First Date with a Brit: Love Actually isn’t All Around

Happy almost Fourth of July, Stucu readers! I figured since we’re hours away from the holiday and I’m writing to you from the cradle of the American Revolution, what better way to celebrate our independence from a tyrannical, oppressive government than to write a post about my independence from a…well not tyrannical, or oppressive date. But a bad one. Yeah, pretty much just bad.

Fact: I am a huge Anglophile. Huge. D and I spent a semester in London in college, and four months was all it took to convert us to PMQ watching, Strongbow drinking, chocolate digestive eating fanatics.

It was the time of our lives. I still daydream about our favorite neighborhood pub, the Dev, and our favorite place for a spot of tea, the Muffin Man. I miss the high streets and the tube and the night bus and the free museums and the history and the parks and even the shitty weather and perhaps most of all, the lovely people with their lovely accents.

So after reading that little rant, you can probably guess my reaction when a real live British dude messaged me on okc last fall.

kristen wiig excited

I thought, this is it. We’ll fall in love, he’ll work in government and make an impassioned speech simultaneously defending my honor against Billy Bob Thornton and standing up for his country, we’ll kiss at a children’s Christmas concert and at our wedding, our friends will surprise us with a beautiful rendition of “All You Need is Love” complete with musicians hiding in the pews.

If you suspect that I just described multiple plot lines from the cinematic masterpiece known as Love Actually, you would be correct.

So anyway, back to this Brit, N. I’ll be totally up front here and admit that if he hadn’t been British, I wouldn’t have gone out with him. There was nothing wrong with him, per se, his profile was just….dull. And he did seem to have that typical British boy look that we’d encountered while abroad: pale, pasty, slightly effeminate. What some people might call “milk toast” (and by some people I mean my mother). To look at him you’d assume he owned a lot of pink shirts and ties and listened to Abba with no sense of shame or irony, and from my experience that assessment would probably be correct. But… British. So there was NO WAY, short of him showing signs of being the next Hannibal Lecter, that I was going to turn down a date with him. If you don’t understand my shameless accent sluttiness, please refer to this comprehensive scientific graph that I found on the interwebs. See, I’m not the only one:

british accent

So I said yes to a date. And what transpired next was totally alarming. He called me. Not to make plans, because we’d already done that over text, but to chat. On the phone. Before we’d met. I’m aware that many women find this behavior desirable, even necessary. But the level of sheer awkwardness involved in something like this cannot be understated. Neither party knows what to say. Neither has heard the other’s voice before. Neither knows when to talk, when to listen, and the entire thing is a clusterfuck of “Oh sorry, what? No you go ahead. No really”s. Gah. Again, the only reason I even picked up instead of letting his call roll to voicemail and texting later claiming I’d been busy was to hear that voice and picture Mark Darcy on the other end of the line. Mmmmmm.


So anyway, the conversation was painfully awkward, but I did get a preview of his accent. N had moved to the states as a young adult so it was a bitttt muddled, but still definitely there.

Our date kept getting pushed back, though, first because I was sick (ahem, I actually was unlike some people) and then because of Hurricane Sandy. I couldn’t believe all the forces that were trying to keep me apart from my English destiny! Finally, on ELECTION NIGHT, the only night we were both available, I met N at a Mexican restaurant. Over margaritas and guac, I asked N about his childhood in the UK, moving to the states, college, his current job, and a bevy of other topics. Here’s a little sampling of what transpired:

S: “So do you still miss England a lot?”

N: “Sometimes.”

S: “What do you miss most?”

N: “Being able to watch football all the time.”

S: “Oh, what’s your team? I tried to read that Nick Hornby book Fever Pitch about Arsenal fans because I love his other books, but I had no idea he was talking about since I’m clueless about British football. Haha.” (Time out, you guys. Apparently Colin Firth stars in the British version of this movie which I’ve never seen. Mark my words, this will be happening on Netflix Instant ASAP. Time in.)

Fever_Pitch_R2-[cdcovers_cc]-front

N: “I like Arsenal.”

