Meeting new people or entering foreign situations typically doesn’t arouse feelings of anxiety in me. I tend to do well in social situations. Granny says it’s because I’m gregarious and my confidence is on the border of arrogance.
This all might be true, however, in the first moments of an OKCupid date the ragingly proud guido fist-pumping in my heart bows down and a nervous nutcase comes out. It feels like walking in to an interview, all the same panicked thoughts go through my head, “Will they like me? Am I dressed appropriately? What are they going to ask? Do I shake hand or kiss on cheek? Do I have sweat stains? Why am I talking in a voice that’s at least two pitches above my regular tone?”
Because I experience the initial date jitters I am going to try and be empathetic to my escort last night. Prior to meeting we exchanged some messages that at the time seemed funny but now looking back were just weird. (Example Him: Hey there, you have a lovely smile and pretty coordinated red motif in your photo? How’s your weekend going? Me: Thanks for noticing the red, it really means a lot. Sorry I’ve been away for a few weeks, but this weekend happens to be going well! How is yours? Him: Weekend went swimmingly…pun intended. The ocean can be a wonderful place when it’s not the middle of October in 1991. Me: October ’91… I’m guessing some shit went down? Wanna talk about it?)
He’s an art director and plays in a band—isn’t that exactly what Granny meant by a middle of the road artist? He chose a bar in Union Square to meet up for an after-work drink. When I arrived I did a scan over the meager crowd to see if he was there. No such luck. I took a seat on a barstool and ordered a beer, as I was paying I looked out the window and saw a very nervous man talking to himself as he paced back and forth three times before opening the door and walking in. At first I thought he might be a schizophrenic lunatic but it turned out it was John, my date.
He must have seen me when he walked in since there were only about six other people at the bar. My nerves manifested into a stiff teethy grin, I nodded at him but he didn’t approach me. Instead he stood on the opposite side of the room, ordered a ginger ale then focused his eyes on the floor. I would have doubted that it was in fact him but he was wearing the same bright-checkered shirt as his profile picture so I felt pretty certain.
I took a deep breath, swallowed my inhibitions, hopped off my stool and approached him. “Hey, John?” I said as I tapped him on the shoulder. He looked up at me like I was an old work colleague that he wanted to avoid. I went in for the cheek kiss and the handshake all at once, I still haven’t mastered the appropriate greeting.
I suggested we move to a table and take a seat. John quietly sipped at his ginger ale like a seven year-old boy, staring at the straw intently. I half-expected him to blow bubbles. “So you work over here? You’re from Long Island? You like music? You play in a band? Where’d you go to school? What happened in October of 1991?” I went through a series of get to know you questions. He answered in a soft-spoken voice with as few words as possible. The tables were turned; I didn’t feel like an interviewer because then I would be talking to an adult, I felt more like a guidance counselor trying to gently coax answers out of a painfully shy child.
John was surprisingly attractive and being that he was 33 I couldn’t figure out how he could possibly be so socially inept. I briefly considered how important conversation would be in my future relationship, maybe John was just a quiet thinker, an artist full of odd synchronicities. Maybe we would just sit silently and create things together. He’s a musician too, he’d use music to express his feelings.
I tried to make eye contact with him but every time his baby blues met mine he shifted uncomfortably and turned away. He was wearing me down. “Have you gotten out of the city at all this summer?” I asked.
“Yeah I went to Maine with my buddy, it was like Brokeback Mountain,” he said.
“Things got a little gay?” I asked jokingly.
His cheeks brightened as he shifted a few more times. He looked beyond offended by my comment. “No, it was just very outdoorsy,” he said.
There are plenty of films out there about men and the wilderness I don’t understand why John would choose Brokeback unless he was making a joke (which he seemed incapable of) or him and his buddy had a love fest in the mountains.
Both of our glasses were empty. I made the executive decision to save the calorie count and cash by wrapping up and heading out. Just like in an interview I thanked John for coming to meet me and said I’d be in touch. We went in for our final hug/cheek kiss/handshake maneuver and walked our separate ways.
