Message Monday: Ice Breaker

Howdy, internet friends. I thought I’d switch things up from our normal StuCu routine of posting sociopathic, soul crushing, and just generally nonsensical messages for Message Monday and go with something a little more “normal” today. Here’s one that I received recently:

polar bear

This is hella depressing, but that is actually one of the better messages I’ve received on Okcupid. Middlle of the road, sure, but definitely in the top 50%. Ahahaha #FML.


Honestly, I didn’t hate this message. It’s super cheesy, and obviously pick up lines are lame, but I don’t know, I was maybe 30% charmed by it. First of all, it prompted me to picture baby polar bears, which yes, grow up to be killing machines, but also happen to be effing adorable:

Second, at least he said SOMETHING other than:

  • hey
  • hi
  • yo
  • what’s up
  • ur pretty
  • wana talk
  • how are u

I would have definitely chatted and subsequently gone out with this guy IF upon further inspection of his profile I hadn’t concluded that we had absolutely nothing in common. Like, zero. But my rejecting him had nothing to do with the message, even though I can only assume (as I always do with a generic message that doesn’t refer to my profile at all) that he’s sending this bad boy out to any and every woman who he encounters on Okc. I would actually love to know what his rate of return is, but I’m guessing it w0uld be considered rude to ask him that in my reply…?

What do you think, readers?

Offline dating adventures: Baby’s first Grouper

People often ask why I use internet dating, instead of trying to meet guys in bars.

The thing is, I’ve never been the kind of girl who gets hit on in bars. I’d like to HOPE this does not directly correlate to my looks, though I’m sure my big, dark, under-eye circles aren’t helping, haha. I mean, when I am at bars, I am usually with my friends, and not focused on finding guys. Also, I’m super awkward and insecure with strangers. When people do try to hit on me, I am usually so surprised/terrified that I just run away. For example, I was out with my friend J recently, and a gentleman came up to us. Here is how the conversation went:

Guy: “Hi ladies, what are your names?”

Me: “The tab is under XXXX (my last name).”

Guy: “Huh?”

Me: “I said, XXXX.”

Guy: “I’m D, how’s it going?”

Me: “Just leave the tab open, we’re not ready to cash out.”

Guy: “I don’t work here.”

Me: “Oh god, sorry. I have to go to the bathroom.”


 Also, the clientele in bars is not exactly AMAZING. I was out at a bar a few nights ago, when a young intern approached me:

Intern: “That looks like a cool drink. What is it?”

Me: “Um, a Jack and Ginger ale.”

Intern: “Cool. So what’s in it?”

Me: “Jack Daniels and Ginger ale.”

Intern: “Wow! Awesome!”

Me: “Yup.”

And then I walked away to find my friends. Cuz the pickup line was lame, and because the intern was still literally in college.

So, that’s why I stick to the simple internet, guy messages girl, girl messages guy thing. But I’m relatively open to new ideas, so when my friendtee (that’s friend + mentee, which means a friend that is younger and cooler than you, and you want to create a name that you call her that isn’t “daughter”), G, suggested I accompany her on a Grouper, I was game. What’s that, Dad? What’s a grouper? Isn’t that a fish? It IS a fish. But it’s also a dating service. It works like this:

Girl signs up. Guy signs up. Grouper uses facebook to match them. It’s completely blind; neither person has ANY information about the other. Once they are matched, Grouper sets up a date and asks the girl to bring two friends and the guy to bring two friends. So it’s a 3 on 3 blind date. Each person pays $20, which covers the first round of drinks, and the fact that Grouper does all the coordinating for you. You go to the assigned location at the assigned time and, Voila! Now, go to Grouper’s website and read their much sexier description of the whole thing.

When you’re on the site,  you’ll also notice instagrams of lots of attractive, happy people having a blast together. Those are called GROUPERGRAMS. You are supposed to take pics of your amazing date and send them to Grouper. Now, are these pictures accurate and indicative of the Grouper experience? Doubtful.

1. They haven’t changed the pics in the two months I’ve been trolling the site.

2. We all know instragram filters are designed to make everyone look WAYYYY better than they do in real life.

3. I bet Challen, Grouper’s very famous Director of Member Experience, handpicks the GROUPERGRAMS to feature the most attractive people, who probably live in NYC, not DC. 

