First date with the Good Message Unicorn

In case you are just joining us (in which case, welcome!/fasten your seat belt) this post is technically a Part 2. When we last left off, the Good Message Unicorn had apologized for his lame behavior and asked if I wanted to meet. And sweet baby Jesus, it was about time. In keeping with my Summer of YOLO affirmations, I decided to go for it. I gave GMU my phone number, sat back,  DudeWaiting …and waited for him to take the reigns, which he did. We made plans to meet for drinks, which in my mind was going to go one of two ways:

  1. We’d meet, hit it off immediately, and begin a hot mid-summer romance, thus validating the entire Summer of YOLO plan
  2. We’d meet and the date would be mediocre, in part because I set wildly unrealistic expectations of a complete stranger who sent me some half decent messages over a month ago

Hmmmm let’s see. Which of those options seems more likely in the world of LSD, and the world of online dating in general? fresh prince hmm The night of our date, I arrived at my old reliable (yes, he asked me where I wanted to meet and yes, I was annoyed about it). I didn’t see GMU at the bar, but he’d just texted me that he was there, so I headed up to the second floor and…. literally ran right into him on the stairs. Now, if you’ve ever online dated, you know that the first moment of a first date is almost always excruciatingly awkward because neither party knows how to appropriately greet the other person. Do you shake hands? Hug? Wait to see what your date does? Before I even had time to consider my greeting options, this happened:  GMU: Sorry, I don’t want to touch you because I’m really sick. Me (internally): wtf-mate-o Me: Oh. Sorry you’re sick. We could have rescheduled…? GMU: I know, but I was looking forward to meeting you, and I also felt like since I kind of disappeared for a bit, it would have seemed extra shady for me to cancel at the last minute. I didn’t want you to think I was blowing you off. Despite that fact that we were still having this awkward ass conversation ON THE STAIRS as waiters and customers brushed by us, GMU earned some points for that. Because he’s right: the fact that he fully disappeared once, coupled with the fact that more often than not, the ‘I’m sick” excuse turns out to be bullshit, (and maybe the fact that Stupid Cupid is the patron blog of pessimistic over thinkers) means that I probably wouldn’t have believed him. Well played, GMU… 10-points-to-gryffindor_gp_1622829 Source: memecdn.com …even though I was now at risk for contracting the “summer cold” he claimed to have come down with. Welp, that’s what they make Purell for, right? Finally we moved from our creepy perch and I got a chance to fully check my date out. He was:

  • shorter than he claimed to be, because duh, but still respectably tall
  • almost as cute as his pictures

All in all I was pleased. We sat down, ordered drinks, and GMU launched into telling me about his job. I don’t know why this seems to be a trend with me lately, but I’ve encountered some serious Chatty Cathys. Luckily GMU had a cool job that I was mildly interested in (small/independent film distributor–I’m sorry but no one can top Keith Mars in that department) so I peppered him with a lot of questions. Homeboy was smart and well spoken and unlike a previous Chatty Cathy, didn’t bore me to tears with tedious anecdotes that no one cares about but him. But, even though GMU was holding my interest, at the same time it all seemed very…official. And oddly business-like. We were chatting like two strangers exchanging platonic pleasantries, not two people on a date. Our messages had been filled with all the flirty, loquacious banter of some snappy Aaron Sorkin dialogue, but that just wasn’t translating in person. This is actually pretty common, I think mostly because it’s easy to sit in front of a laptop and type and re-type a message until it’s the perfect blend of sassy, witty, and hilarious, but when you’re sitting in front of a complete stranger yeah, that shit’s a little harder. Men appear to especially have a hard time with this… I can’t tell you how many have been literally PERSONALITY OF THE YEAR over messaging and then come off like a wet blanket in person. Midway through the date I went to the bathroom and thought about how it was going. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great. Two things needed to happen for the night to tip the scales toward positive:

  1. We needed to stop talking to each other like two co-workers in a conference room at a Scottsdale Ramada and start flirting, ASAP.
  2. GMU needed to actually ask about me and my life, and then shut his mouth and let me speak. The talking thing seemed like a nervous habit, so I was trying not to take it personally, but at a certain point it’s hard not to feel like you could be replaced with a bag of rusty nails and your date might just keep going because he literally has zero interest in getting to know anything about you. If you think I’m exaggerating, read this article. More great news for single women!

