Dating…On A Budget

Monday morning, I woke up, made myself a pot of coffee and sat down on the couch to read the news…and check my Twitter account. In the process, I somehow stumbled onto Grindr and browsed some of the nearby profiles. I have been (desperately) trying not to go on Grindr as much, but just like the cheesy gordita crunch at Taco Bell, it’s fucking addicting.

While scrolling, one profile made me stop and tap. He was cute, my age, nearby, and his profile said, “have scruff and make me laugh.”

“I have both of those things!” I said out loud and continued to message him with “Happy Monday!” – a pretty standard greeting.

He wrote back right away – should have been my first signal – and we carried on a conversation for most of the day. We talked about life in Astoria, my food blog, his job, and our favorite movies. Instead of carrying out a weeklong text-a-thon with this kid, I invited him to meet for drinks the next night.

Usually, I do not meet someone after only finding out a few pieces of personal information from them, but I figured it’s best to meet as soon as possible, see if there is a mutual connection, and go from there. He said he was up for it and we exchanged phone numbers.

His first text to me was a gif from 30 Rock, so I already knew him and I would be married by the end of the month. 30 Rock gifs and fried cheese are the way to my heart (not in that order).

After work, I met my friend, Rebecca, downtown to check out the Central Perk popup store from the TV show Friends. I don’t think I had been that excited about something since TGIFridays had that 10$ all-you-can-eat-appetizer deal. We got to the location and stood in line, anxiously waiting to have our chance to sit on the big orange couch.

After a few minutes of catching up and pretending to listen to each other’s stories, I looked down at my phone and saw that my new boy, Zack we will call him, had texted me. “What are you up to tonight?”

I rolled my eyes and told Rebecca all about him. I told her that at first we spent the day bullshitting and chatting and having a really fun conversation, but as soon as he had my phone number, he had started freaking me out by the length of his text messages. Anyone who knows me knows that I am extremely picky and I cast guys off to the side for the smallest of things. Once, I was on my way to meet a guy for drinks and he texted “Okie Dokes” and I cancelled on him immediately. So, I knew I needed to be a little more lenient this time and give him a chance.

I responded where I was and he wrote back that he had never actually watched an episode of Friends. How is that even humanly possible?! I laughed it off and told him it was my favorite show, yada yada yada. He then started sending me Friends memes and a picture of his roommates’ boxed-set collection of the show on DVD. “Maybe he’s just really into you,” Rebecca said, trying to play devil’s advocate. I sent a smile face emoji and put my phone in my pocket, just as we were entering Central Perk.

Once we were done, we decided to grab a bite to eat down the block. When we sat down, I pulled out my phone and saw I had 4 long text messages from him. Four. And in one of the messages he asked me what my favorite episode was and that he would watch it that night so “we would have something to talk about the next day.”

I’m sorry, but if the only thing we have to talk about is Ross and Monica doing a dance routine on Dick Clarks New Years Rockin’ Eve, then this relationship is never going to happen.

I started expressing my fears with this guy to my friend, who at that point, completely understood. Now, don’t get me wrong. I love it when a guy texts me. Seriously, I love it. But if we haven’t met yet (only been taking for 9 hours) and you are sending me novels as text messages, asking me about where I am, what I’m doing, and what I had for dinner, I will be completely turned off.

I came home that night and thought about if I actually wanted to go through with this date the next day. I mean, if he was interested in me, was that really the worst thing in the world? Not at all! Sure his text messages were a little overbearing, but perhaps he is different in person.

Or so I thought.

The next morning, the day of our date, “Zack” texted me asking where I wanted to meet up that night. I told him that I wasn’t too sure of many bars in the area, since I had just moved there, but I would be good with wherever. He responded saying he didn’t care either and that he would be more than willing to just pick up a bottle of wine and hangout at one of our apartments because he was “on a budget.”

Where do I even begin? One, if you are on a budget, it is not attractive to tell that to the person you are trying to impress. Everyone is on a budget. Hell, I am definitely on a budget, but I’m not going to tell someone I have no money hours before we are scheduled to meet up. That’s what credit cards are for, right?

Also, his suggestion of hanging out at one of our apartments should have been my first warning sign that this was more of a routine on his part than an actual money-saving idea. Again, trying to stay open-minded, I agreed to his plan and told him he could come over to my apartment, since my roommate would be at work, and we could share a bottle of wine.

I came home from work, cleaned up a bit, showered and sprayed the couch generously with Febreeze, awaiting his arrival. On his way, he texted me asking what kind of wine I liked, to which I replied “Any and all of it” but then assured him I also picked up a bottle of wine, so not to get crazy. He wrote back, “LOL. Okay, I got a 6$ bottle of wine, but trust me, after the second glass, you won’t even taste how bad it is.”

I wasn’t convinced.

Around 8:30 he arrived at my apartment, and the second I opened the front door, I knew I didn’t like him. Not that he was ugly, but I could just tell from his energy that we weren’t going to mesh well. He was wearing a striped t-shirt, the tightest jeans I have ever seen on a man, and a cardigan. He also had on a hat that resembled the one worn by the main character from The Sandlot (here is a picture if you need a reference).

I welcomed him into my apartment and poured him a glass of wine – from my wine bottle that was already opened. When I handed it to him, he asked for a tour of my place – something that I hate. It’s not like I live in a glamorous and giant apartment. You can literally see the entire apartment from the front door. But, I obliged his request and showed him around. When I showed him my bedroom, he looked around and said, “I could wake up here.”

…What?

When the tour was finally over, I ushered him out of my room and back into the living room. I sat down on one end of the couch and he took a seat right next to me. I would have preferred to have a little breathing room, but didn’t let it bother me too much. Still on the subject of my apartment layout, he glanced around and said, “Your place is really cute. I mean, my living room is twice this size, but…I like what you’ve done with the little space you have.”

…Okay.

We started the conversation in a pretty normal way: talked about our favorite movies, tv shows, and music. I enjoy discussing these subjects, but I am very opinionated on these topics. I can – and do- judge a person by the types of things they like to watch. I told him that I was in the middle of watching Breaking Bad and I just could not get into it. All he responded to that was, “Oh my God, it’s the best show. The best show. It’s so good. So good.”

I asked him what makes it so good, just to see if maybe I missed something big or stimulating, but he just kept on repeating “Oh my God, it’s the best show. The best show. It’s so good. So good.” I shrugged and agreed to disagree.

I took the biggest sip of my wine, knowing I would need to be at least tipsy to get through the remainder of the evening. He went over to my DVD collection and asked, “What should we watch?” Knowing I could definitely not handle a movie, I suggested we watch a few episodes of The Comeback since it was one of the shows we actually agreed on enjoying. I put the DVD in the player and headed back to the couch, where he was sprawled out, awaiting me to come over and cuddle.

I poured another glass of wine, drank it all in one sip, and laid down beside him on the couch. While watching the show, he put his arm around me and massaged my scalp with his other hand. “You know, you’re going to have to massage my head while we watch the next episode,” he informed me.

I shot up like Scooby Doo had just solved a murder case and looked at him quizzically.  “Excuse me? I have to do what?”

“Massage my head. I’ve been doing it to you for the past ten minutes. So, next episode, it’s my turn.”

I actually laughed out loud to this, shook my head, and said, “I don’t think so.”

“But what do you mean? It’s only fair. We need to take turns, or else I’m going to stop massaging you.”

“Well, then…stop massaging me. I didn’t ask you to touch my scalp.”

He removed his hand and we continued to watch the show, in a hostile cuddle. When the show ended, I sat up and refilled both of our wine glasses. “Let’s talk some more,” I said, hoping to make the time pass a little faster.

I asked him where he grew up and he grabbed my face and started kissing me. When I tried to pull away, he just whispered, “Shh…just go with it.”