4. About 50% of these photos feature a Trojan horse, a warrior’s helmet, and roman statues. Does everyone end up at an after hours venue with Jordan Murphy?

jordan-murphy tool

I swear, Jordan! There is some straight up Tool Academy behavior up in these Groupergrams! For realz!

Before my Grouper, I did some field research of others who had been on Grouper. The first person I asked was my sister (she’s six years my junior, btw, but I can’t call her a friendtee cause we’re related). She was like, “Oh yeah, L, my friends from high school went on a Grouper recently. They said it was ok. The guys were doing Ecstasy the whole time.”  WELP. THAT’S THAT I SUPPOSE. I have no words. So, I headed into the Grouper with low expectations, hoping that we wouldn’t have to call the DEA on our dates.

The day before the Grouper, I received an email from, Challen. In addition to providing the time and location details, it contained the following warning about cancellation:

What if I need to cancel?

Well, your Grouper is tomorrow, so it’s a little late for that 🙂 We know that everyone has a lot going on, but you’re committed now and 3 other people moved around their schedules for you guys. First, call around and see if you can grab a friend to take your place. If for some (epic) reason canceling is absolutely unavoidable, you’ll need to CALL the other group to explain yourself. Call us first at646.699.3466, and we’ll put you in touch with the guys to cancel. And because we’ll need to make it up to the other group, we still have to charge you for your Grouper and won’t be able to roll it over to a future reservation. We’ll even have to consider canceling your membership. Also, as you know, a Grouper is 3 guys and 3 girls, so showing up with only 2 people isn’t acceptable. So, just show up on time, the 3 of you, and we’re all good 🙂

Yikes! Challen, cool your jets. This makes a Grouper sound more difficult to get out of than a marriage. I mean, I put down 20 whopping dollars for this thing, and I am cheap as f#$^, so I am going to show up, ok? You don’t need to add an extra element of terror to an already nerve-wracking situation. And also, don’t try to lighten the mood with a smiley emoticon. You know I hate those. It’s nice to know that everyone’s going into this thing with a proverbial gun to their head.

So the day of the Grouper, me, G, and N (My other friend slash co-worker) get to work and we’re all like:

clear eyes full hearts

Until, N decides to share some interesting news with us.

N: “So, you guys, I was talking to my cousin last night. And he mentioned he was going on a Grouper too…”

L and G: “And…”

N: “Well it’s at the same place we’re going. Slightly different time, but still…”

So, this meant one of two things. Either, we were literally going to be on a date with N’s cousin OR N’s cousin was going to be watching us HAVE a date. We were really hoping for the latter over the former. For N’s sake, of course. 

When we got to the bar after a little healthy pregaming, we were relieved. The bartender lead us to a table with three very nice, normal looking guys, who didn’t appear to be rolling  or be related to any of us. WHEW. And we ended up having multiple drinks, and a pretty darn good time. Why?

1. We were very well matched. The guys were around our age bracket (younger than me, but older than G) and very nice, funny, and down to earth. From the GROUPERGRAM photos, we were pretty sure we were going to get some bros, but these guys reminded me of people I’d be friends with. We all had similar senses of humor and interests. Nice work Challen! ;), right back atcha.

2. Having more people around really does take the edge off. I think both sides were much more relaxed than if this were a regular, one on one date. I really enjoy G and N, so I was pretty confident I’d have a good time even if the guys were lame. And it seemed like the guys really enjoyed each other too. And there was so much less potential for awkward silences, because there were so many people to make conversation. It was also the first time I truly understand what being a wingwoman meant, because you could set up your friends to make jokes, tell funny stories, etc. Basically, I think it made everyone TWICE as charming as usual. 

3. It was so much better than any of us expected. Yes, one on one dates are unnerving. But there is a lot more to be scared of on group dates. I.e., What if my friends hit it off with the guys and I don’t? Or, what if I hear the guys referring to me as “the ugly one?”, or What if we all hate each other? And, just the fact that we had such a decent time after such low expectations made the whole thing a lot better. I could see relief on everyone’s faces, including the guys. And I think that relief made the date more fun.

So, what’s the drawback to Grouper?

