Tag Archives: first date

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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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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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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Love & 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.”

“Define horrible.”

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.”

Uh.

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?

“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!”

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The Keebler Elf

Just before Myspace was going out of style and I still resided in Boca Raton, I received a message from a guy named Bryan. Apparently, we had a few mutual friends so he sent a quick message to say hi as he added me as a friend. Back in the day, I would add people just because I liked their shirt.

From browsing his profile and photo albums, I immediately fell in love. He was adorable. He was smart. He was a Southern gentleman. But, he lived in Georgia.

We spent a few nights that week talking on the phone, and I was instantly obsessed with his twang and country accent. Everyone I had met in South Florida barely spoke English, and if they did, they knew how to say three things: “Hello”, “My name is”, and “How short do you want the lawn Mister James?” It was definitely time for a change.

“Ugh!” I screamed repeatedly alone in my room until Cory, my roommate came barging in.

“What’s the matter?” he asked after my ninth exhale.

“This always happens!”

“Herpes?”

“No!” I screamed. “Well, I don’t think so! But that’s not what this is about!” I got off my bed and sat at the computer chair. “Whenever I meet someone online that is cute, smart, worthy of dating, AND that is interested in ME, they always live so far away. Remember that guy in Anchorage? Anyways, I met someone last week on Myspace and he is perfect.”

“So where does he live? Hopefully somewhere really pretty that you could go visit! Like the Caribbean. Or Denver.”

“Neither,” I said with a melancholy growl. “He lives in Camden, Georgia.”

Once again, I was being a bit dramatic, and Cory was in no mood to comfort me or give in to my pity cry. “Oh just get over it. You could easily go to Georgia! I believe there is a train that goes there at midnight.”

“This is no time for a Gladys and the Pips reference, Cory.” I laid back down on my bed and cuddled my pillow, wanting to change the subject. “So, how exactly do I know if I have herpes?”

Two weeks later, my phone rang as I was in the middle of my rigorous workout. “Hello!?” I yelped, interrupting my third sit-up.

It was one of my best friends from high school, Katie Kelly. I have always loved her name, and have always secretly wished her middle name was Kendall or Karen, just for the amusing initials.

Katie lived in Jacksonville, working on her Bachelors at the University of North Florida and living with her Navy Seal boyfriend of one year. She was going on and on about her sister getting married and that she needed a date for the wedding.

“What about your boyfriend?” I asked, while wiping the sweat off my forehead.

“He’s going to be on the ship for another four months. And everyone is bringing a date. Even my cousin, Lynn, has a date.”

“Wait. Isn’t she the one with one leg?”

“One foot” she corrected me. “I cannot show up to this thing alone. Please save me!”

I thought about my school schedule and my lack of monetary funds, but then quickly got excited to watch Lynn attempt to do the Hokey Pokey, so I agreed.

“Fine! I will go with you. We will match our outfits but I will not put out!”

I hung up the phone and decided that I had enough physical activity for one day. I didn’t want to pull a hamstring four weeks before the wedding and not be able to do the electric slide. I jumped into bed at 3 in the afternoon for my first nap of the day when I suddenly realized: Jacksonville is just below Georgia! When I go up for the wedding, I would be able to see my best friend AND meet Bryan. I sent him a quick message telling him my plan and asking how far away he was from where I would be staying and he replied “20 minutes, 30 minutes tops. We could totally arrange a meeting!”

I turned down my shades, pulled up my covers, and suddenly had Georgia on my mind.

The weekend of the wedding came before I knew it and I had to quickly throw one weekend worth of clothes into two suitcases. I called Bryan and told him of my whereabouts and that as soon as I could, I would ditch my friend and we could meet up.

I made it to Jacksonville just after 5pm and pulled into Katie’s apartment complex, where she was standing in the parking lot, jumping up and down like a six year old who just saw the tooth fairy fly away. The sight of her pathetic excitement almost made me turn my car around.

I rolled down the window as I pulled into a parking space. “Enough with the jumping jacks, I’m here!” I popped the trunk of my car and said, “Would you be a doll and grab those two suitcases? I’m beat from all this driving.”

As Katie pulled out my two Lacoste suitcases and hauled them up to her third floor apartment, I pulled out one of those miniature fans and exhaled, “Gaw it’s hot up here”. She turned to look back, giving me an evil snarl and almost ran right into the wall. “Whoa! Easy with that one. It has my shoes in it!”

