The Chemistry-free Date
I have to hide from the angels after they read this. See, I went out on another date, one that they disapproved of. And trust me, they would not have approved this guy, and I really should not have gone out with him. There is a part of me that hopes the actual date is enough of a punishment for them, and they don’t try to exact some revenge or worse.
They may use this as a reason why I should submit to them and let them decide who I date! That means I’ll end up with someone as dull, boring, and potentially aggravating as the one that we will call Leo.
We started talking on a gay dating app. We exchanged a few messages, and he disappeared, so I wrote him off and figured that he had found another guy he liked. Not really a big loss to me, the conversation was stilted and seemed to be one-sided to me. Then one day, he sent me another message; this time, the conversation was much more balanced, and we found that we had things in common. It was nice, but I didn’t feel the spark of chemistry, which apparently, you can’t feel through the phone. Who knew that? Hudson and I had chemistry through the phone and everywhere else. So did He Who Does Not Exist, and I.
Nonetheless, I figured if nothing else, Leo and I could be friends if the chemistry didn’t feel right.
We were supposed to meet for a coffee date when I was off work, but I wasn’t feeling well and canceled the first time we were supposed to meet. That should have been a sign that I should not go out with this guy, like seriously I should have thought to myself, “God, the angels, and your bestie all think that this is a bad idea. Stop being stubborn.” But no, that is not what I thought at all.
My thought was, “Aww, he understands I’m sick and wants to make sure we are both 100% for when we meet.” Sometimes I am so dense that I amaze even myself. Seriously, I need to reflect on why I ignore some red flags and get myself into these situations. I won’t because the writing material is great, but I should.
So we ended up setting up a dinner date for later that week when I was feeling better. He kept making jokes about staying together all night, but I thought he was joking. I had made my position clear. Plus, there was that pesky thing we call work. After some severe anxiety that a couple of friends tried to talk me out of, I really should have just canceled; we met up in Herald Square.
We chose to go to a local diner, and I made a mental note about the bag he was carrying with him. For a while, he said nothing. Then he informed me it was his overnight bag—a sign to run. But no, I went forward with the date.
Anger At The Table
We sat in the diner, and when the waiter came to take our order, he already knew what he wanted, and I was like, umm, soda. I had no idea what they had served there; it was my first time. And I know you’re thinking, it’s a diner. It can’t be that hard. It is, especially for a picky eater like me.
So, while the waiter’s hatred for me grew, I looked at the menu and ended up ordering the same thing that he got. It just seemed easier, and I didn’t have to do my usual subtraction dance with the waiter.
While we waited for the food to arrive, I told him part of the story of He Who Does Not Exist and I. Leaving out some parts that I figured didn’t really matter to anyone but me. He vaguely told a story about his past relationship, but it was more of a cliff notes version. There were a lot of details left out that may have made the story more interesting. Or at least kept my mind from wandering to work.
After he finished, I ended up talking about the jackass who thought he could talk to me anyway he wanted. After almost a half-hour monologue, I thought he must think I’m very boring or so into myself that I think everything I say is gold. That’s not the case at all. But he wasn’t giving me anything to work with.
F Is For Over
Careers are usually a good way to get people to talk. So I asked him what it was that he wanted to do, what was he working towards? He gave me a one-word answer: acting. There was no elaboration, but I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt and thought it might be because the food had arrived.
After the waiter left, I asked him what he wanted to do with acting. I got a little more “quirky neighbor in the movies.” Well, damn, I have better conversations with dogs. Don’t judge me; puppies are very wise. And far more interesting than this dullard.
Finally, we hit on a topic where he was a little more forthcoming, family. We talked and exchanged stories about our families. We talked about his Dad a little bit. I asked many questions because it’s the reporter who wants to know everything to get a better picture of the story.
To his credit, Leo was more than willing to answer everything that I asked. At this point, I was positive that nothing romantic would happen because, well, I’ve been spoiled with some great chemistry with men, and this was not that. But I figured what’s wrong with having another friend?
In a city of strangers, it’s always nice to have someone to hang out with.
Blame The Internet
He suggested we leave the diner and walk around for a little bit. It was cold but not freezing, so I figured what the hell. As we made our way down 34 street, he suggested we go to Macy’s. Why the hell not. I couldn’t spend any money because I was broke until payday, but it’s always nice to do some window shopping.
