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. 

Richter

As you know, I live in Los Angeles. As you also may have heard, there was a big ass earthquake – I’m sorry, TWO big ass earthquakes – last week. One was at 10:40am on the 4thof July (6.4), and the second one was the next day at 8:20pm (7.1). And HOLY SHIT. 

I have lived in California my entire life. I have slept through most of the earthquakes in my lifetime and been awake for maybe four. Two of which happened last week. And last week, they shook me to my core (pun intended.)

Now, you might be wondering why I’m writing about earthquakes on my blog about being single and wondering why the hell this is relevant… Well, nothing reminds you just how single you really are like being home alone with no one but your cat when a big ass earthquake hits. Also, it’s my blog and I want to talk about earthquakes. 

I don’t know about you guys, but whenever something alarming happens to me, my brain goes into hyperspeed searching for answers. It’s like an unhelpful C-3PO, coming up with both the best outcomes and the worst. For example, when the first earthquake hit, I was at home, getting ready to go meet my friends at the beach. I was grabbing my beach chair, sunscreen, and Hydroflask full of Tito’s, when the shelves and paintings on my walls started to shake. 

My first thought: What the hell are my neighbors doing?

I don’t live in the most sound-proof building.

Second thought: Oh, wait it’s an earthquake.

I didn’t move. I continued standing in my dining room. 

Third thought: This will be over any second…aaaaany second…

And then the rolling started (and no, I wasn’t on Molly). I mean my entire building started swaying beneath my feet. Not violent shaking, I didn’t feel rattled or like I was going to be knocked over, but the ground was swaying beneath me. 

It felt like being on a boat. A big boat. More specifically, a cruise ship on a windy day. Maybe after a banana daiquiri or two. You’re walking down the Lido deck and this big-ass boat hits a swell, and the whole boat moves but it’s so big that it’s not harsh or abrupt. You’re still on your feet. It’s smooth, but also disconcerting. Except when it happens on land, it’s a bit more unsettling. Boats are supposed to move; buildings are not. 

At this point, I decided I should do something to make myself safer. I looked around and saw my cat, sitting on the ground staring out the sliding glass door, seemingly unfazed. 

Fourth thought: Ummm, excuse me Remi but aren’t you supposed to have like a sixth sense and alert me moments before the earthquake?! Worthless.

I walked towards my bedroom and stood in the doorway. That’s supposed to be the safest place, although it has to be weight-bearing in order to be safe, blah blah blah I had no time to check so I stood in the doorway. 

The swaying continued. I started to get a little freaked out. 

Fifth thought: Wow this is going on for a long time. At least I’m dressed and I have shoes on. Doesn’t matter, it’s about to end. 

The swaying continued. 

Sixth thought: Oh my God what if this is it? Where’s my earthquake survival kit? It’s in the closet. Okay. STILL SHAKING?! 

I started feeling slightly lightheaded.

Seventh thought: I’m all alone! What if this is the big one and I’m all alone? Should I go outside? Should I stay here? Where is my cat? What if I can’t find him afterwards? OMG he’s not wearing his collar!!!

And then the swaying stopped. The building settled back in, and all was quiet. I popped my head back out into the living room to see if Remi was okay. The damn cat was sitting in the same exact spot. He had not moved. Wasn’t looking around to see what had happened, didn’t even have his ears back in that bitchy cat way. WORTHLESS. Adorable, but worthless. 

I waited for a second, wondering if I should alter my plans or do something because of the quake, but I couldn’t think of anything so I just grabbed my stuff and headed out. There wasn’t any activity for the rest of the day that I felt.

Fast forward to the next evening. I had gone out to sushi with my friend Michelle and we came back to my apartment to watch a movie. We were sitting on the couch, fully relaxed, when Michelle jumped up. 

“Do you feel that?!”

“What?”

I paused the movie and jumped up but didn’t feel anything.  

