Textual feelings: My short-lived, mostly virtual, romance with M

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:

m message

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.

M is a wit

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.

m drunk text apology

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.

kate and leo 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:

mysterious pic

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.

weird dragon photo

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:

M last time i heard from him

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)!

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Ask LSD

In honor of Valentine’s Day we’re covering a topic that has the potential to be both super romantic and super awkward. And to all the singletons out there, please enjoy this lovely little ditty and allow it to brighten your day. Today’s question is:

How do you feel about kissing on a first date?

S:

For me it totally depends on the situation (and obviously the dude). Even if it was a really good date, I don’t necessarily want or expect a kiss at the end. Lord knows I’ve had some decent dates end with a not so awesome kiss: one where we’d both just shared garlicky mussels and had terrible breath (I know, gross), and another where the guy literally just opened his mouth and ate my face, earning him the illustrious nickname of trouty mouth.

Assuming I like the guy, one of the things that matters most to me (besides minty fresh breath) is location… where will this potential kiss be going down? In a car? On a quiet street? On a busy street? On public transportation? Call me old fashioned but I’m not a fan of playing tonsil hockey with a near stranger in public. One of the most awkward post-date kisses I’ve ever had was on a busy street at the top of the stairs to the subway with two cops and a biker ten feet away from us. Also, it was summer and we’d only met for happy hour, so it was still light out! This was no quick kiss, either; the guy really went for it. And it was juuuuust as awkward as you’re imagining.

But if we have a bit of privacy and it’s obvious that we’re both into it then sure, you can make a move. Just please set it up  slowly enough that if I’m horrified by the idea, I can politely block your advance without embarrassing the hell out of both of us. So far, I’ve only had one guy attempt a kiss when it was totally unwelcome, and I think that’s partially because if the date is bad, I usually run like hell at the end of it before there’s even a chance. I’m classy like that.

D:

I’m not opposed to it entirely, but I generally lean towards no.

I’m open to the idea if I already know the guy before our first date. As for a guy I met through online dating, while I can’t say I would never want to kiss on the first date, 99% of the time it would be an unwelcome advance (even if I like the guy). Despite my long history of developing instant crushes on people, it usually takes me more than just a few hours to warm up to a guy enough to warrant that kind of physical contact. Most of it is that I’m shy about that kind of thing. But also, I just don’t know you enough. Sure we’ve exchanged a few messages online and maybe a few texts (hopefully just a few), and we’ve now spent some time together, but I still really don’t know that much about you. You were on your best behavior during our date, which I appreciate don’t get me wrong. And not that you’re going to be totally yourself by the 2nd date, but I’ll have a better idea about how I feel by then. So I’d rather wait.

And if we do make it to the 2nd date, like S says, do it slowly. Not only because it still affords me an opportunity to block, but also because it’s just nicer that way.  

L:

I’m pretty open to it. Then again, I’m also open to whitewater rafting and binge drinking, but that doesn’t mean I say yes at every opportunity. For me, it boils down to a few key factors:

1) How attracted am I to the guy? If the guy is hot and I’m super attracted to him, I’m into it. Even if he was a total jerk all night, at least I can add him to the list of “hot guys I kissed.” (This list is mental, not actually written on my fridge, so please don’t worry.) Also, I figure that if he’s super hot, there is an 80% chance he won’t call me again, and in that case, I might as well take this hot piece of @$$ while the opportunity presents itself. (I’m only half kidding). And gentlemen, don’t judge me, I bet most of you would take the same approach.

2) What’s the breath situation? Did we just chow down on Indian food? Or chug Miller Lites? (Chugging beer… that’s my idea of a great date! ) Do I have access to a mint? Does he have access to a mint? I have a strong bad breath phobia, and I fear if the first time is stinky, it’ll be hard for me and him to get past that.

3) Where are we? I agree with S, place matters a ton. This is where having a car, provided you can find it, works strongly to a guy’s advantage. I think it’s the safest place for a first date kiss

4) What’s his strategy for initiating the kiss? Real talk–first kisses make me nervous. So the faster you go, actually, the better chance you have at catching me before I’ve had a chance to over-think it and panic and step away. One of my guy friends used to call it the “shock and awe” method, and usually, it works. (Editor’s note: not always)

5) How much have we had to drink? Ya’ll, it’s called liquid courage for a reason. And alcohol impairs judgement and slows movement. Please reflect on the people you made out with in college. See what I mean?

6) Do I want to see this guy again? Weirdly, this matters less to me. I mean, clearly, if I don’t want to see him again, I won’t kiss him. Instead, I copy S’s “run like hell” strategy. But, if I like the guy enough to see him again, I am open to a kiss. Might as well get it over with. And, if he judges me for being “too easy,” he’s not my kind of guy. This is the 21st century people, and you can’t get any diseases from kissing.

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