My conclusions for the date are either A) he didn’t like me or B) he liked me so much it made him nervous. I’m going to go with B because it fits my ego better.
I think Granny is battling the Jewish grandmother inside of her. Don’t they all want us to marry doctors and lawyers? She called me to discuss her second thoughts after some reflection on the corporate lawyer. If I know my Granny, she is practicing some reverse psychology…
I checked in with Granny to fill her in on my date. “Oy, an asshole and on top of it a bore? I can’t believe ya didn’t sock him in the face. Forget him,” she instructed.
I would love to forget him, but annoyingly Paul won’t let me. I thought we ended things pretty clearly but the punk had the nerve to text me at 1am the past two nights to see what I’m doing.
“The man has no tact,” Granny said, “Next! You need someone more artsy craftsy, ya know? Someone who can relate to you and your lifestyle. Maybe someone who works with their hands? But no starving artists, at the very least, a middle of the road artist.”
The hunt is on.
Last night I had drinks with Paul, a man with a flesh-toned beard (it was too pale to spot in his pictures). Paul’s profile attracted me because: a) it stated that he was 6’3 and b) included an in-depth declaration about his love and frequency of travel. He even went so far as to specify his passport as the number one thing he could not live without. I’m a lady who loves adventure; I indulged myself, imagining Paul and me trekking through Patagonia, cheering each other along as I stared up into his adoring eyes (a good eight inches above my own). Oh the escapades ahead of us…
Unfortunately he is not a traveler, not even a vacationer, it would be a stretch to call him a weekender. He is a corporate lawyer that measures in at around 5’10. I’m aware that it’s rude and close-minded to judge someone based on his or her job but Paul felt no qualms about stereotyping me so I will pay him the same respect.
Prior to our face-to-face interaction Paul and I exchanged emails back and forth to get acquainted. His first question to me was, “What do you do for work?” I understand that what someone does is a big part of who they are but I don’t think it should define them. I danced around the question because my answer felt too long and drawn out for an introductory email and I thought it better to save getting to know each other until we met in person.
As soon as I sat down at the bar Paul wanted to talk work. With his blackberry (in my opinion, the number one thing he cannot live without) clutched in his hand he told me all about his hectic day in the office while frequently taking breaks to scroll through emails and shake his head at the phone.
Once we exhausted all the thrills of mergers and acquisitions the spotlight was on me. I went in to my film school background, the freelance work I do at a production company, and the non-profit I founded and operate in Kenya. Then unbeknownst to me, I dropped a bomb, “I also work in a nightclub.”
Paul shifted in his seat; behind his translucent whiskers I saw his mouth smirk with a sense of superiority. “What are you a dancer?” he asked with a smug tone.
Of course a rigid corporate lawyer like Paul would jump to that assumption, but no, I just cocktail. “Well you must get in to some seriously shady situations. Do you drink every night? I bet you do a lot of drugs, huh? What do they make you wear? Have you ever gotten laid at work? Has any one ever made you an offer you couldn’t refuse?”
“Paul,” I said, as calmly as possible, “I sell alcohol not sex.”
He bombarded me with ridiculously inappropriate and offensive questions, I tried to keep my cool and answer each remark eloquently and articulately to assure him that I wasn’t the working gal he had in mind. I explained that I don’t work in nightlife for my health or to dance on tables shaking sparklers like a proud patriot. It’s a flexible schedule and pays my bills, end of story. I took out nearly $100,000 in loans to go to NYU, I love to travel, and although I get loads of gratitude and fulfillment from my organization I don’t make any money from it. The nightclub is a means to an end and sustains all the much more interesting aspects of my life. I tried to bring the conversation back to my other work.
Paul didn’t give a damn. He wanted to hear something much more salacious then I had to offer. I felt like I was on trial defending myself. If Paul was my boyfriend I might allow some of these questions but he was a stranger and I was getting ready to pull out his beige face hair.
I very obviously tried to change the subject, “So tell me about where you’ve been traveling recently?”
He scratched his head, “Me and some buddies went to Boston in May,” he began. I nodded encouragingly, “Yeah we went to some soccer game, it was pretty lame.”
