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Seriously Though, How?

How are you still single?

Anybody else get this question a lot? Like, on the regular? I do. All the time. And I’ve never really known how to answer it. I usually feel like saying “If I knew, I wouldn’t be single ” but that feels snarky and like I’m unhappy with being single, which is not necessarily the case. Besides, people aren’t usually trying to be rude. In fact, I think that a lot of them actually mean it as a compliment. They think, “You’re so friendly and smart and attractive, how come someone hasn’t scooped you up yet?” I get that. It’s just not really a helpful or productive question. Here are examples of questions that are more productive:

“Would you like to have dinner with me?”

“I’ve got tickets to this concert, do you want to come with me?”

“Who’s your favorite Game of Thrones character?”

I know that third one is unrelated but I would much rather talk about Daenerys and her dragons than why I haven’t found a suitor.

But I digress.

Why am I still single? I find myself wanting to answer earnestly, but I just can’t. The snark just comes up like word vomit and I have to hold it back. So I usually say something like “Oh just bad luck I guess” or “I guess I haven’t met my someone yet” which makes me want to actually vomit. Which reminds me of my first Hinge date.

That’s what this blog is;  a series of uncomfortable dating stories. My stories.  Some are merely awkward, some are cringeworthy, some have made me consider lesbianism (despite my Subaru driving and softball playing, it just isn’t meant to be.)

So here it is in weekly installments; my long winded answer to the question

“How are you still single?”

Levi

These days, we’ve all been ghosted. Well, most of us, I’m assuming. And if you haven’t, no need to share that with me. I’m super happy for you. If you’ve never been ghosted, you’ve probably ghosted someone else, so now you get to know what it feels like from the side that gets haunted. My first time was so long ago I had never heard of the term ghosting. I’m not even sure if it was in our lexicon yet, which is part of why it was so confusing to me. 

I met a guy on Ok Cupid. His name was Levi and he was a tall, cute redhead with blue eyes and a beard. A little beard, not a monster beard. More than scruff, less than a lumberjack. I was really excited to meet him and was actually looking forward to this date. 

We met up for dinner and he was even cuter in person than online. A reverse catfish! Sweet! That never happens! I was shocked and pleasantly surprised. He was kind and sweet and funny.  We hit it off instantly. We were talking so much we had to keep sending the waitress away because we hadn’t even looked at the menu yet. Yep, we were those people. 

After the third time, we decided we should focus on the menu and get the ordering out of the way. We started with cocktails. They had a craft cocktail menu; you know, the ones that have eight ingredients each and cost $14 or more. We both debated our drink options and when I mentioned a whiskey cocktail, his heart just about stopped. 

“You like whiskey?”

“It’s my favorite.”

“You should just marry me now.”

I giggled coyly. Rather, I laughed too hard and probably snorted, then gathered myself and attempted to giggle coyly. 

We finally selected our cocktails and when the waitress came back, we proudly welcomed her advances. Levi was a gentleman and ordered for me. Not in a weird, overbearing way, but in the polite, gentlemanly way. And he gave me a sexy little look when he ordered my whiskey cocktail for me, which made me blush. We already had an inside joke. *Swoon

Dinner was great. The cocktails were delicious, the conversation was flowing, we were laughing and having a great time. I do remember that I made a bad choice of entrée though. The restaurant had a salad with seafood that sounded good on paper, but was not so good in execution. When it came out, it was a big pile of shellfish in some sort of heavy, creamy dressing, sitting on top of a bed of lettuce. It was massive and the whole thing was white. Not the most appetizing dish. 

I was suddenly aware of the fact that I might not want to smell like shellfish if we were going to have a goodnight kiss, and I really wanted a goodnight kiss. I already knew that much! I didn’t want to be the girl who was “really great, except she tasted like frutti di mare when I kissed her.” That’s not an impression I want to leave behind. I picked at the salad, wishing I had ordered the pasta instead. Oh well! We were talking so much there wasn’t really time to eat anyway. 

We had another round of drinks and finished up dinner. I didn’t want the date to end yet, so when Levi asked if I wanted dessert, I said of course. Plus I was still hungry from not eating the Kraken salad. So we had dessert and coffee and just kept talking, staring into each other’s eyes, smiling. I was very excited about this human I had met. 

After dinner, for which he paid and I thanked him graciously, he walked me to my car. He held my hand as we walked to the car and I just about melted. I really liked this guy. I couldn’t wait to see him again. Levi kissed me good night and watched me get into my car and drive away. He waved at me from the curb and I just about melted again. OMG smitten.

I got home and told my roommate all about this amazing date. She was excited for me and I was thrilled when I got the “I had a great time tonight” text a little while later. All signs were pointing to MARRIAGE! Just kidding, I’m not that crazy. But I did worry quite prematurely about moving in with Levi and abandoning my roommate. Yes it’s ridiculous, and yes we’ve all done it. 

The next day, I waited to hear from Levi. I did not. Or the next day, or the next. 

I had remembered hearing movie and TV characters discuss a three-day rule when talking about when to call a date, and I figured that must be what Levi was doing. You know, because the movies are so much like real life. He was being patient, coy, and not smothering me. Although, I would have been okay with the smothering in this case. 

On the fourth day, I texted him. I was so nervous, my hands were sweating and shaking and I typed the message out forty different ways. I had my roommate read it and confirm that it was flirty enough but not too much. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for his response. Finally, it came. Levi told me he was going out of town for work for two weeks, but that he wanted to see me when he got back. Awww. Well, that’s good though, right?  

I know what you’re all thinking; Going out of town for two weeks? That’s a text that gives him time to not see you and allow for your feelings to hopefully blow over. Right? Isn’t that the move? Well I did not know that yet! When he told me that he was out of town but wanted to see me, I believed him. It was going to be a long two weeks, but at least there would be Levi at the end of it. 

I didn’t know if that meant I should wait for two weeks to text him, or if he would text me, or if we would stay in touch with phone calls, or any of that. Of course we hadn’t laid out a plan so I just waited a few days to see what he did. 

He did nothing. No calls. No texts. This was before Instagram so I couldn’t stalk him on there. I was beginning to lose faith. But I didn’t want to be one of those girls who complains about the man not being proactive but then is never proactive herself, so I texted him. Nothing crazy, just a casual “Hi Levi, hope your work week is going well” or something generically boring and insecure like that. 

No response.

Well, he did say he was working. And traveling. I’m sure he’ll get back to me when he’s not swamped. 

A day went by. Still no response. 

It’s amazing the things your brain will tell you when it’s trying to justify unexplained behaviors. When we are trying to alleviate the cognitive dissonance between: 

“I just had the best date of my life!” Vs.  “He never wants to see me again…”

Our brains will stir up some shit. 

Now, I’m an intelligent human being and I’m fully aware that not every person that I like is going to reciprocate my affections. But everything that had happened on our date had reinforced my feelings, and given me assurance that he did, in fact, feel the same way about me. Which is why this ghosting was so particularly baffling to me. 

