Ask LSD: How do you follow up after a date?

We spend a lot of time on this blog talking about our bad dates. Why?

1) They are usually more hilarious.

2) It serves as therapy.

3) We want to make sure we are providing the ladies of the internet with some cautionary tales and advice. We can’t get those several hours of our life we spent hearing about movie theater etiquette back (and, btw, what do you think my A would have done if he encountered S’s D in the movie theater? National Guard? Court Marshall), but we can prevent sistas everywhere from falling for the same tricks.

That said, we’ve been fortunate to have some very good dates as well. And, in a way, the good dates are a lot more nerve-wracking than the bad ones. When you meet a guy you never want to see again, you walk away and it’s like, who cares? In fact, you’re often delighted because 1) The hellish experience is over 2) you’ve got a good story to tell your friends, or, our lucky case, our wonderful readers.

barney gif

But, when you meet a guy who you think, “Wow, I could actually like him,” that’s when the anxiety really kicks in. What to do next? Well, first, you call your friends on the walk home, and the conversation goes something like this:

S: How was your date?

L: It was actually prrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetttttttttttttttyyyyyyyyy good. He was really nice, and he made some good jokes. And he laughed at my jokes. And he was a generous tipper.

S: Oh! Sounds fun! Get it girl!

L: I mean, he also had a small bald spot and he mispronounced Oregon, like, 3 times.

S: Hmm…

L: I mean, whatever, I’ll probably never hear from him again and that’s fine. I don’t care. Hey yo I’m still not a player but you still a hater.

S: What’s happening right now? Are you quoting Big Pun?

L: Yes. I’m drunk.

Second, after you appropriately debrief not only your friends, but your coworkers, your neighbors, your barista, and your hairdresser, you start to hear the inevitable question. “So, are you gonna go out again?” Or, “Did you say anything to him after the date?”

Good news, friends! We’re here to offer our (as always, unsolicited) thoughts on follow up after a great first date.

L: When I first started dating, I would spend the first couple days after the date hoping that the guy would follow up with me and trying to send him legit telegraphic messages to do so. Most of the time, they would, and that was great, but sometimes they wouldn’t, and I would use the absence of contact to reinforce my negative sense of self and just general feeling of hopelessness:

dying alone

Now, I’ve been dating for a full 6 months. And I’d like to think of myself as a bit wiser and thicker skinned (largely thanks to the wise counsel of my co-bloggers and our readers). I’ve realized a few things:

1) Contrary to my previous belief, even though I hold the longstanding title as “most insecure” among my friends, there are people out there who are just as insecure as me and just as afraid of rejection. Some of them are men. So, if I had a good time on the date, I provide a little positive reinforcement (i.e., “thanks for taking me out. I had a great time.”) I figure, at the very least, a thank you is in order. And maybe it’ll give them the nudge they need to ask me out.

2) “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.” – My dad

Oh what? Michael Jordan said it first? Well, I’ve been listening to my father tell me that for 20 years. And I finally realize that he’s right. What’s the point of going out in pursuit of fun, dateable guys you want to see again if you don’t even try to see them again?

3) I can survive rejection. UGHHHHH. I know I just spewed all that sports-loving, all star style feel good bullshit about baskets and free throws, but I take it back for a minute. Losing sucks. Rejection sucks. But the weird thing about rejection is, the more it happens, the easier it gets. So seriously, every time I text a guy and say “thanks for taking me out,” and I never hear from him again, I actually care less and less. (How’s that for a growth mindset y’all?)

So, my new post-date strategy is to say thank you. Add an inside joke if necessary. I feel like if I do that, I’m giving the guy the window he needs to ask me out again. And if he doesn’t, I figure, he’s either just not that into me, or he has too much going on in his life, or he’s an even bigger wimp than I am. And I move on. And by move on, I mean, seek solace in a Netflix binge that involves a whole lotta Office reruns and the occasional smattering of a Law and Order SVU. Stabler +Jim Halpert= a cure all for emotional wounds.

S: Those were wise words, indeed, L. Especially from your dad (Hi, Mr. L!) who I’m pretty sure was quoting that advice to us back when we were ten and picking out our dream outfits in the JC Penney catalog (dead serious. L and I did that every time we hung out for a solid year. Obviously our cool factor was established early on).

But I digress. I will tell you something that has totally surprised me about online dating. When I started this whole thing, I kind of assumed that most of the time, I’d at least sort of know where I stood at the end a first date. I figured if a guy really liked me, I’d be able to tell. If we both had a great time, it would be as abundantly clear as a match.com commercial. If neither of us were into it, it might make for an awkward date, but we’d probably both get the picture.