Maybe it was the fact that I hadn’t been touched since February. Or maybe because I had six glasses of wine, but I took his advice and shut up and went along with it. In my head I was thinking, “Well, maybe if we hook up, he will leave. It’s always awkward after hooking up with someone, so he will just gather his belongings and walk out the door and I can finish my bottle of wine in peace.”

Like he was reading my mind, he said, “Let’s take this to the bed.”

We walked into my bedroom, I quickly shut off all the lights, and unbuttoned my shirt. Before I got to the third button, he was already laying on my bed, completely naked. Except for his hat.

Things between us were heating up pretty quickly and it wasn’t too long before he headed south to my nether regions. He started going down on me, and the bill of his hat kept poking me right in the stomach. Then, just as I was starting to relax and enjoy myself, he flipped me around and started with the ass play. “Dude, I don’t even know your last name,” I said in complete shock as to what was happening.

Now, I am sure there are many people who enjoy that sort of thing, but I am just not one of them. It’s awkward, uncomfortable, and it just doesn’t feel good to me. I kindly asked him if he could stop and he sat up like a sad little puppy dog, defeated at his own game.

He flipped me back around, came up to my face, and went in for a kiss. Absolutely not. Not even a little bit. I pulled away and said he needed to rinse with mouthwash and brush his teeth if he wanted to kiss me again. “I know where that tongue has been, mister!”

After he rinsed twice with mouthwash and used my roommates’ toothbrush, we picked back up where we left off: me getting a blowjob. I closed my eyes and desperately tried to finish so this night would end and I could make it to McDonald’s for an ice cream cone before they closed. But, no such luck. I was so turned off by all of the preceding events to even feign pleasure and enthusiasm. I finally looked over at him and said it wasn’t going to happen. “I have a lot of work things on my mind,” I lied.

He assured me it was fine so I got up and re-dressed. “Do you have any extra pajamas I could wear?” he asked.

…HUH?

“No,” I responded. “I’m 28 years old. I don’t own pajamas. And I have a really big work thing (ice cream cone) I need to work on (eat) so I can’t (never ever) have a sleepover tonight. Sorry.”

“It’s okay. Let’s go back to the couch and finish that wine.”

This time when we sat on the couch, he sat on the opposite side, giving me the distance I needed. I emptied the remaining wine into our glasses and played yet another episode of The Comeback. A few minutes into the show, he patted his lap like there was a golden retriever sitting behind me and said, “Put those feet up. I want to rub them.” So I did.

Stop judging me. I feel you all judging me, but you have to understand…I love foot rubs.

So, he started massaging my feet, and this is where it went even further downhill.

“Wow. Cut your toe nails much?” he asked.

I looked down at my toes and reasoned with myself that they were not as bad as he was making them out to be. Sure, they were longer than they should have been, but I am getting a pedicure on Saturday and there is no point for me to clip my toe nails when I am going to pay someone $20 to do it for me. Right? Right.

He kept talking about the toe nails for the remainder of the episode and I deflected his comments with a joking response, saying, “Stooopppp! I’m really insecure about my toes,” hoping he would laugh it off and we could move on to another subject. (Maybe he finally came up with an answer as to why Breaking Bad is so good).

But he didn’t. He stopped playing with my feet, looked at me, and asked, “You’re insecure about your toes? Really?!”

I nodded yes and then he followed up with this line: “But there are so many other things you should be insecure about.”

Welp, I think this night is over, what do you think?

I laughed at his insulting comment, not because I thought it was funny, but that I was going to have a great story to tell my friends the next morning. “I really should get to bed, Zack. I think you should go.”

He stood up, put his cardigan back on, adjusted his hat, and made his way to the door. “Here, I’ll walk you out,” I offered. We stood at the front door and I gave him a hug and exchanged the normal first date pleasantries: “This was fun. It was nice to meet you. Get home safe.”

He pulled me in for a kiss and demanded that I call him. Once he left, I ran to the bathroom to take a scalding 11 minute shower and ponder, yet again, why I meet the weirdest and most awful guys in New York. My thoughts were interrupted when I heard a knock at my door. At this point, I preferred a serial killer to be on the other side of the door, but no such luck. “Hey, what’s up? Did you forget something?” I asked.

“Yeah, my bottle of wine. Can I have it back?”

 

 

 

 

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Tower of Terror

Yesterday afternoon, I went to Starbucks hoping to get a quick cup of coffee. Realizing now that the words “quick” and “Starbucks” are anything but synonymous, I ended up leaving the coffee shop, empty handed and headed back to my office to finish up the remainder of the day.

I work in a decently sized building in the Columbus Circle area. It’s not a huge skyscraper, but it’s also not a three-story-walk up. It’s somewhere in-between. And that also goes for the age and style of the building. It is not modern, not chic, and the doorman just sits at his counter, welcoming people and offering directions. “The dentist? 5th floor. Have a good day.”

Him and I are “buddies” if you will. We occasionally shoot the shit, whether it be about the days of the week (“Ah, it’s Monday again) or about the weather (“Ah, it’s rainy again), him and I seem to have a good rapport. So good, in fact, that he invited me to his family’s BBQ on the 4th of July. I didn’t end up going, of course, but it was nice that he invited me, the sharply dressed guy who works on the 6th floor.

When I got back to the office building, not ready to go inside and back to work yet, I decided to partake in a quick smoke. I don’t normally smoke throughout the day, but I figured what the hell. It will give me a few minutes to relax and check my Instagram (Grindr) account. When I was done with my Marlboro Light, I headed in through the extremely heavy front doors to my building, gave the door man a head nob and pushed the button for the elevator.

“On your left” he called, informing me that the next available elevator had arrived, in case I didn’t hear the “ding” that came with its arrival. “Thanks,” I said back. I got into the elevator and pushed the button with the “6” on it and leaned against the side of the elevator, continuing to scan through Instagram pictures (Grindr profiles).

When I passed the fifth floor, something strange happened, but I didn’t think twice of it at first. Fifteen seconds later, when the elevator doors ceased to open, this is when I started to notice something was off. I looked up at the LED screen and saw that the number “6” was blinking, yet nothing was happening.

I waited another fifteen or so seconds and then pressed the “Call to Speak” button. Never having pressed this button before, I did not know what to expect. Who, exactly was I calling to speak with? And more importantly, did this button even work? Well, it turned out that it did work and that it called the maintenance department.

“Hello, are you stuck?” he asked, with a sense of sarcasm.

“Yes,” I replied, trying not to make my voice quiver. “I am stuck in the elevator.”

I let go of the “Call to Speak” button and waited on my instructions, but all he responded with was, “Can you hear me?”

I pressed the button again, and a little bit louder, I yelled that yes, I could hear him and that I was stuck in the elevator. But, once again, all he replied with was “Can you hear me?”

Frustrated, I pushed the button one last time, raised my voice a little bit louder, and said, “Yes. I can fucking hear you. Can you please get me out of here?”

“Help is on the way,” was all he said.

I stood there, trying not to panic, and reached for my cell phone to see if I could text someone in my office. Naturally, I did not have service, but I stood on my tippy-toes and raised my phone as high into the corner as I could, thinking this would make a difference. It didn’t. Below is a detailed account of the time I spent trapped in this elevator – 45 minutes to be exact.

4:03pm: The man on the other end of the speaker, the man I had just yelled at, asked me what office I worked in so he could call them and tell them I would be “a little late coming back.”

4:05pm: I sat down on the floor of the elevator in the back corner and decided that I should just play a game of Candy Crush to take my mind off of the fact that I was trapped in a 3 foot by 3 foot metal box. I swiped those colored candies as I hummed the theme song, but it didn’t distract me. Not even a little bit.

4:09pm: Still playing Candy Crush. Still humming the theme song. Still freaking out.

4:12pm: I hear my boss’ voice from somewhere beyond the elevator doors. “James? James? Are you in there?” he yelled. “Yes! Yes, I’m here!” I screamed with joy. I never thought I would be this excited to hear his voice. “Someone will be there shortly. Call the office if you need anything.” I checked back at my phone and say my phone went from “Searching…” to “Shit out of luck.” I went to the door and yelled back, “I have no service!” but there was no answer. He must have went back inside.