I have been ghosted since, and I am fully aware of it when it happens now. Unfortunately it’s become a very regular, even accepted, part of our dating rules of engagement, so I recognize it now. But again, this was the first time it had happened to me. I was new to online dating, and Levi had held my hand and kissed me good night. My brain was not there yet. 

Some of my brain’s attempts to make sense of what was happening included:

Maybe he doesn’t have reception where he is.

Maybe his phone broke. 

Oh I’ll check OK Cupid and see if he messaged me there instead! He didn’t.

Maybe I have the wrong number? No, he did send me the one text… 

He’s probably sick and just can’t even deal with communication right now.

Maybe he’s in the hospital?

He definitely broke his thumbs.

Did he get into a car accident? Plane crash?

IS HE DEAD???

*Googles “Levi Los Angeles death” to check for obituaries without knowing his last name.

Sadly, the thought “He’s just not that into you” didn’t cross my mind for a full two weeks. It wasn’t until the date of his supposed return home that I finally let it hit me. He still hadn’t reached out, and he was definitely back in town (if he had ever really left town at all.) I sent one final text, welcoming him home with a casual hello, (I’m going fucking crazy over here being the casual subtext) and received – you guessed it – no response.

So that was it. I had to face the fact that Levi had, in fact, died a tragic and untimely death. And I was being haunted by his ghost. 

Why, what did you guys think I meant?

Jimmy

I met Jimmy in real life, at an end of season kickball party. I was there with my best friend Sara and her boyfriend Jordan, plus a bunch of other people we had played kickball with. It was a luau/tropical/nautical sort of theme, I think? Not quite sure, I just remember there were umbrellas in the drinks, people wearing leis, and a lot of boat décor. There were photo booths, bar games, and a dance floor, which, naturally, is where I spent most of my time. 

While Sara and I were getting down on the dance floor, Jordan walked over to us with a new friend, Jimmy. Jordan hails from Tennessee and was wearing a Tennessee shirt on this particular night.  This caught the eye of Jimmy, who also happened to be from Tennessee, and he had approached Jordan to say hi. They became fast friends, bonding over their love of their home state and likely complaining about the perils of LA traffic, and Jordan brought Jimmy over to introduce him to me and Sara. 

And that was it. Jimmy locked eyes with me, shook my hand, asked me to dance, and never left my side for the rest of the night. He was cute; tall, blue eyes, brown hair, not the best dance moves but all of the enthusiasm in the world. He was fun! We had a great time dancing and after a while we wandered over to play some bar games. He was holding my hand and leading me through the crowd, finding whatever game had the least amount of people, not so subtly trying to get me alone. 

He bought me a drink and after we played a game of corn hole (the actual bar game, that’s not a euphemism) and we headed back to the dance floor. I was looking for Sara and some of my other friends, trying to get a little break from Jimmy. But that was not to be. This guy was by my side no matter where I went. It was sweet, but I felt like I suddenly had a boyfriend when I had showed up single AF, per usual. It’s an adjustment to make when you feel like you have to consider someone else’s wants and needs and not just your own, and I felt like that even though we’d only known each other for an hour. If he couldn’t find me for five minutes he would ask me where I had been. Um, the bathroom. That alright?

He took me back to the dance floor and and then he really started pulling out all of his moves. He was holding my hands, pulling me closer to him, wrapping his arms around me, and trying to kiss me. Whoa, bud. I’m not big on PDA even when I’m in a relationship, so when someone I barely knew was trying to make out with me on the dancefloor in front of a bunch of people I did know, I wasn’t having it. I dodged him once or twice, giving him my cheek, and then I just told him, “I don’t want to make out with you in front of all these people.” He gave me his best puppy dog eyes. It didn’t work.

It was getting towards the time of night when I was ready to leave, and I found Sara to pow-wow with her. Jimmy was trying to come home with me and I needed her help. I had already told him that we were just going home, but when he found out I lived in North Hollywood he insisted on giving us a ride. Which was super sweet! The only problem was that Sara, Jordan and I were going to a diner for late night food, and I had already invited another guy I had been talking with to come meet up with us… And if Jimmy knew we were going to a diner, he would definitely want to come. 

Even though he came on a little strong, I did like Jimmy, so I wasn’t trying to flaunt in front of his face that I was going to meet up with another dude. But I also didn’t know how to get him to leave me alone. So, like the loyal BFF she is, Sara offered to fake sick. I told Jimmy we were going to call a Lyft and head out, and he still insisted on driving us home. So Sara, Jordan, Jimmy, and I left the party and drove back to NoHo. Jimmy dropped us off at my apartment and we said our goodbyes. Sara and Jordan rushed into the apartment (you, know, since she was “sick”) and I had a goodnight kiss with Jimmy before heading inside a few minutes later. Once the coast was clear, we walked over to the diner. We had pulled it off without offending Jimmy!

Fast forward a few days, Jimmy and I had a date set up. We were going to meet up at a bar nearby for drinks. It was a cozy little spot with dark, reddish lighting and some booth seating in the back. Oh, and 2-for-1 drinks until 10pm. We grabbed our drinks and Jimmy pulled me towards a booth in the back. We sat and started talking, and he leaned in for a kiss pretty quickly. Since we had kissed good night the last time we saw each other, it seemed like all he wanted to do was kiss me. He kept complimenting my lips, staring at them, describing them. It was flattering but also a little much. We weren’t surrounded by people I knew anymore, but we were still in public. 

Jimmy did not give a fuck. He came to make out. And don’t get me wrong, he was a good kisser. He had very nice, soft lips. We would kiss, then I would try and keep the conversation going. And then he would kiss me some more. He kissed me so much I swear I heard someone else in the bar murmur under their breath “Jeez, get a room,” and then I was mortified. I’ve never been the person who needs to be told to get a room and I never want to be. I mentioned it in a joking way and he said “Okay, well why don’t we?” 

Well, because I don’t want to. I was still seeing the other guy from the night Jimmy and I met, and I didn’t want to sleep with either one of them until I knew which one I wanted to actually date. Call me old fashioned if you must. So I told him no, and he said something to me that no one else has ever said to me in my entire life. 

I said, “This has been fun, but I’m not ready to spend the night with you.” 

He looked me dead in the eyes, stared into my soul, and said “Kelly, you are going to destroy me.”

I’m sorry, what the fuck? I waited for him to laugh at his own joke. He did not. It was not a joke, I repeat, not a joke. 

This guy thought I was going to DESTROY him? What does that even mean?! I had no idea what to say to that. I laughed nervously, trying to diffuse the tension. He said it again. He looked at my eyes, looked at my lips, then back at my eyes and said it again. 

I don’t know what that says about my character, or his for that matter, but I didn’t like being challenged not to destroy someone. Or TO destroy someone? I don’t even know. I have never been the type of person who runs through men, discards people like objects, or acts crazy enough to even warrant someone saying that to me. I did not know what to say.