I was confused. Paul was a self-proclaimed traveler and his best story was about a soccer game in Boston. “Anywhere else?”
“I went to London for work about two years ago, it was pretty cool. Haven’t really done much globetrotting since college though, been busy with work, stuck behind the desk, ya know?” he said. I sensed some sarcasm in his tone.
He was letting me down left and right. London? Two years ago? For work? I wanted stories about monks in Asia and shark diving in South Africa. I know I am very fortunate to be able to travel often but come on, Paul was not an adventurer, he was a corporate lawyer.
I guess to Paul I was not a philanthropist or filmmaker I was just a cocktail waitress. Before I could end the date he took the honor. Less than 45 minutes after we sat down, Paul scooted out his chair, did a dramatic time check on his beloved blackberry and suggested that it was getting late. It wasn’t even 8:00pm.
At first I was in shock, my ego almost bruised that this man didn’t want to spend more time with me. The nerve of this corporate lawyer! Then he said, “So maybe I’ll text you sometime if I want to get in to the club you work at.”
I laughed in his face. The idea of seeing Paul for another five minutes at that bar let alone the bar I work at was something I definitely did not want. I kissed him on the cheek and said, “That is an offer I’m definitely going to have to refuse.”
I’m not a natural with the online small talk. Yesterday I received a message asking me, “What are your thoughts regarding adventure?” What does that even mean? It feels like that question requires either a college admission essay or a list of sexual fantasies. I happen to have plenty of thoughts on the subject but I don’t find it necessary or helpful to share them until someone buys me some dinner and gives me a cocktail.
Normally I’d be more forward and suggest getting a drink but I’ve been so swamped with work the past two weeks that I haven’t had time to schedule a date. I’ve been left with no choice but to indulge in the flirty messages. Oy vey.
Granny received a message from a man who complimented her smile. I thought it was sweet, she thought it was bizarre. “What’s so weird about it?” I asked.
“Kid this guy says he’s 6’2. 6’2 and 73? Bullshit. But if he is, what the hell does he want from a five-foot-nothing shorty like me?”
“Granny, here’s an opportunity for you to dust off all your swanky heels!” I encouraged her to call him. Below is the link to a voicemail she left me recapping her phone call experience. She said “He’s as suited to me as the man in the moon.”…
“You only get married for the first time once” is the title of a Facebook album posted for a bridal shower I went to over the weekend. The gal who put the album together has an especially twisted sense of humor, but I have to give her credit for doing a solid job of encapsulating the feelings I took away from the event.
Don’t get me wrong – I am ecstatic for my friend that’s getting married. She is perfect, her man is terrific, and I hope they live happily ever after. The foreboding slogan was something I took more personally for my life and future partner(s). There was lots of talk of discontentment and sexless relationships. It was shocking to hear some of the beautiful young women reveal that they weren’t getting laid by their spouses—not because they didn’t want it but because their men didn’t want to give it. (The Facebook album creator, a recent divorcée, revealed that her one-year marriage fell apart when she began bullying her husband by flicking his flaccid penis and pretending it was a microphone. She’d tap it and say, “Is this thing on?”)
When it was time to open presents the guests all ooooo-ed and aaahhhh-ed at the tools for the kitchen that were masquerading as gifts. Someone even gave her a spatula with her future last name monogrammed into the wooden handle. To my embarrassment, I was the only one who bought sex toys. I assumed that a cheeky necklace that doubled as a vibrator would be a hit, but oddly the crowd all went nuts for the garlic cutter instead.
The word “settle” was thrown around quite a bit. One of the girls suggested having a harem of men, each with a quality we value, Mr. Fix-it, Mr. Romantic, Mr. Funny, Mr. Kinky, Mr. Cook, Mr. Rich, and Mr. Tattoos. It’s impossible to find someone with all these qualities, or at least none of these gals or myself has found him yet.
