Message Monday – Beer and Snuggling

I’m not even sure why I engaged this guy, considering he messaged me “Hey there want to chat?” which is not a message I’m normally willing to respond to. The only way to put less effort into a message is to just write “Hey.” I will not apologize for wanting guys to put in at least a little effort. But I was bored, and very recently dumped. Recent meaning an hour prior. And his profile didn’t have any red-flags, other than this:

you should message me if

I’ve talked before about how that’s a red flag for me. But, in the interest of patching together my recently dumped, wounded self-esteem, and because he seemed fairly normal, I responded.

Snuggle dude

I couldn’t, you guys. I just couldn’t. That suggestion made me want to crawl out of my skin. And not just because of the Woodpecker

This interaction isn’t actually that interesting or funny or generally blog worthy. He was just a guy with poor messaging skills and an affinity for using smiley faces. But the shame spiral that this message contributed to did seem blog worthy. A shame spiral that prompted me to question whether or not I need to see a therapist about this aversion to physical contact of mine. I mean, I’m still horrified by how seemingly mainstream hugging strangers appears to be. But between this message and the fact that, while home in NY for a christening recently, my friend apologized for giving me a hug when I was saying goodbye, I started to panic that there’s something seriously the matter with me. I don’t actually hate hugging the people that I care about, but they seem to think that I do. Which makes me feel like an asshole. Hugging certainly isn’t my first instinct, but sometimes a hug from a loved one is nice. I’ve come to terms with the fact that hugging is something people do when they care about each other. I even occasionally will be the one to initiate a hug! Do you like how I just said that as if it’s something to be super proud of? Like “look at me, on rare occasions I hug the people I love! And I don’t even hate it! God, I’m such a warm, loving person!” 

It occurred to me that I should probably also come to terms with the fact that snuggling/cuddling is something people who are in a romantic relationship tend to engage in.

Typing that sentence made my physically shudder, so clearly I haven’t gotten very far in my journey of acceptance. What if I never come around to it? Who wants to date someone who doles out hugs once every blue moon and is repulsed by the idea of snuggling? 

Oh God, I’m going to die alone.

fuck it i'm inadequate what can you do (wheninlawschool)

Source: #wheninlawschool

Quite possibly the most accurate tagline for my romantic endeavors to date…

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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!

The one about D’s date with a possible Norman Bates copycat

Let me tell you a tale dear readers. A tale of a match encounter that started out so well, and ended with a few hours of my life I would legitimately like back.

Match had mostly been a disappointment to me (shocker – S was right). But then, shortly before I moved out to the burbs, S came along. He, despite using the stupid winking feature, seemed promising. He messaged me, and we e-mailed back and forth a few times. In his fourth e-mail he asked me if I’d like to grab a drink, gave me his number, and suggested we check out a photography exhibit opening at an art gallery. This was so excellent for so many reasons. No extended e-mailing, no extended texting, initiative in planning the date, a date idea that went beyond standard drinks. Color me impressed. The date was 2 days later, and he sent me the details about the art gallery out in Winchester.

I got there a few minutes early, which was a serious accomplishment. I promptly patted myself on the back, and sent S a text that I was waiting outside. I knew who he was as soon as he came into view – his profile mentioned his height, and he was not lying. He really is very tall. He walked up and moved in to give me a hug. Now, I know this makes me a terrible person and all, but I’m barely a hug person with my loved ones and close friends. I’m most certainly not a hug person with strangers. Say what you will about whatever deeper issues this might indicate, but I don’t like to be touched. So, I sort of reacted like this:

hug into a handshake

I didn’t push his face away, but the rest is pretty spot on. I know, I know. I’m a cold-hearted, hug-hating asshole. I’m ok with who I am. He was clearly thrown by this, but we recovered quickly and went into the gallery, which was small but very nice. They had wine and some snacks out for the opening of the exhibit, and so we snacked a bit while looking at all the photos. We ended up sitting on a bench in the middle of the room. He was a photography major, and was a member of this particular gallery, which is what brought us there. We continued to chat, but it was kind of awkward there in the middle of this small gallery, so he suggested we go find a place to grab a drink.