I’m sure there are some people out there, both men and women, who would take pride in the fact that they could destroy someone, or use it as an ego boost; proof of their undeniable allure. But not me. I endeavor to leave people better than when I found them, not worse. Let alone destroyed. Not saying I’m perfect, but my intentions are genuinely altruistic.

He saw the shift in my attitude and tried to do some damage control, saying it was a compliment. Seriously dude? Compliment or not, I was done for the night. He walked me out of the bar and waited with me while my Lyft arrived. He kissed me goodnight and asked if we could go out again. 

“Why do you want to go out with me if you think I’m going to destroy you?”

“Because it will be totally worth it.” 

Oh, I see what’s going on here. HE was the crazy one, not me. He wanted to be destroyed. He was challenging me to fuck him up, but I was not up for the challenge. 

Andrew

I met Andrew in real life, but we didn’t hang out until we matched on Tinder. You know, when you notice someone but you’re not sure if they’re single and/or interested, so you don’t make a move in real life, but then you see them on Tinder and you’re like oooohhh, okay so they’re single… and looking… But are they interested? Only one way to find out! And you close your eyes and swipe right… and it’s a match! 

Andrew and I originally met a few years ago when I was living up in Tahoe for the summer. We played in the same softball league and he was always super friendly and would say hi to me. We had a couple of short conversations at the bar after softball games, but that was pretty much the extent of our contact. I always thought he was cute; blonde hair, blue eyes, glasses, a beard, and super friendly with a great laugh. 

Then, last summer when I was visiting my mom up in Tahoe, I ran into Andrew again. I had been out doing a little day drinking with my mom and sister. We put away a couple of Wet Woodies, which are delicious blended rum drinks with sexual innuendos for names; such as the Rock Hard Woody, Big Black Woody, and my personal favorite, Krake’n My Woody, which features Kraken spiced rum and a float of macadamia nut flavored rum on top. But I digress. The point is, they’re strong, we were tipsy.

When we got home, my sister wanted to keep the party going! She hardly ever drinks, so when she does, I try to be the best sister I can be and support her. But we didn’t have anything at the house that she liked, so we walked down to 7-11 to get some Fireball. While we were there it occurred to me that we might need some hydration and sustenance so I grabbed a Pedialyte and a DiGiorno pizza and hopped in line. 

And who do I see in line, but Andrew. I said hello to him and then realized I was literally buying Fireball, Pedialyte, and a frozen pizza on a Sunday afternoon, and grew slightly self-conscious.  He looked at my purchases, looked at me, raised his eyebrows, and said, “Looks like you guys are going to do some work.” I laughed. We chatted for a minute, then we parted ways. 

Once I was back home in LA, a few days later, I got on Tinder. And who do I see? Andrew! I stared at his picture, read his profile, and labored over whether to swipe left or right. Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I felt more vulnerable when it was someone I knew in real life. What if we didn’t match? Oh, that’s right, he wouldn’t know that I had swiped right if he didn’t swipe right, so it didn’t matter! It’s amazing the reassurance you can get from the anonymity the internet affords us. I swiped right and shut my eyes. It was a match! I laughed out loud in relief. Then I messaged him. 

Serious question: Did you swipe right before or after the Fireball/Digiorno debacle?

He responded the next day: Haha, I think there was some Pedialyte in there as well 🙂

Didn’t really answer my question but I’ll take it.

It was easy from there. I found out that he was from Hermosa Beach and had a place down here, and he said the next time he was in town we would get together. So we did. He had tickets for a comedy show at the club in Hermosa Beach. I came down and met him at his place, which was walking distance from the club. He made us drinks for the road and we sipped them as we wandered through the neighborhood. 

He told me about his days in Little League as we passed the stadium he used to play in as a kid. We talked about softball and how I liked living in Tahoe for that summer when we met. He told me all about his business setting up technology for smart homes and boats and cars. I told him about my writing and comedy. He was super easy to talk to and I was really enjoying myself. 

Once we got to the comedy club, we had not nearly finished our roadies and we had to chug them on the corner before we went in. The bouncer saw this and gave us a little shit when we walked in, telling us not to heckle or be obnoxious. But we were, of course, delightful audience members. The show was fun. The comedians were great, and it was a fun night. We chatted with one of the comedians outside after the show for a while before heading back to Andrew’s place. 

Once we got back, I came in to use the restroom. His place was a one bedroom with a master bath off the bedroom. But there was NO DOOR. It was just open! What is up with that? This is not the first time I’ve been in a man’s master bedroom and there’s been no door on the bathroom. 

As a woman, I just have to say, I am not about that life. I like a little privacy when I’m going to the bathroom, particularly at a guy’s house. Especially if it’s a new thing and we’re just starting to hang out; I don’t need to worry about a toot slipping out while I’m peeing and having him hear me! I know it’s dumb but it’s stressful for women, so those of you renovating your bathrooms, make sure you put a door on there!

*The More You Know* 

We talked for a few minutes, and I could tell he wanted me to stay. But I wasn’t sure how I felt about Andrew; if I was attracted to him or just liked him as a friend. We stood in his room talking and I was very aware that it was time for me to get out of there so as not to send mixed messages. He was moving closer and closer to me as we talked, and I realized I did not want to stay the night, so I told him I was going to take off. 

As I was saying goodbye, he kissed me. At first just a polite, sweet kiss. Then he went in again, this time in a seemingly more persuasive attempt to get me to stay. I didn’t dislike the kiss, but it did not dissuade me from leaving. So I said good night and I drove home. 

We agreed to get together again, whether it was in Tahoe or LA/Hermosa. But of course, months went by and we were not on the same schedule. He was in Hermosa when I was in Tahoe. I was out of town when he was down here, or he would be on vacation when I went up to Tahoe. 

We texted a little bit. He would send me pictures of a sandwich sitting on a stand-up paddle board in the middle of Lake Tahoe on a crystal-clear day, giving me all the FOMO and making me wish I was there for his floating picnic. I would reply with a picture of the view from my hike in LA, not nearly as spectacular. But we never really fell into a conversation when we were texting. It was usually just a quick hello, check in, and then finding out that we were not, in fact, in the same place at the same time. 

So eventually it fizzled out. We never got that second date, which I think was a shame. Andrew had everything I was looking for. He was sweet, funny, attractive, loved the outdoors, split his time between Tahoe and Hermosa, owned his own business and had a flexible schedule because of it, and he even owned a boat! Oh, the wakeboarding we could have done together! 

Unfortunately, the distance just wasn’t surmountable. When you live eight hours apart, it’s hard to coordinate schedules when you’re not at the point in your relationship of taking a trip specifically for the point of seeing that person. I have seen him more recently, but just as friends, so it’s not a total loss! At least I got to know this awesome guy better and now we’re close enough friends that we can hang out when we do happen to be in the same place. Last time I was up he invited me and my friends over for hot tub and beer, and hopefully in the summer I’ll get to show him my very mediocre wakeboarding skills!

