Love, And Other Drugs
A few days ago I had a dentist appointment on 50th and Madison to refill a cavity. While waiting for the dentist to see me, I did what all single gay men do when they have time to kill, I opened Grindr. It’s always exciting going on Grindr in a new area and see different guys, so while I was browsing, this one profile struck me out of all the others. His picture was of him sitting on a boat wearing a life preserver, and I thought that was cute.
So I sent the first message: “You sure know how to make life vests look good.” Ok, I know. Not my best work, but it ended up gaining a response, to which he said, “Let me know if you ever need rescuing.”
A quick and clever reply? Don’t mind if I do. So I took the bait and ran with it.
We ended up chatting for the rest of the day which eventually turned into exchanging phone numbers which ultimately turned into setting up a date. Our original plan was to meet up on Saturday night for a few drinks, but yesterday while sitting at my desk I had the sudden urge to be a little crazy and go out on a school night.
“Hey, would you be free to meet up for a bit tonight?” I asked, hoping he didn’t already have preset plans.
“I’m free after 8 – let’s do it!”
Perfect, I thought. I could go home, cook dinner, shower, and trim my pubic hair. He also told me that if things “went well” I could just crash at his place that night. So, just to be prepared, I brought my office key, phone charger, and toothbrush with me, all hidden in various jacket pockets. “Of course things are going to go well”, I thought. “I’m gonna get my groooove on tonight!”
We decided to meet up at a loungy gay bar in Hell’s Kitchen at 8:45. I, the one who lives in New Jersey, arrived on time while he, the one who actually lives 4 blocks away from said bar was 15 minutes late. Uncomfortable with going in the bar alone, I stood outside and chain smoked until he arrived.
On first impression, I was satisfied. He was handsome, had a nice smile and a beautiful head of hair. (I have noticed since losing my own hair how much I value a good head of hair on someone else.) He stood with me outside while I finished my cigarette and we started some small talk. I still had my headphones in and he said that he loves having his headphones in so homeless people don’t bother him. I told him I like leaving mine in so I can walk down the street talking to myself and people think I’m on the phone, having a fight with the cable company. (Don’t ask what I talk to myself about).
We went in and sat at the bar and ordered our drinks. Him, a Stella and me a Coors Light because I am the epitome of class. Plus, it was a Thursday night, I didn’t want to get wasted.
The conversation never really had a great flow; lots of awkward silences and “Oh, I like this song” comments. After we both had two beers, we decided to switch it up and have something a little stronger. “Maybe if we get a little tipsy the conversation will be better” I thought to myself.
Nope. Unless “better” is passive-aggressively making snide comments to each other.
He asked about my writing and I told him about that book I wrote. “It’s a book about the way technology has influenced the way people meet and fall in love, with some personal stories thrown in.”
“That sounds boring.”
“Oh.” I said. I was waiting for a ‘just kidding handsome’ with a light leg tap, but it never came. So I continued, “Well, I don’t think it’s boring at all! I mean, I am biased, but it’s really funny and smart and I think people would get a kick out of hearing some of my horrible dating stories.”
I hate when people ask me what my worst dating story is because I’ve had some bad ones, but honestly nothing so bad or disturbing. “Well,” I answered, “I once went on a date with a guy who was doing cocaine the entire time in the bathroom. That was pretty bad.”
“Did you do cocaine with him?” he asked.
“No! That’s insane.”
“To you it’s insane. To people who live in North Dakota it’s insane. But imagine people living in NYC or San Francisco reading your book. You think they are going to read that and find it interesting or extreme? Absolutely not. You should have done the coke with him. You should go to circuit parties and pop Molly. You should seek out threesomes and orgies and leather parties. You should immerse yourself in the culture. Then, you will have one hell of a book.”
At this point I was losing the remaining interest I had in him and excused myself to go to the bathroom to text my friend the thumbs-down emoji.
When I returned, he was chatting with the guy on the other side of him and eating the mixed nuts from the bowl in front of him. Finally, after two minutes of me sitting there, he returned his attention to me.