I mean, I would call it more of a “meeting new friends” thing, than a date. While it’s much more natural in terms of the way you’d meet people and make conversation, it’s very hard to tell if anyone likes anyone, and very hard to, like, “pick out,” the guy you’d most like to date. I think this was particularly hard for our group, because we were all nice, inclusive people. If I saw that no one was talking to someone, I invited them to join the conversation I was having. I kept an eye on G and N to make sure they were enjoying themselves. And they did the sme for me. There just wasn’t a ton of energy left to focus on getting to know one person in particular. And the end of the date was pretty awkward. I mean, ending solo dates is hard enough, and we were multiplying goodbyes times three. So, all of us just exchanged numbers with the person we were standing closest too, and claimed that maybe we’d all get together again for drinks. The truth is, I’d definitely get together again with them, but I am not sure how I’d set it up. And G and N feel the same way. So we’d love your advice, readers.

Dating rating: 8/10. Seriously. It was really fun. I laughed a lot, and I met cool new people. And honestly, it restored my faith that there are cute, fun, single guys out there.

The truth about cats (and dogs) and me

Pop quiz: Why has L been so neglectful about posting on the blog?

A. I was temporarily kidnapped by a date, and held captive until yesterday. Hold on to your seats readers, this post is gonna be a doozy!

B. I am seriously dating someone I met online, and we’ve been so busy going on romantic getaways and sexy staycations that I haven’t had time to post. 

C. I have been buried under a giant, fat, un-glamorous mountain of work.

I didn’t make this a real poll, because I knew most of you would pick C, which is OF COURSE, the correct answer, and it would further depress me that even strangers from the internet can tell what a sad little life I lead.

WHOMP. WHOMP.  I know, I know. Who invited Debbie Downer? (Um…Tina, and Amy, and Kristin, that’s who!)–dress-rehearsal/n12817/

Anyway…I have carved out a little time in the past month for some dates. I decided to join JDate recently, fantasizing that it would be full of smart, nerdy-cute, doting men who were lining up to go out with me. I’ll be writing a longer review after a more legitimate time period on the site, but in case you are just dying for a preview, here it is:


I suppose there is still time to turn it around, but in the meanwhile, I’ve only been out with one guy from the site. N, a high school teacher in his late thirties with a short stature and an adorable face. He sent me a nice, to the point message, and 1-2 messages later, asked me out for drinks. We agreed to meet at an Irish Pub known for its whiskey selection. I wasn’t really sure what to expect–his profile was pretty bare bones, and except for his job and the fact that he had nieces, I remembered very little about him by the time we  met at the bar. I actually prefer not to scour people’s profiles too closely (beyond, of course, a diligent read of OKC dealbreaker questions), because I enjoy finding out about them on the date. 

N did not subscribe to this philosophy. He spent a good deal of the date QUOTING MY JDATE PROFILE back to me. For example:

“Remember when you said you loved the shore, but other people call it the beach?” 

“Do you want hot sauce? You said it could improve any meal!” (Yes, readers, I broke my eating rule because I was having a decent time and we were drinking WHISKEY and I didn’t want to vom at the table. Remember, stupidcupid bloggers are consistently inconsistent about rules).

“You moved to DC in 2009, right? “

There are more examples, but I fear I will literally GIVE MY IDENTITY AWAY, if I include all the details this guy remembered. Now, before you all pile on (COUGHReddit), and say, “OMG how can she be criticizing this guy for reading her profile and referencing things she’s interested in, he’s just being thoughtful, I know why she is single, what a man-eater, blah blah blah,” please remember that I was not weirded out that he remembered my profile. I was weirded out that, throughout the date, he quoted the entire thing VERBATIM. And when I mentioned I had a brother, he said, “I know. He is standing next you in picture 3 on your profile wearing a red jacket.” It was just a little too close to this:

fatal attraction

Also, that was one of two things that went a bit wrong. The second was this exchange:

N: So, do you like pets?

L: Pets? Well I don’t have any, but I do really like dogs. 

N: Do you like cats? I really want to know how you feel about cats!

L: Ohh, I’m really allergic to cats. (TRUTH: Not only am I really allergic to cats, but I also HATE THEM. With a  passion that could take up 100 posts. But I refrained from sharing that, cause I figured the phrase, “hate with the fire of 1000 suns” should not come up till a second date, at least.)

N: Oh god. Oh no.

L: What? Is everything okay?

N: I just have two cats. And I’m not ready to give them up.

L: (Bewildered look on face). Oh, um, you don’t have to?

