Bob

Let me tell you guys a story about my very first online date. Ever. Of all time. Where it all began. And the rest, as they say, is history – or an endlessly frustrating path of hope, excitement, disappointment, confusion, ghosting, and just a sprinkle of creepiness. 

I cannot remember this guy’s name so I am going to call him Bob. I choose Bob because I don’t want to overlap on the names of my blog posts and it seems unlikely that I will go out with a man in his 60s who wears Hawaiian shirts and loves Jimmy Buffet. (Is that not what you guys picture when you hear the name Bob? Just me?) At least not until I’m also in my 60s, wearing a lei and drinking a margarita at a Jimmy Buffett concert alongside him. 

Anyway, Bob and I met on OKCupid. That was the first online dating website I ever signed up for and it was at my roommate’s behest. I had broken up with my college sweetheart of five years and it was time to get back out there. So I did. Reluctantly so, but I did. 

At the time I was waiting tables and worked almost every single night, so I had to set up a weekend day time date with Bob. We agreed to meet at a for breakfast on the Venice boardwalk. I was nervous for my first online date ever. I was also nervous to just get back out there in general after being in a relationship for so long, but I had to leave the nest sometime. 

And… I was late for our date. Not horrendously late, but in my twenties I was pretty much 10-15 minutes late to any social engagement, and about 5 minutes late to work. Without fail. But I was charming and an otherwise excellent employee so I always got away with it. 

I was just about to text him and let him know my adjusted ETA when he texted me, and let me know that he had arrived. 20 minutes early. 

Shit. 15 minutes late isn’t THAT bad, unless you’ve already been waiting for me for twenty minutes, then it’s like I’m 35 minutes late and that makes me feel like a stinking hot pile of garbage. 

Not the best way to start a date, with my tail between my legs, rushing around Venice trying to find parking, and hustling my ass over to the café and breaking a sweat in the process. Hi, I’m your late, sweaty date. Nice to meet you, Bob.

I think he could tell that I felt pretty badly about being late because he was kind and didn’t make any snarky remarks. But still, the dynamic felt like he had the power and I had to prove myself to him. 

I ordered as quickly as I could and we got to the small talk. Yay!

Bob worked as a tugboat captain, which I found very amusing. That’s one of those job titles I’ve only ever really heard of in cartoons, and I had some questions to ask him about it. He filled me in on his days of running the ship (literally) and towing boats in and out of Long Beach Harbor, and it turned out to be not as wild of a job as I had imagined. He just tugged boats all day. Pretty self-explanatory. We moved on to other subjects.  

Bob was a big, buff guy, so it was clear that he kept active. But he did have a bit of that top-heaviness going on. You know, when they have the legs of a gazelle holding up the pecs and arms of the Hulk? Yeah, it was like that. 

I studied personal training in college and have always been fascinated by the human body, so we got onto the subject of kinesiology and working out. He mentioned he had torn his ACL a few years back and I asked him how he did it. He did not want to tell me.  Like, really didn’t want to tell me.

I immediately thought of all the scandalous ways he could have injured his knee that he wouldn’t want to tell me on a first date. 

“Come on, tell me the story!”

“It’s not a good story” he just kept saying. 

“The more you say that the better the story gets in my mind. You should probably just tell me. “ 

He eventually acquiesced, sighed, and told me.

“I hurt it getting out of a chair.” 

“Like, you fell out of the chair while you were having sex with someone?”

“No, I was just getting up.”

“Was it a spinny office chair and somehow you lost your balance?”

“Nope. Just a regular chair. I didn’t fall down. I just stood up and tore my ACL.”

“So, you didn’t step on a marble or anything?”

He stared at me.

I blinked. He was right; that was not a good story. 

But it did explain the disproportionate top and bottom situation he had going on. 

“I told you it wasn’t a good story.”

I laughed. 

“You weren’t kidding. That’s a really boring story. You’ve got to come up with something better than that.”

He looked at me like I was crazy.

“Just make something up! Who cares? You could switch it up every time, have some fun with it! You tore it skiing in the Swiss Alps… You tore it having a silent disco outside on the beach… You tore it falling off a yacht… umm, Pirates…???”

