical overachiever, I decided that newly single me had to get good at dating, and to get good at dating, I needed to practice it. So three weeks ago, along with thousands of other people who made New Year’s resolutions to get in the game, I joined OKC.
G messaged me shortly after I joined the site, with a nice, witty message that praised my taste in comfort food like grilled cheese and pancakes. It was the best message I received on the site so far (no body parts mentioned, no generic, “hi”) and he looked cute, so I messaged him back and he quickly asked me out. We agreed to meet at a bar in the burbs for an early evening drink/dinner.
When I got to the bar, I was relieved to see G looked very much like his picture (except for the couple inches he added to his height online). He was super nervous, and I realized that thing about online dating is that people can be much more confident and smooth behind a computer screen than in person. (Or, they could be like me, and just never be smooth, regardless of the mode of communication.) Despite the nervousness, he was a sweet date: he told me he picked the bar because they were rumored to have great grilled cheese, he never gave one word answers, and he attempted the occasional joke. But it became clear to me pretty quickly that we didn’t have a lot in common, and finding things to talk about seemed a bit like work. So, after 1.5 hours of conversation, he asked if I wanted to go for a walk, and I told him I had plans to meet a friend (I did!).
He walked me to the metro, where I thanked him for a good time and told him to have a good weekend. To which he replied, “Oh, I’m not leaving, I am getting on the metro too.” Let the awkwardness begin. As soon as the train started moving, he turns to me, and says, “um, do you care if I do thissssss…” while putting his arm around me. For those of you not familiar with the DC metro, let me set the mood here: We are sitting side by side in some seriously bright and unflattering lighting, surrounded by a combination of tourists in fanny packs, noisy tweens, and uptight 20 and 30s somethings on their way home from a late evening of work. There is a 75% chance this train will stop working and go out of service before we reach our destination. There are all sorts of smells floating in the air, among them strong BO, old cheese, and old lady perfume (thanks tourists!). I can’t think of a worse place for someone to make a romantic overture, especially someone who you aren’t interested in. But at this point, I’m trapped on the moving train, and I figure if I say no then we have to sit in 10 awkward minutes of silence, or I have to get off the train, which, as DCers know, is a terrible idea cause the transit here’s not exactly regular. So, I say…”ehhh…ok?” in a high pitched voice and proceed to focus the conversation on nice, neutral topics like the weather and the traffic. And, then he’s like….”Ummm, I had a great time, I really would like to see you again.” And I’m like “ehhh…why don’t you text me next week and we’ll figure it out then.” I wanted to be up front with him but AGAIN, I am trapped on the train with him and I’m not really into seeing his reaction to rejection live. But I’m hoping he’ll get the hint. He does not. As the train arrives at his stop, he leans toward me for a kiss. My eyes see him leaning in, and before my brain has fully processed what’s happening, my adrenaline kicks in and I turn my head sharply to the right, giving him my cheek. I feel bad, but I just can’t do it.
Overall grade: 5/10-points to G for being so thoughtful, picking a great place and being a decent conversationalist who didn’t take himself to0 seriously. I really could have done without the advances on public transit, though.
Lesson learned: Arrange separate transportation home!
“I realized the thing about online dating is that people can be much more confident and smooth behind a computer screen than in person.” Omg preach. You basically just summed up my whole past year’s experience in one sentence. Truer words have never been written.
Also…How Stella Got Her Groove Back. Fantastic.
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