Ahhh to be young and naive. What I discovered through a painful, confusing and at times, straight up humiliating process, is that at least half the time you can’t tell what the hell is going to happen next! Real talk, half. Or worse, you’re sure you know what’s going to go down, but NOPE, you were dead wrong. Here are a few of the most common examples from my personal dating history:

  • I think a date was awful and it turns out the guy had a great time. Case in point: N the Brit. Had an excruciatingly awkward date with him with zero chemistry. He was literally silent for most of it while I over-compensated by babbling like a lunatic. Assumed it had been just as lame/awful for him since he barely spoke or cracked a smile, and that was that, UNTIL he texted me that he’d had a lovely time and asked me out again. WTF? This has happened a few times (ahem), and every time I literally say to myself, ‘Were we on the same date?’
  • I think we both had a great time and it turns out it was just me. Multiple examples of great dates with flirting, good conversation, laughter, all around fun. This was in no way one sided… the guys all acted like they were having a blast, no one hurried to get the check (one guy kept begging ‘one more drink’ to the point where I was sloshed). And yet: never heard from any of them again.
  • Guy tells me he had a great time and asks me out again. Turns out it was still. just. me. Again, multiple examples of guys who asked me out again, point blank. And then still disappeared.

So given these mishaps, it’s not surprising that those few days after a good first date have become the most anxiety inducing part of this process for me. Much more stressful than the first date itself. Especially when I inevitably (will I never learn?) blab to friends, family and PPA workers I pass along the street that I had a pretty good time. All of a sudden, the pressure is on. Everyone wants to know what’s going to happen next. And the answer, as I’ve clearly learned the hard way, is:

I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA.

So anyway, in the beginning I had all these rules (you know I love a good rule) about expecting the guy to reach out to me. And don’t get me wrong, I still have rules, but I’ve definitely relaxed them. Like L, the more dates I go on, the ballsier I get. In the very beginning, if I had a good first date but the guy never called or texted, that was it. I assumed he was dead, bitched to my friends about not hearing from him, watched Bridget Jones’s Diary and prayed to the romcom Gods that there was a real life Mark Darcy out there about to come into my life:

mark darcy

and moved on. Part of that I think was because I did fear rejection. These days, after being rejected PLENTY of times, I’m definitely more proactive. If I had a great time, and a few days go by and I don’t hear from the guy, now I say f*ck it and reach out to him. There are two exceptions to this:

1. If I messaged him first, and I asked him out first. You may all remember M, who I had a great first date with and who after exclaiming that he’d LOVE to go out with me again (and sending me texts referencing the next time we were allegedly going to hang out) pulled a full on fade away. I caught some flack for not just reaching out to him, but allow me to defend myself:

I saw M’s profile and was into him, so I sent him a message. Then, not wanting to waste time, after a few messages back and forth I asked him out for a drink. You see, men of the world who insist that women never ask dudes out? They do! But I’m sorry, at some point the other person needs to meet you halfway. I don’t think it’s ridiculous in a scenario where I’ve been the proactive one up to this point to expect him to take the lead for a bit. Also, to be perfectly honest and to touch on another point made by my brilliant co-blogger, mama’s ego can only take so much. I can’t be the one continuously putting myself out there and wondering if a dude even likes me or if he just has nothing better to do. I may be an independent woman:

but don’t tell me Beyonce was calling up Jay-Z to hang out every week with no reciprocity. You know it didn’t go down like that.

2. If he asked me out again at the end of our date and explicitly told me he’d be in touch. This is a biggie for me. If you say you want to see me again, and I say I’d like that, and you tell me you’re going to be in touch about setting it up, then call me crazy but I’m going to expect that that’s what you actually plan to do. And to address L’s point that men are also shy and afraid of rejection, I totally agree, but I don’t buy that men who pull this move are. Asking someone out again at the end of a date, in person, is actually a really ballsy move, because the other person is right there front of you, and as I unfortunately know from first hand experience, rejection in person is infinitely worse than rejection over text/phone. I have yet to be asked out for a second time in person by someone that I don’t want to see again, but I dread the day it may actually happen. #awkward

The other thing is, if they asked me out again in person, they also received an answer in person. My response to M was happy, enthusiastic, and totally unambiguous: I think I smiled and said, “I’d love to.” Sooooo….. at that point the second date was pretty much a lock. Or so I thought.