I got back to the table, these thoughts still on my mind. As if on cue GMU said, “Where was I…? Oh yeah!” and immediately launched into ANOTHER STORY. And I just sat there with my mouth agape, thinking: not done My eyes started to glaze over. But then, as if he could read my mind (or possibly my facial expression), GMU stopped mid-sentence and said: “I’m sorry, I can hear myself talking your ear off. I’m talking too much, aren’t I?” Well. That took me by surprise. I appreciated the self awareness, though it took a lot of self control not to shout “YES, YES YOU ARE TALKING WAY TOO MUCH AND IT’S REALLY OBNOXIOUS WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU??” Instead I went with a much kinder: “Yup, maybe a little too much.” “I knew it. I’m sorry! I just want you to know it’s because I’m having a really nice time. Let me finish this thought and then I promise I will shut up and you can tell me more about you.” I had to physically bar myself from rolling my eyes at ‘it’s because I’m having a nice time’ because LOL, yeah. You’ve been listening to the sound of your own voice for the better part of an hour. I bet you’re having a nice time. narcissism To GMU’s credit, though, he did shut up and listen. Thank God. As the conversation became more of a back and forth, we started to banter a bit. GMU had obviously gotten more comfortable, and even managed to pull out some of the teasing and volleying he’d been so good at over messaging. Then it was revealed that he knew my alma mater, BU, very well because he dated a girl for three years who went there and visited frequently. The highlight of the entire date was when GMU started to talk shit on CGS, which is something that every BU student knows about. The College of General Studies is a school that freshmen are admitted into when they’re…not…ready?…for BU itself. CGS has an infamously bad rap at BU–it’s affectionately known as crayons, glue and scissors cgs So it totally tickled me that GMU knew about this and was in on the shit talking (PS, most of this shit talking stemmed from the fact that his college girlfriend cheated on him with a CGS student, which explains his surprising fervor on the subject). I know this all probably comes off as mean spirited and douchey, especially coming from a school that lives in the shadow of the capital of elitist doucheland. And yes, it kind of is, but it’s also a time honored BU tradition. Sidenote: I actually have a few friends who were in CGS (if you’re reading this, hi guys!/I’m sorry, I’m the worst xoxoxo), and who are smart, successful humans with good jobs, so clearly all this snide judgment is meaningless. Funny, but meaningless. ANYWAY, I was still LOLing from the BU/CGS tangent when my date surprised me again: GMU: I’m having a lot of fun. Would you like to do this again sometime? I mean, what single girl doesn’t like to hear that from a cute guy, even one who talks incessantly? I’ve just never heard literally it in the middle of the date in the middle of a conversation. A part of me was like, wait. Is he ending the night right now? Is GMU just going to get up and walk away after I answer him? Only one way to find out. Since the date had markedly improved during the second half of the evening, I decided the Good Message Unicorn was worth a second look. Me: I’m having fun, too. And sure, I’d love to. GMU: Awesome. Anyway, back to what we were talking about… So the date continued but started to wind down. 15 minutes later we got the check and left. We stood outside the bar, saying an awkward goodbye. GMU repeated that he’d love to see me again, and told me he’d be in touch soon. Then something…unprecedented happened. My date fist bumped me.

My date FIST. BUMPED. ME.

Yes, you’re thinking of the right fist bump. The GMU and I did this: fist bump 1 fist bump 2 fist bump 3 I have no words. And I had no words then. I think I actually blurted out, “wow, okay. That just happened. Well….goodnight!” and fled. So what happened next? A second date? A phone call? Some text flirting? Anything? Anything at all? Nothing. https://i2.wp.com/i.qkme.me/3rdom7.jpg After a months-long saga of messaging, taking a break from messaging, disappearing, YOLOing, reappearing, meeting, illnesses and hand moves made famous by bros, after all that, I never heard from the GMU again. That bastard had the gall to pull a fade away. the jerk store called I’m not even going to go into how maddening it is to be asked out again IN THE MIDDLE OF A DATE and then hear nothing from that person, because it’s well covered territory here at Stucu. Like I said at the beginning of this post, this is not an interesting or juicy ending to the GMU saga by any means, but it’s so incredibly true to life and to the dating world as I know it. A lot of BS, time and effort amounting to… this. I realize this post took a dark turn for a sunny Friday afternoon, but if you’ve been following our blog you should hardly be surprised. I do have two positive things to end on. 1. I’m still hella glad I YOLO’d, because at least now I know. I know that GMU is not the one that got away and that I didn’t let tired dating conventions and self consciousness get in the way of figuring that out. So…go me? I mean, still alone, of course, but alone and wiser. Yup, basically just alone. Positive thing #2… our wonderful co-blogger D celebrated a milestone birthday this week! Readers, join me in wishing her a Happy Birthday! D, you’re one of my favorite people in the world, even if you do have a ‘tude about Disney classics and our use of the term YOLO. Here’s a little belated Bday treat for you… Date rating: 6/10. The chemistry that I had with GMU over messaging never really materialized in person, and he talked my ear off, but the date did improve a fair amount towards the end. Until, of course, he FIST BUMPED ME and then pulled a fade away. Given the last two points, my grading might actually be too generous.