My voice trailed off. I was not getting any implication from his body language that he was even mildly entertaining the idea of making up tall tales about injuring his knee. Swashbuckling or not. 

It’s possible he thought I was crazy starting in that moment. 

Since he wasn’t amused by my wild imagination, we moved on. Turns out he wasn’t amused by much of anything. The conversation was a bit dry, just like his knee story. 

He did seem to enjoy mansplaining to me why it was better to sit next to each other at a bar than across from each other at a table when on a first date. You see, ladies, he explained to me that we would have easier access to touch each other and invite physical chemistry if we were sitting next to each other. But since there was a table between us, our physical touch was restricted.

Uh, ya think that was an accident? You don’t have to tell me how to strategically position myself so as not to get groped by a stranger I met on the internet. Women have been utilizing the table as a pseudo-bodyguard/buffer for centuries thank you very much.

But I digress. The date went on a little longer, but it did not improve. When it was time to leave, we split the check and he walked me to my car. I was parked at a meter and we stood on the sidewalk for a moment as we bid each other farewell, forever. 

All was well and done, and then we had our awkward goodbye hug. I think it was obvious that I didn’t want a kiss from him because he didn’t try anything. I was in the clear! Until we pulled away from each other after the hug. Bob’s face suddenly contorted and he looked at me like I had punched him in the gut. 

“What was that?” he asked me.

“What was what?” I had no idea what he meant. 

“That face you made.”

“I didn’t make a face at you.” I genuinely did not make a face at him.

“You just looked at me like, ugh, eww.”

“I sure didn’t.”

He looked at me sideways; distrusting. 

“I guess that’s just my face.” I shrugged.

He stared at me for a second like he wanted to either say something more or just punch me in the face, but couldn’t because I was a woman. I took that as my cue to turn around and walk to my car. Date over. And that was my introduction to online dating.

If only he’d seen the face I made when I got into my car by myself. 

Scott

I went out on a frozen yogurt date the other day. I like to live dangerously. This was actually my first Bumble date ever. My first Bee, if you will. His name was Scott and he was 37, white, cute, but also had this spiky circa 1999 hairstyle going. No frosted tips, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if he showed up wearing a puka shell necklace. 

He was one of those guys who looks very attractive in a couple of his photos and then somewhat questionable in the others. He ended up looking somewhere in the middle, but his hairstyle pushed him closer to the questionable end of the spectrum. Oh, and so did the weird thing that happened right before our date started. 

I parked on the street about a block away from the frozen yogurt shop and walked down the sidewalk. As I was approaching the shop, I saw a man who looked a lot like Scott (at least from the photos) standing next to a black SUV talking to a woman. He had the same spiky hairstyle, which is what caught my eye and made me think it was him. But then I saw him canoodling with the woman and kissing her goodbye. I quickly whipped my head away, not wanting to look like a creep. Well, I guess that’s not him…

I continued on towards the shop, crossed the street, and didn’t see my date so I grabbed a seat at one of the plastic tables out front. I sat for a few minutes and didn’t see anyone looking around for me. I did see the guy from the black SUV standing out front of the yogurt shop, but obviously that guy wasn’t looking for me. I waited another minute, and the guy walked right past me. He didn’t even look my way, which made sense to me and further confirmed that he was not, in fact, my suitor. 

I texted Scott. 

“I’m here. Just waiting out front.”

After a moment, I got a weird text.

“I’m standing right behind you.”

I turned around and who do I see, but the guy from the black SUV with the spiky hair who I just saw kissing another woman. Or at least, that’s what I was 100% convinced I saw. 

My brain could not compute. I couldn’t even pretend to gloss over or ignore it. I was almost speechless in the sense that I literally could not process what was happening, and since my brain couldn’t figure it out, I had to say something. The first words out of my mouth to my date were, 

“Wait… (long, confused pause) Weren’t you just kissing someone over there?”

He looked at me, likely trying to discern if I was serious or not. 

“What?” 

 I did not relent.