4:15pm: I am pissed off. Not just because I am stuck in this elevator, but by the fact that I have been on this same level of Candy Crush since June, and I can’t beat it. No matter how many power-ups I use or how many lives I have to buy, I cannot for the life of me, get past this level. I grow frustrated with the game and close it out.

4:16pm: I figured now would be a good time to take a “I’m trapped in an elevator but my beard looks good” selife. As for any good selfie, at least 7 need to be taken so you can choose the best one.

4:21pm: 5 minutes later, I now have over 60 pictures I have taken of myself from every angle and every corner of the elevator. None of them were Instagram-ready.

4:22pm: I wonder if the camera in the elevator works. Can they see me? Is someone in the basement watching me right now? Are groups of people down there, with bags of chips, watching me take pictures of myself?

4:26pm: I hear the man from the speaker box. “Hello, how are you?” he asked me. “I’m okay,” was all I could think to reply with. I didn’t want to appear like a baby, but I also didn’t want him to think I was enjoying myself. “Okay” got that point across. “The elevator mechanic will be here in a few short minutes. Do you need anything?” “A dry martini would be nice.” He didn’t respond.

4:33pm: The elevator mechanic has arrived. I can tell, because I hear a man on the other side of the door that said, “Hello, I am the elevator mechanic.”

4:35pm: I begin thinking of life and death. Is this it? Is this how I die? From being stuck in an elevator? I always thought I was going to leave this earth in a dignified way, not plummeting down to my death.

4:36pm: Will I ever see the sun again? I think to myself. Or my family and friends. What I would give to make them laugh just one more time.

4:37pm: I am never going to know what true love is. I came close, in high school, but that doesn’t count. I spent so much time over the years, dating and trying to impress guys and giving handjobs – for what?

4:39pm: I hear something banging against the elevator door. I stand away and try to imagine how they are going to get me out of here. I realized that I was trapped between the fifth and sixth floor, and now I am beginning to panic about my rescue. Are they going to have to pull me out of the elevator? Like they do in the movies? What if I fall? What if the elevator falls and cuts my body in half. I need my lower half.

4:41pm: I hear voices. More than one. It’s the elevator mechanic and my co-worker. I hear her asking him what he is doing and him responding with, “Trying something…” Trying something? What do you mean? Isn’t this like…day 2 of elevator mechanic school? Day 1: Introduction to Elevators; Day 2: How to Get Someone Out of an Elevator; Day 3 – Graduation. While I am thinking about this, I hear my co-worker say, “Oh my God…” What? What Oh my God? What’s going on up there? The banging against the door has subsided for a few seconds, and then I hear the mechanics voice say, “Oh! I have an idea!”

4:42pm: I open up the Notes section of my iPhone and draft a letter to my parents. I try not to cry as I type out my last good-bye to them.

4:42pm: My iPhone keeps auto-correcting “dying” to “tying” and it is frustrating me.

4:44pm: The elevator moves. First it went down a few floors and stopped. I froze. Then, it started lifting back up. “3…4…5…6…” I see the elevator passing my floor and now I think this is something out of Tower of Terror. It is going all the way to the top and then plunging down to the basement. I crouch down in my best “I think I could survive this” position and close my eyes.

4:45pm: The elevator stops and makes a “ding” noise. I see that I am on the 8th floor. The doors shake for a few seconds and then release, opening me up to the world. I burst out of the elevator like I had been trapped in a cave for 6 years. “Freedom!” I exclaimed.

 

When I made it out of the elevator, there was a tiny old lady waiting to get on. When I burst out of the elevator, she looked at me, curiously. “DON’T GO IN THERE!” I screamed. “I was trapped in that elevator for over an hour (okay, so I exaggerated a tad). It’s a death trap. Take the stairs. I beg of you!”

I went to the staircase hallway and ran down to the 6th floor. Naturally, the door was locked. I banged and pounded on the door for one whole minute. Finally, I heard footsteps, and then a voice. It was my boss. He stood up to the door and goes, “Who is it?” trying to be funny.

“It’s me! I escaped! I’m free!”

He opened the door and welcomed me back. While walking towards the office, the elevator bank made a “ding” and the door to MY elevator opened. And who was inside? The little old lady: a daredevil.

I sat down at my desk and, since I finally had service, I checked my phone. Nothing. Not one missed call, or text message, or even an email. Somehow, I realized, that while I was trapped in the elevator, other people’s lives had managed to move on.

Ten minutes later, my co-worker walked into our office holding an 8-footlong stick and a scotch tape dispenser. “You made it!” she said, waking towards me with open arms.

We parted from our hug and I said, “that was the scariest moment of my life.” I then looked back at the contents in her hands and said, “What’s that?”

“The elevator mechanic asked if we had something long and stick like, so I found these two sticks in the storage room and then taped them together so it would reach you.”

“THAT’S how he planned to get me out? A stick held together with tape?”

She put the stick and the tape dispenser down on the desk and told me about this mechanic. “He came in holding a wrench and a hammer. And that’s it. I think they just found him on the street.”

I thanked the Lord that, for whatever reason, the elevator began moving again. I thanked everyone in my office for being so supportive and helpful during this stressful time. My boss, then, called me back into his office and asked, “Were you screaming in the elevator?”

I shook my head no. “I mean, I did yell a little bit. But I wasn’t screaming. Why?”

He called his voicemail and put it his phone to my ear. It was the man from the speaker in the elevator. “Hi there, this is Sam from the front desk. I just wanted to let you know that one of your employees is trapped in the elevator, but don’t worry, we’ll get her out soon.”

Her?

Now, there have been many times throughout my life where I have felt emasculated (dodge ball, kickball, table tennis) but this was a new low. I am a mature 27 year old man with a range-appropriate voice. Sure, when I was a kid I would answer the phone and the telemarketers would always say, “Good evening, Mrs. Lane” but I thought I – and my voice – had grown out of that.

My boss and I shared a laugh, which only lasted six seconds before he told me to get back to work. I sat back at my desk and stretched my legs, knowing that I would be taking the stairs for the next few days.

Flirting at 10,000 Feet

Flying is never fun…especially when you have a layover in Atlanta, like I did last Wednesday. I was coming home from a week spent in sunny Florida, visiting my parents, drinking Corona Light’s out by the pool and avoiding friends from high school at the supermarket.

My flight from my small hometown in Florida to Atlanta was just your average commuter flight, without any excitement or peanuts. But as soon as we landed, I got a big smile on my face because I had exactly one hour until my connecting flight took off, which left me with plenty of time to grab a cocktail and go to the smoking lounge.

In case no one has been to the Atlanta airport – or smokes cigarettes – there are 5 designated smoking lounges, one for each terminal, in which you can sit down and take a long drag of a Marlboro Light without having to leave the airport and go through security again. Those lounges are heaven.

I finished my three cigs and then inhaled a glass of Pinot Grigio at the bar and arrived at my gate just in time to board. I made my way to my designated seat on the aisle and took out my Sudoku book, ready for a fast and easy flight.

Not five minutes after I got settled and completed two puzzles, this guy comes barreling down the aisle, suitcase in hand, and stops at the row right behind me. “Ughhhh, can I just put this down for a second?” he gasped to no one.

A gay. My face lit up like it was Christmas morning. I turned around to look at Mr. Dramatic, and was pleasantly surprised – and shocked – that he was a tall, muscular, and gorgeous man. I smiled, weakly, at him and he threw his bag in the overhead compartment and took his seat, directly behind me. “Now would have been a good time to use Head & Shoulders,” I thought to myself.

Another five minutes later, I felt a tap on my shoulder and looked up to see an Asian couple standing before me. Now, I knew I was in my correct assigned seat, so I don’t know what they could possibly want, unless to get an autograph for my food blog.

It was neither.