Once inside, I took my spot on the couch, where I would be sleeping the next few nights. Katie then got me a glass of water. It was from the faucet, but I drank it anyways. “This weekend is going to be so much fun!” She exclaimed. “I hope you are ready to do some cha-cha-sliding”.

Katie knew how much I hated organized dancing and could probably tell with my lack of response that I would be sitting at the open bar all night ordering vodka tonics two at a time.

“I know. This seriously better be one hell of a wedding. I am missing the season finale of Survivor: All Stars for this.”

“Really? Survivor? That show is ridiculously gay. No offense. It is so staged. You know they are all sleeping at a Sheraton Hotel once the cameras turn off.”

I almost jumped off the couch in anger. “You know that’s not true!”

“And besides,” she continued, “Survivor comes on Sunday nights. You’ll probably be back home in time for it anyways, and you definitely won’t miss the tribal council meeting. You should have just tape recorded it.”

“Wow. For someone who hates the show, you sure do know quite a lot about its airtime and rituals, Katie.”

“TV Guide” she said and crossed her arms.

“And tape record it? I haven’t seen an actual working VCR since I was in diapers. Anyways, do I have time to take a short two hour nap?”

“No. Tonight is the rehearsal dinner and I figured we could go meet up with my girlfriends for a few cocktails before. They really want to meet you.”

(A little side note):

It seems that every time I go to visit a friend, I always have to go out and meet their other friends. Can’t you go out with your girlfriends every other day that I’m not there? I get it. I am not your only friend, so stop making me meet the rest of them. And then you throw in that bullshit of a story “They really want to meet you”. No they don’t. 9 times out of 10, they have never heard of me in their lives and suddenly I am just some random guy sitting at a table drinking something with an umbrella in it.

The conversation always goes like this:

GIRL FRIEND: Hey guys! This is James                                                                                                                                               FRIENDS OF SAID GIRL FRIEND: Who?                                                                                                                       GIRL FRIEND: James! The guy I was telling you about. We’ve been best friends since we were four.     FOSGF: Oh! The guy who got the baseball scholarship to Vanderbilt?                                                              GIRL FRIEND: No, that was my brother. James is my gay best friend, goes to college down South. Really funny…                                                                                                                                                                       FOSGF: Umm. Oh yeah, I remember him now. Nice to meet you, Jeff.

But I digress back to Katie’s couch. I didn’t know how to tell her that I made plans for the night already, so I just said, “I made plans for the night already.”

“What? You came up here to be my date to my sister’s wedding. How could you have made other plans? You’ve been here litchrally (I know that’s spelled incorrectly, but that is how she pronounces it) five minutes. I don’t want to go to the rehearsal dinner alone!”

“Katie, you were going to go to the wedding alone if it weren’t for me. I’m sorry. I met this guy a few weeks ago and he lives about thirty minutes away, and this is the only time that we would be able to meet. He’s already on his way from Georgia and…”

She cut me off and stood up, “Georgia?! How…I mean why…no, I mean how are you meeting guys from Georgia?! You live six hours away!”

“Online.” I added, “Do you want to see a picture of him? He’s so…”

“No.”

Katie started pacing back and forth through her eleven by eight foot living room, fuming from the ears and nose. “Well, I am sorry. You are just going to have to tell him you have previously made plans and that you didn’t come all the way up here to meet him.” She paused. “Wait a minute. Did you come all the way up here to meet him? And that the wedding was just a great excuse?”

I sat there in shock, mostly because it was true. “No! I came here to go to your sister’s wedding! I honestly just thought you would need me for tomorrow. And I really really really like him and wanted to see where things went.” Note to readers, if you want to get your point across, just keep repeating “really” a few times. Then they’ll know it’s important.

I was really hoping that she would be okay with me leaving for a little bit. I saw her start to weaken and sit back down. “Well, I mean tonight is just going to be my immediate family. It would be kind of boring for you, I guess.”

“Thank you, thank you, thank you!” I screamed. Aside from the ‘really rule’, saying ‘thank you’ three times shows just how thankful you really are. Only assholes say it once.

“Yeah. But because I am letting you go and ditch me tonight, you will do the cha-cha slide, the electric slide, and what other dances involve sliding. You hear me?”