This is the point where it all started to go downhill. Up until now, aside from the online winking and the attempted hug, it was a perfectly nice date. There was no immediate spark or anything, but he seemed nice, albeit awkward.

The gallery was just off the town common so we headed that way. Neither of us really had any clue where to go, since neither of us lived in Winchester. So we went into the first place we came across, which happened to be a nice wine bar and Italian restaurant. The first time the waitress came over to take our order, we weren’t ready yet, and he said “sorry, this is the first time we’re meeting in person.” Dude. We don’t need to hide the fact that we met online, but let’s not go shouting it to strangers either. When she walked away after some nervous laughter, he asked if I had eaten yet.

Sidenote: I always eat before a first date. I’m not a kind person when I’m hungry. So I make sure to eat at least enough to prevent a hunger induced meltdown (my most famous one involved green glitter and the streets of London on St. Patrick’s Day, with S by my side having a meltdown of her own). So I said yes and gave a modified (read: watered-down) explanation about why. He chuckled, and then said “well I’m going to order something anyway, I’m hungry.”

Ok. After that little sidenote above, I obviously get it. But at the same time, he chowed down at the snack table in the gallery. So I sort of expected him to just order an app, something small to tide him over. In actuality, he ordered a full-fledged meal and a beer. This made me feel awkward, because I didn’t really want to sit and watch him eat, so I ordered myself something small, and a glass of wine (I’m trying to be more of a wine person, but it’s not really working). Once we had ordered, we had our first real chance to talk. And oh my, you guys, it was … interesting. I know we complain about this all the time, but I did 90% of the work keeping the conversation going. That aside, some really unfortunate things transpired:

1) We got on the topic of traveling, and he said he likes to travel so I asked him what was his favorite place that he’s ever traveled to? I wish I could un-hear his answer, because he responded: “Vegas!”

Ummmmmmm.

Now, I’m lucky enough to have had the privilege to travel in Europe and all over the U.S., and I know that’s not something everyone is able to do. But Vegas? Las Vegas, Nevada is the best place you’ve ever visited? That is horrifying to me, and I’m going to judge you for that. Disappointed with his answer, I followed up by asking what his least favorite travel destination was. Maybe he just hadn’t traveled much, I thought? His least favorite place that he’s ever been is Nova Scotia. We were definitely not on the same page here. I would flip those answers right around.

2) It came up that I went to Boston University undergrad. This fact prompted him to tell me a story about a time that he rode the B line of the T and got stuck on a car with a bunch of “douchey BU guys.”

Again, ummmmmmmm?

I just told you that I went to BU and that I had a great time there. While I’m not offended, it’s true that BU has its share d-bags (not as many as BC (can’t pass up an opportunity to hate on BC, sorry/not sorry)), it’s an interesting followup to share with your date who went there.

3) His right knee was in a complex looking brace, so I asked about his knee injury. Which got us talking about how whenever you fall and hurt yourself, it’s never in a deserted area. There are always people around to witness your pain and humiliation. I fell and tore a couple ligaments in my ankle my freshman year of college in a crowded stairwell and ended up with a dozen people standing over me, one of whom unnecessarily called an ambulance for me (which I was all ready to turn away when it showed up because I knew a cab to the hospital would be significantly cheaper, but then the EMT walked in and he was so attractive that I couldn’t have turned him away even if he was Hannibal Lecter. He was so good-looking that I didn’t even care 3 months later when I had to start paying for physical therapy because I had exhausted my per-occurrence insurance limit and my parents refused to help me until I had paid out the cost of the ambulance. I can still picture his perfection. Best $400 I ever spent. And bonus – he wasn’t a felon). Anyway, I knew what he was talking about. Somehow, people witnessing your clumsiness just makes it that much worse. This led to a story about how he once slipped and fell in the winter on some ice, and not only hurt his knee, but also his arm. Because he couldn’t properly brace for the fall with his arms because he was holding an umbrella to protect him from the snow. He actually used the words “to protect me from the snow.” He said this so matter of factly. Like that’s a totally normal thing to do. Like he’d never heard of hats before. I’d be lying if I said that that story didn’t totally emasculate him in my eyes.