So this is an unusual case for me; I actually made a friend because of Tinder! Sure, I knew him in real life first, but we hadn’t actually spent time together or gotten to know one another until we matched on Tinder.  In all of the times we ran into each other organically, neither one of us had the balls to just ask the other one out. And then Tinder was like, “Hey, I’m sensing a Fireball/DiGiorno love connection over here.” Turns out it wasn’t a love connection after all, but I’m glad I got to know Andrew and to count him as a friend. And not just because of his boat. 

Sam

I know I vent a lot on here about the awkward, creepy, and sometimes monotonous interactions that I have with men. But I want you guys to know something: I know I’m not perfect. Sometimes it’s my fault. Sometimes, I’m the asshole who screws it up. Well, not so much an asshole as just a guarded, distrustful, woman who has been hurt badly and, as a result, has a somewhat fatalistic attitude towards men despite my otherwise positive and cheerful demeanor. That being said, let me tell you about this time when I was the asshole.

I met Sam on Plenty of Fish. He was very handsome, even in person. (Tall, blue eyes, a little scruff.) He was (probably still is) a couple years older than me, had his shit together, and was just an all-around good catch. I am seriously kicking myself as I’m writing this and recapping how great he was because he’s probably married to a beautiful woman now, living in a house with adorable kids and a golden fucking retriever.  

Our first date was a really good first date. We met at a wine bar and stayed for four and a half hours. Whoa. That was a lot of wine. Yeah. That’s a long first date. Usually a good sign, right? We talked about our jobs, our families, living in LA, comedy, traveling, and everything in between. He loved going to comedy shows and we made a pact to go see one together. All was well. 

Sam walked me to my car like a gentleman and hugged me goodnight. No kiss, but a very close hug and a sweet, sincere farewell. I remember feeling slightly confused at the end of the night.; I had a wonderful time, this guy had everything going for him, yet I didn’t have any of those butterflies or giddy feelings. But still, I knew I wanted to go out with him again. 

We made plans to go for a hike at Runyon Canyon and then grab lunch. The hike went well, which is good because if I’m being honest, hikes can be awkward. (See: my previous entry, Steven.) Even if you go with someone you know really well, there are a lot of factors that go into determining whether or not a hike is a success. First of all, temperature. I don’t want to be sweating profusely on a second date. I’m not the daintiest of them all so this was a legitimate concern for me. There’s also the issue of fitness level; walking the same pace, making sure someone isn’t huffing and puffing. And of course, just long silences and the conversational marathon that comes with trying to fill them. 

But you know what? The hike went well too. It was a beautiful day and we had just the right amount of conversation to fill the time. But there were no affectionate moves made, and it seemed like he might have been a little nervous. It was a nice time but felt like more of a friend date than a romantic date. It’s possible I was being female and over analyzing that a bit, but ONWARD.

After the hike we went to Bossa Nova for lunch. We ate, we talked some more, we had a good time. The food was delicious and he was glad for the recommendation. He walked me to my car again and this time he did give me a kiss. Oh, okay… A sweet kiss, nothing aggressive. I didn’t dislike it but I also didn’t expect it, since I had been getting friend vibes from him for most of the date. Again, I was pleased with the date but slightly confused. I didn’t know what I wanted. Or what he wanted. 

Sam and I went out on one more date. Since we had talked about comedy shows at great lengths, we decided to go see an Improv show at the Groundlings theater on Melrose. We met there, got our tickets, and headed in to grab our seats. Our plan was to get drinks afterwards too, but something seemed off. Sam seemed tense. I wasn’t sure if he was worried about something else or if he was nervous around me, but whatever it was, it put me on edge. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s flattering when a man seems nervous around you. But it also gets old pretty quickly when you’ve made all attempts to make him feel at ease; including telling cheesy jokes, being self-deprecating (slightly, not fishing for compliments or making him question his judgment), and letting him know that I was happy to see him. This was our third date, and he was acting like we were on a blind date. There was just some sort of tension I felt. Who knows, maybe I fabricated all of it because I’m the asshole!

The show started and it was great. Part sketch, part improv, all hilarious. The cast was amazing and I was cracking up, having a great time. Except for one thing: I felt like Sam was checking to see that I was laughing before he would laugh. It was subtle, but I felt it. I would laugh, and then a beat later he would too. He never laughed first, or at anything that I didn’t laugh at. Once I noticed, I couldn’t un-notice it. I began to see him looking in my direction ever so slightly every time a joke or punchline was made. Just the quickest ninja glance out of his peripheral vision, but I saw it, I felt it, and I didn’t get it. 

This might sound ridiculous to you, but it was really starting to bother me. It’s a comedy show, lighten up! I don’t care if you laugh at something that I don’t find funny. And you shouldn’t care if I laugh at something that you don’t find funny. (Obviously there are exceptions, but we’re not going there right now.) During this show I realized that despite our good conversation and Sam being a really amazing guy, we had not laughed much together. And now that we were laughing, he was following my lead? Only laughing when I deemed it appropriate? No no no.

Writing this now, it’s hard to explain why this bothered me so much. But I am a writer, comedian, and lover of all things comedy. Laughter is my calling card, my inspiration, and my savior. I need to be with someone who loves to laugh just as much as I do, and doesn’t feel weird about it. 

During the first half of the show, my best friend kept texting me. I cannot remember now what it was about but at the time it was important enough that I felt like I had to respond to her as soon as intermission started. So when it did, I told Sam I was going to the restroom and made a beeline for it. Turns out everything was fine, but I started telling her about the weird vibes I was getting from Sam. She told me to leave after the show if I didn’t want to get drinks with him. I told her I would think about it. 

After intermission, it only got worse. I tried to hold his hand and relax while I leaned towards his arm, but he was still so tense. He was nervous, and I couldn’t seem to un-nervous him. Once the show finally ended, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. But we had drinks planned. Oh boy. So what did I do? I lied to Sam. Badly. Like, really badly. Fun fact about the author: She is a terrible liar! 

We walked out of the theater and Sam asked me where I wanted to go grab a drink. I froze. Instead of just saying something like, “I’m pretty tired, I think I’m gonna call it a night,” I made up the dumbest lie. 

“I don’t know if you noticed my roommate was texting me a lot during the show? She was on a date with this guy and apparently he ditched her in the valley and now I have to go pick her up because she’s stranded.” (In my defense, this was pre-Uber. Yeah, I’m old.)

Sam just stared at me incredulously. Is this really happening right now? I imagine he was thinking… 

I started adding details, building a story around this idiot that had strung my friend along for years, saying they went out on a date, had a fight, and he bailed. I could picture it happening, so why not Sam? OH YEAH, BECAUSE I WAS COMPLETELY FULL OF SHIT.

