Happy One Year Anniversary (of still being single) to me!

That’s right, folks. It’s the one year anniversary of my infamous first okcupid date. A lot has happened in a year; some good, some bad, some laughable, and mercifully, plenty that’s blogworthy. And while it’s tempting to focus on this fact:

mindy single

there are plenty of other things to discuss. For instance, I thought you’d all like to know that G, or as my friends and I fondly refer to him, “the guy who couldn’t find his car”, reappeared a few weeks ago! After our terribly awkward first date he asked me out again and I politely declined, and that was that. For a year. Until I received this message:

g message

I swear, I have awkwardness PTSD from my date with G, and this message sent me into a full on Nam flashback. Initially I was so confused by the bizarre subject that I didn’t even process the improper grammar, the emoticon, the spelling of ‘hiccup’ and ‘recurrence’ (I’m going to give him a pass on ‘therefore’ and assume it’s a typo. Please, let it be a typo).  God, this is embarrassing to share with you all because frankly I can’t believe I went out with this person.

I actually went out with this person.

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Please note that it was sent at 2:59 am. He was drunk, right? He had to be drunk. That would make me feel better so I’m going to go ahead and believe it.

As for the subject, it took me a few minutes to process what he was talking about, but then a light bulb went off in my head. I’d forgotten this detail of the date completely until G INEXPLICABLY brought it up again. Besides the fact that he was a nervous, stammering mess who lost his car on the mean streets of Old City Philadelphia, at one point in the evening G took a sip of his drink, tried to say something, went into an insane coughing fit and semi started to choke. Then, when he finally stopped coughing, he proceeded to get the hiccups (badly) but rather than just ignore them and try to move on, he repeatedly brought attention to the whole thing by exclaiming how weird it was, how it’s never happened to him before, etc etc. Oh God, the awkwardness. I can’t even. But the absurdity of the rest of the date actually eclipsed the coughing incident so completely that I totally forgot to mention it in my original post! Until now.

And as for ‘my overwhelming beauty’…it’s technically a nice thing to say, but it’s also wildly exaggerated and disingenuous. Most importantly, G, we went out a year ago and I said I didn’t want to see you again, so if I may: 

Luckily, I’ve come a long way since that date, and I definitely don’t feel like such a hapless amateur roaming the streets searching for a stranger’s Chevy. Here are some of the biggest things I’ve learned in my year of online dating:

  • People lie about what they look like.
  • A good profile does not necessarily = a good date. This may be the biggest revelation I’ve had since starting this thing. Men were presenting themselves as these awesome, fun, witty, gregarious people online, and I’d meet them and they’d be dull as bricks. And yes, I’m sure men experience this with women as well (possibly even with me). I think the takeaway from these two points is that online dating requires you to basically sell yourself, and more often than not, people sell who they want or perceive themselves to be rather than who they actually are. So it’s tough to “meet” someone online, form expectations based on your messages and their profile, and then almost inevitably be disappointed when you meet in person. Therefore…
  • The less time you spend messaging online with someone, the better. No matter how awesome someone’s profile is or how great they seem over messages, texts, or emails, you’re never going to know how you really feel about them until they’re sitting in front of you. Even if you know you like them, you don’t know if you’ll have chemistry. So if a guy has messaged me but is taking his sweet time asking me out (and trust me, many do), a year ago I would have been irritated and confused, but I probably would have waited it out. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still irritated:

meryl

But now rather than just stew about it, mama gets down to business…

  • Don’t be afraid to make the first move. Do not fear rejection. I’ve been both the rejector and the rejectee, and while being on the receiving end may have caused me to do a bit of this:

gretchen weiners                                                                                          

I totally survived, and I definitely don’t take it as personally when it happens now. Everyone is on the site for the same reason (correction: most people are on the site for the same reason. I was once propositioned for a threesome by a couple with a joint profile. So admittedly not everyone has the same end game) and as a friend of mine likes to say, there’s no way you can become more single, so you have nothing to lose by putting yourself out there.

  • Screen, screen, screen. Before you say yes to a date or ask someone out, go immediately to the ‘unacceptable answers’ section of their okcupid questions. This conveniently lists all of the questions that are important to you which the person answered “incorrectly”. You may discover, for instance, that your potential date has rape fantasies, believes homosexuality is a sin or (LSD’s personal favorite) thinks THE EARTH IS BIGGER THAN THE SUN. Better to know these things up front than to waste your Wednesday night discovering these horrors over craft beers when you could be on your couch watching Nashville. AS YOU CAN SEE, I did not screen my first date properly. In fact I shudder to think of the time I wasted in the beginning by not doing this immediately, but boy have I learned my lesson since. 
  • Despite the annoyances, dating can be fun. Talking about it can be even more fun. I’ve met some pretty cool people this year, had interesting conversations, discovered new bars and restaurants, played quizzo, seen movies and plays, and even done a few things that I can’t mention on this blog (hi, mom!). Even with the rejection and confusion that online dating often brings, I don’t regret doing it for a second. Especially since I now have an incredibly fun and satisfying way to chat about my experiences and vent my frustration when I inevitably encounter an asshole or two. So thanks, dear readers. Here’s to you!

leo gif

(God, how does Leo still look so good?)

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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.