Coffee Meets Bagel and The story of the Woodpecker

Remember that groove I was talking about getting back into? It continues to slowly right its course. I’ve progressed from just messaging before things turn sour, to actually going on dates again. Yay for progress!

A few months back, I joined Coffee Meets Bagel. A newer free dating site that I read about. Here’s the gist: profiles are pretty bare bones, and each day at noon the site sends me a new “bagel.” I can only view the profile they send me that day, which consists of a couple pictures and some basic info. I choose like or pass. If we both like each other, we’re “connected” and the site sends us an email, and sends us both a text that we can communicate through for 5 days. This sounded awesome, it’s free, and requires MINIMAL effort on my part. Dating, and online dating especially, is time consuming. And it can sometimes be exhausting perusing profile after profile. This site wasn’t going to make me do a thing. I could just sit back and wait for a match to be sent to me each day! Sign me up!

Cut to a few weeks ago. I had gone into my office on a Saturday to try to catch up on the disaster that was my desk after vacation. I get my bagel, check him out, and click “like.” A couple hours later, I get a notification that we’ve connected! We start chatting via text and plan a date for Tuesday night. But a little while later, he says “why wait until Tuesday, want to grab a drink tonight?” The old me would have scoffed at that suggestion, while righteously screaming “who is he to assume I’m free on a Saturday night?!” But really – who cares? In reality, I had no plans for that night, and this actually took a lot of pressure off the night. No awkward texting for a few days, no nervous build up the day of the date. I was in, with the caveat that since I had spent the whole day at my office, I was wearing jeans and a hoodie (and going home to the ‘burbs to change would have taken 2 hours). He said he wouldn’t judge, and we made plans to meet at a bar out by BC (gross) at around 6.

We met at the bar, and after an awkward hug (ugh – why do strangers love to hug so much? We don’t know each other!), we proceeded to have a pleasant couple of beers. L was a grad student who was easy to talk to. Conversation was interesting and covered a variety of topics. I was having a nice time! After two beers he asked if I’d like to go back to his apartment for another drink.

Now, normally I would have said no to this, as it involved breaking two of the safety rules that I adhere pretty strictly to because I’m a total square. But I figured – hey, I’m doing everything different tonight, and I like him, so why not?! We hopped in his car and he drove into one of the adorable little neighborhoods of Brookline where he rented the top floor of a house. This is where the evening went downhill.

We walked up the private back stairs to his apartment, and the first thing I saw when we entered was a giant piece of plywood and a white sheet covering what he claimed was interior stairs from the house below, while I silently panicked that I was going to be murdered and hidden below the floorboards. The rest of the apartment wasn’t that comforting either. It was sparse. Mismatched furniture that was probably acquired on Allston Christmas. Multiple floor lamps, with cords everywhere. Dirty dishes overflowing out of the sink. Nothing on the walls. A giant leather couch across from a big screen tv. An area rug that was just slightly too big to fit between the couch and the TV stand, so rather than being tucked under one or the other, was just flipped up in front of the tv stand. That bothered me disproportionally more than anything else. I wanted to just get up and fix it. I couldn’t decide if the decor was more junior-in-college or serial-killer.

From a bookshelf, he grabbed a bottle of wine and told me to pick out some glasses. There were six to choose from. A set of rocks glasses, and two sets of highball glasses. Baffled by why these things were on a bookshelf by the front door, rather than in his kitchen on the other side of the apartment, I selected the taller highball glasses and sat down at the end of the couch. He grabbed a corkscrew, and sat down basically as close to being in my lap as he could, without actually sitting in my lap. He followed this up by fumbling around with the corkscrew before putting his arm around me and asking me if I could open the wine.

This was really off-putting to me for a variety of reasons. It is well documented that I do not like to be touched. But more than that, take your time dude. You don’t need to accost me the moment we sit down. I mean, I came back to your apartment, so I’m clearly not totally averse to things progressing that way. But handing me a wine bottle and sitting on top of me like I’m Santa is not the way to make that happen.

After I poured us each a glass, and with him still pressing the entire right side of his body into me, he rested his chin on my left shoulder and said sensually “tell me everything about you.” Oh Jesus. HAHAHA. Is that really your game?

At some point, he noticed the tattoo on my forearm and asked if that was my only tattoo. No, I replied, I actually have 4. “Ohh. Where are your other ones?” I explained where the others were, and mentioned that I’d like to get another one soon. To which he replied “would you ever be willing to get them removed?”

michael jordan dismayed

Look, I know a lot of people don’t like tattoos. And that’s fine. There are lots of things in this world that I don’t like that other people do. And although it’s annoying when people ask if I think I’ll ever regret getting them (I don’t think so, but sadly I can’t predict the future, so I guess it’s possible), his question was kind of insulting. Not “do you think you’ll ever want to get them removed?” But rather, “would you be willing to get them removed?” No. No I would not. I don’t care how much a future partner dislikes them, the only way these tattoos are coming off is if I want them to come off. Because a) word on the street is that it’s more painful to get them removed than it was to get them, and I cry when I stub my toe, and b) if you don’t like them that’s on you, not me.

I didn’t say any of that, I just politely explained no, not unless I decided I wanted them gone, and shifted the topic to something else. And that’s when he made his move.

What’s his move, you ask? His move involved a very brief, limp kiss on the lips, followed by covering my entire face with quick little kisses. And not in a sweet or romantic or hot way. Not just my neck or my cheek or something. Everywhere on my face. Like a chapped-lipped woodpecker. 

There are people out there who claim that “people generally aren’t bad kissers.” This tale is proof that that’s simply not true. 