Sam didn’t say anything. He just waited for me to finish my disastrous lie and stop fidgeting. Then, like the fucking class act he is, he said “Well, I hope your friend is okay.” I thanked him. He did not hug me, just turned and walked away. I have never felt smaller in my entire life. 

UNTIL, a few weeks later, when I ran into Sam. *Facepalm*

I went to Upright Citizens Brigade for an Improv Jam. This is a very small theater (the original location) and the bathroom is off to the side of the audience seating, right in the walkway. It’s a tight squeeze for all involved and there’s definitely no room to hide. After the jam, I got in line to use the restroom. As the audience from the jam filed out, the audience for the next show filed in. We were all shifting back and forth, letting people by us. When suddenly, I was shoulder to shoulder (well, bicep really) with Sam.

That’s right. Tall, handsome, gentleman Sam came strolling in, and I literally bumped into him while standing in line for the bathroom. I froze, then somehow remembered how to speak and squeaked out a quick “Hi Sam.” 

He could have scoffed at me, called me a bitch, a liar, ignored me, cut in line for the bathroom, any number of things. But you know what he did? He said hello back. He smiled at me. He was kind, respectful, and did not throw anything in my face. We had a very brief exchange, and then he walked away to find his seat. I have never regretted my actions more than I did in that moment. It was the perfect fuck you, without him having to say it. And I really don’t think he even meant it that way. He was just a nice, decent guy, so naturally I had to ruin it.  

In retrospect, it’s possible that I may have overreacted. Maybe he was a little nervous on our date, and maybe he was just checking to see that I was having a good time. Maybe he just liked the way I laughed, or the fact that I laughed out loud. And maybe I took this and spun it into some weird, abstract reason not to go out with him anymore. Maybe I am actually an asshole. And maybe that’s how I’m still single. 

“Matched” Speed Dating

That’s right, I went speed dating. I know, I know, it sounds crazy. But if you’ve read my previous posts, you know it’s pretty bleak out there. Not to mention this company had been blowing up my Instagram with ads and trying to get me to an event, so I finally gave in and attended one. If nothing else, I could always write about it. (Hi.)

First, I went online and set up a profile. They made it sound like they were going to pair us up based on our interests and commonalities, but that was bullshit. They just wanted a photo so people could find each other at the event. You meet your dates by wandering aimlessly around the bar, holding up your phone, looking at a photo, and matching it to a stranger’s face in the bar. Charming.

I was disappointed to find that they didn’t reserve a separate area of the bar, so we were just wandering through all of the other patrons at the bar looking for our blind dates. As if this wasn’t awkward enough already. I had arrived at 7:00 for a “7:30 sharp!” start time to leave myself time to grab a drink. I’ll need one to get through this. We didn’t start the first date until 7:50 because a couple people were late, so the evening was off to a great start.

My first date was with Gevorg. He was Persian, relatively handsome; dark hair, tall-ish, nicely dressed. We sat outside on the patio where it was quiet and we had a nice conversation. We talked about traveling, living in LA, and that’s about all I can remember. He was nice but there were no sparks. Turned out eight minutes was just the right amount of time to find that out.

Suddenly our phones went off with a text alerting us that it was time for the next date. I opened my phone to see who I was supposed to find next but first, it asked me to rate Gevorg. While he was sitting right across from me! Seriously? Could this BE any more awkward?! There were five smiley faces, well, faces.  One was open mouthed frowning, like an appalled face; one was calmly frowning; one was neutral; one was calmly smiling; and one was grinning. So you select one of these faces as a general note, and then they want you to judge them more specifically. There are buttons you can click to specify your feelings, such as:

“Not attractive” 

“Just friends”

“Intelligent”

“Friendly”

“Boring”

These buttons vary depending on which smiley face emoji you select. So I selected my emoji and subsequent judgmental buttons, and wandered off to find my next date: Marc. 

Marc had round, black glasses and dark hair. All he needed was a lightning scar on his forehead and I would have asked him to show me his magic wand. He had an unusual accent that I couldn’t place, and it turned out that he was from Hong Kong. He seemed either anxious or uncomfortable because he was fidgety and kept looking around. I honestly can’t even remember what we talked about. Like, not even one thing. It was pretty underwhelming. It felt like a while before we got the “on to the next date” text. I apparently took too long selecting the proper emoji face to summarize my feelings because it just jumped straight to the picture of my next date; Victor. I would have to judge Marc later.

Victor was my least favorite date. He just did not make anything easy. First of all, I couldn’t find him because he had posted up at a table in the corner. He wasn’t up walking around or making any sort of effort to find me. Cool cool. So I see him sitting at his table and approach. “Victor?” “Yes, Kelly.” He says, as if I should remember him from the time we met before. (We’ve never met before.) He was sitting with a beer and a big plate of fish and chips, chewing loudly, and not giving a fuck. 

Side note: Can you imagine a woman EVER doing this at a speed dating event? There’s just no way. We would feel like the fat girl in the corner if we ordered a full meal and posted up at a table when everyone else was mingling. 

Anyway, I found him, I sat down. We were on opposite sides of the table in a very loud bar. I couldn’t hear a damn word he was saying. He was from Nigeria and had an accent, which made it even more difficult. But despite me saying “What?” or “Sorry?” or just staring blankly at him, he made no effort to raise his voice or lean towards me to help the situation. So we had a strained conversation that I could barely hear. He mentioned that he was brand new to LA. I asked him how he liked it. He shrugged. Then he told me it was his birthday. OOF. This is not how I would want to spend my birthday. I did not know what to say, other than to offer him a sad Happy Birthday. We pressed on, using the awkward ice-breaker prompts on our phone provided by the dating app. That didn’t help. He offered me a French fry. I declined. I finished my wine. Finally, I got the text to move on.  

Next up was Peter. He was a tall, bald, good looking white guy. Right off the bat, we were laughing. He asked me how it was going so far and I told him about the fish and chips debacle. He joked that he had just proposed to his last date. Okay, so slightly different experiences. We laughed about the awkwardness of this whole thing and I realized that this was the first time I had laughed since the dating started. Wow I needed that. Peter was from San Francisco and was giving LA a test run to see if he wanted to move here. I’m originally from Northern California and we’re both skiers so we organically had more things to talk about. I was actually caught off guard by how quickly we got the “on to the next” text. Next up: Dwight.

In his picture Dwight was wearing a newspaper boy cap, and when I found him, he was wearing a newspaper boy cap. Thank you for making that easy on me. He was a white guy with a beard and a very friendly smile. We sat at the bar and got to talking, which was surprisingly easy with him. He just had one of those positive energies that makes you feel at ease. He works as a grip and is clearly very passionate about what he does, so he talked about that for most of our eight minutes. I didn’t talk as much on this mini date but I didn’t mind. It was nice to just have a conversation that flowed and felt relaxed. I was not attracted to Dwight, unfortunately, but I was grateful for his company and I was not anxiously waiting for the text. But of course, it came. I bid Dwight farewell and we exchanged genuine appreciation for the other’s company. Next up: Sean.