I didn’t even have a chance to respond. I had already started trying on different outfits.

Not even twenty minutes since I was “allowed” to go on the date, Bryan called me and said he was getting off the highway and suggested that we meet up at a Starbucks a few miles down the road. “I like coffee” I agreed.

Now, as a serial online dater, I have met guys pretty much everywhere: bars, clubs, restaurants, the dumpster behind a Best Buy, etc. My least favorite is Starbucks. One, because it is inundated with people at all times, and they are all in just one tiny room, staring at you when you come in. You know you are meeting someone for a date and they certainly do too once they catch that awkward hello you’re about to do.

Oh, I guess it’s my least favorite for just one reason.

So, I made it to the Starbucks as directed and parked my car. I had already received the “I’m here” text a few minutes ago, so I decided to take my time and build up the anticipation. I got out of my car and headed straight for that door, knowing Bryan was inside, somewhere, waiting for me.

I slowly opened the glass door and looked around the coffee shop. To my right were these three guys studying for some sort of test. Why anyone was studying on a Friday night is beyond me. No one was in line for coffee except this old lady. I then peered to my left and saw two oversized purple velvet couches in the corner. One was vacant. The other held Bryan.

I walked over and he did not even look up from his BlackBerry. I tried to get a clear shot of what his face looked like so I wasn’t approaching the wrong guy. I hate to say it, but I cleared my throat to get his attention. He looked up from his phone and I quietly whispered, “Bryan?” He looked shocked that someone in a Jacksonville Starbucks would know his name and at first gave me a skittish look. Then I guess he realized he was going on a blind date. He smiled faintly and said, “James. It’s nice to meet you.”

I sat down on the purple couch next to his. “It’s nice to meet you too, Bryan.”

“Oh, please. Call me Keebs. It’s my nickname. Everyone I know calls me that.”

Keebs, I thought to myself. Hmm. I don’t like nicknames. Never have. I just don’t get them, I guess. I once met a guy named Steve, but his nickname was Gary. I can’t even connect the dots on that one. I swore that after we hooked up I wouldn’t speak to him again.

“Did you want to get something?” I asked.

“No, thanks.” He replied. “Don’t really like the taste of coffee. Plus, it stunts your growth.”

Since neither of us was actually drinking coffee, and a family of four was standing over me and Bryan waiting for us to get up, I suggested we leave for dinner. “I know just the place” he said.

I stood up from my chair with my right leg half asleep, went to the door and turned around to hold it for Bryan…I mean “Keebs”, and this is the moment I discovered the nickname. This is the moment I understood Keebs.

He could not have been a centimeter over 5’3’’. Nowhere in his MySpace profile alluded to the fact that he was almost legally a midget. I mean, just to state the facts, I am no giant. I am 5’9 (5’10 in the right shoe) and usually someone’s height doesn’t bother me. But someone’s lack of height surely did that night. I was hoping that the six inches he was missing in height he would make up in girth.

As we walked across the street, a car zoomed past us and, as an instinct, I threw my arm out in front of him to stop him from getting run over. In my attempt to save his life, I smacked him so hard, my ring left an imprint on his forehead.

“It’s okay. It’s fine. He is a nice, normal, sweet guy. How tall (or short) he is shouldn’t deter you from having a fun time.” These were the words I was telling myself as I got into his Ford-250 pickup truck. I can barely get into one of those things and I would have loved to see how he managed to climb on up. I noticed on his front driver seat he had a phone book. “Who uses a phone book anymore?” I thought to myself. Until I saw his tiny little ass sit down on it.

“It’s okay. It’s fine. He is a nice guy.”

We were heading to the nice part of Jacksonville where there are great shops, restaurants, and bars he told me. I wish Katie wasn’t so mad at me because she would have been dying right now. The radio was blasting Toby Keith (okay, at least he was a Republican) and the windows were rolled down. I tried making small talk but he kept saying, “Let’s just keep the good convo for the dinner, alright?” in that Southern twang of his.

A long fifteen minutes  later, the truck was parked and we were walking toward the restaurants. I was so concerned everyone was looking at me the way Nicole Kidman was looked at when she was “married” to Tom Cruise. I didn’t want them to think that I knew about his height prior to us going out, so when I would catch people stare I would mouth “blind date” and they would look back at me, shrug their shoulders, and give me a knowing look that read ‘Hang in there’ and ‘God is watching and he is proud’.