I quickly tried to change the subject to something – anything – else. I did see his point, and I do agree that sometimes I am a little vanilla and prudish, but at the end of the day, I am not trying to write a book about how outrageous and slutty one can be. My ultimate goal is to write a book about how pathetic and desperate one can be.
I saw that my drink was pretty much full and it was getting past my bedtime and the idea of going back to his place was slimmer than my waistline in 2011. (I used to be really skinny). So I started taking huge long gulps of my drink, hoping to end this date as soon as possible. And this is about the time when we got on the topic of judging a book by its cover, metaphorically speaking.
He went on to tell me how he can pretty much know everything about a person within the first three minutes of meeting them. I, too, somewhat agree with this ability. Maybe not as short as three minutes, but I can usually tell very soon if I will like the person or not – but I wont know everything about them.
Curious, I asked him what his take on me was and he shied away and asked, “Do you really want to know?”
I took one long drink of my vodka and said that I would love to know his first impression on me. I mean, one of the best things about going on dates with people is you get to learn things about yourself that maybe no one else could have showed you. So, yes. I wanted to hear what this stranger thought about me.
“Well,” he began, “you seem very reserved and a little uptight.”
Ok sure, I can definitely see that. He is not the first person to call me uptight. I know I am. Fine. Whatever. Next.
“Ok, I agree. And?”
“And you seem very set in your ways, not wanting to change or shake things up. I feel that your favorite time of the day is when you can lay in bed and play candy crush and fall asleep by 10pm.”
Wow, he really was hitting the nail on the head. That IS my favorite time of day. But so what? Who cares?
“I agree with that assumption as well. Anything else?”
“I feel that NYC has made you tired and cynical. And you don’t trust people easily.”
I nodded my head and said, “Well, I do believe NYC has made me somewhat cynical, but I have been here for a few years and you only just moved here 2 months ago. So it is a bit different. You are still excited about the city and want to go out every night and explore. That’s how I was when I first moved here. But I guess things changed.”
I then thought about how he said I don’t trust people easily. I feel that I am pretty open with people, and I think my big issue is that I trust and let people in way too much and too easily. So I asked him about what I have done to make him think I am a closed-off person and he replied, “Because you are wearing an undershirt.”
“Wait, what?” I was so confused! “What does an undershirt have to do with anything?”
“Well, I took a Psych class back in San Diego and my professor said that the number of layers people wear indirectly affects the number of layers they have for letting people in. It’s like a wall. I’m just saying the minute I saw you were wearing an undershirt, I kind of knew you were going to be uptight and reserved.”
At this point, I had no idea what to say, and these drinks were hitting me all at once and I felt that I needed to just pass out. I told him that I was wearing an undershirt because it was 18 degrees outside and I had to walk 10 blocks to get to the bar and then I made a snarky remark about how he shouldn’t let some teacher at a California Community College influence the way he reads people.
Needless to say, we both paid our check and headed out into the blistering cold weather – although I wasn’t too cold because I had my good ole undershirt on me.
We said good-bye with the promise of hanging out again soon, I hugged him and went on my way back to New Jersey.
While going through the tunnel on the bus, I suddenly got very lightheaded and felt like I was going to faint. I looked out my window and felt like I was in a rocket going into space and started tweaking out. I needed to get off this bus immediately, I thought. I tried focusing on anything but my mind was going a mile a minute and I couldn’t concentrate on anything.
Once off the bus, I ran home (fell twice) and jumped right into my bed with the lights off. Hoping I could just pass out, I realized this wasn’t going to be that easy. I was having a case of the ‘spins’ and no matter which side I laid on, I felt like I was going to throw up. Which I eventually did. I ran to the bathroom and spent the better part of my evening throwing up beer, vodka, and Hot Pockets.
A few hours later, when I was finally done being sick, I sat there on my bathroom floor and pondered about how I got this drunk from three drinks – two of them being Coors Light.
The only thing that was going on in my head was “I got roofied.”
I had heard of people using a date-rape drug and always wondered what it actually did to the person. I was wondering to myself that if he did, indeed, slip me a date-rape drug, why didn’t he date-rape me? Did he have a change of heart? Did he no longer want to rape me? I was all of a sudden so upset and ashamed. I sat on the cold bathroom tiles and thought “am I not date-rape-able?”