Granny is always trying to hustle babies out of me but a ring on my finger is far from anything I’ve ever heard her promote. I called Granny after the bridal shower and asked about her stance on marriage. The phone went silent, then after gathering her thoughts she said, “I need great-grandkids, I know that. Ya gotta give them to me before I die. Marriage, eh, that’s a gray area.”
Granny and my mother are both divorced. My view on marriage was never peachy, glowing, or fairy tale-like but it wasn’t something I felt opposed to either. I never gave it as much consideration as I’m beginning to now as I watch friends enter that stage of life.
“Listen, ya know Brad Pitt and Angela whatcha-ma-call-it,” Granny said, “They have a kennel full of kids but no vows exchanged. Now their children want them to seal the deal. I don’t think it matters what order you do it in, but I think eventually ya gotta take the plunge. You meet a guy that you’re suited with, you understand each other, you love each other, you want the same things, you certainly must have sexual chemistry—ya just do it. No promises that it’ll last forever, but what the hell lasts forever anyway?”
As always, Granny has a point. Nothing is permanent but that doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile. I’m far away from being ready to have kids and I hope I never reach the day where I settle but somewhere down the road I’ll probably bite the big one. At my bridal shower the only household products I will accept will be strictly for the bedroom.
When I recounted my date to Granny I thought she would be confused by all the technology references but the shock only came from his choice of pets.
“Cats? Three? A man? Disgusting.” she said.
I agreed. “Well you weren’t gonna marry him, right?”
I definitely was not going to marry him. Even though I didn’t have any hard feelings about the date, Granny is an avid cheerleader for me and felt the urge to pep me up.
“Kid, you are beautiful, you are intelligent, you deserve to be with someone fantastic–”
“Granny!” I cut her off, “I’m totally cool, it wasn’t horrible it just wasn’t mind blowing.”
“You deserve mind blowing. Oy, don’t we all,” she huffed. “Listen, all I gotta say to you is you go girl, you go!”
With my ego nicely massaged, I changed gears to get the story on her phone chat with the Match.com love interest. “So tell me! When are you meeting him?” I asked.
“Who-oo-oo-oo? The stu-ut-ut-ter-er?” she asked with a repetitive staccato for each syllable.
I didn’t get it. She laughed, “This guy could barely get through a sentence! He has a stutter like ya wouldn’t believe.”
“Granny,” I scolded, “he was probably just nervous. It was his first time talking to you, you’re very intimidating.”
“Me? No way,” she joked. From knowing my ball-busting Granny for 24 years I am shocked that I haven’t developed a stutter.
“It’s apparent why he’s hiding behind a computer,” she huffed.
“Granny!” I yelled.
“Listen, I was very polite. He called when I was in the car driving by the Gardens Mall, we talked for a little bit then the old fart got worried that I wasn’t capable of driving and talking on my phone at the same time. Who does he think I am?”
I know exactly who he thinks she is, and he is right. Granny loves having her cell phone attached to her ear as she cruises through South Florida. Driving with her is a terrifying experience, one where you cling to the handlebar and cringe as she honks at other drivers, and lowers her window to trash talk to them if they pull a move she doesn’t find kosher.
“Mmmhmmm,” I avoided the subject, “and then what?” I asked.
“Then he said he’d call me next week.”
Next week? Apparently Granny’s guy is on the same train as Robert. I guess they prefer to slowly get acquainted before jumping feet first in to a face-to-face interaction. I’m not sure if we both picked guys with the same method or if this is the norm for online dating.
“Well stutter aside, did he seem nice? Will you go get a drink with him?” I asked.
“A drink? I’m gonna to need two drinks, at least, if I’m going to go out with him, but sure. Why not? Maybe a drink will loosen him up. You know, I am open to new things.”
I’m proud of Granny; she’s handling the weirdness of the internet flirts like a pro.
“You go girl, you go,” I cheered.
I’m not sure if the outing I went on last night actually qualifies as a date. It was more like a lesson on online dating and a crash course in all the bizarre technology quirks of courting in 2011.
I met Robert at the bar of my choice. He was shorter than I expected, definitely shorter than he stated on his profile. As he went in for a double cheek kiss I, for some unknown reason, chose to extend my arm for an awkward handshake. As we took a seat at the bar he bashfully handed me two lottery tickets as an introductory present. It was a cute thought, but I lost.