Once we got into the store, he wanted to sit down like every 4 feet we walked. There’s a reason that I am not a parent to a child or an animal; I have no patience for foolishness.
During one of the times we were sitting, he lamented how internet dating has changed how we interact with one another. It’s a fair point, but in his case, he was just wrong. My counterpoint was that it brought together people who would not have met without it. Like him and I. Rarely do I leave Manhattan and would not have been caught in a bar in Queens. Shudder.
Instead of an interesting conversation developing, he sat there quietly, looking around. After five long, silent minutes, I suggested we leave so that they could close the store. He asked what I wanted to do next. Frankly, I wanted to go home and watch Grace and Frankie until I fell asleep. But I wasn’t about to tell him that.
Home Is Where The Stalker Is
Since I was genuinely tired, I told him that I would go home and get some sleep. Do you know that he took that to mean that I was inviting him to go with me? He walked down to the subway with me, and as I went to get my MetroCard, he did the same thing. WHAT? I looked at him, confused, and he whispered a “what?” I asked him why he was getting on the same train as me since he should be going the opposite way. He explained that he thought that I would want company back at my place.
After everything with He Who Does Not Exist, there was no way that I was letting this man know where I lived. When I told him no, he was genuinely offended and thought that I was selfish. Seriously.
After the situation with He Who Does Not Exist, there was no way I was going to chance him following me home, so I switched trains at Times Square. Once I was certain that he couldn’t have followed me, I got back on the right train at 72nd street. Times Square and 72nd are major hubs that easily get lost in the crowd if they want to. Maybe I didn’t need to do all of that, but I wasn’t going to take any chances. It also helped distract my mind from the unpleasant conversation that I was going to have with Leo.
It’s Hard To Say Let’s Be Friends
How do you tell someone that you aren’t into them without sounding mean? That thought kept bouncing around in my head. It didn’t take long for Leo to text to ask if I got home safely. When I told him that I indeed had, he dropped the first bomb: He felt that I was insensitive at dinner. WHAT? I scratched at my memory to see what he was talking about and when I couldn’t figure it out, I asked him. He claimed that somehow I made him feel as though I thought a situation in his family was the fault of his brother’s or his. When I tried to apologize, he went crazy and was like, yep, no, not dealing with this.
So I told him that I was going to bed.
Something told me to check my phone. When I did, I found this whopper of a text: “If you had just come to a hotel with me, we could have bonded.” WTF. I screenshotted it and sent it to a friend to make sure that I couldn’t lose my mind. In this case, I wasn’t. Leo actually thought that going to a hotel would bond us. This tells me that I made the right decision not to go with him because who knows what he would have done.
The decision was made on my part to distance myself from him. And do it in a way where he would get the message, but I could still be nice about it. After reiterating to him again that I don’t go to hotels with strange men, I also said that I wanted to wait for that part of a relationship after my last experience of sleeping with someone on the first date.
Ghosting Don’t Work
Of course, that was a half-truth, but I did not want to find out what that part of the relationship would be like with him. He was already a class A clinger, and sex would only amplify that. There was no way in Hell that I was going to put myself in that situation. Say what you want about me, but I learn my lesson after the third or fourth time that the universe tries teaching it to me.
The next day I avoided sending him any message hoping that he would get that I didn’t want to continue talking to him. But like any good stalker, he took that to mean that he should send me a novel-length text about how he wanted to move forward with me and that he couldn’t wait to see me again. Alright, no more Mr. nice gay. I had to let him know in no uncertain terms that there was no in the future and that he should move on. I sent a message to him that said there were too many red flags and that I could not continue in good conscience and that I hoped he would find what he was looking for.
Getting What I Want
His response was to freak out and tell me not to contact him again. Even after meditating on it and figuring out what he thought, all I could come up with is the fact that I got what I wanted, even if he thought he was the one who called the whole thing off. It burned me, but I didn’t care because he was gone. And that was the ultimate prize.
What did this date teach me? To not look for someone online, haha, no. Alas, this is how my generation meets people now. Even though I hope for a romance that starts with us looking at each other from across the room, the chances of that happening are very slim.
Instead, I have to continue online dating, but from now on, I will meet in the afternoon for coffee and not at night. I don’t want these strange men thinking that I will go to a hotel with them. Unless they are adorable or the chemistry is off the charts. Leo didn’t have the going for him.