I had walked past Sean earlier and noticed him looking at me. He was a little on the short side, with longish dark hair and a friendly smile. He was also quiet, which made it difficult for me to hear him. This date felt the most like an interview out of all of them. He was just telling me what he wanted from a relationship; listing his expectations. How much trouble he had trying to date in Los Angeles. How no one here seems to want to commit to anyone. How badly HE wants to commit to someone. It was a little much. You can’t ask someone to commit to being in a relationship with you within the first five minutes. 

He was the only one of my dates who had been to one of these events before, and he said that even the women he met at these events didn’t want a committed relationship. I didn’t want to tell him that these women probably just weren’t into him… Once we got on the subject of LA dating it was downhill from there. Just ragging on past experiences and such, which is never fun. I mean, with your best friends and a bottle of rosé, yes. With someone you’re on an eight-minute date with that’s supposed to be pleasant, not so much. We all have trouble dating dude, why else would we be here?

Finally, the text came in. I looked at my phone but Sean just kept talking. He was leaning in and speaking so intensely that I felt rude checking my phone, even though I knew he just got the exact same text. Finally, my next date, Rick, came over and found me. He introduced himself and told me to come see him in his office when I was ready, motioning towards a table by the window. I chuckled and excused myself as gracefully as I could. Then I went and sat with Rick. 

Rick was fun. He had a great smile and good energy. He made me laugh right off the bat. He asked me an ice breaker question to start things off: Would you ever want to be famous? Well, yeah. I’m a comedian and actor so I wouldn’t say that being famous is my aspiration but it does go with the territory if I’m successful. He said that he’s a comedian too and we were off to the races. We talked about all things comedy and how much we love it. He said I was pretty and cool and was wondering why I wasn’t dating anyone. So basically, how are you still single? I told him I was just unlucky and diverted the conversation elsewhere. Rick told me that he liked me and he felt that we were hitting it off better than anyone else he had talked to. I wished in that moment, once again, that I was attracted to him, but he wasn’t my type physically. I know that sounds shallow but I can’t help it and neither can you! We want what we want, or, we don’t want what we don’t want. Soon enough we got the text and I bid farewell to Rick and said help to my new date, Hossam. 

Hossam was quiet and a bit shy, but he was very nice. He was Iranian, older than me, and a bit on the short side. He also was soft-spoken with an accent so the noisy bar was my nemesis once again. He worked in the car business but he was taking some time off to figure out his next move. I asked him if he was going to travel anywhere and he said no. Interesting…. To me, the best thing about taking time off is going somewhere new, but obviously not everyone thinks like me. 

This date felt longer than all of the others, and I realized that it actually was when the hosts came around and alerted us that it was the last date and we were all done. Hossam asked me if I go to Burbank often and asked me for my number. I froze and said “Umm, not right now” and immediately felt stupid. As if there would be another time I’d give him my number? He said okay and abruptly got up and left. Not in a rude way, I just think he was embarrassed. I felt bad. I didn’t want to be mean, but there was no point in me giving him my number. 

I could not wait to get out of there. They told us we could linger afterwards and talk to whoever we wanted, but I wasn’t interested in making any more small talk. I was in a sorority in college and this night reminded me of rush, only worse. On my way out I walked right past Hossam, who saw me, ducked his head down and turned the other way. Cool. Sorry bud. I felt like a real dick but I marched on and left the bar. 

I had survived the night. I was supremely disappointed, mainly because I had paid $40 for this event and not gotten so much as a glass of champagne or a cheese plate. I can’t blame the company for not finding my husband on the first try, but I did feel pretty ripped off. I assumed the $40 would include a separate area for us speed daters, plus maybe a drink and some snacks or something. There was nothing. So I have to say I would not recommend. I’m not going to put the business name in here because this is a blog and not Yelp, but if you see an ad for a similar service, you’ve been warned.  

I think a better alternative to speed dating is a singles party. I’ll invite all of my single friends and they have to bring a single friend of the opposite sex with them. And a bottle of booze. Then everyone is vetted, and if nothing else, we get drunk at my place and it doesn’t cost $40. Who’s in? 

Morgan

Morgan took me on my first dancing date. We met on Tinder and he talked about music a lot. He was really into 80s and 90s music, and he really wanted to take me dancing. I love dancing, but I’ve never done it as a planned first date activity. It’s kind of like sex; not typically something I PLAN to do with a stranger on a first date, but if the opportunity presents itself and I’m in the mood, then so be it.

But this was different. This was a planned evening of dancing with someone I had never met. I didn’t know if he would be a good dancer, a bad dancer, or if he was all talk and wouldn’t actually want to dance at all. To be clear, I don’t really care if someone is a bad dancer as long as they’re into it and having fun. I’m no Beyoncé by any means but that doesn’t stop me from dancing pretty much anywhere I go.

I agreed to the dancing date. I appreciated that he wanted to do something specific and share a bar with me that he knew and loved. The only thing I was wary about was that this bar was in Chinatown, which is not close to me. Or him. And if I’m going dancing on a first date, I’m probably going to have some drinks. So when the subject of transportation came up, we decided to share a Lyft to save the money on two separate ones. We both live in the valley so it probably would have been between $25-$35 each way. Morgan offered to come to my place and I would hop in his Lyft. Or that’s what I thought.  

Morgan drove to my apartment and texted me that he was out front. I thought he was just going to be in the car and I would run down and hop in. I had not planned on him driving his car to leave at my place, because that would mean we would definitely be sharing a ride back. Oy.  Since he’s a stranger from the internet I was not about to invite him into my apartment to wait for the Lyft, so I told him I would be right down. 

When I got downstairs, he was waiting on the steps for me. He was dressed well; not fancy, but good for a downtown dancing date. Black jeans, black t-shirt, black leather jacket with some studs on it somewhere if I remember correctly. He had light hair and eyes and was a few inches taller than me. He was cute. We hugged hello and waited on the curb for our ride.

Now, part of the reason I was so wary about sharing a Lyft is because this meant our date would be bookended by an additional 30-40 minute drive. If it’s going well, that’s fine. If it’s not going well, 40 minutes in the car with a relative stranger can feel like FOR-E-VER. Of course I told myself that I had the option to call my own damn car from downtown if I needed to get out of there, but I generally like to have my own ride for first dates. 

Once we were in the car the conversation flowed pretty well. I kept thinking it must have been funny for the driver to hear us on what was so clearly the very beginning of a first date. I always wonder about the kind of shit that Uber and Lyft drivers witness in their cars. I’m always amused if I’m sitting near a couple who are obviously on a first date. Anyway, things were going pretty well. I was feeling optimistic when we finally arrived in Chinatown. 