As we walked down the pier, we passed so many inviting and interesting restaurants: A family-owned Italian restaurant, a Sushi one, a Thai one, a Mexican one. I couldn’t wait to find out where he was taking me. We made a left at the end of the pier and that is where I noticed the God-awful orange awning of the tackiest restaurants around, Hooters.

“This is not where we are going,” I said silently to myself as he ran to the door and held up two tiny fingers. “Table for two, please”.

“Denise is your server and she’ll be right over” Brandi cheered and then skipped away. I picked up the menu and started browsing the culinary selections.

“Have you ever been here before?” Bryan asked me.

Yeah, I’ve been to a Hooter’s before you moron. My dad would drag me here to watch football games and to stare at women’s boobs since I was seven. My grandmother has even been to a Hooter’s. But, I am sure she didn’t drive six hours to be taken on a date to one by a troll.

Bryan, yes I will call him Bryan from here on out because just typing the word ‘Keebs’ makes me nauseous. So, Bryan ordered us a fried pickle appetizer and swore on his life by it. “This will be the best part of your night,” he said. I nodded my head knowing he was right.

The dinner conversation was light, and mostly touched on the different types of wing sauce, if Georgia really does have the best peaches, and stories of his ex-boyfriends. I excused myself to use the bathroom, just so I could get a minute to myself. In the stall, I texted Katie and told her that I would much rather be at her family’s dumb rehearsal dinner instead of out on the docks with this shrimp. She replied, “Duh.”

When I got back to my seat, the check was laying on the table. A sign to me that this night was over, and thank Jesus for that. He picked up the checkbook and reached for his wallet, like a true Southern gentlemen. “Wanna just split it?”

I really didn’t have any other choice.

As we walked back along the pier to the parking garage, Bryan spotted a sports memorabilia store with a Georgia Bulldogs flag out front. “Mind if we stop in for a minute?”

I really didn’t have any other choice.

I was starting to feel that Bryan was having an identity crisis and being unsure of his sexuality – Hooter’s AND a sports store, both bad choices for the gays.

Pretty much the entire store was covered wall-to-wall with Bulldog shirts, hats, pillows, beer cozies, and statues of a bulldog wearing the uniform. “These are kinda cute” I said, making myself enjoy the store for what it was.

“Aww, I love them. Oh my gaw, look at this little guy. He reminds me of Kevin, my dog growing up. Wearin’ the hat and all. I think I’m a get him.”

Bryan made his way to the register holding this three foot dog statue that came up to his nipples and paid the lady the forty-seven dollars for it. He couldn’t buy my 10 wings, but fifty bucks for a dog statue was a much better way to spend his money.

Back on the highway, I saw the dog statue sitting in the bed of the truck out of my side-view mirror and had to ask, “Hey, Bryan- “

“…I’d prefer it if you just called me Keebs.”

“I’d rather not. What’s the deal with the statue? I’ve never seen anyone go into a store so quickly and buy something so specific. And I know shopping. I am an expert. Why did you have to get it tonight? I am sure there are better, more team-spirited dogs in Georgia.”

He put his left blinker on and got in the turning lane. The light was red, so he turned to me and said, “Well, I needed it tonight so I could drop it off.”

“Drop it off where?” I asked, concerned.

“Right here, down the road. To the cemetery.”

I chuckled and said, “Why the hell are you bringing some dumb statue to a cemetery at 10pm?”

The light turned green and Bryan made the left. Staring down the two-lane highway, listening to the silence, he swallowed hard, “My dad died one year ago today. He is buried right up here on the right. And he was such a big Bulldog fan, let me tell you. So, I figured that on that way back to me droppin you off, I could just put the statue on his grave and say my peace, mainly because I haven’t been to the grave yet.”

I put two spaces between the next paragraph just so you could take some time to process what has just happened.

Talk about a morbid date, huh? I immediately pulled out my BlackBerry and started frantically texting Katie. “Help me, please” I wrote with over twenty exclamation points. Like the great friend she is, she ignored every message I sent her. And then it hit me as the car went into park. I was really doing this. This was actually happening.

Bryan hopped the six feet out of the truck and went around the back and grabbed the dog. I just sat in the car, silently praying that I was in a bad dream. Hoping he would realize this was a little strange and to just go to the grave by himself, I heard a knocking at my window. “How the hell did he reach the window?” I thought to myself.