“Yeah, sorry, I know this is weird but I’m pretty sure I just saw you standing over there by that black SUV, talking to a woman, and then kissing her goodbye as I walked past.” 

He laughed uncomfortably. 

“Well, I parked over there” he pointed in the opposite direction of the black SUV.

“But I saw you standing over there looking around, and then I saw you walk by me while I was sitting here”

“Yeah, I was standing over there waiting for you. I was looking for you.”

“If you were looking for me then why did you walk right past me and not even look at me, or, I don’t know, say hi?”

“Well once you texted me I thought it would be funny to pull a prank on you. So I walked by you and stood behind you and that’s when I sent you the text that I was right behind you.”

Are you guys confused? Yeah, me too. Strike one.

At this point I was ready to just call it. I was completely turned off by him and figured he either had lined up back to back fro-yo dates and was just making out with another woman right in front of me, OR he was really offended that I would even suggest such a thing. Either way, I figured he probably didn’t want to have a sit and chat with me anymore. 

But he did. He motioned towards the shop and opened the door for me as I sputtered in confusion, apparently incapable of discerning whether I even wanted to stay or go. But he wanted to stay, and I knew he had driven up from the west side to Sherman Oaks, so I felt bad, and I stayed. 

I’ve never picked out frozen yogurt flavors so quickly in my life. Usually I take three sample cups (sometimes more, don’t judge me) and taste all the flavors that pique my interest. Not this time. Scott had the audacity to just skip right over the sample cups and hand me a regular cup. Strike two. Normally I would have grabbed them myself, but samples are for lingering and enjoying yourself, and I really just wanted this whole interaction to be over. 

Either I’m right and this guy was on another date and kissing someone else right before me, which made me mad and a little disgusted, or I was wrong and had accused him of something he didn’t do, which made me feel embarrassed and stupid. Either way, I didn’t feel great. 

So I grabbed my frozen yogurt as quickly as I could, threw some mochis on top and walked to the register. Scott was waiting for me with his frozen yogurt on the scale. He had the smallest dollop of chocolate yogurt and, like, one strawberry. Good thing I didn’t get my normal serving size of frozen yogurt…

Suffice it to say I was not in a good head space. I pulled my wallet out. 

“I feel like I should buy your yogurt, you know, since you drove all this way and I accused you of kissing someone else…” awkward chuckle. I was trying to lighten the mood, see if he could laugh about it yet, because if he couldn’t, we were not going to make it through this date. I got a half chuckle. More of a smirk, really, but he didn’t seem amused. 

We sat down at one of the tables inside because it was hot outside. One of those white, plastic, sterile tables with the same chairs to match. I hate those tables. It feels like I’m dining in a hospital cafeteria.

I asked Scott about his work, which got him talking, and since he works with writers we had a pretty good flow to the conversation for a while. We talked about movies and TV shows and things seemed to be recovering. But then we had a subject change and took a U-turn right back into bumpy territory. 

Scott told me that he used to be a body builder. It did come up in the conversation naturally, but he turned out to be quite the humble bragger. He told me about how he just tried it as a hobby and ended up winning contests. And he told me about how his cheat days were on Sundays at Hometown Buffet. That’s fine, but I grew uncomfortable when he began his commentary of the other patrons at Hometown Buffet.

Now, I’ve never been to Hometown Buffet, but I used to be a pretty big fan of Sizzler in my youth, so I have an idea what goes on in there. Scott was commenting about how he would go in for his cheat meal and get gawked at. 

“You know, I would go in there all lean with like no bodyfat on me, and then, well, you know what kinds of people eat at Hometown Buffet…”

He looked at me to make sure I understood. Pretty sure I got the gist. We could have moved on from there. But he decided to go into greater detail, telling me a story about one woman who approached him and warned him not to eat there all the time unless he wanted to “end up like her.” 

He put his elbows out wide and put his fists on his imaginary “hips” that were a foot away from his body on either side. 

“She walked up to me like this – she had to be 300 pounds, these are her hips, they’re way out here because they’re so big you know – ”

And I’m just looking at him, nodding hurriedly and pursing my lips, looking at the grandmother and grandson sitting at the table next to us, hoping they couldn’t hear how callous this guy was being. 