First we went to a cocktail bar because the dancing hadn’t started yet. I ordered a Manhattan because it’s classier than ordering straight shots since it’s in a martini glass with a cherry, but it’s basically straight shots. He liked that I ordered whiskey. Guys always do. Or at least they say they do, but really I think it scares them a little. If a woman orders a vodka soda or a Cosmo, they don’t even blink. Whiskey? Whoa, curveball. I swear they look at me differently; wondering how and when I developed such a dauntless taste for the dark stuff, and what else it says about me…

We had a couple drinks and then headed next door for the dancing. It was supposed to be 80s pop/synth dance night, which sounded good to me. And it was! The DJ was awesome, the dancefloor had enough people on it to feel like a party but not so many that you were constantly getting clipped by elbows or “accidentally” groped by dudes passing by. Morgan was a good dancer and we were having a great time. He would grab my hands and dance with me and we would have a moment, then we would separate and dance a little sillier. He was showing me the right amount of attention without smothering me. I know I sound like a diva right now but it really is a delicate balance. 

We danced for about 45 minutes and then went outside for some air. At this point it was around 11:15. We sat for a few minutes until the cigarette smoke became too much and went back in to dance. I told him I’d like to leave around midnight, which meant we still had plenty of dancing left, and he flashed me some puppy dog eyes as if to say “So soon?” Relax, we still have an hour.  

We went back in and danced some more. I was kind of expecting him to make a move or try to kiss me at some point but he didn’t. Which was honestly fine. I was having fun. And sometimes once you have that first kiss, people feel like they have to keep kissing you every five minutes and then it becomes too much. 

After a while I started to get tired. It was midnight and we had done a lot of dancing, so I was ready to go. Morgan was not. I told him I was just about ready to head out and he asked to stay for “just a couple more songs?” Okay fine. A couple songs later, I said I was ready again, this time over a yawn. Not on purpose to be rude, just because I was legitimately tired. He didn’t want to go yet. I told him that I genuinely did not mind if he wanted to stay and dance some more; that he didn’t have to leave with me, but I was ready to go. He didn’t like that idea. But he also wouldn’t stop dancing. 

By this point it was somewhere around 12:15-12:30. I started to get annoyed. He pulled me outside to the patio. “Maybe some fresh air will wake you up!” he said cheerily. No bro, It’s just late and I’m ready to go.  I was trying to stay cheery too but I was exhausted and just wanted to go home. Plus I had that thirty minute car ride home in the back of my mind. 

Morgan heard a song come on and perked up. “I love this song! One more?” I agreed and we went in to dance. The song ended, and I was ready to go. And he still wasn’t. I told him again, in a very calm, friendly, not passive aggressive tone (I swear) that I was tired and going home, but I still didn’t mind if he wanted to stay. He did not take the offer. He grabbed my hands again to dance some more. Nope. Not three times dude. I’m going home.

It was 12:45 at this point. I told him it was late and I had to go. I thanked him for the drinks, told him I was calling a Lyft, and turned to walk out of the club. He followed. I told him he didn’t have to. He insisted. I found my Lyft and he came with me. Great. By this point, I was just annoyed with him. I had told him three times that I wanted to leave, after a solid two hours of dancing, mind you, and he didn’t want to let me. 

This date had been great and, up until this point, I was fully planning on seeing him again. But then he ruined it by not listening to or caring about my needs. It was like when you have a delicious meal at a restaurant and the waiter just never brings your check. You are happy and full, pleased with the experience, but then you can’t go home, and now you’re just mad. It KILLS it.  And now I got to spend 30 minutes in the car with someone I was annoyed with, instead of going home on my own in the car and thinking about what a great time I had on our date. 

Morgan still wasn’t done dancing. He asked the driver if he could put music on. “This is my favorite band” he said as he put on Chromeo. Which was cool, I liked the music. But then he turned it ALL THE WAY UP. It was so loud I thought the driver was going to get pissed. He seemed a little annoyed but didn’t do anything, so I asked Morgan to turn it down a little bit. He turned it down the most infinitesimal amount possible and then sidled over to me for a backseat dance party. Nope. I was done an hour ago. I’m not in the mood for a 1am dance party in a stranger’s car. I was hoping to be asleep by now. Or at least on my couch in my pajamas eating popcorn. 

He kept trying; leaning towards me, singing to me, getting close to my ear. I shifted my knees towards the door and stared out the window. I was not entertaining this anymore. This guy, once again, was not reading the room. He could not have cared less about how I felt or what I wanted. He only knew that HE wanted to keep dancing, and so he did. 

When we finally arrived at my apartment and got out of the car, I wanted to dart inside before he could make this night last any longer. Morgan was trying to make plans for next time. He didn’t appear to have any idea how over it I was. He hugged me and I knew he was going to try and kiss me so I gave him my cheek real quick, then broke out of the hug. I walked up my steps as he turned on his seductive voice and said something along the lines of “Can’t wait to do this again.” I let my door shut behind me as I gave him a cursory smile. 

20 minutes later (almost 2am), Morgan texted me. 

“Had a blast ;)”

I did not respond. The next morning he texted me again. 

“Shame you had to be early today… I would have liked to keep you up a bit longer last night…”

That’s funny; I never said anything about having to be up early in the morning. I just wanted to go home. I’m guessing he told himself that, because why else would this woman not want to stay out until 2am on a Thursday? With ME?

“I wouldn’t have lasted any longer anyway. I was way too tired.” I responded. To which he replied,

“Hah, well, we’ll just have to work on your stamina”

I did that thing where you laugh involuntarily but are also so skeeved out you make a weird face and shudder a little bit. And never texted him again. 

Justin

A few years back I met a guy named Justin on Plenty of Fish. At least, I’m going to call him Justin because this date happened so long ago that I don’t actually remember. But there is one thing that sticks out in my mind: The nickname. Let me explain. 

I met Justin at a wine bar in Hollywood for drinks. We had been chatting on POF for a little over a week and he was pretty forward about wanting to get together in person. He gave me his number right away but I had stuck to messaging on the app, so he didn’t have my number. I agreed to meet him for a drink. When I parked, he messaged me via POF to tell me he was there and would meet me out front. As I walked up, I saw a tall, slightly bearded white guy wearing a cowboy hat. And boots. Bold move. At least in LA, or anywhere outside of Texas, really. He smiled when he saw me coming and greeted me with a big hug. I was slightly overwhelmed by him right away, but I also had not been on too many online dates before so I chalked it up to my own general apprehension. 

We went inside the bar and he picked a high-top counter towards the back for us to sit. He didn’t ask me if I liked that spot, just told me where to sit. It felt a little pushy. Mostly because he picked the most uncomfortable bar stools in the whole place, (especially when one is wearing a dress) and I would have suggested literally any other seat, had he asked. But he didn’t. Not that big of a big deal, but it did sort of set the tone for the date. 

