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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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The Most Awkward Hello

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He was already beginning this relationship with a lie.

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

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

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

Apparently that’s a thing.

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

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

“No, but get on top of me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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10 First Date Rules

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Trust Your Gut

Intuition: Instinctive knowledge or belief; a hunch

Intuition is a funny thing. We all have it, but sometimes we don’t listen to it. Other voices get into our heads, challenging our intuition or gut feeling.

This happened to me last week.

In early November, I was busy swiping left and right to countless pictures of New York singles, in hopes to find my soul mate on Tinder, because that’s a possibility, right?

Among my many matches that evening, one stood out. His name was Steve and he is a therapist and a writer – my two favorite professions in one person! I figured I could receive some helpful edits and advice for my writing while also lying on his couch talking to him about the issues with my mother.

Perfect dating situation, right?

We quickly did the normal Tinder-thing and exchanged our phone numbers to make the texting all that easier. But, I could tell from the first message he sent me that I wasn’t going to like him, mostly because after every message he sent me, he added “Sexy” to it, a word I only want to hear from Jake Gyllenhaal, my personal shopper, or the cashier at Chipotle.

He said that we should meet up after work and I said yes, but quickly regretted my decision. I told my friends about meeting him and expressed my concerns and they all told me to just “shut up” “go with it” and “stop eating at Chipotle every day.” So, I listened to them and decided to go. Who knows, he may be my soul mate. I stopped listening to my gut and gave him a chance.

He works and lives in Harlem, so he suggested grabbing a few drinks up in that area. He then mentioned the place we were going to is “just minutes from his apartment.” If he thought I was going to get drunk and hook up with him, he was kind of right.

Having never been to Harlem, I obliged his request and told him that I would be there at 6:30, the time he was getting off work.

I missed the train and had to wait, making me 15 minutes late – something I very rarely do, and a trait I find extremely disrespectful. Luckily, I got service for a few minutes on the train and told him I would be there a little late and he replied that he works across the street from the bar we were meeting at and to just text him when I got off the train and he would meet me.

Once off the train I texted and he said, “On my way.”

I stood outside of the bar with my arms folded, waiting for him to appear. I looked left, right and behind me, and he was nowhere to be found. A 6’2’’ white male would stick out like a sore thumb in Harlem, I thought.

I ended up standing outside the place for 15 minutes until he arrived, which made me a little annoyed, but I figured it wasn’t the end of the world.

The end of the world, however, was the way he acted and spoke. Now, I am not into the flamboyant type – you know the guy who talks with his hands, wears more than one bracelet on his arm, and says the word “Yaaaaaaas!”

I noticed that he was extremely flamboyant from 100 yards away. One, he walked like he was on the catwalk in Rupal’s Drag Race. Secondly, he had a tan tote bag around his shoulder, only holding his cell phone. Isn’t that what pockets are for?

He greeted me, kissed me on the cheek, and grabbed the front door to the bar. We ended up sitting down at a table, in-between two couples having a much better time than I would.

The waitress approached us and asked for our drink order. I asked for a glass of the Cabernet while my date smacked his lips, rolled his eyes and said, “I’ll take a Makers Mark on the rocks because I’ve had a daaayyyyyy.”

It was my first time ever hearing someone say the word “Day” with more than 1 syllable.

When the waitress left us, I wanted to grab her arm and plead, “Stay just a little bit longer. Please don’t leave me alone with her.” But she walked away before I could even take a reach, so I inhaled and said to myself, You’re already here, so just have the best time you can.“Do you want to get a plate of nachos?” I asked, thinking this could at least help.

We sat at the table, looking at each other for a few seconds (which seemed like 10 minutes) when I finally asked, “Where did you grow up?”

“How many times are you going to ask me that?” he replied. “This is like, I don’t know, the fourth or fifth time.”

I opened my mouth to respond, but I was waiting for him to laugh or say “Just kidding” but both never came. So then I figured I would change the subject to work.

He told me that he works at a health clinic for HIV testing and that he is a writer on the side. Being more comfortable with the latter, I asked him what he liked to write about. He told me that he had a Dating column at a newspaper in Chicago, something I actually found fascinating.

“That’s my dream job,” I told him. “Tell me more about that!”

“Well, I don’t know what you want me to say. It was a lot of work.”

Kay.

It appeared that I was not going to be able to have any semblance of a normal conversation with this guy. Thankfully, the nachos arrived and I devoted all of my time and attention to the heaping dollop of sour cream lying on top.

I looked at my watch and it wasn’t even 8 o’clock yet. I could not sit at this table without having any type of conversation, so I took a deep breath and  asked what he watches on TV – a conversation I could have with a deaf monkey.