They were telling me and Mr. Biceps (which I will call him from now on) that they just got standby tickets on this flight and they were split up, one sitting in the middle seat in my row and one sitting in the middle seat in Bicep’s row, and they asked if one of us would mind moving so they could sit together. I started to get agitated and began to roll my eyes at them, but then realized that if I complied with their request, I would be snuggling up to my new boyfriend while we watched the in-flight movie.

Before I could respond, Biceps said that he needed to be on the aisle because he needed to do some work, and because he was 6’4’’, he needed the leg room. I turned to join the group discussion and said that I would move over to the middle seat and he could take mine, so the Asian couple could sit next to each other. Normally, I would tell them to suck it up and they should be happy to be on the same flight, but that response wouldn’t get me closer to having sex with this guy, so I just smiled and scooted over.

Biceps grabbed his laptop case and to-go bag from Chick-Fil-A and took his new seat. I smiled at him and said, “Welcome to row 28. You made the right decision.” He just looked at me, put his tray table down, and started eating his chicken sandwich. I threw that Sudoku book in the seatback pocket in front of me and pulled out one of the interesting novels I bought for my trip but never read.

The Asian couple thanked us profusely and made a comment saying that they would buy us a drink for our generosity. “Ohhh, I could go for a glass of white wine,” I said with a wink while he thanked them and said, “A Bourbon would be nice.” I hated myself that I said I wanted white wine.

He continued to eat his chicken sandwich, doused with BBQ sauce and honey mustard, while I picked up my book and pretended to read it. Before I knew it, we were leaving the gate and ready to take off. All I could think about was whether I put on clean underwear or not.

While sitting on the tarmac, idle and waiting for the other plans ahead of us to take off, I kept trying to think of a good conversation starter, but “Headed to New York?” seemed boring and obvious. For the first time in my life, I was at a loss for words. Usually being able to hold a conversation with a door knob or someone from Jersey, I could not think of one single opener for this guy. Instead of putting my earphones in and minding my own business, I instead leaned over and said, “That sandwich looks good.”

“Why did I say that?” I am asking myself now, repeatedly. Why did I have to make a comment about the sandwich? I could have said anything – literally anything – that would have been more interesting and less creepy. I mean, what did I expect him to respond to that with? “It really is divine. Would you like a bite? And maybe, after, we can talk about our likes, interests, and favorite movies.” No. Of course he didn’t say that. He just looked at me, with BBQ sauce in the corner of his mouth, and nodded in agreement that yes, the sandwich was good.

Once we took off, I realized that our conversation had come to a sudden halt, so I put back in my earphones, blared my Ashlee Simpson playlist, and closed my eyes, hoping for a quick nap before the snack cart came my way. While trying to get some rest, this is when I noticed my new prospective boyfriend had some sort of nervous tick or habit. I wouldn’t necessarily call it Tourette’s, but I wouldn’t call it normal either. His left leg kept shaking, up and down, like it was injected with 3 liters of Cuban Coffee. I didn’t mind it at first, because with every shake and quiver, his leg would gently graze mine, giving me comfort and security. I also noticed that he had some sort of an OCD behavior. Although his sandwich was finished, his giant Styrofoam cup of Diet Coke and ice was not. He would pick up his cup, bite the end of the straw and push it down, making a horrible plastic-meets-Styrofoam sound. Then, he would take a sip, shake the cup twice, and put it down below his seat. This ritual continued for the next thirty minutes. Finally, his drink was empty, but then he did one of my biggest pet peeves: he chewed on the ice.

Once the pilot turned off the seat belt sign, he went to his carry-on bag and pulled out his laptop, because remember – he needed to sit on the aisle seat so he could get some work done. If the leg movement and the ice chewing wasn’t enough, now he was typing away at record speed, continually jabbing me in the chest with his oversized (and bulging) arms. “Sorry” he would say every time he hit the space bar. “Don’t you dare apologize,” I said lovingly.

So there I was, sitting in the middle seat, next to an overweight man sleeping on my shoulder and the could-be love of my life gyrating his legs and hammering away on his keyboard, all while chewing on ice. There wasn’t one Ashlee Simpson song on my iPod that could deafen the sound. I started to think maybe he was nervous about flying. Being somewhat of an anxious person myself, I understood just what he was going through and suddenly felt so rude about shutting my eyes and putting my earphones in when maybe he just needed someone to talk to. I put my iPod away and picked up the Sky Mall catalog, because what’s a better conversation starter than a Tetris Lamp or a LED Grill Light Spatula.

With every turn of the page, I would “ooh” and “ahh” at the ridiculously overpriced items for purchase. A few times I caught him take a glance at the magazine, but missed his opportunity to chime in and say, “Who needs a Canadian Year-Round Rain Barrel?”

After pretending to read Sky Mall, I gave up and started playing Candy Crush. Thirty minutes and 2 beaten levels later, the drink and snack cart made it to our row. As the flight attendant asked me what I would like to drink, the Asian couple both went to the bathroom, forgetting – or avoiding – their promise to buy me and Mr. Biceps a drink. I leaned over and, with my most sultry voice, ordered a Ginger Ale and a bag of pretzels. I looked over to the guy sleeping next to me and decided that he, too, would want a bag of pretzels, so I ordered some on his behalf. Whether he ended up getting said pretzel’s is completely off topic.

When it was my boyfriend’s turn to order his drink, he picked up his empty Chick-Fil-A cup and asked the flight attendant if he could fill it up with some Diet Coke, like he was at a 7-11. Even I, a pain in the ass in most situations, was pretty shocked at the gall of his request. “This is Delta, buddy. You might be able to get away with that on Virgin or United,” I wanted to tell him. “Look at me. I ordered a Ginger Ale and he gave me half a can. And once the fizz settles, it will be approximately three sips.”

The flight attendant looked at me quizzically and I gave him the “Don’t look at me, I don’t know him” face while I shrugged my shoulders. He smiled (because how could you not smile at someone as beautiful as him) and said that he couldn’t fill up his cup. The guy looked saddened. Like his parents took him to Disney World and the only ride he wanted to go on was The Tea Cups and it was closed for maintenance. It was in this moment that I witnessed the craziest and most unexpected gesture from a Delta employee; he said, “How about I just give you the entire can of Diet Coke?”

The. Entire. Can.

Now, for some of you higher class people, getting a whole can of soda on a plane is commonplace. “Everyone gets cans of Sprite after we finish our champagne and ahi seared Tuna,” they will prevail. But, alas. I am not privileged. (You should have picked up on that when I said I had a layover in Atlanta).

Biceps graciously accepted the can of soda and, and without pressing his luck, asked for some ice. The flight attendant looked behind up, making sure his supervisor was nowhere to be seen, and filled up the cup with ice. “More ice for him to chew! Yippee!!” I cried.

Once the drink cart rolled away, the Asians came back to their seats and avoided eye contact. I looked at my watch and saw that I only had 45 minutes left to seal the deal. Or at least get some sort of a conversation going. Not having the time or creative energy to come up with an excellent topic of conversation, I just leaned in and said, “Wow. You got the whole can. They don’t do that for just anybody.”

He gave me a half-smile and said, “Well, I needed my drink to be in a cup with a lid because I am working and I do not want to get sticky soda all over my keyboard. Plus, I am really thirsty.”

“So am I, apparently.”

And that was it. I gave him many opportunities to strike up a conversation with me, and he just wasn’t feeling it. With only thirty minutes left to landing, I cut my losses and decided him and I would never be an “us.”

But then, five minutes later, I was bored again. I glanced over at his computer screen to see what kind of work he was doing. Mostly replying back to emails and using SalesForce. Trying to use my one good eye to do some detective work, I found out his full name, company, email address, and Instagram handle. Very stealthily, I opened up the Notes section of my iPhone and entered in all of his information, already planning the email I will send him once I get back home.

For a half second, I felt so incredibly pathetic and sad. I mean, sure this guy was attractive, and yes, our knees did touch for an entire 90 minutes, but if he wanted to talk to me, he would have talked to me. Why was I being so creepy by snooping on his computer screen and saving his contact information?