“This is my first online date,” I blurted out. He nodded like he already knew.
“Yeah, I thought something was up from your profile and messages.”
“What was wrong with them?” I asked defensively.
“Well it was just weird that you had barely any info and then suggested getting a drink without more back and forth. Typically people friend each other on Facebook to get more a feel for the person, but yeah, you kind of went shotgun style.”
I’m not really a fan of Facebook. It makes me into a creepy stalker and I’m sketchy enough without the internet. Besides, “friending” an OKCupider and giving him access to all my revealing pictures and info to all my friends so he can see who we might know in common feels like unnecessary voyeuristic view for an internet stranger.
We started getting to know one in other with conversation, my preferred method of communication. He’s from the Midwest, works in production, and lives in Williamsburg.
Then I told my story, I think I came off equal parts conceited and self-deprecating.
“You talk a lot,” he said. I blushed, he’s probably right.
He then took out his phone and opened the OKCupid app. “Let’s see if we’re compatible,” he suggested. This felt like an odd activity but I went with it. He began to go down the list of questions we had answered when building our profiles to see where we lined up.
We differed on almost every answer until I cut him off. Robert’s OKCupid addiction is more severe then my own. While exiting the list he accidentally clicked on his messages, which revealed his large cache of OKCupid women and their internet interactions. By the looks of it, online dating is this guy’s part time job. The twinkle of pride I felt from his online winks, star rating, and messages was fading.
He switched gears with his phone and went into his photos to show me a fish he had caught over the weekend, then his nephew, then a sunset from Morocco. It was clear he wanted me to be impressed by his life so I suggested we just switch phones, flip through them and get a feel for each other.
In Robert’s phone I found many recent pictures of a pretty girl in bed that is most likely his girlfriend and far too many pictures of cats. He owns three. Both of these facts did not bode well for me.
While he went through my phone I saw his eyes light up with confusion, excitement, and wonder. My friends are highly attractive and we take silly pictures in fun places. He got far back into my photos, about two years back when he stumbled on the picture that I have for my OKCupid profile.
“You can’t have a pic of you from two years ago, that’s cheating,” he said.
I’m 24 not 46, I didn’t think it was a big deal but Robert wouldn’t let it go. “You need to put more photos of you and things that you like to do. Like travel ones or silly ones, maybe some arty sepia toned ones, you know?”
Eh, I didn’t really agree but I let him advise me until I took my phone back and decided that game was over. The phone swap is an accelerated way of getting to know someone, it’s better than Facebook because you don’t just see what the other person wants you to see, instead you get a full-on view of his or her day-to-day life. Not recommended for the bashful.
We decided to pick up and move to another bar where I ordered a habanera margarita. Unaware of how spicy the drink was, he copied my order. It was painful to watch him pretend to enjoy the drink as sweat brimmed on his forehead.
“So it sounds like you know a lot about OKCupid,” I said.
He then whipped out his trusty iPhone again and opened the app once more. “Do you know about the broadcast option?” By reading the terrified look in my eyes he had his answer, “You can post your location and see other people who are in close proximity to you.”
“Like the app where you can see all the sexual predators near your location?” I asked, joking.
“Exactly,” he said, not joking. He loaded it and the faces of some sassy ladies appeared.
To experiment we broadcasted that he was on an OKCupid date that was going terribly wrong and to have someone come save him. As he sat perusing his phone, mine rang. It was Granny.
“Oy, listen to this bullshit. This man emails me on Match, very flirty, tells me he’s gonna call me tonight and guess what? Nothing, absolutely nothing!” she vented.
“Granny, maybe you missed the call, or maybe he’s going to call tomorrow. But listen, I gotta go I’m still on the date.” I said.
“Oh hubba hubba! How’s it goin’? Is he cute? It’s pretty late, how late you gonna schlep this thing on for?”
“He’s nice, but short,” I rushed her off the phone and promised I’d call in the morning. Just as I hung up she rang again.