I looked out my window and could only see the top of his head. I rolled down the window and told him that cemetery’s freak me out and that I would be best sitting alone in the car. “Also,” I added, “what if a cop comes and tows your car. I should be here, just in case. You go ahead.”

None of these options were working and he was being relentless. I rolled my window back up and got out of the car. He grabbed onto my hand as we walked down the rows and rows of tombstones, passing many different flower arrangements and plants. But not one single dog statue.

When we finally got to his father’s grave, he turned to me and said, “James, I really appreciate you bein’ here for me and all, but do ya mind if I say goodbye to my father alone?” Uh, no! I don’t mind. I would love for you to say goodbye alone. Did I seem like I was itching to be beside you during this intimate family moment?!

Bryan knelt down and placed the statue in front of the tombstone and started speaking to his father. He started tearing up, got up off the ground, and whispered “Go Bulldogs”. He grabbed my hand and we headed back to his truck.

The rest of the car ride was spent in silence. He dropped me off in same the Starbucks parking lot where we met 5 hours earlier, at a time when I had hope and optimism. I opened my door and thanked him for the night.

“I had a swell time, too, James. And if ya ever in the great county of Camden, Georgia, well, give me a holler.” And then, just like that, he went into the night, probably back to his tree fort to make cookies and snacks.

I must have drove eighty miles an hour back to Katie’s apartment. Luckily, her lights were on which meant that she was back from the rehearsal dinner and could listen to the horrendous night I just had.

Katie sat through most of my story in shock, with her mouth hanging almost to the floor. “Wait, so you’ve never met this kid before tonight?”

“No” I replied.

“And he just brought you to a cemetery? To say goodbye to his dad? What kind of looney tunes are you going out with? You have got to stop this online dating. Seriously, he could have killed you out there.”

“Katie, the most he could have done was scratch my knee caps.”

I apologized for choosing a boy over her, and after hearing my story, she forgave me.

The next day was her sisters wedding. We ate. We drank. We danced. We drank. I was dragged onto the dance floor to do the slides, both electric and cha-cha. I even slow danced with her Grandma Evelyn. I was having such a great time I didn’t even think about the night before, until the waiter came around and passed out the desserts.

“What are they passing out? Didn’t they get a wedding cake?” I asked Katie.

“No, they didn’t want to have a traditional wedding.”

“Yeah, the whole getting-married-in-a-church thing is pretty unconventional.”

When the cute waiter(who didn’t take my number as a tip) finally approached our table, he held a tray with an array of delectable desserts; Cupcakes, pastries, and cookies. I decided I would have one of each…but only one. It wasn’t until then, when I looked down at my plate and saw the cookies, that I asked the waiter just to make sure, “What kind of cookies are these?”

He looked down at his tray and said, “Oh, these. They are Vienna Fingers. They were bought for the kids table, I think.”

Katie and I looked at each other and at the same time squealed, “Keebs!”

We lifted our cups of coffee, clinked them together, and said “To stunting our growth!”

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Sweet, Sweet Revenge

Everyone loves a story about revenge, right? While this story may not deal with violence or cunning intelligence, it does deal with lies and deception. And, well, a little bit of humor. Enjoy! 

Early in my second year at FAU, I had lost half of the freshmen fifteen, I was attempting to go to class, and I had fully broken up with Jon. And clearly by “breaking up with”, I mean changing my phone number and deleting him off of Myspace.

Remember those days before Facebook was the powerhouse it is today and Myspace was well, stupid? The days when we still had both accounts open, friended the same people, posted the same pictures, and left the same comments on our friends walls. Boy, were we all idiots.

Anyways, I had realized that the last thing I wanted was a relationship. I was in my prime, in a new city, and I was tired of being tied down. Well, relationship speaking. I was definitely not opposed to a little S&M bondage (just don’t tell my life insurance carrier).

I wanted to go out and have as much fun as I possibly could. I was a nineteen year old college student with a fake I.D living in South Florida.

My fake I.D. was actually a driver’s license I stole out of somebody’s wallet at a dorm party and replaced with a Coldstone Card. While I was eligible to gain access to all of Miami’s hottest clubs, they were eligible for a free ice cream cone. Even Steven.