N: I mean, you can’t live with them AT ALL?

L: Umm…I haven’t really thought about it. (Desperately changes subject to something neutral). My best friend had a lot of cats growing up. They lived in her basement.

N: Oh.

L: So, how many years do you think your cats have left? 

Now, to N’s credit, my last line was probably the most epic fail of the conversation. Who asks someone else about when their BELOVED pets are going to die? What were you thinking, L?

But, the bottom line was, this guy was thinking way too seriously for me. I mean, if I was in committed relationship with someone, and we were thinking about moving in together, then we should definitely have this conversation. But, I just met this guy. And even though we were having a good time (once you get past the whole “profile quoting/possible stalker” thing and the “asking about the possible death of someone important to you” thing), there was no need to consider giving up our pets.

After the date, we said polite goodbyes and N asked if I wanted to get together again. I said, “Um…maybe? You can give me a call?”

Maybe it was my tepid response, or the fact that he was not ready to get rid of the cats (or let me get rid of them for him), or just that we didn’t click. But I didn’t hear from N again. I wish him the best, and hope that he has found a cat loving woman who enjoys a man whispering sweet nothings that she originally wrote on her JDate profile into her ear.

Date rating: 7/10. 5 points alone for plying me with Jameson all night.

Gay or Jewish?

Before you get offended by the title of this post, please remember that I’m Jewish, and we all know that, as long as you’re part of a certain cultural or religious group, than you can make fun of them

My girlfriends and I have been playing the gay or Jewish game for years. It’s rife with stereotypes about men, and masculinity, and gays, and mommy issues, but unfortunately, it’s a real dilemma we face. Let’s take the classic example of Jeffrey Garten, husband of one of my idols, the Barefoot Contessa. They’ve supposedly been together for 40 years, but take a look at this clip:

Confusing pieces of evidence:

1) Nice outfit, stylish watch: This guy presses his shirts and rolls his sleeves to 3-quarter length. And he is about to get into a tent. Now, most men I know don’t dress this well for a date, let alone an outdoor camping experience. Where are the hideous shorts? Where are the tube socks?. Where is the “life is good” T-shirt? Where are the belts? (Sorry, guys, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add a little Meryl at her best). But then again, maybe Jeffrey’s mama, like a good Jewish mama, taught him to take pride in his appearance, no matter what. GAY OR JUST JEWISH? Draw.

2) The hand gesture: Please turn your attention to seconds 17-20 on the video, where Jeffrey does a clear wrist flick while saying “it was a cinch.” Sorry friends, but gays have patented that hand gesture every since Will and Grace were on network television. GAY OR JUST JEWISH? Gay.

3) He sarcastically calls himself, “very handy.”: The last handy Jew was a carpenter, and his name was Jesus Christ. And the only gay construction worker I’ve ever seen was in the village people. GAY or JUST JEWISH? Draw again. 

4) “If the tent’s a rocking don’t come a’ knocking”: Sounds like at Ina’s trying to tell her audience (including the person who made this really ghetto video by taping their tube TV) that things are about to get physical. And Jeffrey’s playing along. GAY OR JUST JEWISH?Just Jewish.

FINAL CONCLUSION: The thing is, I believe the only rocking that will happen in that tent is a fight over that amazing brownie pudding. Jeffrey sounds gay to me. And he’s light on his feet and he giggles. And I’m not trying to knock Ina’s relationship, which sounds ideal to many women, I’m just calling it like I see it, ok?

Point is, this question comes up a lot. And it came up a lot when I started dating S. I can say pretty confidently that now, our brief run is over. Which is a bummer, because jumping back into the sea of first dates, especially given my last experience with one, is not something I am not approaching with gusto. However, I think I carried on with him for as long as I did partially because I was determined to solve the mystery: GAY or JEWISH? Dear readers, this guy threw me through a loop with every interaction. Some baffling behaviors included:

1) He flicked the wrist: S and I met for the first time at a bar and exchanged witty banter over beer and board games (Scrabble. He won. barely.) But, about 5 minutes into the conversation, he started to use the Jeffrey Garten style wrist flick to emphasize his key points.

A few examples:

  • People in DC care so *wrist flick* much about politics.”
  • “My job is so “wrist flick” boring.
  • I was just at a wedding and drank *wrist flick* amazing tequila.