4) The 10% of conversation topics he initiated were … unusual. If felt less like friendly conversation, and more like a bizarre interrogation. Here are the questions that he asked me:

  • Have you ever been in a fight and punched a girl out? I’m sorry, what? First of all, what an odd question. Second of all, let’s just say, for kicks, that I have honed a wicked left hook over the years (hahaha). Why am I only fighting with girls? Why can’t I have punched a guy out? I was more offended by that assumption than anything else.
  • How long do you take in the shower? I was so thrown by this question, that I actually thought about it and answered him. And then it got even weirder when he reacted to my answer of about 10 minutes with a completely serious “wow – that long huh?” Is that an unusually long amount of time for showering? Also, why are we talking about my shower habits, Norman Bates? Stop being creepy.
  • And lastly, it came up that I’m a Yankees fan. Without having really said much else on the topic, he pointed to the tattoo on my forearm and asked why, if I’m such a big Yankees fan, one of my tattoos isn’t Derek Jeter’s autograph? The implications of that question are pretty much all insulting. Just because I’m a girl and I’m a Yankees fan, I must be head over heels in love with that dreamy Jeter right? He must be my favorite player. And what kind of person does he think I am if he thinks I would brand myself like that?

S and I had nothing in common, other than a propensity to injure ourselves in public, and there was definitely NO chemistry. I was over this date, so I was thrilled when the check came. He took a look at it, pulled $25 out of his wallet, looked at the check again, swapped the $5 for a $10, handed me the check and said “I’ll need a few bucks change.” I was vaguely annoyed that I had been bamboozled into ordering food, but no big deal. However, as I had not planned on dinner, I only had $20 on me. I figured I owed about $23, so I pulled out my debit card. He then proceeded to say “oh, if you’re going to use a card, we can just put it all on there and you can keep the cash.” AND THEN HE TOOK HIS $10 BILL BACK AND HANDED ME ONLY THE $20.

Hold.

Up.

Setting aside the fact that you just unilaterally decided to charge the entire bill to my debit card, which was obnoxious enough, you’re also going to short me your full share of the bill? 30 seconds ago you determined that you owed more than $25. But now that we’re charging my card, you suddenly only owe $20? Negative. That is not how this is going to go down. I am not going to subsidize your dinner tonight, you Psycho.

“You only owe $20?”

“Oh. Ok, I guess not.” He pulled the $5 bill out of his wallet and handed it to me.

Still not your full share, buddy, but fine. If it means this date can be over, fine. I signed the receipt, and we headed back to our cars. We got to my car first in the parking lot, so I beeped it open and said “this is me.”

“Oh, nice! Let’s just see how neat and clean you keep your car” he said as he walked up to my rear driver’s side door. I stood in the parking lot dumbfounded as he bent down, put his face to the window, and looked around inside my car. Is this seriously something that people do? Is this a dating norm that I’ve been blissfully unaware of until now, because WTF? Ultimately, he decided that my car was “not bad, not bad.” Uh, thanks?

He was now standing next to my driver’s door, so I told him it had been nice to meet him. Despite how poorly I thought the date had gone, he had other ideas and moved in for a kiss. I most definitely did not want to kiss him, but I had already used the handshake move, so I shifted my weight and made it a hug instead. He held on for a little too long, and then when he did release the hug, he kept his hands on the small of my back and pulled back just enough so that he could pucker up for a kiss. Before I realized what I was doing, I said “uh uh” and did this:

tumblr_mjofmzUPE11s5bhx0o1_400

You guys, I wagged my finger in his face. I don’t even know where it came from. He pulled all the way back and said “No?” I felt a little bad about the finger wagging, so I tried to lessen the blow and said “No, I don’t kiss on the first date.” Which is definitely not true, if I liked him I would have had no problem kissing him. But he didn’t know that, so I told a white lie, thanked him again, and said goodnight.

I never heard from S again. I guess my Dikembe Mutombo impersonation worked.

Date rating: 1 out of 10, and that’s only because I have a serious soft spot for New England’s quaint little town commons, and Winchester’s was no disappointment. New England is so adorable!