One November evening, I went out for my 20th birthday with some friends to a bar in “Downtown” Boca Raton. I say downtown in quotes, because anyone who has ever been to Boca knows there is no downtown area. It’s just the place in town without a bagel shop or Synagogue.

I was accompanied by my closest friends, Cory, Marissa, Katie, Jamie, and Josh and I was already a little drunk from my two glasses of wine from the Cheesecake Factory.

“I am so happy that you all came out to celebrate my birthday” I exclaimed after the each bought me a birthday shot. In another world, I would have preferred five totally different people, but I made due.

“Let’s do Lemon drop shots next” Cory shouted over the 80’s cover band.

“Let’s kill ourselves” I shot back as I readjusted the birthday crown I bought for myself earlier that day at Party City.

In addition to the crown, I was donning a shirt Marissa had bought me to wear for the night. It was neon green that had “Made in the Eighties” written on it.

“You know, because we are going to see an 80’s cover band tonight, and well, you were made in the eighties. Get it? It’s like…a double meaning!”

Man, I need new friends I thought as I graciously accepted the shirt and wished that people would have stuck to the list I handed out weeks prior. Aside from the fun 80’s shirt, I got a “Friends” desk calendar from Josh, an empty picture frame from Cory, and a bottle of champagne from Katie and Jamie. I was most excited about the champagne until they drank it before we went out to dinner. So, my real gift from them was an Andre sticker with a matching cork.

We spent the rest of the evening dancing to the hits of Billy Idol and Hughie Lewis and the news, all while drinking overpriced beers.

During, the bands rendition of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, I realized that I, too, wanted to dance with somebody, anybody but my friends. I turned to my left and saw two overweight forty year old women in matching Madonna costumes. “Eh” I thought. I then turned to my right and saw a group of fun people, my age, dancing and having the time of their lives. Since I was drunk, and when I’m drunk, I feel invincible enough to do anything, I jumped in the middle of their dance party.

Usually, they would have pushed me aside, or walked away, but seeing as I had on my “Birthday Crown”, they all embraced me as if I were one of their own.

After fifteen minutes of non-stop dancing, the one boy in the group turned to me and said “Sweet shirt man. I totally get it.” I faked a laugh because he was cute. “I’m Tim”.

“James. Nice to meet you.”

“So, is this how Boca is every night?” he asked while wiping the sweat from his forehead.

“Not really. Boca kind of sucks. Do you live in West Palm or something?”

“Pittsburgh, actually.”

“Are you that big of a fan of The Breakfast Klub that you traveled all the way down here to watch them play Whitney Houston to death?” (I know, too soon).

“No, I am actually here visiting the FAU campus. I’m thinking about coming here next year, so I wanted to check it out” he responded.

“Oh, awesome!” I shouted over the music. “You will love it, it’s a great school.”

We spent the remainder of the evening drinking, and dancing, and getting to know one another. You know, like you do at an 80’s cover band party. When the end of the night came, we exchanged phone numbers and added one another to our Facebook pages, as one does nowadays. I headed home and couldn’t wait to turn on my laptop and browse through his 453 pictures.

The next few months, Tim and I had a pretty sporadic relationship. One week we would talk every day, and one week I wouldn’t hear from him. It isn’t uncommon behavior with someone who lives 1,500 miles away. I still went on dates, and I am sure he sat at home crying that he wasn’t with me. Everything was still normal.

After having a really good month – meaning we sent over a 30 text messages to each other a day and talked on the phone every night – I decided that I didn’t want to wait until fall to see him, so I finished up my glass of vodka and called up Tim.

“Hey Jimmy-Jam, what it do in the Florida South?”

“Hey, Tim. I am just sitting here on my porch, smoking a cigarette, and I decided that we should plan to see each other. I mean, I know you are moving down here in the fall, but it would be nice to see you beforehand. Don’t you agree? I think we should arrange something. ” I couldn’t believe I was rambling on so much about wanting to see him. I also couldn’t believe I could finish an entire bottle of Smirnoff Vanilla vodka in one sitting.

“I feel ya, holmes. Well, I mean, I don’t have anything going on up here. Would you want to come to Pittsburgh and chill for a weekend?”

Would I?! Wait…Would I? I didn’t know anything about Pittsburgh. I didn’t even know what state Pittsburgh was in, but I knew I was in the state of complete determination and desperation to not have to care about that.