Because, ladies and gentlemen, that’s just who I am.

I put back on my music and assured myself I would never have those self-deprecating moments again. Well, until I put on a bathing suit.

At 8:48pm, we landed safely at LaGuardia airport, fifteen minutes ahead of schedule. The passengers all grabbed their bags and headed off the plane, some back to their apartments and some to their hotels in the city. Feeling a sudden burst of redemption, I went to ask Mr. Biceps if he wanted to share a cab, but when I looked up to ask, he was already running towards the exit. “I guess it’s for the best,” I thought. Mostly because I am sure he wasn’t traveling to Astoria, Queens.

Once in my taxi, I pulled out my phone and found his Instagram account. He had already posted a picture of the NYC Skyline from the plane with the caption: “New York, New York! #beautiful #nyc #skyline #vacation #getmeadrink

It took everything for me not to double-tap the picture. Instead, I texted my friend, Louis, to tell him all about my encounter.

Me: I met the love of my life on my flight home tonight. He is tall, handsome, and has an incredible body. We talked the entire flight and he asked me to go for drinks tomorrow night. I think this is the one!

LB: No way! That’s so kewl! What did you guys chat about?

Me: Everything, Louis. All of it. Where we grew up, our families. Our jobs. Our dreams. It was incredible.

LB: That’s great.

Me: [Image Sent]

LB: Oh, wow! He is cute!

LB: …but where did you get that picture?

Me: I screenshotted it from his Facebook.

LB: He added you as a friend?

Me: Approaching home, gotta go!

At first I felt bad about lying to my friend, but we have this running joke between us that I am the desperate and pitiful one, and I just didn’t want him to think it was true.

So, maybe my plane ride wasn’t that exciting after all. I didn’t get a full cup of soda and I didn’t get the cute guy’s phone number. It probably wouldn’t have worked out anyways. But, just as my cab pulled up to my front door, I realized I did have one thing: that extra bag of pretzels.

 

An addendum: My email to Mr. Biceps

 

Hi there,

Right off the bat, I have to warn you that this may be the most random and strangest email you have ever gotten, so for that, I apologize.

My name is James and I was the man sitting next to you on flight 887 from Atlanta to New York City. (I was wearing the purple checkered shirt and definitely not playing Sudoku).

I wish I could come up with some amazing and riveting reason as to why I have attained your email address (I work for the CIA, I’m friends with your sister, etc) but, the truth is, I took a peek at your computer screen while you were on Gmail and wrote it down. By the way, I love how you spelled “dude” “d00d”. Very clever.

Anyways, I thought you were really cute and I was hoping to get a chance to talk to you more on our flight, but I was reading “War & Peace” and you were busily working, and I did not want to disrupt you.

As evidenced from your Instagram account (I’ll explain later) that you are in NYC for a few days visiting, and I would love the chance to take you out for a drink (I’ll even buy you your own can of Diet Coke).

I hope this email finds you well and you do not think I am creepy, weird, or pathetic. I just felt a connection with you and would hate myself if I didn’t at least take a chance. Someone in my high school yearbook used the quote, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” and ever since I read that, it has been my life mantra. Well, that and “More bacon please” LOL.

Enjoy your vacation in New York, and I hope to speak (or see??) you soon.

Xo

James

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What’s Your Status?

It is 2012 and it’s no surprise that everything we do is posted online. From the books we are currently reading, to the random thoughts we are thinking, to the songs we are loving, and even to the people we are dating.

On social media sites such as Facebook, there is an option to display your relationship status, and on top of that, it lets you show who that person is. And why not? A person you are dating is a big part of your life, so why not share it with your closest 900 friends? But how soon is it appropriate to post your relationship status? And how exactly do you have “the talk” to make sure it’s OK (and true) if you post that you’re “in a relationship”?

When we say “the talk”, we mean the conversation two people who have been dating have to discuss the future. Are you seeing other people? Should I be seeing other people? Are we a couple? Years ago those were the three big questions you asked. Once the air was clear and you realized the two of you wanted to be in a relationship, it was done. You would tell your friends about him or her and introduce them as your boyfriend or girlfriend. Now, living in the age of technology, there is one more question that is added: “Should we make it ‘Facebook official’?”

Making a relationship Facebook official is to click the tab “in a relationship” and then link your significant other so it appears on both of your profiles, so it reads “in a relationship with __”. Nowadays, this is the most important way of showing the world that you are ‘taken’. New York City resident Jennifer Mills said when asked about the topic, “It isn’t official unless it is on Facebook” which really got me thinking how true that is. For me, the only way I find out if my friends are dating someone is when I log onto my Facebook account and see the post first-hand. No one calls (or even texts for that matter) to share information. Even with engagements. This is the quickest way of sharing your good news without making 100 phone calls.

The one that always makes me laugh is the status “it’s complicated”. Who wants to share with the world that your relationship with so and so is complicated and they won’t commit? Don’t you think that’s something we shouldn’t be sharing? I’d rather be single than complicated any day.

 As silly as this whole thing sounds, it is realistically the way of the future and we are all now required to discuss with our partners when we should change our relationship status. It is best (and safest) to wait to post anything online until you’ve had the offline conversation, so that you’re not blindsiding the other person that they are now in an official relationship with you. Give it some time. Don’t run to a computer and log onto Facebook the minute you realize you are dating someone. Let your friends and family find out before changing your status online. And if the relationship fails and you have to change your status back to single, well, that’s a whole different article.

Except the Truth

When we breakup with someone, we don’t want to believe we did something wrong. That we may have been the cause of this tumultuous down fall that has led us to be single, yet again. Instead, we try to shift the blame on our partner, our friends, and even our work. It is so hard for us to accept the truth that the reason the relationship ended was solely because of something we said or something we did.

It may have a lot to do with our egos, and it may have a lot to do with being naïve, but realizing that we were at fault is a hard pill to swallow. We will recount the story to our family and close friends, leaving out important, detrimental facts such as “I always started the fights”, “I was jealous”, or “I cheated”. We cannot have anyone else looking down on us and thinking we were the bad guy, so we tell them everything, except the truth.

What we must remember is that being honest with our friends is important, but being honest with ourselves is even more important. There is no way that we could ever move on if we are still in denial that the cause of the relationship ending has anything to do with us.

We don’t want to admit that we were wrong. We don’t want to realize things could have worked out if we were the ones to stop them. It is always easier to blame our ex; pinpointing little things they have done to make us feel better about the breakup.

It’s also always easier to sit at home, grab that pint of ice cream, watch a sad movie and play the victim. Too many people are blaming others.

Be upfront about the ending of your relationship. Realize the faults you made so you can change and not repeat them in the next relationship. It’s okay for being the reason the relationship didn’t work out. Not everyone is perfect, and not every relationship is flawless. Embrace those flaws and use them as a tool to fix them for the future.

Accept the truth…with no exceptions.

Relationship Role Models

It is 2012 and it’s no surprise that everything we do is posted online. From the books we are currently reading, to the random thoughts we are thinking, to the songs we are loving, and even to the people we are dating.

On social media sites such as Facebook, there is an option to display your relationship status, and on top of that, it lets you show who that person is. And why not? A person you are dating is a big part of your life, so why not share it with your closest 900 friends? But how soon is it appropriate to post your relationship status? And how exactly do you have “the talk” to make sure it’s OK (and true) if you post that you’re “in a relationship”?

When we say “the talk”, we mean the conversation two people who have been dating have to discuss the future. Are you seeing other people? Should I be seeing other people? Are we a couple? Years ago those were the three big questions you asked. Once the air was clear and you realized the two of you wanted to be in a relationship, it was done. You would tell your friends about him or her and introduce them as your boyfriend or girlfriend. Now, living in the age of technology, there is one more question that is added: “Should we make it ‘Facebook official’?”