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Message Monday: You’re definitely not my type

A few days ago, this charmer reached out to me:

message monday not my type

First of all, the first sentence reeks of enthusiasm. I always use “apparently” to convey how thrilled I am about something.

“Apparently, Microsoft Outlook has decided not to work today.”

“I got a parking ticket because, apparently, there was street cleaning on Tuesday night. Even though the sign said Wednesday.”

Apparently, my ex thinks it’s still ok to list me as his emergency contact.”

In his next sentence, this guy elaborates on just how annoyed he is we’ve been matched. My favorite phrase: “you’re definitely not my type.” Really, buddy? Am I SO not your type that you actually had to contact me to share that? Instead of just clicking away from my profile like a normal person? Are you writing Sallybot and the folks at OKCupid an angry customer email because they mismatched us so egregiously?

Thirdly, if you’re looking for an old spinster, you should probably stop online dating, since most old people use the internet to get on AOL and search for things on Ask.com. 

Lastly, what does, “can you please help me” mean? Can I help him connect with an older woman who might die soon? Can I help him find better matches on OKCupid? No sir, I cannot help you. 

I mean, it’s quite possible that this guy just loves sarcasm, and I will admit that, if a similar pick-up line were delivered in person, or by Chandler Bing, I might even find it funny. (I mean, it is funny. That’s why I am posting about it).

But the thing is, there is also a chance that this guy is serious, in which case: he bruised my fragile ego, and basically admitted to having homicidal tendencies when it comes to partners. And that chance is enough for me to press delete.

The art and etiquette of messaging

In the world of online dating, you make or break your chances of dating someone on the first message you send out. Here’s our collective advice on what leads to a date,and what leads to a delete.

1. Keep it short. I want a date, not a pen pal. Keep your message short, with a few fun facts about you and a few questions about me and I’ll do the same. And once we go back and forth twice, decide if you want to ask me out or not. I write enough emails for work, I don’t want to come home and read something with multiple paragraphs unless it’s this or this.

2. Never ever mention someone’s booty (or their labia, or their toes). True story–every girl I know on the site receives several messages–sent between the hours of 1 and 4 a.m., that read something like this: “Hello sexy fresh bootlicious, I want to cum ovr rite now and suck your toes and smack yERr boo-TAY!”(Spelling and punctuation borrowed from real life messages). The thing is, even if I wanted to respond, it’s incredibly difficult to dream up a response that could top your literary genius and complexity.

3. Write me a personalized message. You (presumably) just read a bunch of information about me on my profile. I didn’t put it there for myself to read. Just add a few sentences, personalize the message. Do we have something in common? Did you think something in my profile was funny or interesting? Do you have any thoughts at all? Do not just say, “hi-what’s up?” or “how are you?” First, that’s lazy. Second, How AM I? Well I just got over a UTI, I threw up in my sink last week, I ate crackers for dinner, and I’ve been listening to “Dancing on my Own” on repeat. The point is, I’m not comfortable sharing my weird little habits and worries with a stranger (I’d like to get to know you and THEN let all my ugly secrets come out).   And if I follow your lead and respond with a generic “good, how are you?” we’ve learned nothing about each other.  Keep those kind of pleasantries for when you pass a co-worker in the hallway.

4. Don’t use that terrifying AIM like “chat” feature. It’s not 1995 and this is not a chat room. 

5. Getting belligerent is scary. A little teasing and some friendly debate is great for a first date, but can be really off-putting in a first message. For instance, if I really like the Washington Redskins, don’t message me with “RGIII SUCKS! GO COWBOYS!” First of all, CAPS LOCK is terrifying–you’re yelling and I don’t know you yet. Second of all, the Cowboys suck, and so do you.

6. Be yourself, but don’t reveal your deepest darkest fears. Admitting you’re new to the site, you’re awkward, or you don’t understand messaging protocol is fine with me. A little humility is refreshing. However, don’t start a message with, “most people think my messages are annoying but I am trying to get better at them so I finally get a date cuz i’ve been on the site forever and no one likes me.” Instead of responding, I’d like to direct you to my therapist so you can work on your self esteem issues.

Lastly, ladies and gents, we believe personalized messages deserve a response. Unless someone looks and sounds like a serial killer, if they take the time to write you a nice message crafted with details from your profile, do them a favor and respond. If you’re interested, continue the conversation. That’s easy enough. If you’re not interested, respond anyway. Would you ever ignore a real live person who asked you a polite question at a bar? (Oh god, I bet some of you just silently answered yes. I hope I never meet you–at a bar or otherwise.) Just thank them for messaging you and let them know. While I felt like an admissions officer sending my first “thanks but no thanks and best of luck” message, I also felt like a brave, direct person. A brave direct person whose karma will be improved so people will answer her perfectly normal, wittily-crafted, messages.

-L & D