“I would love to come visit you in Pittsburgh! I’ll check out flights tomorrow and let you know!”

We hung up the phone and I logged in to my Delta account to search for flights. The next morning, I informed Cory and his boyfriend about my travel plans.

“Wait, wait, wait. You’re going to fly up to Pittsburgh? To see that guy you met on your birthday? Seriously?”

“Yes, Cory. Some of us have a spontaneous side. You should try it.”

“Spontaneous is about driving to the movie theater and then deciding what to go see, or trying something different at Denny’s. Not flying across the country for some guy. What you’re doing is crazy.”

“First of all, it is not crazy! And secondly, we go to Denny’s every week and every week you order Moons Over My Hammy, so zip it. What do you think Mauricio?”

“Yo no se.” (Mauricio is Peruvian and doesn’t speak much Enlgish.)

“Ugh, you are just jealous of my happiness. Both of you! I’m buying the plane ticket and I’m going up there. I’ve never been. Plus it would be nice to eat a cheese stake and see the Liberty Bell.”

“The Liberty bell is nowhere near Pittsburgh!”

“Whatever!” I stormed out of the living room and sat at my desk and bought my plane ticket for the weekend in two weeks. That should give him enough time to get everything ready and plan all of our fun activities and for me to get enough time to take off work. Perfect.

As soon as I received the e-mail confirmation of my flight, I texted Tim the details. His text was brief, but he definitely sounded excited.

Two weeks later, I was sitting in my living room watching When Harry Met Sally when Cory sat down beside me with a bowl of popcorn.

“You all packed?”

“Yeah, I think so. I hope it isn’t too cold up there this time of year, I don’t have any winter jackets.”

“It’s March, you’ll be fine.” We both took a scoop of popcorn.

When the movie finished, I headed off to bed. I wanted to have a good night sleep for my big day. I hate flying, and was trying to mentally prepare myself that the plane would not crash.

I set my alarm for 11:30am, so I would not over sleep. I hopped in the shower and got myself ready while I made Cory bring my bags to the car. I decided to text Tim once I got in the car: “Omw to the airport. See you in a few hours!”

His response was almost immediate: “I don’t think we should go through with this. I am sort of getting back with my ex. Well, we actually never broke up. I’m Sorry! Hope you can get that ticket refunded!”

I sat in the passenger seat of Cory’s Ford Taurus in complete shock. “Turn the car around. I’m not going. And please don’t tell me you were right.”

“Want to go to Denny’s?”

The following weeks were consumed with studying for finals, working at the restaurant to make extra money, and to forget about Tim. I hadn’t spoken to him since his text he sent me en route to the airport, and I didn’t plan to ever again. Well, until I ran into him at that very same bar on my birthday the following year.

“Thank God there is no cover band here tonight.”

“Si” said Mauricio.

I’m going to run to the bar and get some shots of tequila. Who’s in?”

Naturally, everyone rose their hands, so I headed over to the outside bar with Marissa. When the shots were laid out in front of us, the bartender said “That will be 28 dollars.” I looked over to Marissa.

“You heard him, pay the man.”

“I thought you were buying the shots?!”

“It’s my birthday, why the hell would I buy everyone shots? I said I wanted to get shots. Not buy them.”

A very disgruntled and aggravated Marissa helped me carry the eight shot glasses over to our table where everyone shouted “Thanks James!” over the music.

We all toasted to me and my youth and chugged down our shots. I slipped one of the lime wedges into my mouth and looked up, and that is when I saw Tim, standing two tables over with a bunch of girls.

“It’s him” I said.

“Who? Ryan Reynolds?”

“No. Him. Tim.”

I suddenly looked to Cory for advice. I was begging him to tell me what I should do in this situation. Should we all just leave and head to a different bar, or should we stay and act like we are having the time of our lives?”

“But I am having the time of my life!” he exclaimed.

“That’s cute, but I really don’t know what I should do. Screw it. I’m going over there and saying something.”

“Are you sure? What are you going to say?”

“I haven’t decided that yet. I’ll figure it out on the walk over.”

Four steps later, I was standing behind Tim holding a huge Nikkon camera taking pictures of three random girls. Once the shot had been taken, I gently tapped him on the shoulder.

“Hey-oh-my-God-What are you doing here, James?!”