S: “Cool!”

Silence. N stares. S glugs her margarita. Waitress refills our water glasses. S pretends to be super engrossed in election returns on TV behind N.

S: So…what did you think of the London Olympics?

N: They were good. My parents went actually.

S: Awesome! Which events?

N: I don’t remember.

S: When was the last time you went back?

N: About a year ago.

S: Do you have to go back periodically? Are you on a work visa or something?

N: I actually have dual citizenship.

At this point I SHOUTED: DUAL CITIZENSHIP?!?!?! just to bring some goddamn excitement into the conversation, startling both N and the couple sitting next to us. The conversation went on exactly like this for an hour plus.

Guys. This was quite possibly the most excruciatingly boring date I’d ever been on. This f-cking Brit was apparently so jazzed to meet me that he had to call me and chat with me OVER THE PHONE beforehand, and then in person proceeded to give one word answers to everything I asked and offer no conversation topics in return. It was horrribbbble. So please know out of sheer boredom I resorted to recreating the scene in Love Actually where Colin Frizzle comes to America and hot girls fawn all over him. Charmed by his accent, they make him senselessly repeat words just to giggle at how he pronounces them. Yes, I reenacted this exchange with my date (minus the group sex at the end):


I actually  physically pointed to his beer and said ‘What’s this?’ And he actually said, ‘bottle’ (adorably, damn it). Am I proud of this airheaded behavior? Not particularly, no. But frankly N shouldn’t be proud of his sub par social skills, either.

Finally, exhausted from basically performing a Vaudeville act to keep the date going while my date lazily sipped his Corona, and wanting to get home to watch the election results, I told him that I was tired and must be going. We got our coats and walked outside, where N tried to kiss me on a crowded street corner and I awkwardly rolled his advance into a hug. ‘Thanks again, nice meeting you!’ I shouted and basically ran down the street. There is no way I am hearing from him again, I thought, and I’m glad. That was excruciating. Not even the promise of a glamorous bicontinental lifestyle could make me go through that again.

Of course, I’d forgotten my Dating Law of Inverses, which states: whenever I find a date unbearably awkward and boring, pretty much without fail the dude thinks otherwise. Conversely, whenever I have a great time and there’s tons of flirting, interesting conversation and witty banter, my date essentially runs in the opposite direction. Your honor(s), I’d like to introduce Exhibit A as evidence:

nick the brit

Of course he enjoyed our date. Of COURSE. He essentially got a free viewing of my one woman show, The Many Personalities of S: Filling Awkward Silences by Any Means Necessary. He did nothing, and I did all the work. If he hadn’t picked up the tab, I would have actually considered sending him a bill.

Needless to say I politely declined a second date, as I already have a full time job and don’t need a part time gig coming up with conversation starters for Milk Toast McGee. So that was my one (and so far, only) date with a (sort of) foreigner. And as much as I still adore the UK, I’ll think twice before trying to date a British dude again. Unless, of course, one of these gentlemen comes a-calling:

henry cavill britishcolin firth darcyPrince-Harry_4

Date rating: 4.5/10. I got to listen to the accent and enjoy a few margs, which upped his score from a literal goose egg, but dear God was N boring.

I know. That was a lot of British talk. Let’s cleanse our palates, shall we, my fellow patriots?

And last but not least:

Happy Birthday, ‘Murica.


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I paid $75 for a Match.com subscription and all I got was this rage-filled manifesto

As I may have mentioned once or twice, I’m going through a bit of a dating dry spell at the moment. What typically happens when I tell people this is they immediately instruct me to join Match.com. Well, bossy advice givers, I’ll have you know that I actually already did. Last fall I was going through a similar dry spell. Fueled by over-exposure to those commercials where everyone looks super happy and attractive, and depressed over my lack of action otherwise, I came to the conclusion that Match must be where it’s at. I had two theories:

1. Match is a paying site so it must weed out at least SOME of the losers and deadbeats I was encountering on okc. If you’re 30, sleeping on your parents’ couch, and can’t afford ramen noodles, you’re probably going to opt for the free dating site, right?