In summary, if I have a good time on a first date, I’ll make sure the guy knows it, and thank him (enthusiastically) for taking me out. If he doesn’t take the lead on plan making after that, I’ll send a follow up text. If he’s still silent, I assume death by SEPTA bus, throw myself a small pity party, call L and D to scream about how I’m destined to be a third wheel for the rest of my life, slap myself/imagine Cher slapping me:

moonstruck-snap-out-of-it-o

watch some BRAVO, and eventually get back in the okc saddle.

But barring the above two exceptions, one thing I won’t do anymore if I had a good time is let it ride. If a year plus of online dating has taught me anything, it’s that meeting someone on the internet who you actually like in person is about as rare as:

NPH unicorn

And if you’re lucky enough to find it, you shouldn’t let it go so easily.

D: Well, as the most delinquent co-blogger, I was the last one of us to open up this post to add my two cents. And, as usual, L and S said pretty much everything I would have said if I was first, and they said it better. Generally speaking, at the end of every date I always thank the guy. And if I enjoyed the date, I thank him and add something along the lines of “I had a really great time!” and flash that smile my parents paid an orthodontist to perfect, only to have my wisdom teeth fuck up when they grew in. Add on a comment about something we did that night, or maybe even an “inside joke” as L does, and you’ve got yourself a patented D’s interested response. I try to also follow up with a text the next day. Leave little doubt about whether or not I’m interested. If I hear from him, great! If not, there’s some combination of movie watching and baking, depending on how into the guy I was. If it’s just sort of a “bummer, he was cute and fun, it would have been nice to hear from him again,” I pop in a Die Hard or a Fast and Furious number, sometimes Princess Bride, and slap 80% of some store-bought cookie dough on a sheet (and the other 20% directly into my tummy). Franchise action sequences are very soothing for me. And Bruce Willis doing an action sequence? instant-calm. If I really liked the guy and was really hoping for another date, then it’s Bruce Willis, and Bruce Willis only, typically in a marathon setting, with some sort of treat baked from scratch. Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, fudge when I need to break out the big guns. Then, it’s back to the drawing board.

If I didn’t enjoy myself, I simply say thank you and goodnight (teaser: this has in the past given the impression that I was interested, and led to an extremely awkward attempted kiss – that story coming soon (I swear!)). I don’t initiate any contact after the date. If I don’t hear from him, we clearly both had the same thoughts and have both moved on. If I do hear from him, typically in a text, I simply respond that it was nice to meet him, but I’m not interested.

So there you have it! Zero words of wisdom from D, and a whole host of insightful wisdom from L and S. Standard…

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Message Monday: Frozen Dinner/Death

I selected this message because it’s more typical than you, naive reader, who is not prowling the bowels of the internet for dates, might like to believe. Behold the magic below:

message monday 3-25-2013

First of all,  thanks for the compliment good sir. I do not find you attractive, since you have no picture.

Now, let’s discuss this “romantic” dinner:

1) As soon as I arrive, I’d like you to take my coat, crank up the jams, and pour me some booze. Please refrain from pulling me close until I’ve a) had several glasses of wine or b) you’ve cooked me a delicious meal and dazzled me with your conversation. And NO WHISPERING PLEASE. Whispering is for mean girls and for creepy murders. We’re alone in your apartment presumably, so not sure what’s preventing you from using a normal voice.

2) Are you being paid by an ad agency to do online dating product placement? In the span of 3 sentences, you’ve managed to cite two grocery store brands, both of which are popular with middle aged moms with children. Plus, everyone knows that Trader Joe’s makes the best frozen dinners. Momma’s not settling for no Birdseye.

3) Wait. BACK. THE. TRUCK. UP. Did you just offer me a frozen dinner? And grape juice in a wine glass? I know my profile screams classy broad, but let’s not overdo it. Save a little romance for the next guy.

4) Never ever ever mention your freezer in your message. As you may have noticed, a common thread throughout all of our blog posts is the nagging worry, “IS THIS GUY GOING TO CHOP ME UP AND PUT ME IN HIS FREEZER?” And you’ve gone and mentioned the freezer in your first message. Excuse me while I pepper spray my computer!  Mindy Kaling’s not the only woman who is going to be sleeping with a knife under her pillow tonight!