“I told her, I don’t eat here everyday lady, just once a week” he continued, as he laughed smugly.  Strike three.

I’m just picturing this guy, sitting at a Hometown Buffet, alone, judging everyone around him, stuffing his face with cornbread and apple pie and telling himself how much better than these people he is. 

And then, he asked me if I wanted to see a picture of him in his body building days. Before I could answer he was swiping through his photos to find one. I sat quietly, waiting. He mentioned that he hadn’t put one of his body building pictures on his online dating profile and I quickly agreed that that was a good call. He looked surprised, so I clarified.

“Why would you? You said you did this 12 years ago. It’s not what you look like now anyway.” 

And then he showed me the picture. Holy shit. Not in a good way. This guy was HUGE. Like, biceps bigger than his head, quads the size of a tree, chest and lats so thick he couldn’t even put his arms down. 

I am aware that this is the desired physique when competing in body building, but I have always wondered what it’s like to be so buff that you literally cannot rest your arms by your side. I almost asked him, but I thought better of it. I did, however, tell him that if he had included that photo on his Bumble profile that I definitely would have swiped left. 

As it turns out, I should have swiped left. I wanted our date to be over but I couldn’t seem to make my exit until he said he had to go pay his parking meter so we could stay longer. I think I still felt guilty/stupid from the whole “Did I just see you kissing someone else or not?” debacle that kicked off our date. Oh, did you guys forget about that?  Yeah, that was fun. 

He never actually said that it wasn’t him, by the way, just that he had parked somewhere else. Honestly, I’m still not sure if I was being crazy or he was being shady. But I have to believe that somewhere, he and that other lady are enjoying themselves on a date at Hometown Buffet right now. 

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. 

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. 

Tommy

This one time, on Hinge, I met a boy who seemed cute, funny, and a little quirky. His name was Thomas but he went by Tommy. He was tall with brown hair and brown eyes. Tommy and I made a date for 7:00 on a Thursday evening, which just so happened to be Valentine’s Day. No big deal. We were going to grab drinks at Tommy’s favorite bar in Culver City. I vaguely remembered the bar by name when he suggested it, and did not particularly want to go there. I had been once years before and was not a big fan. I tried to suggest an alternate location in Santa Monica and all he said was “This is pretty close to the west side.” Hint not received. Onward. 

I don’t live in Culver City but I was going to an open mic nearby anyway so I could just head straight to the bar afterwards. I was all set to drive to the bar when Tommy texted me. 

Hey, is it alright if we push it back to 7:30? Finishing up some work.

Cue hard eye roll. Pushing back our date thirty minutes before we’re supposed to meet up? Bad form. But I did have an errand to run so I said sure, ran my errand, and got to the bar at 7:25. I sat right by the front door and waited for 15-20 minutes. Not exactly sure how much time passed while I was re-reading the menu chalkboard but I did decide I was going to have a $5 Old Fashioned if my date ever arrived. I sat by myself, holding back yawns, jerking my head every time someone walked through the door. And then finally, cue Tommy. He walked in, looked directly at me, and as I raised my hand to acknowledge him, he continued to look around the room. I sat there and watched it happen, amused, waiting for him to circle back at me. He didn’t. I was tempted to just let him walk past me and sneak out the door but instead I said his name and he looked at me like I was a stranger. Which I guess I technically was, but still.

We hugged awkwardly and headed towards the back room. This bar was his choice so I followed his lead. I was wearing high heeled boots so naturally he chose a standing location, ignoring all of the vacant booths dotting the horizon of the mostly empty room. Easier to make a quick getaway I supposed, so I didn’t protest. Tommy went to grab drinks at the bar and I started to go with him but he set his keys and phone down on our standing table, which strongly implied to me that I should stay behind and watch his things. He returned with an Old Fashioned for me and a shot and a beer for himself. We cheers’d and he downed his shot. And so began the forced conversation that I could barely hear. 