2. Since people are paying, they must be at least a little more serious/proactive about going out and not spending 12 years nonsensically sending messages back and forth online. Paid subscription = we all want to get our money’s worth = no one is f-cking around.

So how was my experience on Match.com? Let’s just say I would have been better off setting that $75 on fire. But before I tell you about the actual men I went out with (and get excited because they were winners), I’d like to review the actual website for you fine people.

Why Match.com was a supreme waste of my money:

  • The site is laughably ghetto. A friend of mine joined Match literally 4-5 years ago (coincidentally she also hated it) and I remember it being EXACTLY the same as it is today. Not one update or aesthetic makeover. It looks like something that was super cool and cutting edge in 1998, and the profile pics are smaller and blurrier than on okc.
  • They delete your messages after a month. I went back to look up an old message and was like waittttt….where are they?? I know you’re thinking what the hell do you need old messages for, and the answer is THIS BLOG, people! Also, I paid for the stupid service, don’t delete my shit! Okcupid is free and I can still access the first message I received and every one in between. And without that technology I could never have accurately brought the world the story of the guy who couldn’t find his car.
  • They make you answer inane questions and then clumsily use them to try to set you up with matches. For instance, they ask you if you like animals, you say yes, and suddenly you will get matched with someone and it will say ‘He’s a dog lover like you!’ with a dog icon next to it. Actually, Match, I wouldn’t call myself a dog lover. Those are your words, not mine. Corgis, yes. Dogs in general, meh. I don’t even want to answer the stupid animals question because I don’t care; stop trying to push people together based on these lame forced conversation starters.
  • There are “like” buttons literally everywhere. We get it, you’re trying to be Facebook, but what happens when you put that  button all over your site is some of us accidentally click it while cruising for dudes three glass of Sutter Home Pinot Grigio deep and end up liking a stranger’s photo of him tailgating with his dad and what looks to be his hot ex-girlfriend. Hypothetically speaking, of course. Here’s what I think of that, Match: facebook-dislike-button
  • They try to upgrade you/sell you something every five minutes. Besides the “stir” events, which are their own brand of hideous, (I was routinely invited to “singles mixers” at my local Banana Republic. Banana. Republic.) there are approximately 15 levels of membership and a bevy of stupid shit around every corner including “professional profile writing” for FORTY DOLLARS. The best (i.e. most insulting) ploy they use to make more money is you can actually pay to have your profile highlighted in an obnoxious day glow green color. This, according to the good people of Match, increases your visibility and the likelihood of someone clicking on your profile. And people pay for it! Tons of dudes had those awful green profiles. Also, I’m no dating guru, but I’m thinking sporting a profile the color of Nickelodeon slime in order to garner male attention might come off a tad desperate. And I’m sorry, but if I have to resort to visual tricks to get a date with someone, I’d rather sit at home on my couch and watch House Hunters: International, a-thank you very much. In summary, Match.com is basically a PBS telethon: annoying and relentless. The whole time I wanted to be like listen, Match, I already gave you my hard earned money, and I got my commemorative coffee mug in return. Now let me get back to watching Anne of Green Gables, for f-ck’s sake!

Those were all annoyances, but the real test of an online dating site’s worth is obvious: did I actually get dates? The answer is a weak yes.  I went out with three people from match.com in four months.

Before I tell you about my dates, I just want you to take a look one more time at Match’s stellar marketing campaign and the types of encounters they’re telling single people they’re going to have if they join their site.

Wow, those looked fun. So excited to share my real dates with you guys! You ready? Okay, without further ado:

S’s Match.com Dates

Match.com Date #1: Awkward guy who had what turned out to be crippling social anxiety and who in the first 11 minutes of our date launched into a HORRIFYING story about him having some sort of blood clot thing that paralyzed half of his body suddenly and he had to go to rehab and learn how to walk again and then was in massive medical debt and had to move back home with his parents for two years and became severely depressed and would I like to go watch a movie at his twin sister’s apartment who lives around the corner after we finished our drinks? That was a first date. I’m SERIOUS, guys. That’s how my first Match.com date went down.