Making a relationship Facebook official is to click the tab “in a relationship” and then link your significant other so it appears on both of your profiles, so it reads “in a relationship with __”. Nowadays, this is the most important way of showing the world that you are ‘taken’. New York City resident Jennifer Mills said when asked about the topic, “It isn’t official unless it is on Facebook” which really got me thinking how true that is. For me, the only way I find out if my friends are dating someone is when I log onto my Facebook account and see the post first-hand. No one calls (or even texts for that matter) to share information. Even with engagements. This is the quickest way of sharing your good news without making 100 phone calls.

The one that always makes me laugh is the status “it’s complicated”. Who wants to share with the world that your relationship with so and so is complicated and they won’t commit? Don’t you think that’s something we shouldn’t be sharing? I’d rather be single than complicated any day.

As silly as this whole thing sounds, it is realistically the way of the future and we are all now required to discuss with our partners when we should change our relationship status. It is best (and safest) to wait to post anything online until you’ve had the offline conversation, so that you’re not blindsiding the other person that they are now in an official relationship with you. Give it some time. Don’t run to a computer and log onto Facebook the minute you realize you are dating someone. Let your friends and family find out before changing your status online. And if the relationship fails and you have to change your status back to single, well, that’s a whole different article.

We Met at the Met

Last Monday night, I was invited to attend a Post-Pride-Party at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It was just like an episode of Gossip Girl. It was perfect.

I left my office at 5:30 on the dot, before any of the interns and headed to the 59th/Lex subway station. In case you do not live in New York City, it’s fucking hot. Hot is actually an understatement. It’s blistering, scorching, sizzling, and any other form of the word “hot” I can find in my thesaurus. I made it down the three flights of stairs to wait for the train, the easiest part of the night, I thought.

Apparently, 5:30 is what workers consider “rush hour” and the platform was packed with men in business suits, Hispanic churro venders, and the homeless. I stood there, dripping sweat in every crevice of my body waiting for a train. “Why are all these trains heading downtown?” I asked the churro vender giving me my change.

It was then I realized I was on the wrong side of the platform, and an arriving uptown train was approaching the station. I hauled ass through the underpass, and made it just in time. Once on the train, this horrible, pungent smell was taking over. It didn’t take me long to realize the smell everyone was plugging their noses over was, in fact, me. I was drenched in sweat and my body odor was overpowering. I haven’t sweat that much since my Presidential Physical Fitness Test in the 6th grade.

When I finally escaped the prison that is the 6 train, I ran up the platform steps for a chance to breathe and cool off. But it was pouring rain. And clearly, I forgot my umbrella. So I ran to the Met just in time to meet my friends waiting in line.

Katherine and Alex were standing in line, looking beautiful as ever, and they were accompanied with a few of their co-workers. One of their co-workers is gay and knows everyone, so I like to hang around him. He is also very aware of my single-status and desperation. So I usually never leave without a phone number or a hickey. Or both.

We entered the Met and it was luxurious. I have always wanted to go to a party at the Met. I felt just like a celebrity. Or an extra from How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days. We checked our bags and then checked out the hors d’oeuvres table. Nothing except bread sticks. “You mean to tell me they are throwing this huge party and the only thing to eat is bread? Where the hell are the jalapeño poppers?!” I shouted to my friends as they each took 5 pieces of bread and walked towards the open bar.

Well, who needs food when you have free drinks, right?

After a five minute line, I had 2 glasses of white wine in my hands and I was ready to mingle. When it comes to approaching guys, I either need to be extremely drunk or extremely comfortable. At this point, I was neither. I could still feel drops of sweat traveling from my lower back down the inside of my thigh, so I realized while I may never feel comfortable all night, I can sure as hell get extremely drunk. And for those that know me, 2 glasses of wine is black out. So I was right on track.

The group of ten of us ventured off to view the different exhibits we pretended to understand, saying things like, “This piece just speaks to my soul” and “Do you see those stroke lines?”

I have heard from my OkCupid newsletter that museums are a great place to pick up people, so I went to a guy standing in front of a sculpture and said, “Do you think this is from the Mesozoic era?” He looked at me, shook his head, and walked away. So, okay. Maybe the whole art thing isn’t the best opening liner. So, I approached another guy staring at a Picasso and asked if he knew where they were hiding the mozzarella sticks. He had the same reaction. I decided to just give up and find my friends.

I went over to Laura, but she was wearing heels and made me look insanely short. So then I ventured over to Alex, but she was talking to a British guy who, ever so casually, asked me to go back to his apartment and have “a romp.” After expressing my disinterest, I wandered over to Rebecca who was entertaining a very cute young bachelor. He was handsome, successful, funny, and loved the Outback Steakhouse.

I stood with him and Rebecca for about thirty minutes just shooting the shit and falling in love until the event started to close and we exchanged our goodbyes. “Ask me out!” the dapper-dressed person inside my head shouted. “What are you waiting for? I’m about to leave!”

He then pulled out his phone. “This is it,” I thought. I got ready to hand over my digits until he asked Rebecca for her number.

Of course I would talk to the only straight guy at the Post Pride Party.

I took out my bag claim ticket and waited in line to retrieve my man purse, go to Taco Bell, and then fall asleep by 9pm. But just as I was getting excited about my plan, Rebecca and Kathryn flagged me down with two handsome fellas they had just met. “James, these are our new friends, David and Diego. They want to go to dinner. Come!”

Clearly, having dinner with them beats a chalupa combo meal.  We left the Met and found a cab that would allow 5 people in it (which is not easy) and headed downtown to eat. Just as I asked what David did for a living, he started putting his hands down my pants and kissing my neck. Having this being the most sex I have had since Bush was in office, I gladly welcomed the foreplay.

After an awkward ten minute cab ride, we reached Chelsea to go to dinner. We ended up going to his favorite restaurant in the city – a place where he knew the entire staff and half the people dining there. The five of us sat at a table, but I was already seeing that he was a little too drunk and was starting to get on my nerves, so I let Kathryn sit by him while I sat next to his friend, Diego.

It turns out that although Diego is a banker at Morgan Stanley, he is an aspiring writer and is currently enrolled in a creative fiction class, so we had much to talk about. The meal came and we ate, and the company and conversation flowed, until Dave (that’s the guy who was groping me in the cab) pulled out his cell phone and said, “Ya’ll want to see my penis?”

Kathryn, Rebecca and I all looked at each other, put our forks down, and said in unison, “Hell yeah.”

He revealed his iPhone to the three of us and showed us his extremely well endowed member. I quickly kicked Kathryn in the leg and made her switch seats with me. I now decided he was who I wanted to go home with. Lo siento, Diego.

We played handsy underneath the table, touching, rubbing, and at one point, grabbing each other. It was starting to feel good, but then I remembered we were at a public restaurant and I think we started to make everyone at the table uncomfortable (sorry!)

After the check was paid, we all left and headed out into the rainy weather. We then had that awkward conversation as we awaited cabs to take us all to our respective homes, and I stood by David waiting for an invite to his apartment located 5 blocks away.

Rebecca was the first one to leave, and I was hoping Diego would share a cab with her so David and I could at least be alone and he would then shrug his shoulders and just take me home out of boredom. And I also didn’t want Diego to see me leave with David because, well, I may want to go home with him in the future.

But no such luck.

Once Rebecca’s cab pulled away, David pulled me into a hug and said all the pleasantries you say to someone you met drunkenly at the Met. “Nice to meet you”…”so much fun”…”hope we see each other soon”.

I gave Kathryn a disappointed look saying, “Okay, fine. I’ll just go home with Diego instead.”

Now it was turn for Kathryn to say her good-byes, so I stood next to Diego, my second choice. But then he said he was just going to stay at David’s house. “A three-way?” that inner voice imagined. Kathryn grabbed a cab and started to get in, while I lingered on the street a second too long. When I finally realized that my night of fun had ended eight minutes ago, I hopped in the cab and asked if I could just spend the night at Kathryn’s.