5) Also, you would “proceed to a wine glass with Welch’s grape juice” and…do what? Why does your message abruptly cut off? Is it because you’re literally so lazy you cannot be bothered to finish your sentences or is because the sentence would’ve ended with … “and drop a roofie into your glass” or “and then slap a rag with chloroform over your mouth?” I’m kinda relieved I didn’t find out.

Pic of the week: Face or Butt?

When I was browsing my profile visitors the other day, this little ditty caught my eye:

pic of the week 3-6-2013

Sorry you had to see this friends! And very sorry, any friends who opened this at work or near children.

First, let’s talk about what’s on everyone’s mind. What is this image? Is it a head? Is it a chin? Is it a butt?

This reminds me of those tricky pictures people used to show you in junior high school art class to make the point “people see different things in images?” Remember this one? I always saw the old lady first, which, according to Ms. Fleming, meant that I was “closer to the end of life,” then the people who saw the pretty young girl. 

Let’s talk about what you could see:

It’s a face: The lips are at the top of the photo, and the T-shirt and neck are at the bottom. The star of the photo is the chin. This gentleman wanted to attract the ladies by showing off that he’s too busy to shave, and prefers to maintain a facial hair situation that involves, for lack of a better description,  “a lil bit of this and a lil bit of that.” And, that he’s no spring chicken, and already proudly going gray. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But this guy’s no Danny Ocean.

It’s a butt: This is what I thought initially. There is a defined crack. And there are two cheeks. And that hair is very coarse, and curly, and looks like no one has groomed it in awhile. Clearly, the good people at OKC do not think it’s a butt, or they’d remove the image. But it’s possible that two OKC site administrators sat in their office and experienced the same confusion:

OKC site administrator 1: Hey, should we take down this image? It looks like a butt!

OKC site administrator 2: No, it’s somebody’s chin, can’t see you the lips, and the T-shirt?

OKC site administrator 1: I don’t know man, those lips look like a crack…

OKC site administrator 2: Oh well, let’s just leave it up.  Anyone showing this terrible judgement in profile photo selection doesn’t deserve to get messages anyway…

Bottom line is:  butts that look like heads and heads that look like butts should NOT be featured on an online dating site. Or really, anywhere, except a comedic bit from Cool Runnings.

And, the final mystery: Who took this picture, and how? Was it a friend who put an Iphone camera in his buddy’s mouth? Is this a self-shot GONE WRONG? Is this photo shoot a dirty little relic from a photographer/dirty model role play that resulted in some naked booty shots?

Stayed tuned folks, we’re going to give Detectives Stabler and Benson a break from investigating homicides and get them on the case!

When a stranger sexts

About 1 month into joining OKC, J messaged me.  After just one or two back and forths to establish neither one of us were serial killers or hunchbacks, he asked me out. I appreciated his straightforwardness (I HATE prolonged messaging).  And, his profile was very promising. Why, you ask? Two things stood out to me:

1) He was legitimately good looking and tall.  Like over 6 feet tall. (Unless of course, he was using fake pictures.). There were multiple pictures of him, all looking tall and handsome and even one of him playing sports *cavewoman sigh.* And tallness gives you major points in my book. The average height listed by men on their OKC profile is probably 5’8. But, most men add 2 inches to their height (and when they are caught, they say things like, “Oh, I thought they meant when I was wearing huge shoes???Or when I’m standing on several stairs?”). So I think in real life, it’s more like 5’6. Which is only 3 inches taller than me. (Editor’s note: Boo fucking hoo, L. Some of us are 5’9 and struggle to even find a dude their height, let alone someone who’s 3 inches taller. xoxo – your tall, militant co-blogger) Point is, tall men are rare. Tall, attractive men, even rarer (Editor’s note: preach). Score! I marveled at my good fortune.

2) His profile was actually interesting. S and D and I will definitely get around to doing a full analysis of good vs bad profile content, but here is a little teaser. Most guys’ profiles are really boring.  They feature statements like, “I love to eat delicious food and travel and watch sports,” and “I’m looking for a sweet, cute girl who is high energy enough to go to bars with me but also low key enough to spend a laid back weekend at home.” Newsflash gentleman–you’ve just described 75% of the male population and like, actually 60% of the female population. But J was different. For example, he listed “gmail, snarky liberal blogs, and whiskey and ginger ale,” as things he couldn’t live without. Creative, and, all things I love.

So, armed with these two pieces of info, I gave him my number. He texted me the next day and we scheduled the date.

sexter 3

All good so far. This guy has a life, but he’s not a flake, and he’s capable of scheduling something. (I’ve learned that scheduling is a surprisingly rare skill for men to possess.) Our conversation continued briefly…

sexter 2

Perfectly normal stuff to talk about to a stranger. And he sounds like fun. Maybe this will be a great date.