Hmm… Did I misread the profile on OKC? Is this guy a homosexual looking for a lady to join him and his partner for a little guy-guy-girl action? Did he say he was just interested in new friends??? 

2) He invited me back to house on date #1: After we finished our games and our drinks, S turns to me and says, “Have you eaten? Do you want to get something to eat? I have some spaghetti at my house.” WAIT–He’s inviting back to his house? Maybe he’s not gay? Maybe he’s just a clean, attractive guy who finds me funny and has picked up some unfortunate hand gestures? Two drinks apparently, was enough time for me to decide he wasn’t going to take me back to his house and chop me to bits and store me in the freezer. So, I flaunted common safety procedures (it’s been done before), and I said ok.

3) He lived in the gayborhood: His apartment was located a block from the intersection my friends and I call 17th and Gay. It was right across the street from my wonderful hairdresser, Frankie, who is always suggesting I do really radical things to halt aging and weight gain, like “laser liposuction.” Which is, according to Frankie, “totally worth it.” Also on Frankie and S’s block, no less than 4 bars where I’m pretty sure you can find this guy on a Saturday night:

4) His house was well-decorated and spotless: I am talking, gleaming. And his roommate (who, btw, is a WOMAN)  was away on vacation. There’s some nice art on the walls. Nice carpets on the floors. Now, it’s possible his female roommate can take credit for that. But, he’s lived there longer than her and he seemed mighty proud of his stylish digs.

5) We made out and yada yada yada: When we hung out at each other’s places, S would put the moves on me. Nothing gay about that. Until..

6) He got up in the middle of one of our make out sessions and said OMG, I REALLY HAVE TO GO TO THE BATHROOM *double wrist flick*: If you’re imagining he sounded like Miss Jay you would NOT be wrong. I thought OMG! He is gay, and he’s going into the bathroom to spend some quality time with a Men’s Health.

7) I was more psyched about March Madness than he was: 

march madness

What do you mean, “is that now?”  First of all, yes, it’s March. And second, this is one of the best known sporting events in the U.S. The only other male I know who wasn’t aware the tourney is going on is my wonderful gay friend, C, who also thought Joe Flacko was the name of a Superbowl party guest, not the  Raven’s QB. 

8) He usually sits like this:

jack sitting

bar stool 1

cam and mitchell

9) He has a blog too. And it’s written from the perspective of a woman: I wish I could say more, but I can’t, because if there’s one thing S, D, and I are militant about, it’s anonymity for us and our dates. (Oh yeah, and how cool Rayna James is. And how each blog post must contain at least 1 pop culture reference, preferably something from Clueless. And cheese.) But do I even need to say more about this? The guy is literally so in touch with his feminine side that he has a female pen name.

So, the conclusion I eventually came to was GAY and JEWISH. The hand gestures, the sitting, and his overall delicate constitution cancelled out his straight sexual behavior. And yes, perhaps I am a tad bit resentful because, even though I was mostly invested in him for blog research, I was irritated when I realized that he just wasn’t that into me. However, please rest confidently that I’ve engaged a full, mixed gender and sexual orientation, panel of colleagues, friends, baristas, baretenders, siblings, etc in reviewing our communication and they all have deemed my theory credible.

What do you think readers? And for the straight ladies out there, have you ever encountered a similar situation? Tell us about it in the comments.

My first date, or the guy who couldn’t find his car

It was hot out, and I was stressed about breaking a sweat on my walk to the bar. I’d signed up for okcupid on a whim, without really telling anyone. At first I was just content to creep on the site and read the hilarious/awful/ridiculous profiles. The few messages I’d received up to that point consisted of 1. actual gibberish/incomplete sentences, 2. sexual propositions, and 3. single words like ‘Hey’ and ‘Sup’.

Finally someone sent me a normal message. A few replies back and forth later, he asked me out. I didn’t know much about him (mid-30s, worked with computers) but I figured I had to start somewhere. He seemed nice enough, and I was fairly confident he wasn’t a serial killer. So I agreed to go on my first okc date with G.

G was driving in from the suburbs, so I picked the bar. I was a little nervous, mostly because I had NO CLUE what to expect. This sounds pathetic but I, single girl in her late 20s, had never been on a real, legitimate date before that point. A pre-determined set up in a bar or restaurant was not something I’d ever, well, done. My only frames of reference came from Sex and the City, romantic comedies starring Kate Hudson, and the stories of friends and co-workers. I was flying completely blind.