“Sorry, just needed to tell ya, he did call, that bastard did call. I just saw that I had missed it on the caller ID. Have fun with the fashrimpadicka,” she hung up.
I got back to the bar where there were still no bites on the broadcast and Robert sat trying to look smooth while sucking on ice cubes to cool his tongue from the spicy beverage.
Granny was right, it was getting late and I had no desire to learn any more about this man, his cats, or his OKCupid expertise.
He walked me out to my bicycle and asked for my number. I hesitated, I didn’t really want this phone addict to have my digits but in a weak moment I caved and forked it over. “Can I friend you on Facebook?” he asked.
“No thank you,” I said politely, as if declining a piece of a cookie.
As I mounted my bike he took a step forward to plant a kiss on me. While seated on my bike his head fell a good two inches below mine. I pushed on my pedal and rode forward before he had the chance to lay one on me. Kind of an asshole move on my part, but I’m not sure yet if I’m the kind of gal that kisses on her first internet date.
“Thanks for the drinks,” I yelled as I rode up the block.
When I woke up this morning my phone was bombarded by flirty text messages filled with emoticons and serious attempts at wit from Robert. He’s a nice guy but not nice enough for a second date. I can’t wait to hear Granny’s commentary on my night.
I just spent the past two weeks in Barcelona, Paris, and Amsterdam with my friend Melissa. Before I left I called Granny as I always do before leaving the country. The last time I forgot to call she left me two back to back four-minute long voicemails uninviting me to the “ceremony” where we spread her ashes after she dies.
Besides wanting to avoid the dramatics, it’s always entertaining to hear Granny revel in her adventures from far away lands. The lady has been everywhere. Never can I go to a country from Croatia to Kenya that she doesn’t have a story or an opinion to impart.
Granny advised me to be good. I advised her to go on a date before I got back. We both failed.
This was my first time in Europe without my ex-boyfriend. I went wild on my girl’s trip, which is fair to be expected from two single American gals in Europe. I danced on tables, fell off tables, kissed boys, had drunken bike rides, and hilarious encounters. Due to the high price of data roaming, the lack of a laptop, and the excitement of a different continent, my OKCupid addiction has waned while away.
Although there was plenty of fun and flirtation on the trip, what happens in Europe stays in Europe. There were no relations with Euro-boys that are worthy of carrying back to the States. However, all the adventure and good times left me craving a romantic partner again.
I checked in with Granny and the little minx has yet to follow through with an actual JDate. It’s not completely her fault; she swears that the guys on JDate are unresponsive dinosaurs. “Should I be offended that no one is contacting me?”
Before I can even respond, she answers her own question, “Of course not, this is the internet. These schmucks haven’t even met me. They’re old farts cruisin’ on their computers, twiddling their thumbs. No, no way do I give a shit.” I love it when Granny gets self-righteous.
We agreed to shake things up and put her on Match.com. We even sassed up her profile to match her personality. I took the liberty of adding lots of exclamation points in her bio.
I too vowed to step up my game. I messaged back a persistent bearded man that sent me a message reading, “ahem.. I’ve rated you 4 stars.. added you to my favorites… and winked… i’ve run out of passive-aggressive ways of getting your attention.. :/ i live in williamsburg, i make videos all day, my mom thinks im cute, robert.”
I read it to Granny, she says it’s smart of him to only rate me four out of five stars. “He’s got ya just where he wants ya. Now ya want to be rated five stars, right? He wants ya to work for it.”
We planned to meet at a bar at 9 tonight. Granny agreed with the bar setting, “If he’s not a stud, you’re in New York City maybe the guy on the bar stool next to you will be even cuter.” A lady on the prowl.
She plotted with me like a teenage girl, “If he’s a creep, call me then hang up. I’ll call back and say I’m dying. Dying grandma, good excuse to flee.”
So I have my first date tonight. I arranged to meet him at a bar where I won’t know anybody. The shame of online dating is still lingering inside of me. Fingers crossed that tonight doesn’t end with me telling this dude that Granny is dead.