I then quickly changed my thinking. “There is no way he drugged me! No one does that anymore. I’m sure I just drank more than I thought.”
The next morning I woke up, took a nice long shower and went to work. Upon re-telling this story to my co-workers, friends, and the guy at the bagel shop downstairs, I came to the conclusion that I very well may have been drugged. “I did leave my drink to go to the bathroom!” I said, feeling enlightened.
I decided to send him a text message to find out the truth before I just start making false assumptions. So I wrote:
“Hey! Hope your morning is going well. I just had a quick question… Did you put something in my drink last night?”
To which he responded, “NOW you have your story!”
No Way, Jose
The other night after getting home from the gym (right?) and then cooking myself grilled chicken and broccoli (right?) I looked at the clock and it read 9:06pm. It was Sunday and I had nothing to do. Usually, I enjoy my nights in, especially on a Sunday, but I was off from work the next day and wanted to actually do something!
I had been talking to this guy on Tinder for about 2 weeks on and off, nothing serious, but we have been trying to find a night to grab a drink and hangout.
His name is Jose, and when we first started the communication, he was hilarious! Very witty, used many puns, and seemed to take jokes pretty well. Traits I have found are pretty rare in this city.
Okay, those were his pro’s, but what were his cons you may be asking? Well, for starters, he is in his thirties and unemployed. Which is totally fine! I was unemployed for 8 months last year, so I know how difficult it is finding a job in Manhattan.
He also lives in Harlem with three roommates. Again, not that big of a deal. When you are unemployed, money is tight and having roommates is a perfectly acceptable way of saving.
Lastly, he does drugs.
Not all the time! But, he does it when it’s presented to him and available. Sort of like my milkshake addiction. Honestly, I am not a big fan of people who do any kinds of drugs, but to each his own.
So, he asks me to grab a drink in Hell’s Kitchen and for us to meet at 10:30 outside of Therapy. Of course I get there early, so I just stood outside, minding my own business. I ran into a few friends from a previous job that I hadn’t seen in a while, so I said hello and we caught up. In the midst of our conversation, I felt a tap on my shoulder. Jose.
As awkward as I am, I try to finish the conversation with my friends while greeting Jose. Naturally, it was awkward.
We head inside and walk to the bar. He offers to buy my first round, so I grab a table and wait for him. Once seated, the conversation begins. It’s not bad at first. We play catch up, discuss things in more detail that we have already touched on with Tinder (my job, his job search, his family, etc.) It’s not the best conversation, but I went with it.
After a few rounds of vodka sodas, we started getting a little more loose, and the conversation went from boring to interesting.
He put his drink down, looked and at me and asked, “So, is this shaved head just a look, or are you going through chemo?”
For the first time in my life, I was speechless and had no idea what to do. Do I laugh it off? Do I play the cancer card and (hopefully) get free drinks all night? Unfortunately, my conscience kicked in and I told him that no, I was not going through chemotherapy. “I started to lose my hair a few years ago and this is a pretty easy way to maintain it.”
“Oh, ok. Cool. I don’t mind the shaved head” he responded, “but next time, don’t shave it so close.”
We sat there in silence for a few minutes, which, when on a date, a few minutes of silence seems like days. Finally, he turned his attention from the bartender to me and asked, “How is your ‘writing’ going?” Yes, he did air quotes when he said the word ‘writing’.
He then excused himself to the bathroom, which is when I pulled out my phone and sent the usual “HELP ME” texts to a few of my close friends. When he returned to our cozy table, I put my phone in my pocket and desperately waited for a vibration.
“You’re back,” I said. “So, do you play any sports?”
“I just did a line of coke in the bathroom.”
“Oh?” I replied.
“See, here’s the thing,” he said, speaking a mile a minute and scratching his nose. “I wanted to do coke last week, so I called up my guy for a bag. He then talked me into buying five bags at a discounted price, so I agreed.”
“Ah, I guess he really is a ‘drug-dealer’,” I wittily replied to no laugh or response.