The next morning, we both awoke, tired and hung-over and definitely not ready for the day of work that awaited us. While Kathryn was straightening her hair and I was trying to put in my left contact, her cell phone beeped. She ran over to see who the message was from. It was from David.

“How the hell does he have your phone number?” I screamed.

“I, uh, gave it to him. Duh.”

“Oh. So, what. Are you guys like, best friends now?!” The jealous thirteen year old was starting to arise in me, and I was not going to let this go. How the hell did I have two prospects at 9pm and Kathryn ended up getting David’s phone number.

“He just said that he had fun last night!”

“Did he mention my name? Did he say anything about me?”

“No” she replied.

“I cannot believe you got his phone number and all I got was a brief dick-rub in the cab.

She looked at me sympathetically, grabbed her work bag and started to walk out of her apartment. She then turned to look at me and said, “I also got Diegos.”

And all I got was a stiff neck from sleeping on her sofa bed.

To Thy Own Self Be True

We all have many different personalities. The one we use at the office with our co-workers. The one we have with our parents and friends, who know us better than anyone. The one we have when it is just us, alone, at home. And the one we have on our dates. Usually, our personalities shift a bit with each different circumstance, but we always stay true to ourselves. Or do we?

When it comes to dating, should we be our real, true self on the first date?

 

Whether you meet them in a bar, a coffee shop, or online, you did something right enough to have them ask you out on a first date. That, my friends is half the battle. The second (and more important half) is conquering the first date.


I don’t need to tell you how important the first date is. By now, most have us have been dating for well over ten years, so we know first impressions make lasting impressions. But what happens when those first impressions are false?


I know most of us, even myself more times than not, use the first date to truly impress the other with our charismatic personalities, humorous story telling abilities, and our perfect first date outfit. We put so much time and effort into making the first date great, that we don’t really think about the second. Or the third. Or the eleventh.


As humans living in an instant gratification society, we are consumed with the present. The now. So, we tend to date “in the now” and don’t think about the consequences to follow. And the one big consequence we face is not being true to our date, or ourselves.


We sit there at dinner or over a glass of wine and use this allotted one hour to make the other person fall in love with us. We speak openly about our positive traits, while hiding the things we never want discovered. We may talk up our job, maybe making it seem we are more important than we actually are. Suddenly being a secretary at a law firm makes us a second-year partner. We are always agreeing our faces off with whatever the other person says, to make it seem we have way more in common than we actually do. “Oh, you like to punch kittens? Me too! I hate those ugly creatures!”


I am not saying having full disclosure on a first date is necessarily the best way to go, but having false disclosure is not either. We need to be honest with our first date because, down the line when you are on your second, third, or eleventh date, the truth will eventually come out, leaving our courter demanding a refund on their time well wasted.


The first date is supposed to be fun, light, and an easy way to get to know someone. So let them get to know you. The real, fun, personable you. The quirky, clumsy, awkward you. Because you never know, they just might think you are someone special.

The Most Awkward Hello

Over the past few years, I have spoken and written all about my horrendous dating life. Sure, there were a few dates that didn’t leave me crying on the E train, but those aren’t that fun to tell, right? No one asks “How was your date last night?” in hopes that you say, “Fantastic! I think I found the one!” No. They want to hear about the uncomfortable small talk, the crazy stories, and the awkward hello.

Through my dating experiences, I have entertained numerous friends and some employees at 16 Handles with some of the wildest stories from my past, but no story quite got the reaction like the one I am about to share.

This “encounter” as I will refer to it, happened almost six months ago and I am just now ready to publically put it out there, on the internet, forever.

I am no stranger to self-deprecation or embarrassment for a laugh (I shit my pants and wrote about it, remember?) so there should be no reason why this particular encounter should be any different. But it was. And is. This is by far one of the most uncomfortable and awkward moments of my life, but I think I am finally ready to share it with all of you.

January 2014 was horrible. The cold, the snow, and the disappearance of Christmas cookies from my pantry. Saying I was depressed is an understatement.

Luckily, I had that Grindr app running all day, every day, desperate for someone to chat with, and maybe – just maybe –  someone to cuddle with my through the night. (Side note: There is no cool way of asking a total stranger to come to your apartment to sleep next to each other like you’re old buddies from college.) But I digress.

One chilly January evening I was scrolling through the nearby men when I received a message from a profile located 200 feet away. Now, in New York City, 200 feet is nothing, but in Jersey where I live, 200 feet is exciting and unheard of. He didn’t have a picture, but I took the chance and responded.

I responded to his “Wut up?” with a “Nothin’ much, you?” which of course led to “Horny” as many Grindr conversations do. Now, I was in a conundrum. Do I take the bait and say “Me too” or do I simply ignore his chivalrous gesture and keep looking for my next cuddle buddy. I decided that since I did have the apartment to myself that night, and hell, I could be horny if I wanted to be, I wrote back, “Same. Into?” just to get a glimpse of the activities I could be partaking in that evening. I had a heavy dinner and was not in the mood for anything wild or crazy, just a simple and easy hook-up.

Four minutes later he responded with “Just jacking off.”

Ok, I could handle that. I do it alone, why not do it in the company of a stranger. At this point in conversation, I had still yet to see a photo of him, and that’s rule number one of online hookups. I asked if he could share a few pictures and that I would do the same. He sent me two mirror-selfies where he was wearing jeans, a sweater with a gold chain and a fitted Yankee hat. I don’t even need to tell you that, yes, he was Puerto Rican.

I obliged his request to mutually masturbate and sent him my location. Not a minute later, I heard my apartment buzzer ring, signaling my visitor had arrived. I went downstairs to greet him, thinking that was the polite thing to do.

I opened the door and, to my surprise, he looked nothing like his pictures. We’ve all been there, right? Meeting someone on-line, you need to prepare yourself that they may not look exactly like the pictures they sent you. Because in real life, there is no air brushing effect, Instagram filters or flattering angles to make you look skinny.

Saying he was fat would be extremely mean and hurtful. But saying he was thin would be extremely untruthful and deceitful. He was wearing scrubs, so I asked if he worked at the medical building across the street, because that would explain his proximity of 200 feet away and his wardrobe. But he just shook his head no and said he worked in another town and was just passing through.

He was already beginning this relationship with a lie.

We walked up to my apartment, went into my bedroom, and sat on my bed. I wish I could be one of those guys who takes charge the minute we enter the love lounge (this is what I nicknamed my bedroom). Possibly the worst part of a hookup, other than the minutes after fruition, are the minutes prior to foreplay. You want to get naked and they want to get naked, but at the same time, we have to act like normal adults with parents who loved us and treated us well. I never want to just attack them in fear that I may make them uncomfortable.So we sat. And talked.

I heard stories about his childhood, his recent trip to Puerto Rico, and how he dislikes his sister’s new fiancé. I told him about my food blog and how I rarely ever hook up with someone. “I never do this,” I lied as he inched his way closer, rubbing my feet.

Once someone makes the first move, that’s when I go in for the kill. I took off my shirt, got on top of him, and pressed my lips to his, to which he pulled away and said, “I don’t kiss, bro.”

Apparently that’s a thing.

I accommodated his request and started undressing him, throwing his XXL hoodie onto my bedroom floor. Once the clothes were off and the jerking off began, I started to get bored. No kissing and basically no touching. We were just jerking off next to each other, not a sound to be heard.

“Want me to turn on Pandora?” I asked, reaching for my laptop.

“No, but get on top of me.”

I shut the lid to my Macbook and climbed on top of him, successfully mounting myself on the third try. We were now face to face so I leaned in, forgetting his ‘no kissing’ rule. He didn’t forget though, and instructed me to turn around so he could see my ass.

“My ass?” I thought. I wasn’t prepared for that. Showing someone my ass, and in that position, is a treat I save for special people in my life: a boyfriend, someone who buys me dinner, and my pediatrician. Not some random guy! But, remembering my New Year’s Resolution of saying “yes” that I made just a few weeks ago, I turned around so that my ass was inches from his face.