He mentioned a few shows I never really heard of or watched, and of coursed he was “obsessed with the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.” He then went on to say that he was a closeted Pretty Little Liars fan. FINALLY, something I could work with. I, too, am a closeted PLL fan and had just watched the season finale the night before, so finding someone who wasn’t 12 to talk about it with has been quite a challenge.

We spent the rest of the evening talking about the possibilities of who “A” could be and I was finally starting to enjoy the conversation.

When the waitress came by to pick up the empty plates off our table she asked if we wanted another drink, to which he replied, “No thanks, just the check” and then took a huge yawn. “Is that cool? I had a really long day and I’m exhausted.”

Although I was extremely happy he asked for the check (which meant I could be home before 9pm and eat the rest of my Oreo milkshake sitting in my freezer) I was actually kind of bothered by this. HE was the one fake-yawning and saying HE had a long day? HE was the one ditching ME? Oh, I don’t think so.

I wanted to say something right then and there that I was the one who was cutting the date short. That I was the one who was not interested. That I was the one who was exhausted! But, I just smiled and said, “Of course.”

The best part was when the check came, he didn’t seem to be in that much of a hurry to leave. He just let the checkbook sitting there in the middle of the table, waiting for me to pull out my credit card.

I don’t think so, buddy. I had to take a train to Harlem, wait 15 minutes for you to get here, and talk about an ABC Family television show for thirty-five minutes. If anything, we are splitting it.

So, I waited the ten minutes it took him to get the point and reach for his wallet and I threw in my card, too.

He walked me to the train, apologized again for being “such a bore” and hugged me goodbye.  Once on the train, I was ecstatic that it was over, but still really angry. I started thinking, “Why doesn’t he like me? He should be begging for me to date him. I’m handsome, smart, funny, and don’t get me started on my eyes. How is he the one who blew me off?”

I shrugged my shoulders and just laughed it off. I knew that I wasn’t going to have a good time and I wish I would have ignored my friends, co-workers, and the guy who toasted my bagel and just trusted my gut. Because my intuition is never wrong.

Except when I thought eating a 4 day old Milkshake was a good idea.

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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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Does Tinder Really Help Ignite a Spark?

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The world of dating has changed completely from our parents’ generation. No one is meeting each other in bars and no one is making any grand gestures. We don’t even need to shower or put pants on to find love. Not when your soul mate is a click – or a swipe – away.

In the past 5 years, there has been much advancement in the world of technology, from paying a friend back on your phone to finding a cab anywhere, anytime – we rely solely on our smart phones. So much, in fact, that we have turned to them to find love. Or at least a date.

The newest dating application, Tinder, is a quick and easy way to find singles in your area, by swiping right (yes) or left (no). It is connected to your Facebook account and allows the user to choose (up to six) photos that will potentially hook-in possible suitors. Making sure your profile picture is perfect requires a lot of time, energy, and sometimes, Photoshop.

Tinder is free, fast, and full of hopeful romantics that have resorted to playing a newer version of Hot or Not. You like someone, you swipe right. If that person also likes you, it’s a match! From there, you are allowed to openly message them, hopefully igniting some kind of spark.

But, with so many people using Tinder, and usually getting so many matches, it is almost impossible to have a conversation that lasts longer than a summer in Alaska.

As an avid user of this application, I have grown tired and weary of ever finding love – or even someone to go to the movies with. Not that I’m uninteresting (my mom thinks I have the personality of Dick Clark) it’s just that there is so much competition, and in a world of wanting “The Next Best Thing”, it is nearly impossible to sustain a conversation when you are being matched with five new people a day.

So, how do you find love on Tinder?

Well, for starters, be different. Bring something new to the table. Instead of the usual “Hey there” try something inventive and exciting. When you are matched, you can see if you have any friends or interests in common, so work with that. If you both like “Family Guy” ask who their favorite character is. If you both like Mumford & Sons, talk about the time you went to see them in concert.

It’s hard to say if these matches will eventually create some sort of spark or you’ll find love, but it’s something to do while you wait for lives on Candy Crush, right?

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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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My Year in Review

Usually, at the end of the year, people tend to reflect on the memories they have made, the things they wish they would have done differently, and the times they truly lived life to the fullest.

Me? On New Years Eve? I am sitting in my living room, drinking a glass of cheap red wine, and reflecting on the dates I have endured the past year. I am also being rejected via text message by some boy refusing to come over and watch a movie.

Pathetic.

And that is actually the word to describe my year in the world of dating.