Match.com Date # 2: Guy who was nice enough but who was also half a foot shorter than he described himself online and who was so boring I kept having to literally pinch the skin on my arm to stay awake. He loved to talk and told me in excruciating detail about his dad’s lighting(..?) business that he was going to inherit and his hobbies which included following Phish around the country on tour. I believe he’d seen them 33 times. Ugh. Jam bands.

phish

So. Yeah. I’ve actually referenced this date before (although I can’t remember the post where I did, sorry) because it took a truly comical and somewhat epic turn, but I don’t think it would be smart to share it on the interwebs, anonymous or not. But here’s how it ended: my date bought us gelato, and I then stole that gelato, hopped in a cab, and never saw him again. I considered it payment for the 2+ excruciating hours I spent listening to him talk about Phish. #winning

Match.com Date # 3: Dude who grew up one town away from me in Jersey so we awkwardly knew some of the same people from high school. We had like four dates dates, and they were fine, but it was nothing special. He was a terrible kisser at first, so bad that he earned himself the nickname ‘trouty mouth’. We started going out right before my birthday which he insisted on taking me out for (I swear I was not trying to garner a weird birthday date with a guy I was still in the early stages of dating). HE planned this whole night, then proceeded to cancel at the last minute because of “work things”, then broke it off with me the day after my birthday. Which I was furious about, but only because I didn’t get to do it first. I think I responded with something to the tune of, “Just so you know I didn’t even like you and was planning on ending it, too. Kthx! xoxo”

Obviously I need to be in their next commercial. People of Match.com, feel free to contact me about reenacting any of the above encounters. I think it would be a stellar addition to your marketing efforts.

Besides the wonderful dates, I also received far fewer messages on Match than I have on okc. True, that means I received fewer messages that were completely nonsensical and wildly inappropriate, but it also means fewer decent messages that I’d actually reply to. And I also sent fewer, because I struggled to find anyone half decent who I might be interested in. Messaging highlights included:

  •  A guy who canceled and then RE-CANCELED plans for a first date but continued to bug me for weeks via text even when it became abundantly clear that he didn’t actually intend to meet up and that I was probably being catfished.
  • A cute guy who sent me a really lovely message and when I wrote back, mere hours later, he replied with something to the tune of “Actually my subscription runs out tomorrow and I haven’t found anyone on this site so I’m not going to renew my membership. Good luck, though.” What in the fuckity fuck? Then WHY DID YOU MESSAGE ME?!

So. That pool of men which I thought would be so much better than okcupid’s? Here’s the actual breakdown:

men of match graph

The most important point here is the okcupid overlap. I saw literally almost every guy I’ve ever been out with or messaged on okcupid on Match. Besides the fact that running into these dudes can be supremely awkward, it made me wonder why the eff I’m paying for the site when basically everyone on Match seems to also be on okcupid. And why wouldn’t they be? It’s FREE.

Finally, last but certainly not least, Match.com: do you have an adorable robot mascot who will cheerfully reassure me that she’s off looking for more matches and that she won’t, in fact, let me become an old crazy cat lady in a mumu?

Adorable

sallybot

Lol

match-com-logo

I didn’t think so.

**Disclaimer**

Look, I know I just went off on a long ass anti-Match.com tirade, and I stand by it 100%, but I would probably still tell someone who’s never used it/isn’t having luck on okc to give it a try for a few months. Purely because everyone is different, and everyone is looking for someone different, so who knows if your future husband/wife/life partner/no strings attached sex buddy is sitting on the site, having a similarly miserable experience, just waiting for you to come along. When D told me she was thinking about joining Match I encouraged her to do it, but I also regaled her with the many cautionary tales I have from my Match days. I am crossing all my fingers and toes that it works out better for her than it did for me. Either way, we’ll all be able to read her review in the coming months and if we’re lucky, it will be slightly less angry (and verbose) than mine.