I felt like we had ended the conversation on a good note.   Focused on the busy weekend ahead of me, I temporarily forgot about him. The next night (Saturday), I was enjoying some G rated fun at a friend’s house–hanging out in PJs and opening her bridal shower gifts. Around midnight, my phone beeped. It was J. 

sexter 1

What? I read it three times to make sure I was not hallucinating. I.was.not.  When I had come to grips with the fact that this was a real text, I imagined one of three things had happened. (Listed in order of most acceptable/least plausible to least acceptable/most plausible).

1. His friends stole his phone and were having some good, old fashioned fun with him at my expense. Immature, sure, but, this is the risk you take when you are dating 20-something guys.

2. He meant to text someone else. Who knows how many numbers this guy has in his phone or how many girls he is messaging on OKC? It’s possible he had a great date last night, and is just following up with some (hopefully liquor induced) banter. It’s not particularly flattering or uplifting to know he is seeing and sexting multiple girls, but it’s not like we are in a relationship or anything.

3) Unfortunately,and most likely: he actually meant to sent me the text. Why do I find this horrifying?

– First of all buddy, what do you mean “can’t lie?” No one asked you to tell the truth! It’s not like someone was cross examining you and they said, do you want this woman? Please remember you are under oath and committing perjury could result in jail time!” In fact, no one even asked you a question. At all.

– Second of all, why do you want me? We haven’t met yet. You’ve seen a couple of IPhone camera pics of me online, that may or may not be real or recent. And you’ve never even heard my voice. I’m basically the equivalent of a picture in a magazine at this point. This text made me feel one step below a Craiglist personal.

As you can see, I did text back the next day and give the dude one chance to explain himself. I was desperately hoping he’d say “I am so sorry and so embarrassed.” Or, even, “got too drunk last night. Hope you won’t hold the creepiness against me.”

But no, he’s just gonna say “my bad.” Which is what my 4th grade students used to say when they were caught breaking a rule or using the scissors to “tatoo” someone’s arm. Not good enough J.

So I decided to cancel the date. I feel like I’m already out on a limb online dating, and if I get ANY evidence of a potential weirdo, I should take it seriously. The sad thing is, if we had gone out ONCE, just ONCE, I would have been totally fine with, even flattered by a sext. But having never him, it just conjured up a sad, gross image of him sitting in front of his computer on a Saturday night and… and further more, how do you start a conversation with someone whose already said that to you? “Hi, I’m L, the one you can’t lie to?” or, “Hello, are you J, the one who wants me?” Too weird. So I texted him and called it off. He didn’t seemed too broken about it. (Though perhaps, in other cultures “K” actually means, “I’m so disappointed and can’t believe I blew this chance with an amazing woman. One can hope.)

I think I made the right call, but through consulting everyone in my social circle on this experience, I learned that people have different reactions to sexting strangers. What do you think readers? Was I justified in cancelling the date? Or is stranger sexting the romantic currency of the new millenium?

First date what ifs…

A weakness for Lifetime Original Movies and Law and Order SVUs, as well as a past history of comically awkward moments, has given me a lot to worry about as I approach my first date. Let me give you a glimpse of some of the “what-ifs” running through my mind right now…

1. During the date, he leans over and says, “I have a gun. If you don’t get up and follow me to my car right now I will shoot you right here in this bar.?”

2. He starts talking about something really serious and emotional and tears up?

3. He farts too loudly too ignore it.

4. Or worse, I fart too loudly to ignore it?

5. He arrives visibly high?

6. I have food in my teeth the entire time we’re talking?

7. Two words. Bad. breath.

8. While I’m in the bathroom, he hacks into my IPhone and finds out that the other day I googled “best bikini wax DC”?

9. He gets up in the middle of the meal, leaves, and sticks me with the check and a whole lot of humiliation?

10. He makes really weird, sexual noises?

11. He confesses that he’s been living in a cabin in the woods with only his mother for years and this is his first night out on the town?

12. When it’s time to leave, he can’t find his car? True story.

I know that if these things happen, I’ll survive. (Well, actually, if #1 happens, I may NOT survive in which case, dear readers, when you find my body please cremate me and scatter my ashes in the Atlantic Ocean). In fact, if one of these things happens, it will make a great story for this blog. So here I go…

-L

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.