Sure there were some nice guys, but like I always say, they aren’t any fun to talk about. So I figured I would write a brief synopsis of the dates I went on this past year and hopefully, if I am not too drunk, I will be enlightened to the error of my ways and hopefully find a similar path of mistakes and slip-ups.

Let’s begin.

2013 started off with a bang, and I don’t mean one made by a cheap firecracker bought off the side of the road in Tucson. I mean literally.

Last New Years Eve, I went to a party at a friends house where I continually drank every bottle of liquor in the house and smoked every last cigarette in my pack. Once the party had ended, a few of my friends and I headed down to the Lower East Side to check out some bars. When the bars  closed, and not even tired enough to go home, we headed across the street to an after-hours party that cost 20$ to get into. While waiting in the never-ending line of drunks and crack addicts, I met Kris – a graphic designer from Australia who was opening a brand new pack of Marlboro Lights and was giving me a hard time on acquiring one.

“It’s just one cigarette, you dingo. Give me a cig. I’ll do anything.”  Well, I shouldn’t have said anything, because next thing I remember was hooking up with him in the bathroom at this grungy bar – pants around my ankles and nothing but shame. But, in the end, I did get my cigarette, so everything worked out for the best.

The next “man of the year” was actually a man I had never met. Or will probably never meet. His name was Jared and we started talking on the ever-popular iPhone app, Grindr. He worked downtown, lived in New Jersey, and was smoking hot. And when I say smoking hot, I don’t mean Robert Downey Jr. in the 80’s. I mean Abercrombie and Fitch shopping bag smoking hot.

We would talk all day, every day, exchanging mundane activities from the day, learning about our families and upbrining, and sometimes, on the rare occasion, participating in a little bit of phone sex.

Now I am never one to dial and dime, but I had never – up to this point in time – participated in phone sex. I always thought it was juvenile and ridiculous. Plus, I never even met this guy, so I really didn’t know who I was talking to.

Speaking of “never knowing who I was talking to”… it turned out that he wasn’t really the guy in the pictures. He lied. He told me he was a 27 year old professional working on Wall Street. What he really was was a 40 something year old guy, working part time at a theater company living with his parents in Fort Lee, NJ. Yes, that’s right. I was catfished.

I was so upset about this because I truly was starting to gain feelings for him, and it turned out everything was just a lie. I didn’t even get to meet Nev! Ugh, so that is the story about Jared – if that IS his real name.

Moving on to the Spring. In the months of March and April, I was dating someone who was funny and sweet, but I just think we didn’t have too much in common. Maybe that is why he stopped calling me?

And over the summer, a girl friend of mine talked me into downloading a brand new phone application called Tindr – a refurbished Hot or Not that is connected to your Facebook pictures. I was obsssseeesssssssed. There is something so therapeutic about swiping “No” to hundreds of guys in the course of a Gossip Girl episode.

There is also nothing so exhilarating as clicking “Yes” on someone and having it be a match. Every time I would swipe to the right, my heart would stop for a second to see if they, too, liked me.

One night out at a fancy dinner (probably Applebee’s) my girlfriend Rebecca stole my phone and asked if she could “play Tindr on my phone.” Since I was not having much of any luck, I obliged her wishes. Plus, if she was busy swiping left or right, I had the entire basket of mozzarella sticks to myself. #winning

The next morning, I was alerted I had a new match. His name was David and he was very handsome. Most of all, he seemed so interested in me. He would reply three separate, long messages to my “how are you?” question instead of the usual “fine” or “horny” or BLOCK.

David and I met, had a wonderful first date, followed by wonderful second, third, fourth, and fifth dates. He was a great summer romance and we had a blast. But just like Sandy and Danny, it did not last. And plus, I look awful in a pleather pant suit.

So there I was, back to the drawing board. I don’t know why my friends make me play Pictionary on a Friday night!

The following few months, I was scraping the bottle of the barrel. I went on one date with a guy that had buck teeth and did club promotion. I went on another where a guy did cocaine in the bathroom and told me I looked like a leukemia patient.

“Is this what 27 will be like?” I asked the guy in the truck making my tacos. He didn’t respond, but gave me extra sour cream, so I smiled.

The last guy I  dated in 2013 (unless that boy realizes he is being stupid and comes over in the next half hour) was this guy named Keith.

Keith was a great guy – and clearly the best guy I had dated all year. He was successful, handsome, and so sweet. He held the door at restaurants and complimented my J.Crew button-down shirts. But, there was no zsa zsa zsu. No passion. No…real interest. He was the one I was most upset about because I truly could see something there, but at the time, I just was not ready for what they call a “mature relationship.” I mean, he didn’t even know what “That’s So Raven” was.