Continuing to jerk off both him and I at the same time – an extremely difficult feat – I could feel both of his hands grab my ass and this is when the spanking began. Not once. Not twice. Not even three times. He just started smacking my ass with his right hand for about 2 minutes straight.

“Ya got it?” I asked as I turned around. He kindly got the hint that I did not to be hit repeatedly, so he tried of one his other techniques. Still with both hands firm on my ass, he leaned in, placed his nose between my cheeks, and inhaled.

Sorry if I lost anybody after that last sentence. I know some of you are reading this on your lunch break or morning commute and I do apologize.

Upon hearing the sound of his exaggerated breath, I shot straight up like Scooby Doo. “Huuuuuhhhh?!”

Maybe it was an accident, I assured myself. This can’t be a thing guys do. It’s fine. It was a mistake. It won’t happen ag—SNIIIIIFF. This time, an even longer inhale from the first. This was no fluke. This guy was literally and figuratively smelling my asshole. After about another 7 or 8 deep breaths, he came up for air, turned me around, and decided NOW he was in the mood to make out.

“I don’t think so, pal” I said, as I pulled my head back as far away from his nostrils.

“What’s the matter? You wanted to kiss before man.”

“Yes, but that was before you stuck your nose into the crevice of my ass and sniffed around like a police dog.”

Needless to say, I laid back down and we jerked off, side by side until he was finished. For some reason, though, I just couldn’t get off.

I handed him a towel and threw him his scrubs and sweatshirt and said I had an early meeting the next day.

“But it’s a Saturday…” he said, confused.

Once he finally dressed, I walked him to the front door, held out my hand and said, “’Twas nice to meet you.” He gave me a handshake that resembled something from the movie “Friday After Next” and walked down the stairs. Feeling disgusting and violated, I ran to my bathroom, turned on the shower to the most scalding water temperature, and got in. I sat there, on the floor of the shower, cradling my knees and rocking back and forth. I felt used, I felt desecrated, and I felt like a container of Vix Vapor Rub.

After thirty minutes of sobbing in the shower, I got out, threw away my sheets, and went to bed.

The following week, some friends and I went out for Happy Hour and the subject of “weird sex” came up. For the first time ever, I stayed quiet and let the other people at the table share their most unusual story. Because we took an oath that night, I am forbidden of re-telling their stories, but after each one went, I felt comfortable enough to open about my recent encounter, hoping that once I told it, they would assure me it has happened to them. Or at least someone they knew.

Nope. This was the first time they had ever heard of this fetish, and now I was mortified, humiliated, and thirsty for another cosmopolitan. I tried to laugh it off, saying I was just kidding and that I made it up so they wouldn’t feel so bad about theirs, but they weren’t buying it.

Five months later, the brutal New York weather had finally subsided and the climate was warm and sunny. I was no longer gloomy or depressed and spent most of my afternoons out with friends or walking around my neighborhood.

One evening, I was coming back from the gym and passed a Dunkin’ Donuts. Deciding to treat myself for having the courage of canceling my membership, I stopped in to grab a few Boston Creams and a Hazelnut Coffee Coolata. Standing in line, I started perusing the other seasonal donuts on display when the person in front of me turned around and locked eyes with me. It was him: The Sniffer.

He looked at me for a few seconds; I suppose trying to remember how he knew me. But I knew. I remembered. I never forget a nose.

I simply smiled and uttered the most awkward hello possible. He nodded his head and turned back around, hopefully just as embarrassed as I was.  Too uncomfortable to stay, I silently backed up and walked out of the Dunkin Donuts, empty handed, with a growling stomach and the smell of regret.

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10 First Date Rules

Now, I know you are thinking: “Why in the hell would I take dating advice from this guy? He can’t even get a second date!” Well, while that may be true, I have some advice to offer regarding first date etiquette that will be sure to land you a second and a third. Basically,  it’s the exact opposite of what I normally do. And maybe, by writing this post, I will teach myself a thing or two as well.

 

  1. Play it cool. No matter how you met them, online, through a friend, or even at a bar, once the phone numbers have been exchanged, do not make the first move. (Unless they only gave you their phone number. Then, yeah. I guess you can send the first text.) But that is the only exception. You need to make them feel like you have a million other possibilities out there – even if your Friday night consists of Netflix and Pizza Hut.

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  1. Always dress for the date. The dating dress code is one of the most important things. Know the location or activity you and your date will be participating in. If it’s a nice dinner, don’t wear cowboy boots (trust me). If you are just meeting up for drinks, be a mix of classy and casual. Don’t dress up too much by wearing a tie or cuff-links, but also don’t dress too casual by wearing cargo shorts and flip flops. But most importantly, wear what you feel comfortable in. If you aren’t comfortable, other people will see that.

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  1. Don’t assume your date is going to pay. This is a complicated matter in the world of gay dating. Usually for heterosexual couples, the man usually picks up the tab, and for lesbians, whoever has the shortest hair pays. But for gay men, it’s a toss up. Some people say whoever asked the other out should pay. Others say the top should pay. And definitely whoever is the uglier of the two should pay. Just don’t assume that if you are a hot bottom your date will pay for you. Order in the bracket you can afford. There is nothing more embarrassing than going out to eat at the Red Lobster, ordering like a king, and then being stuck with your half of the bill. (There is also nothing more embarrassing than going to the Red Lobster on a date).

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  1. Always show up ten minutes late. I am a “premature arriver.” No matter what time I leave my apartment, I will always get to the meeting place at least twenty minutes early. Even if I leave three minutes until the set time. It’s always a good idea to have your date waiting for you, sitting at the bar sweating, hoping you will show up. It will make you less nervous. If you do show up early, take a walk around the block, drive around, or play a game of words with friends.

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  1. Be you…but just a little. I always encourage people to be themselves no matter what the occasion, but there is “being yourself” and being YOURself. Always stay true to you, but leave much to the imagination. One of my biggest dating mistakes is that I reveal too much too soon. Do not tell your date that you have irritable bowel syndrome. Do not tell your date you watched the entire series of Desperate Housewives in eight days. And do not tell them that you are losing your hair at a rapid pace. Never give out more information than they asked. If they say, “What’s your family like?” respond with, “Loving, funny, quirky….” Do not say, “My mom has multiple personality disorder, and I never met my father because he’s in jail for bestiality.”

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  1. Flirt with your eyes, not with your hands. Or feet. Keep the physical contact of the date to a minimum. Use your eyes to show them that you are listening and interested. You can maybe use an arm touch once in the night, but only if they say something extremely funny. Just do not overuse the arm touch. You just met this person, so don’t invade their personal space. I once was on a date and put my hand on the guys kneecap for the entire screening of “Avatar”. He left the theater before I could take off my 3-D glasses.

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  1. Do not go home with him. Unless you didn’t like him. Then, yeah. Go home with him.

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  1. After the date, do not text them. No matter what. I know that after a great date, we want to text them saying “I had so much fun” or “Tonight was great”. Don’t. I once got a text message from a guy thanking me for a great night before I was even in my car. Wait until at least the next day to start communication.

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  1. When establishing communication after the date, do not be needy. Do not ask them if they had fun. Do not ask them if you look like your pictures. And do not pressure them for a second date. Remember that old saying, “If they want to see you, they will make it happen.” Feel it out. If after the date, you see communication has dwindled, (i.e. lengthy text messages have now gone to one or two words) let it go and do not contact them. Maybe they just weren’t that into you.

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10. Don’t give up. Keep on dating. If you go out with someone and you never hear from them again, you have to remember it is their loss. Trust in yourself that you are an amazing catch and if they don’t see that, then the hell with them. Do not focus on every minute of the date, thinking, “I shouldn’t have said that” or “Maybe I could’ve done this”. It wont matter. You said it. You didn’t do it. It’s too late. On to the next one. Just take everything you should have done or could’ve said better, and implement it into your next date.

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