I did not understand what was happening, so I just sat there like a statue waiting for it to end. When his facial assault continued seemingly without an end in sight, I had to awkwardly speak up. He stopped kissing me, but stayed all up in my business while explaining the secret to being successful at fantasy football until I indicated I was ready to call it a night. After that, any attraction that I had was gone.

Unfortunately, I needed him to drive me back to Cleveland Circle where my car was parked. It was surprisingly not that awkward. He talked animatedly about the details of the research he was doing for grad school, which I engaged in because it was admittedly very interesting. At least, it wasn’t awkward until it was time for me to get out of the car. Because he still thought it went well, and I … did not.

Date Rating: 2/10. I got a couple free beers and specific evidence to rebut the absurd claim that bad kissers don’t exist.

Lessons Learned: Despite the way this particular date ended, I actually really liked the vibe of the impromptu date. I should do that more often!

Wastey Date

It’s no surprise that S, D, and I have a rule about what does and does not constitute a safe and appropriate first date activity.

Here are some examples of activities I would call safe, good bets for a first date: bar trivia, drinks, outdoor beer festival, movies, board games and beer. Notice I can no longer say frozen yogurt, since I am forever traumatized by what happened there.

What do most of these activities have in common? The consumption of alcohol and the absence of food. Why?

1) The consumption of alcohol. Never have I ever treasured alcohol’s medicinal and psychological capabilities more than when I started dating.  First dates make me nervous. And nervous me is not sexy. Nervous me is a lot like this:

nervous gif

Buzzed, relaxed, me, on the other hand, is a a total blast. After two mojitos, I’m all like:

kristin wig drunk gif

Readers, don’t worry. I’m not Fun Bobby or anything. I just like a little liquid courage before a stranger tries to kiss me on the metro.

2) The absence of food. This is not what it sounds like. I am not anorexic or anything. I love food. I love food so much I dropped my sandwich on the ground the other day. In Dupont Circle. And I picked it up and ate it. No questions asked. (Hmm..I bet you’re wondering, “How is SHE still single?”)

The reason I try not to eat on first dates is that it prolongs the interaction significantly. Once you’re sitting in a restaurant with someone, especially a nice one, they’ve basically got you hostage for at least three courses. At a bar, you’re in safe proximity to the server to discreetly motion for the check at anytime.  At a restaurant, there is no guarantee your waitress, the kitchen staff, the hostess, etc, will understand the sensitive predicament you are in, and they could very well take their time getting you through the meal. And then you are stuck there, unable to leave without making it super awkward. So until I am sure I can stomach someone’s company and they can stomach mine (pun intended. HAHAHA), I try to stay clear of ordering food.

So, this brings me to my date with R. R had messaged me on OKC, and while I thought he looked cute in his profile pictures, his message and profile contained some significant spelling and grammar errors (usually a deal breaker for me), and I wasn’t sure how much we’d have in common. But, I decided to give it a shot, and agreed to meet R for an after work drink. We arrived at a bar/restaurant around 7 p.m. The first thing R asked me was, “Are you hungry? Do you want eat?”

Truth:Yes, I want to eat. I had a Lean Cuisine at my desk at  noon and since then I’ve been eating a combination of peanut M & Ms and big gulps of air. But, I was two seconds into the date, and I wasn’t sure how long I wanted it to last. So I followed my rule, and said, “No thanks. I JUST ATE.”

So we decide to just have drinks at the bar. And I ended up having a good time with R. He was very outgoing, had a great sense of humor, and kept the conversation lively. I ordered one vodka tonic, and then another. We were having such a great time talking about our favorite obscure TV shows, that I let him order me a third. And a fourth.

Midway through the third drink, it hit me. I’m kinda drunk. And I’m starving. We’d been at the bar for almost two and half hours. But because of my little lie at the beginning of the date, I didn’t want to be like, “CAN WE EAT NOW? I AM ABOUT TO COLLAPSE!” (Looking back, that would have been a pretty normal thing to say. But did you know alcohol has negative side effects???It impaired my judgement.) So, instead, I just kept on keeping on.

kristin bell drinking

After the fourth drink, I claimed I had to get home to prep for an early meeting (AKA scarf down a box of Cheez-Its in 45 seconds flat or less). R and I walked out of the bar, and he offered me a ride home. Now, Dating 101 says taking a ride from a stranger is the stupidest thing you can do, but despite this knowledge, many of us have done it. And I was drunk and starving. So I said, “Yes, as long as you don’t try to murder me.” (Thanks for the tip S-works every time!). I get in R’s car, where he proceeds to ask me if I like INDIAN HOUSE MUSIC. “Yes!” I shouted. “I LOVE IT!”

Truth: WTF is Indian house music? Is it anything like American/European house music? Cause, if so, I hate it.

Reality: Guys, I was so drunk and delirious that I thought I actually DID like it.

So R drove me home, and I flung myself out of the car in pursuit of Cheez-Its so fast you could have mistaken me for Flo-Jo. Ten minutes later, R texted me and asked me out again. I guess he was pretty drunk too. (Actually, I hope he wasn’t, since he drove me home. But you get what I mean).

Date Rating 8/10: I inflated the rating by 3 points out of drunkeness. R was friendly, cute, and nice, but we had little in common. And he “made me” listen to house music. 

Lesson learned: Eat before your dates.  Or suck it up and order an appetizer. It’s OK to get buzzed, but getting college-style drunk and hungry (DRUNGRY?) is not a good idea.

What happened to R? We went out again. But I controlled the substance abuse, so it wasn’t as interesting.