Just as I arrived at the bar, G texted that traffic was awful and that he was running late. Fifteen minutes later he came BARRELING in, out of breath and sweating profusely. I only vaguely recognized him because he looked almost nothing like his picture: 10 years older, shorter, and 50% balder. G smiled nervously and introduced himself, apologizing like crazy for being late. I assured him it wasn’t a big deal; meanwhile, I had been having a mild panic attack sitting there alone for 15 minutes, convinced he was going to stand me up.

We ordered drinks and I waited for him to calm down and regain his composure. Problem # 1: he never did. In fact, he was so nervous that he visibly shook the entire time. I started to wonder if this was his first online date, too (it wasn’t) or if he had some sort of medical condition (still unclear, but my guess is yes). I’m a pretty friendly person so I like to think I can put someone at ease, but homeboy was a hot mess.

I tried to make small talk, realizing problem # 2 very quickly: we had almost nothing in common. He was nice enough, but we were grasping at straws for something to talk about within the first 10 minutes. “Oh, you write code? ….Cool!” While I overcompensated with chattiness and wracked my brain to think  of non-pathetic topics beyond the weather, G continued to sweat, shake, fidget, and stutter like he was under federal indictment. Poor guy. I couldn’t wait to put us both out of our misery.

After what felt like literally hours but was probably more like 45 minutes, we left, and he offered me a ride home. I declined, visions of Law and Order: SVU dancing in my head, and out of sheer politeness offered to walk him to his car instead.

okc stabler

“Which way are you parked?”, I asked, starting to cross the street.

He stopped, suddenly looking nauseous. “Oh, God. Oh God. I have no idea.” I stared at him, trying to understand. “I was so stressed about being late that I parked my car in the first space I could find and didn’t pay attention to what street I was on, and then I ran here and I don’t know the city so I’m all turned around and can’t remember which way I came from!” He said miserably, turning bright red.

“Okay,” I responded slowly, like I was speaking to a five year old. “It’s okay. It has to be close. We’ll find it.”

TWENTY MINUTES of wandering aimlessly around Old City later, we had yet to find that fucking car. G was becoming more mortified by the second, muttering apologies and stumbling along behind me as I strode down street after street, making him click his auto lock button in rapid succession. I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. We had run out of things to talk about in the first two blocks and a horribly uncomfortable silence had fallen over our search party.

All I wanted was to peace out and put on my sweatpants, but what was the protocol for something like this? If I left G alone, I was fairly certain he’d either a. die on the streets, carless, or b. follow me home and beg to crash at my place. Also, as much of a mess as he was, he really was a nice guy. I couldn’t ditch him.

I tried to joke with him. “If I’d known I’d be taking you on a guided tour of Philly, I would have at least made you buy me dinner first! Haha.” Silence. Crickets. Tumbleweeds.

I tried again. “Umm…how much time did you put in the meter?”

“There was no meter”.

I stifled a laugh. “Yes there was.”

“No, there wasn’t.”

“Y–” WTF. Now I was irrationally arguing with a stranger like we were an old married couple. The silence resumed, and continued on for blocks. And blocks. And blocks.

Finally, as the level of awkwardness rose to a crescendo, just as the words “I have to go–my house is on fire” were about to burst from my lips, we turned onto a new block, he clicked his remote, and a gray Chevy chirped happily at us. “YES!” I cried, genuinely elated.

gray chevy yes

G carefully extracted the ticket from his windshield and sighed, hanging his head. “You were right”.

“Yup,” I said impatiently, not even caring. “Well it’s been nice but I have to get going. Great meeting you and thanks for the drinks. BYE!” I bolted down the street, scared I’d get sucked into another insane scenario or worse, that he’d ask me out again.

Which he did. Later that night via text. I politely declined and that’s the last I ever heard from G. But every time I walk down that fateful block of 4th Street, I think of his gray Chevy. And I hope he remembered to pay that ticket.

Date rating: 4/10 (terribly awkward, but he was nice and I got this story out of it)

Lesson learned: Do not worry about your date’s mode of transportation. Do not ask how he arrived/is getting home, unless you want to embark on an ill-advised ‘Where’s Waldo’ of mid-level sedans.