“I live here, remember. I see you are living in Boca now.”

“Yeah, for about a few months. I love it. Hey! We met here exactly one year ago today! How cool!”

Why the hell was he being so nonchalant about everything? Does he not remember what he did? Is he even going to bring it up? Should I even bring it up?

“Awesome. Well, I just wanted to say hi. I’m going to go back to my friends. See ya around.”

“No, no, no. Let me at least buy you a birthday shot. Don’t think I don’t remember!”

Of course, I thought. This he remembers. Being raised right and taught to never say no to free alcohol, I agreed and we headed off to the bar. An hour later, I was hammered and completely forgave him for having a boyfriend and telling me not to come up to visit him the day of my trip. My friends came up to me and told me the bar was closing and that it was time to go, so I hugged Tim, gave him my new cell phone number, and told him to add me on Facebook.

In the parking lot, I was just getting into the back seat of Cory’s car when I heard Tim screaming my name. I looked over and saw him running towards us, waving with one hand, and holding his camera with the other.

“Shit, James. I have a huge favor to ask of you. My credit card got declined at the bar and I have no money to pay my tab. My friends already left and they aren’t answering their cell phones. Any way I can bum fifty bucks?”

Against all of my better judgment, I took off my seatbelt and headed back into the bar with him and paid for his tab on my credit card. Happy Birthday, James. As we walked back out into the parking lot, I said goodbye again and approached the car.

“Wait! I…well, I also don’t have a ride home. Can I just crash with you tonight?”

I looked over at Cory and Mauricio and felt suddenly so alone. It was my birthday and I’ll have sex with an asshole if I want to. I said yes, and we went back to my apartment.

The next morning, I drove him back to his apartment. He kissed me on the cheek and said, “I promise, I will mail you a check for the fifty bucks. You’re a life saver.”

“…But you don’t have my address!” I hollered, but it was too late. He was already in his complex. I drove back to my apartment to take a Benadryl and sleep the day away. I’ll never hear from him again.

_________________________________

Five years later, I was living in New York City trying to make it big as a writer, and barely scraping by as a waiter. I spent all day filling out job applications and sending my resume to every publishing house in the city, and all night serving $18 dollar cheeseburgers in Time Square.

One night after work, I opted out of going to a bar and instead returned to my bite-sized apartment to watch a bunch of YouTube clips and hangout on Facebook. When I logged on, I saw that I had a message. It was from Tim.

“Come on!” I screamed to my computer.

I opened up the message and it read:

Hey James. Long time, huh? Well, anyways, I don’t know if you know this, but I work for a television production company as a PA, and I travel all over the country. Next week, I am going to be in New York City, and I saw that you now live there (way cool) and we are looking for a few extra hands to work with us for a week. If it’s something you would be interested in, let me know. Would be great to see ya!

Tim

p.s. I also need a place to crash.

I stared at my computer screen for a good fifteen minutes before even thinking about what to reply. Instead, I called Cory. He couldn’t believe that Tim had messaged me and said I should definitely fuck with him. “He told you not to come visit him while you were on the way to the airport because he had a boyfriend. He had you pay his bar tab on your birthday. James, it’s revenge time.”

Yes, it totally was revenge time. He was a dick. An asshole. And a horrible lay. This was my chance to get him back. So, I hit the reply button and said:

Hey Tim! It sure has been a long time! A production assistant? That sounds like a fun job. And I love T.V. So I would be very interested in helping out for the week. And don’t worry. You are always welcome to come stay with me. Can’t wait to see you!

 J 🙂

Not five seconds after I sent the e-mail, Tim was texting my phone thanking me for wanting to help out, and for the place to stay. I said it was my pleasure.

The next week, Tim was on his train from Boston to New York and said he would be in the city in about an hour. He texted me when his train got in and asked what address he should give the cab driver. I told him my address was 42 West 88th street, Manhattan, New York.

…I live in Hoboken, New Jersey.


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The 15 Things You Never Want to Hear on a First Date

Over the course of my 10+ years of dating, I have come across some of the most unusually weird and offensive lines thrown at me on a first date. I recently published a BuzzFeed where I recounted the top 15 worst things I have ever heard on a date. To see how bad they are, please check out the BuzzFeed article HERE.

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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.”

Noted.

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.”

Noted.

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.”

Noted.

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!”

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