Mark my words, in the next fifteen years, there will be a college course on dating, probably cross-listed under psychology and history. I mean, when I was in college, there was already a course, that, according to my loose recollection, was called something like, “Peeping under the Petticoat: Images of female sexuality in popular British magazines.” (Of course, being the gender studies junkie that I am, I think I took it.)
This hypothetical future course on dating would include, at the very least, three hours of course material on text messages, the form of communication that seems to dominate dating these days. We’ve already written about texting a bunch (texting too much, sexting, texting fails, etc) on this site. I personally HATE texting, but believe it’s one of those annoying, but inevitable things that one must do, especially when dating people you’ve never met in person with whom you want to avoid an awkward phone conversation full of long pauses, static, talking at the same time, and asking things like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you. Can you repeat that?”
But texting too can have its awkward and frustrating pitfalls. I really think this Aziz Ansari clip says it all:
PREACH AZIZ! I hereby declare that the first college course on dating be named: Guess who is uninvited to the pizza party?: Texting and other humiliations you will experience when dating.
A couple months ago, I met a guy who was, at the very least, case study worthy for this course, if not a guest lecturer. His name was M, and he was a scruffy, tall, flannel shirting wearing, sarcastic, sound engineer. He worked at some very well known music venues in DC by night and made extra cash during the day shooting weird documentaries and promotional films for nonprofits and small businesses. Now, as I have alluded to briefly in my other posts, I am not exactly what you would call COOL when it comes to music and pop culture. I often find myself at the bar requesting a combination of Bob Seger and Whitney Houston, depending on what time of the evening it is. I get my clothes at Target (not ironically, for real) and the most recent thing I downloaded on my Ipod may or may not have been the soundtrack to Disney’s Frozen, which I sing along with while I fold my laundry.
C’mon, you’d be blasting this too.
Anyway, M somehow overlooked the lack of coolness on my profile and asked me out. After I agreed to meet, he wrote:
Oh, how M LOVED to text. But the thing is, he was pretty good at it. Funny, witty, and could keep up with my jokes.
We planned a date for the following week, so had a full week to know each other through text. The weekend before our date, M even drunk texted me.
Now, we all know that I don’t believe in sexting before the first date. Honestly, in my early years of online dating, this may have scared me off. But M played it off well, and soon enough we were joking around.
Sometimes, M’s texts reached beyond the point of my understanding. He liked to send me pictures, which was normal enough when he was in vacation in California, but less normal when he was texting me selfies from a brunch downtown. I mean, how many selfies can one woman take before she actually meets the fellow?
When M and I finally met, I was super psyched to find out a few things about him.
1) He was better looking than in his profile picture.
2) He was even funnier in person than in text.
3) He had access to free tickets to any show at any live music venue in DC.
M and I proceeded to have, what I thought, was a very good date. Drinks turned to more drinks turned to dinner and then to more drinks. We were joking around like old friends by the time we finished our first beer. I swear to god, readers, it was like a movie-worthy first date. People at the restaurant were literally jealous of our chemistry. The host at the second bar thought I was M’s WIFE.
After the date, M and I began to walk home (it was 11:00 on a weeknight after all). He lived a block away from the bar and when we got to his door, and said goodbye, he went in for a kiss. And it was a pretty awesome kiss, though it took me by surprise. And then we stopped kissing, and I turned to walk away, and he pulled me back in for a second kiss.
We were basically Kate and Leo at sunset, minus the good looks and the boat.
We said a goodbye, and he said, “Promise me something. Never let go.” and I said, “I’ll never let go M. I’ll never let go.” And he then he shivered and floated away on a piece of driftwood.
PSYCH, SUCKERS! What I just described is a scene from James Cameron’s Titanic. But it was almost that magical, I swear.
The next day, he sent me this:
What IS that,you ask? I. DON’T. KNOW. I sent the image to no less than three other experts, and they were just as stumped as I was. If you can figure it out, let me know.
So I replied in the only way I thought possible. With another inexplicable picture.
Yes, that IS me giving bunny ears to the stuffed dragon in my office. And, don’t worry, the actual photo was sent right side up.
And then, NO RESPONSE. FOR 2 DAYS. I was pretty bummed. I thought the date had gone well. I thought when someone kissed you and said they wanted to see you again, they meant it. I took the absence of his communication as a sign he wasn’t interested in me and sulked around for about a day, and then decided, the chemistry between us had seem so FREAKING GOOD that it was worth one more try. So, I texted him:
The next day, he replied:
WHAT? HUH? I did not know what to make of this response. Was he flirting? Blowing me off? A little of both?
Sure enough, I never heard from M after that inexplicable text, and about one week later, he disappeared from OKcupid altogether.
Date rating: 9.5/10. Like I said, the chemistry going down would make Jim and Pam jealous. I deducted .5 for the two nasty remarks he dropped about his ex girlfriend. Ovaries before bro-varies my friends, even when the ovaries belong to a stranger.
Lesson learned: There is no way to predict what will happen after a date. People often don’t mean what they say, and they have a multitude of reasons for doing what they do. This date definitely contributed to my journey into cynicism.
**Author’s note: For those of you who are wondering about why I am blogging about something that happened around Halloween, please accept my apologies. I went on a man-bender for the last quarter of 2013, and got very distracted by W and some other gentlemen who I will write about shortly. The Chris Christie-esque traffic jam I’ve caused on this blog is one of the reasons I am trying to limit myself to one guy at a time in 2014. (Three weeks in, btw, and I am about .75 of a guy away from this goal. So TGFMA (thank god for my archives)!