We sat down and the waitress came and grabbed our order. I got a glass of wine, he got a beer. And then we talked. Well, I should say, he talked. A lot. I learned everything there was to know about this man, including the fact that he was not actually a cowboy. He told me about his childhood, his high school experience, how he joined the military after high school, and pretty much everything up to present day. He worked at The Improv comedy club doing lights and sound, which I thought was pretty cool. I tried to ask more questions about that but he clearly preferred to talk about his military experience. I have the utmost respect and gratitude for his service, but I can’t relate to it on a personal level so it turned into him talking at me for about an hour straight. 

I would nod and say “Uh-huh” or “Wow” or “What?!” at the appropriate times, and he would just keep talking. Sometimes he would acknowledge that I had in fact spoken with a small nod of the head, or curling up the corner of his mouth just the slightest bit. So you CAN hear me… But he just kept talking. I felt like I could have been a wall, or a chalkboard, or more likely a mirror, and he would have just kept talking at me all the same. He clearly wasn’t looking for feedback or any sort of back and forth. It was almost like he had rehearsed all of this and he had to power through it before he forgot it all. Like a monologue. By the time I finished my wine he had barely touched his beer. Hard to drink when you’re talking nonstop. I ordered another glass of wine. 

Now, grown up me now knows that I shouldn’t have ordered that wine because it sent the signal that I was enthralled by his stories and wanted to stay longer and hear more of them. But little me (you know, 25-year-old me) just needed a glass in order to have something to do with my hands. This guy was talking so much I was trying not to fall asleep. Maintain eye contact. Head up. Don’t yawn. I needed something to keep me busy, alert. Not that wine made me alert, but the prospect of having a glass in my hand that would spill were I to fall asleep mid story did.  I drank my wine. He blabbered on. 

Then came an unusual moment that has only ever happened on this date. Justin decided that we should give each other nick names. I laughed it off. Don’t you have to know someone to give them a nickname? He was serious. I said “You don’t know enough about me to give me a nickname,” and he just laughed that off. I’m a fan of nicknames in general and I give them to my friends all the time. I have different nicknames from different people as well. I think nicknames are great, but they usually happen organically. You can’t just look at someone you barely know and give them a nickname because you want to. Well, you can, but it’s probably not going to be one that they’ll ever use again. 

But he was set on it. He looked into my eyes, then looked me up and down, smirked at me, and said “I’m gonna call you Tiger.” He sat back, crossed his arms, looking pleased with himself. “How you doing, Tiger?” He looked at me waiting for praise, for me to say “Oh my gosh! It’s like you know me!” But I didn’t. Because, come on guys, it was pretty lame. Tiger is a nickname for a child, not a grown woman. It’s what a 1950s Dad would call his son when they were playing catch in the backyard. It’s like Sport, or Kiddo, at least in my mind. “Go get ‘em Tiger!” is the only thought in my head when I hear the nickname Tiger. 

I looked at him, unimpressed. “How’d you come up with that?” I queried. “I don’t know, I just did.” He was so satisfied with himself. And unfortunately for me, the nickname stuck. He called me Tiger for the rest of the night. Looking back, maybe he forgot my name halfway through and decided to give me a nickname as a cover? If that’s the case, it was a smoother move than I realized. But I’m gonna go ahead and make fun of him for it instead, cool?

Once he finished his beer and I finished my wine, I got up to go to the restroom. When I came back, he was not at the counter anymore. I thought he had ditched me at first, and was feeling a bit relieved to be honest. But then I saw him waving at me from the couch. He had taken it upon himself to move over to the couches and order me another glass of wine. Damnit.

Some of you might be thinking “Well that’s sweet, what’s wrong with that?” and find me ungrateful. But here’s the thing; this was a first date. I hadn’t spoken two words and this guy hadn’t checked in with me, hadn’t asked me anything about myself, hadn’t gauged whether or not I was enjoying myself. He just moved to the couch and ordered more drinks because HE wanted to.  It was a power move and it made it much more difficult for me to just say good night and walk out the door. If we had been dating for a while and he knew that I enjoyed his company and would want a third glass of wine, then yes, this is a thoughtful move. But on a first date, when I didn’t know him, it just felt like he had decided for me that I was going to stay. 

I made my way over to him reluctantly; scouting the door to see if I could sneak out without him seeing me. I would never actually do that because I’m not a dick, but the thought crossed my mind. When he saw me he put his arm out and motioned for me to sit next to him, rubbing the couch cushion. Like, right next to him. Real close. FYI dudes, this is another creepy move when you do it to someone you barely know. I just looked at him for a second. “I got you another glass of pinot” he said, trying to tempt me to sit down. “I have to drive, you know” I reminded him. He dismissed that as if I had told him something completely irrelevant.  “Just sit with me, come on, Tiger.” I quelled the urge to throw up in my mouth and went to the bar to get a water. 

I came back and warily sat down, placing my purse in between us. I had it between his thighs and mine, very much on purpose, so that he couldn’t scoot any closer to me. And you know what this motherfucker did? He picked up my purse, moved it, and literally said “Let’s just get this wall out of the way here” as he reached over me to set it behind me on the couch. Again, gentlemen, and ladies for that matter, READ THE ROOM. This is a recurring theme in my stories and I hope it will make at least one person more cognizant of the fact that a date is a two-person activity. It’s not all about you and what you want. 

Once he moved my purse, I tensed up a bit. I was just trying to maintain my personal space. My bubble. He did not pick up on that. He put his arm around me and tried to pull me into him, and I ducked out from under his arm and sat back up. “I’m good like this” I said. He chuckled at me, looked at me like I was a horse that needed to be broken. I could see it in his face: Challenge accepted. Oh no.  

He began his second monologue of the night, occasionally putting his hand on my thigh, or scooting closer. I continued to rebuff his advances and would scoot a tiny bit farther away from him each time. I was getting dangerously close to the end of the couch. Once I finished my water, I told him I needed to go home. I tried to leave quickly so as to avoid the cumbersome walk to my car and subsequent farewell, but he was too quick. He had already paid the bill and he jumped up to walk me out. 

As we walked to my car, he put his arm around me. “This was really fun, Tiger. We should do it again sometime.” “Thank you for the drinks” I deflected. We arrived at my car. I started to walk around to the driver’s side but he grabbed my hand, pulled me towards him, and kissed me. I pulled back quickly. “Okay have a good night” I murmured as I turned away again.  I walked around the car and as I opened the door to get in, he said “I’m gonna call you, Tiger. You better believe it!” I laughed as I saw the realization come over his face that he didn’t actually have my number. “Oh wait, you have to call me! You better call me, Tiger!” I laughed some more as I waved and drove off into the sunset. Well, down Sunset Boulevard anyway.

Epilogue: One of my coworkers at the time was a comedian who performed at the Improv regularly. She asked about my date and when I told her that he worked there, it turned out that she knew him. I told her how the date went and she laughed. A lot. She asked him about the date the next time she saw him and got quite a different version from him. According to Justin, I was nervous, shy, and immature; not uncomfortable and disinterested. He said that it was kind of a turn off and that he wasn’t really interested in seeing me again. Cool cool. The feeling is mutual, Tiger.