“But, I didn’t realize how much cocaine that is. So, all day today, I have been trying to sell it to my friends. I brought them with me, so if you know of anybody, tell them to come here and get some. I’ll give them a cheap price. Unless you want some?”
I kindly rejected his offer and told him that all of my Columbian friends were out of town this weekend. Still annoyed from the ‘cancer comment’, I leaned in and asked him if he thought splurging on drugs was the best way to spend his money while unemployed.
“I do what makes me happy.”
The conversation is now all over the place. He didn’t answer one question I asked and just played on his phone, so I started letting my eyes wander to the people in the bar. I spotted a few twenty-somethings drinking white wine and rolled my eyes. “Well aren’t they classy” I said in my best Connecticut accent.
Hoping this would get some sort of reaction and we could spend the remainder of this date criticizing and making fun of people, he shook his head and said, “Man, why are you so bitter?” To which I replied, “Too many bad dates, I guess.”
I chugged my fourth drink and lie about having to work the next morning. We leave the bar and I pretended that my bus to New Jersey was on 5th avenue so I wouldn’t have to walk down 8th with him.
We had a causal good-bye and he told me “not to get raped on my walk.”
I am hoping he got the hint that I was not interested, because if he asks me to hang out again, my only response will be “No way, Jose!”
Trust Your Gut
Intuition: Instinctive knowledge or belief; a hunch
Intuition is a funny thing. We all have it, but sometimes we don’t listen to it. Other voices get into our heads, challenging our intuition or gut feeling.
This happened to me last week.
In early November, I was busy swiping left and right to countless pictures of New York singles, in hopes to find my soul mate on Tinder, because that’s a possibility, right?
Among my many matches that evening, one stood out. His name was Steve and he is a therapist and a writer – my two favorite professions in one person! I figured I could receive some helpful edits and advice for my writing while also lying on his couch talking to him about the issues with my mother.
Perfect dating situation, right?
We quickly did the normal Tinder-thing and exchanged our phone numbers to make the texting all that easier. But, I could tell from the first message he sent me that I wasn’t going to like him, mostly because after every message he sent me, he added “Sexy” to it, a word I only want to hear from Jake Gyllenhaal, my personal shopper, or the cashier at Chipotle.
He said that we should meet up after work and I said yes, but quickly regretted my decision. I told my friends about meeting him and expressed my concerns and they all told me to just “shut up” “go with it” and “stop eating at Chipotle every day.” So, I listened to them and decided to go. Who knows, he may be my soul mate. I stopped listening to my gut and gave him a chance.
He works and lives in Harlem, so he suggested grabbing a few drinks up in that area. He then mentioned the place we were going to is “just minutes from his apartment.” If he thought I was going to get drunk and hook up with him, he was kind of right.
Having never been to Harlem, I obliged his request and told him that I would be there at 6:30, the time he was getting off work.
I missed the train and had to wait, making me 15 minutes late – something I very rarely do, and a trait I find extremely disrespectful. Luckily, I got service for a few minutes on the train and told him I would be there a little late and he replied that he works across the street from the bar we were meeting at and to just text him when I got off the train and he would meet me.
Once off the train I texted and he said, “On my way.”
I stood outside of the bar with my arms folded, waiting for him to appear. I looked left, right and behind me, and he was nowhere to be found. A 6’2’’ white male would stick out like a sore thumb in Harlem, I thought.
I ended up standing outside the place for 15 minutes until he arrived, which made me a little annoyed, but I figured it wasn’t the end of the world.
The end of the world, however, was the way he acted and spoke. Now, I am not into the flamboyant type – you know the guy who talks with his hands, wears more than one bracelet on his arm, and says the word “Yaaaaaaas!”
I noticed that he was extremely flamboyant from 100 yards away. One, he walked like he was on the catwalk in Rupal’s Drag Race. Secondly, he had a tan tote bag around his shoulder, only holding his cell phone. Isn’t that what pockets are for?
He greeted me, kissed me on the cheek, and grabbed the front door to the bar. We ended up sitting down at a table, in-between two couples having a much better time than I would.
The waitress approached us and asked for our drink order. I asked for a glass of the Cabernet while my date smacked his lips, rolled his eyes and said, “I’ll take a Makers Mark on the rocks because I’ve had a daaayyyyyy.”
