That could have gone better.
I keep swearing I’m done with online dating, but I’ve had Bumble running in the background all this time. So I’m still swiping through, matching with a bunch and chatting with a few. Recently there were these two girls of Irish descent, but apart from a shared love of our heritage I wasn’t sure what else we really had in common. However they seemed keenly interested in me, and I’m fairly confident in my abilities now, so I decided to take each of them out. Not to mention it’s been two months since I’d been on a date and I wanted to keep the engine warm.
I unmatched with Girl No. 1 because she was too much of a fussbucket with her schedule. She said between 4:30 and 6:30 on weekdays was best for her – after that she had to be home with her dog and she “wasn’t great at going out on school nights.” Then she said she was busy on the weekends. Good lord. Next. Not to mention she lived 30 miles away. Had she lived closer I might have tried to accommodate her, but it seemed more trouble than it was worth.
Onto Girl No. 2. The subject of burgers came up, so our first date was a no-brainer. However, like Girl No. 1 she also lived 30 miles away, so I gallantly offered to drive to her area. She arrived just before I did and I met her inside the door. I approached the date with trepidation since her pictures didn’t include a clear full-body shot, but I was relieved when I saw her. She was hotter in person than I expected – so much so that it made me a little nervous.
Unfortunately she didn’t seem as impressed with me. Things got awkward. While our online banter was light and fun and a touch flirty, our real life conversation was anything but. I kept tripping over my words, and then I found myself second-guessing having food on a first date. I seemed to have a mouthful whenever I wanted to speak, and she would silently wait for me to swallow each time. It also didn’t help that we had little in common (as I suspected). Try as I might to keep things going, I had no choice but to fall back onto the staid topics of work/school/family and “what do you do for fun?” Zzzz.
She was clearly restless by the end of the hour. Jimmy legs under the table and fidgeting all over the place, plus a couple of glances at her phone. Then I choked on my last bit of drink. Once again she sat there in silence watching me splutter and whack myself on the back. My airway finally cleared a couple minutes later, by which time my eyes were streaming and I’d accidentally knocked a couple of condiment bottles to the floor. More awkwardness. I cut my losses and called it a night. The date was not salvageable and I was making a horse’s ass of myself.
I walked her outside, said “nice meeting you,” gave her a hug good night and we went our separate ways. I kicked myself all the way back to my car. A bit of forced awkwardness is inherent in online dating, but what the hell was that? I’ve had some bad dates in the beginning, but after further experience and then losing my virginity, I didn’t think I’d ever again end up feeling like the dog who caught the car. Better luck next time – along with a little more vetting.
When my friend Don heard I went on another date, he shook his head and said, “Man, that’s gotta be rough on you.” I thought he was referring to my multitude of rejections, but he was referring to my wallet. He assumed I was treating all these girls to expensive dinners, and when he found out I wasn’t he said, “Dude, no wonder you’re struggling then!”
Yeah…no. I’ve done a few dinners on first dates, but it’s ridiculous to splash out on every first date when you don’t even know if there’s a connection yet. If you don’t like someone, you don’t like someone. Spending 45+ bucks on a meal isn’t going to change things, and even if it did then why would I want to be with someone like that? But had I listened to him I’d still have the same string of bad dates, except now I’d be out 2-3 times the money.
Then again, it made sense for him because he never went on online dates. He met all his girls in real life and actually ended up marrying the one next door. I’m still trying to go on real-life dates myself. It’s a completely different dynamic (and how I finally found success). But I haven’t met anyone else that way yet.
I’ve been to some more Habitat for Humanity builds, where I ran into the same two girls from last time and confirmed they indeed have boyfriends. Of course. I’ve been on a few more hikes through Meetup, but the ages skewed into the 40s and 50s. I’m also busy gearing up for the St. Patrick’s Day season. Eight parades, two parties, one music session, and my first solo performance in two years. I’ve been practicing like crazy and I’m finally returning to the open mic circuit next month. I’ll see some old faces there and hopefully some new ones as well. And finally, I’ve applied for a passport and it should be here any day now. I’m still working my way around the lower 48, but I want to start exploring internationally as well. Good stuff.