So, what did I learn this year, aside from not mixing dairy with vodka? That I just may not be ready for a serious, mature, relationship. I have a lot of things I need to work out before I can fully commit to someone. Being in a relationship is hard work and I don’t know if I can give someone my undivided attention.

But, nonetheless, I had a pretty great year, and even though I didn’t find my Prince Charming, I learned so much about myself from every one of these guys. What I want, what I don’t want, and how to properly perform phone sex (use the speakerphone).

When it comes to dating, this year my resolutions are to be more confident, expect the best, and stop giving hand jobs (seriously, what’s the point? Do it ya self.)

I am so excited to see just what, and who, 2014 will bring! So get ready – this writers’ dating life is far from being expired!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

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Single Bells

Ah, my friends, it is that time of year again. The time where we spend our Saturday nights making festive cookies, blaring “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” on repeat and drinking spiked (soy) egg nog.

No? Just me? Okay.

The one thing missing from this equation is a significant other to eat those delicious cookies, someone to sing and dance along to the songs on the Holiday Pandora station, and a guy to get drunk with.

Being in your late twenties and being single is pretty unpleasant, but the holidays sure make it 10 times worse. No one to buy gifts for – and more importantly, no one to receive gifts from. No one to help you carry your Christmas tree home and up three flights of stairs. And no one to fight with you about which Home Alone movie is better. You know you’re in bad shape when you listen to “Christmas Shoes” just to cheer up.

There is something about the cold weather and the ending of yet another year that really makes you sit down and ponder about life in general. Am I happy with my career? Do I enjoy my friends? Is this the city I want to live in? Should I have slept with that guy with the questionable rash?

While all important questions, sometimes we don’t like the answers. Looking back at our decisions in the past year regarding dating, it’s impossible not to cringe at some of the choices we had made. Even now, while writing this post, I can think on both hands about all the times I should have played it cool, not texted that guy at 3am, to not be in an abusive relationship, or to not suggest Mexican food on a first date.

Aside from doubting my actions when it comes to finding love, the end of the year also brings a lot of positive flashbacks from great memories with friends and the elusive good first dates. I have met so many amazing guys this past year and have not only learned about them, but I learned so much about myself. I know – what a cliché! I can’t even believe I typed that – but it’s true.

Going out with all different types of guys has made me realize what I want in a relationship. And, also, what I do not want.

Some things I could live without in the dating world: Someone who asks me out but doesn’t have a plan, someone who takes me to a gay bar on a Friday night at 11pm, someone who does a line of cocaine in front of me, and someone who thinks just because they bought me a cheeseburger at an Applebee’s means they get to sleep with me.

What I do want: someone who is caring, shows compassion, texts me daily, takes me to places I have never seen or been before, and most importantly, someone who can make me laugh. Money comes and goes, and looks don’t last forever, but if you have a personality that can keep me amused every day, that’s the most important quality I could ever hope for.  (And I mean, money doesn’t hurt).

So yes, I know that the holidays are tough – going to company parties solo, eating an entire box of candy canes alone, and singing “Single Bells” in the shower – but once Christmas is over, you can look forward to New Years Eve…Oh wait, I forgot…that whole “not having someone to kiss at midnight thing.” Ok, so forget that. Once Christmas and New Years are done, you can look forward to…ah, shit. Valentine’s Day is next, right? Damnit.

Okay, well just get through the next four or five months, and you will be happy again.

Happy Holidays! 🙂

 

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The 15 Worst Things I Have Heard on a First Date

Dating is an incredibly difficult and tiresome activity us 20-somethings need to partake in. Here is a compiled list of the 15 worst things  I have heard on my many dates. Enjoy. And may you never ever date these people.

1. “I’ve actually never read a book in my life.” 

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2. “I just did a line of coke in the bathroom.” 

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3. “Are you going to eat all of that?”

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4. “Oh, I actually still live at home.”

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5. “Mind if we stop at the cemetery real quick? I need to drop something off on my father’s grave.” 

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6. “Can you order me a Malibu Bay Breeze?” 

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7. “Is the shaved head a look? Or are you going through chemo?”

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8. “You Look Different in Person.”

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9. “I forgot my wallet. Can you spot me?”

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10. “Want to skip dessert and head to my place?”

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11. “Really? It doesn’t look like you have a gym membership…”

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12. “I quit my job on Wall St. My biggest passion is club promotion.”

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13. “Wanna fool around in the bathroom?”

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14. “Don’t you know how fattening Macaroni & Cheese is?” 

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15. “I think I’m falling in love with you.” 

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I guess it is safe to say I will be single for a long time. It’s fine. I don’t even care! 

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