It was my first time ever hearing someone say the word “Day” with more than 1 syllable.
When the waitress left us, I wanted to grab her arm and plead, “Stay just a little bit longer. Please don’t leave me alone with her.” But she walked away before I could even take a reach, so I inhaled and said to myself, You’re already here, so just have the best time you can.“Do you want to get a plate of nachos?” I asked, thinking this could at least help.
We sat at the table, looking at each other for a few seconds (which seemed like 10 minutes) when I finally asked, “Where did you grow up?”
“How many times are you going to ask me that?” he replied. “This is like, I don’t know, the fourth or fifth time.”
I opened my mouth to respond, but I was waiting for him to laugh or say “Just kidding” but both never came. So then I figured I would change the subject to work.
He told me that he works at a health clinic for HIV testing and that he is a writer on the side. Being more comfortable with the latter, I asked him what he liked to write about. He told me that he had a Dating column at a newspaper in Chicago, something I actually found fascinating.
“That’s my dream job,” I told him. “Tell me more about that!”
“Well, I don’t know what you want me to say. It was a lot of work.”
It appeared that I was not going to be able to have any semblance of a normal conversation with this guy. Thankfully, the nachos arrived and I devoted all of my time and attention to the heaping dollop of sour cream lying on top.
I looked at my watch and it wasn’t even 8 o’clock yet. I could not sit at this table without having any type of conversation, so I took a deep breath and asked what he watches on TV – a conversation I could have with a deaf monkey.
He mentioned a few shows I never really heard of or watched, and of coursed he was “obsessed with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” He then went on to say that he was a closeted Pretty Little Liars fan. FINALLY, something I could work with. I, too, am a closeted PLL fan and had just watched the season finale the night before, so finding someone who wasn’t 12 to talk about it with has been quite a challenge.
We spent the rest of the evening talking about the possibilities of who “A” could be and I was finally starting to enjoy the conversation.
When the waitress came by to pick up the empty plates off our table she asked if we wanted another drink, to which he replied, “No thanks, just the check” and then took a huge yawn. “Is that cool? I had a really long day and I’m exhausted.”
Although I was extremely happy he asked for the check (which meant I could be home before 9pm and eat the rest of my Oreo milkshake sitting in my freezer) I was actually kind of bothered by this. HE was the one fake-yawning and saying HE had a long day? HE was the one ditching ME? Oh, I don’t think so.
I wanted to say something right then and there that I was the one who was cutting the date short. That I was the one who was not interested. That I was the one who was exhausted! But, I just smiled and said, “Of course.”
The best part was when the check came, he didn’t seem to be in that much of a hurry to leave. He just let the checkbook sitting there in the middle of the table, waiting for me to pull out my credit card.
I don’t think so, buddy. I had to take a train to Harlem, wait 15 minutes for you to get here, and talk about an ABC Family television show for thirty-five minutes. If anything, we are splitting it.
So, I waited the ten minutes it took him to get the point and reach for his wallet and I threw in my card, too.
He walked me to the train, apologized again for being “such a bore” and hugged me goodbye. Once on the train, I was ecstatic that it was over, but still really angry. I started thinking, “Why doesn’t he like me? He should be begging for me to date him. I’m handsome, smart, funny, and don’t get me started on my eyes. How is he the one who blew me off?”
I shrugged my shoulders and just laughed it off. I knew that I wasn’t going to have a good time and I wish I would have ignored my friends, co-workers, and the guy who toasted my bagel and just trusted my gut. Because my intuition is never wrong.
Except when I thought eating a 4 day old Milkshake was a good idea.
Last night I got out of my slump of watching episode after episode of Pretty Little Liars while trying to beat level 46 on Candy Crush and went on a date.
Me? Going on a date? On a school night? Unheard of!
For those of you that don’t know, my New Year’s Resolution this year, aside from quitting smoking, losing weight, and re-growing my hair, was to always say “yes”, especially when it comes to dating. And ordering Mac and Cheese if present on a menu.