“It was just an aftershock.” Michelle reassured me. Makes sense. They say there are always lots of aftershocks happening after an earthquake. Actually, there are tiny earthquakes happening pretty much all the time. If you go to the Griffith Observatory, downstairs near the Leonard Nimoy theater and all the planet displays, they have a seismograph and a screen that shows all of the seismic activity that has occurred in Southern California over the last hour, day, week, and month. (Hot tip: it’s a lot.)

We resumed the movie. Not more than five minutes later, it happened again. 

“Do you feel THAT?!” Michelle asked me with a lot more emphasis.

Oh yeah, I felt it, even sitting on the couch. We both jumped up and did pretty much the same thing I had done the day before. We stood in the middle of my living room and waited for it to be over. When it did not end immediately, we looked at each other and started for separate doorways. I stood under mine again and Michelle was under the doorway directly across the living room from me. 

The floor started to sway again. We were on a boat in my living room for the second day in a row. I mean, I’ve always thought it would be fun to live on a boat, but come on. 

This time, Remi noticed. He hovered low to the ground and walked to the middle of the room, looking at me, then Michelle, then back at me. He was bugging out. I called him over to me but he just hunkered down even lower. Worthless.

The swaying continued for what felt like a long time. A VERY long time. I began to grow uneasy. I wouldn’t say that I panicked, but I was definitely scared. I have never been worried for my life during an earthquake, and this time I was. 

Michelle saw that I was starting to get scared. I was lightheaded again and my hands were shaking. I felt ridiculous. 

“Breathe, Kelly. Just breathe.” 

She kept me calm. We stayed in our doorways. I looked at my shoes, wondering if I should run and grab them or stay put. I thought about where my earthquake kit was in the closet. The shaking and the lightheadedness increased. 

Finally, it ended, and I realized I was crying. I was really scared. I can’t even begin to recount all of the thoughts that went through my head this time but I can tell you that they were not good. Except for one; I was so glad that Michelle was there with me! If this had been the big one, I felt infinitely better knowing that I had a friend there with me to navigate the aftermath. Not to mention, a tough, self-sufficient friend who I imagine would be a great partner to have in any disaster or apocalypse. She gave me a long hug, and it made me feel better.

And then it hit me; This is why I don’t want to be single forever. I want a partner to face the hard times with me. It’s not about needing someone to take care of me, it’s about having someone there to keep me calm when I start to freak out. Or vice versa. Because telling someone else to breathe reminds you to breathe. You can’t tell someone to calm down and then continue to freak out yourself. It’s just science. 

Once I drank some water and calmed down, I put my earthquake kit right by my front door, along with my cat’s carrier and a pair of shoes and socks. Just in case another aftershock hit that happened to be bigger than the original earthquake. I was shook. 

As I slept that night, I woke up for no reason. I sat up suddenly, and then felt my bed shaking. Or so I thought… My cat was lying on the bed next to me, dead asleep, but I think we’ve established that he’s not a reliable replacement for a seismometer. I waited a few seconds, contemplated jumping out of bed and putting on a bra, but the “shaking” stopped. I sat up for another moment, bug eyed, then decided to lay down. 

I couldn’t sleep. I now had adrenaline coursing through my veins from the activation of my fight or flight response, and since I had done neither, it took a while for my body to calm back down. Here was another moment where I wished that I had someone lying in bed next to me (other than my cat.) Even if it was a phantom earthquake, it would have been nice to have a human man wake up with me, laugh it off, and then wrap me in his arms and lull me back to sleep. Or, since we were already awake, maybe burn off that adrenaline in another way… 

Either way, it would have been nice to have someone there. 

Which brings me back to my original theme; I’m still single. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy, surrounded by wonderful friends and family, and very fulfilled. But I don’t want to be single forever. This was a stark reminder of that.  

So even though we took a slight detour this week into earthquake territory, don’t worry, next week we will be back to tedious, awkward, disastrous dating stories. I’m not giving up, because I’m not planning on navigating these fault lines all by myself. 

“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? 

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?