Tommy kept mumbling things about his tech job, using jargon that I didn’t know. I asked him what he meant a couple of times and after the least helpful explanations he could muster, he kept using his tech jargon anyway. I stopped asking for clarification. I did ask “What?” at least three times because I simply couldn’t hear him over the music. After the third time he had made no effort to either speak louder or enunciate, so I just stopped listening. My feet hurt. I shifted back and forth, trying to find a more comfortable stance and also stay awake. He was droning on about work, a trip he took to Denver once, and how he hated basically everything. I would smile and nod, or roll my eyes disapprovingly at whatever subject he was judging at the moment. I figured I would ride it out and leave after my drink, but then the situation escalated. 

As he was telling me how lame something else was, he started touching his nose the way one does when they think the might have a booger hanging out. For the record, he did not have a booger hanging out. You’d think that would be a good thing but believe me it was not. Since he apparently had not yet discerned whether or not he had a booger, he decided to start rooting around in his nostril. Yes, he started picking his nose. Index finger straight in there. Not a glancing blow either, but left it in there for a few seconds AND CONTINUED TALKING. I took a sip of my drink, looked around, anything to avert my eyes. I looked back and he had finished. Phew. He was ready for another beer. Did I mention it was Valentine’s Day? Because it was. 

Off to the bar he went. I checked my phone. Only 10 minutes had passed. 

How is this possible?! I started taking bigger gulps of my Old Fashioned. Tommy came back from the bar with his beer. The “conversation” resumed. I tuned out again as he droned on some more, until I saw his hand reach for his nose again, and my senses were suddenly heightened. I had laser focus, my heart was beating faster, and I felt my armpits dampen. 

The sight of him picking his nose had triggered my fight or flight response. I was thisclose to turning around and running out of the bar without a word. But social constructs kept my feet firmly planted on the concrete floor, where I was still standing in my high heeled boots. This time there was no foreplay. He went straight in with his index finger, and looked me dead in the eye while he did it. He kept talking as if nothing weird was happening, like this was how he carried on conversations all the time. I began to wonder to myself, does he just do this? Did no one ever tell him that you pick your nose in the privacy of your own bathroom or maybe your car in a pinch?! I almost said something; “You are aware that I can see you right now, yeah?” 

Finally, he lowered his hand. Finally, I exhaled. Oh no, he only lowered his hand to his mouth. He is now picking his teeth with the same finger he picked his nose. I don’t know if that counts as picking your nose and eating it but I do know I had to get the fuck out of there. I took more gulps of my drink, checked the time, started unzipping my boots to make a run for it. He kept talking. I must have seemed eager to leave because he asked me what I was doing the rest of the night. “Going home.” “Oh. Well I just got a text from my boss.” He turned his phone to prove it to me, as if I would object to him ending this regrettable date. 

He told me he had to go home and finish some work. That’s right, the guy who pushed our date back half an hour at the last minute because he was finishing up some work, works from home. Cool. I told him it was no problem and tried to show him how genuinely not offended I was. “Let’s hang out next week though” he said. I looked at him, puzzled. He offered to walk me to my car. I protested. He insisted. I don’t know why he offered in the first place if I wasn’t allowed to decline the offer anyway. We got to my car, I gave him a cursory hug and as I pulled away, he kissed me! I had just watched this guy pick his nose and possibly eat it, so I was disenchanted to say the least. But even more so, I was ambushed! Read the room Tommy. Nothing about this date suggested that you should kiss me.  

I turned away to walk to my car and he pulled on my hand. “So let’s hang out next week, yeah?” He asked, as if there had been any semblance of joy on this date. “Um, I’m out of town until Wednesday.” I replied as coldly as I could. “Okay so Thursday or Friday? I’ll text you.” I just looked at him with a very bewildered, likely unpleasant face, and turned to go to my car for a second time. Then he kissed me AGAIN! And he would have kept kissing me had I not turned my head to give him my cheek as I unwrapped his arms from my waist and stepped off the curb directly into oncoming traffic. Just kidding. But almost. I was wearing high heels after all.

The good news? There was no traffic, I was home by 8:30, and he never texted me again. Oh, did I mention this was on Valentine’s Day?