So, while I was waiting for my lives on Candy Crush to be replenished on Tuesday night, I went on Grindr to see if anyone wanted to come over and “cuddle”. While no one seemed at all interested, this one guy messaged me and we began talking for a little over a half hour. When I said I needed to go to bed (aka I got more lives) he asked if he could take me to dinner the following night.
Being one who never turns down a free meal, I said yes.
The following day we didn’t really text that much, which I liked! He was very confident and just told me to meet him at the restaurant at 8. The restaurant he chose is actually 2 blocks from my apartment in Jersey, so I was extremely grateful.
This is very out of character for me, because when I am talking to a guy, I like to chat all day, every day, for about two weeks so I can know everything about them: their favorite color, where they grew up, penis size, and favorite Julia Roberts movie. I also like to stalk their Facebook page to see about 350+ pictures of them. But, with this guy, I only saw three pictures. All of his left side. All not smiling.
Again, it’s a free meal, I said to myself.
So I walked to the restaurant and a few blocks away I received a text message from him saying he was sitting at the bar. He’s prompt. I like that. I opened the door to the restaurant and spotted him immediately. Well, I didn’t necessarily spot HIM, I spotted his two front teeth.
The reason why he never sent me any pictures of him smiling was all making sense now. I walked over, gave him an awkward hug, and we were sat at a table. Ok, so he has buckteeth. That’s not the end of the world. I’m not that picky.
I started the conversation about work and explained to him a bit of what I do. When I asked him what he does, he said that he works at a medical office as an assistant, but his real passion is “club promotion.” He then went on a 20 minute tangent about how great that lifestyle is, yet how tiresome and lonely it can be. I just nodded.
Now, I love to joke around, but sometimes I forget that people (especially people who met me 18 minutes ago) do not really understand my dry sense of humor and sarcasm. I forget exactly how this came up, but I made an innocent “I’m addicted to cocaine joke”, as you do on a first date, and it did not go over so well.
I completely forget that he was from Columbia.
So, he responded to my comment and decided to tell me all about his trouble with drugs “in his past” and then proceeded to ask me if I had any lying around my apartment.
All in all, we had an average dinner. I am really good at coming up with things to talk about, so the conversation flowed, from the Yankees to quoting The Devil Wears Prada.
Once the waiter cleared our plates (and brought me my third glass of wine) the next words out of my dates mouth were, “Well, when I was in acting school…”
I quickly chugged the Pinot Noir in front of me and graciously asked for something with tequila. I was going to need to be extremely drunk to hear about monologue workshops.
The date was going longer than I had expected and hoped, and I don’t think I could have yawned or said “Gee, I have to be up early” enough for him to get the point. Finally, he sipped the remaining ounce of his Bud Light that had been lingering in his glass for the past fifteen minutes and asked for the check.
When Henrique or Miguel or whomever dropped off our check, he pulled out his wallet and said those lovely three words every guy likes to hear on a first date: “Wanna split it?”
Once we were out of the restaurant, I cheered to myself that I was free and I could run home, put on Pretty Little Liars and play Candy Crush. That was, until he offered to walk me home.
“No, no. That’s really okay!” I practically yelled. “It’s out of your way. The bus stop is right here!” But he would not let it go. So, okay fine. I let him walk me home because, in all my life of dating, no one has ever walked me home to my front door, so I was actually pretty excited about his chivalrous gesture.
When we finally arrived to my apartment, he kissed me good night. I opened the front door to my building and looked back at him, just standing there.
“Can I walk you up?” he asked. And we all know what that means, right ladies?
Since I had three glasses of red wine and a shot of tequila, I figured why the hell not. It’s been forever since I’ve had any type of physical contact that didn’t involve a body pillow or an electric toothbrush. We went up to my apartment, and started making out on the couch. Half way through, he stopped, hugged me, looked in my eyes and said, “Damn you’re beautiful.”
So, naturally I took off his pants and gave him a hand job.
Finally by 11:30, the date was over and I could take a cold shower and head to sleep. I figured he would get the hint that I wasn’t really interested and that the complimentary handy-j was just a token for him walking me home.
But he’s texted me 6 times already this morning. Time to move or change my phone number again.