I was a few weeks into my first real job. Things were becoming stable for me again, so I decided to get back into the online dating scene. There was this one dude who had messaged me from way back, some 90%ish white dude (why do I fall for it every time?) whom I never got around to meeting up with. I don’t remember there being anything particularly interesting in his profile. He had like one picture up, and it was one of those annoyingly ambiguous pictures where you can’t tell whether the person is attractive or not. (Dudes: please post more pictures of yourself if you want to be successful in online dating. And by pictures I mean decent quality photos of yourself at appropriate distances that compliment your appearance. And by yourself I mean yourself–what are you trying to suggest when you post pictures of you getting touchy with other women? The possibility that you are making some kind of anti-heterosexist statement is very very unlikely, so stop that.)
Still, we were a 90%! And I totally wasn’t shallow, right? (Wrong.) I hit him up again, via text. Let’s call this dude…Sherlock. For reasons. This was over a year ago, but our conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey! I know it’s been a while, but would you be free to meet up sometime?
Sherlock: Who is this?
Which pretty much suggests he couldn’t give less of a fuck about me, right? I think I backtracked at this point.
Me: Um…a random person from an online dating website. But if you don’t know who I am, that probably means we shouldn’t hang out, right?
Sherlock: Oh, well I got a new phone and lost all my old contacts. But if you tell me your name, I’ll probably remember.
I decided to play my evil girly games and make him guess.
Sherlock: Is this Daniel, the lawyer who went to Yale?
Me: Wtf no [note: I guess it may be relevant here to state that he identified as bisexual in his profile]
Sherlock: Oh, is this Lauren, the woman who was allergic to seafood on our second date and whom I never heard from again?
He guessed even more people, attaching random names with weirdly explicit details from a variety of online dating websites. Apparently he had gotten around (not a judgment, just a statement, okay). I decided I was learning a little too much about him from the get-go and cut off the “game.”
Me: It’s Learkana. The Asian chick from OKC who never met up with you for reasons.
Sherlock: Oh, hi Learkana.
We made plans to meet for a daytime hike. Romantic right?
You and I should know better by now.
We met up in downtown Berkeley, where we would take the bus to Tilden, hike, and bus back. Clearly this was a terrible idea, but for whatever reason, I wasn’t thinking too much about it at the time. I got off the BART and called him.
“I’m walking over. Wearing a yellow sweater.”
I spotted him. A giant humanoid with a head of curly hair. He looked like an overgrown 10-year-old boy. Oh god.
I think I definitely went for the handshake.
We walked over to the bus stop, sat down on a bench, and began at least fifteen minutes of awkward small talk, interspersed with those dreaded silences. He was a grad school student, studying math, and blah blah blah.
Zero interest. Zero chemistry. Zero attraction. At least on my end.
By this point I was cursing myself. Fuck. Why did I not think this through? The date hadn’t even officially begun, and I was already wishing I was back at home.
“So, you speak Khmer!” he suddenly exclaimed. “That’s so cool that you speak a non-European language.”
I stared at this white boy. Was he really doing this right now? He was also saying it the horrible white-people way, Kuh-mair (e.g. “C’mere Asian chick, let me colonize your vagina.”)
“It’s Kuh-mai,” I corrected him.
“Sorry, I’m Jewish. I wouldn’t know.”
“Are you a practicing Jew…ish?” I realized in midsentence that saying just “Jew” could be considered offensive.
“It’s not correct to use ‘Jewish’ as a noun,” he said in the manner of a typical white boy. “You can say ‘Jew.'”
“Okay. Are you a practicing Jew?”
“No, not really.”
The bus arrived. We got on. More forgettable small talk and silent pauses. This is going to be a long day, I thought.
We got off at a stretch of road that led into the park and started walking. Walking, walking, walking. It wasn’t terrible–just my company. I kept thinking, I could really enjoy this hike, if I were with someone I liked. Or hell, even on my own. Why do I do this to myself? I became quieter and quieter as time went on. He blathered on, oblivious.
He told a corny joke, I don’t remember what it was. It was wordy and in reference to a subject I didn’t care about. He assumed I didn’t get it, and explained it to me in unnecessary detail. I suggested he refrained from telling jokes for the rest of the hike.
We got onto the subject of music. We started rattling off names of artists we listened to. Not a single sign of recognition from either of us, until I said, “Tegan and Sara.”
“Oh! That makes sense.”
I stared at him again. “Excuse me?”
“Because…you went to a girl’s school! And you know, they’re lesbians?”
Oh, god. “That’s offensive,” I told him point-blank. I wasn’t really that offended, but I couldn’t believe this unfunny, ignorant crap was coming out of his mouth. 90 percent my ass.
He apologized. “Sorry, it was just a bad joke.”
Didn’t I tell this motherfucker to quit with the “jokes”? “I think we should start heading back,” I said.
We headed back down the trail. We started talking about dating and sexuality, a conversation interesting enough for me to be engaged in for the rest of our hike back to the bus stop. He didn’t like when I used the word “pursue” in the context of dating. He said it sounded predatory, which made me kind of respect him, because it showed he was kind of aware of the implications of language. He had only been in a couple of relationships, he told me. He said he was pickier about the kind of guys he liked. I think I told him I had never been in a relationship.
“So…what are you looking for in terms of dating?” he asked.
Bleh. This question again. “I don’t know,” I said. “I guess someone I can connect with. Someone I have a lot in common with and could see myself being in a committed relationship with.” I mainly said all this crap to imply that he was not this someone.
“Would you be interested in just hooking up with someone that you didn’t have that much in common with, but were attracted to?” he said very carefully.
Was he trying to suggest that we hook up? Eesh. Better safe than sorry. “No,” I lied. “I’m not really into the whole ‘hooking up’ thing.”
We waited for the bus, mainly in silence. The bus came. We got on and sat across from each other.
We talked about books. This led to a discussion of Harry Potter. Well, it wasn’t much of a discussion. He started going on about his pet peeves with the series–how the Malfoy family’s wealth was never really explained, nor the logistics of Voldemort’s reign of terror. Out of all the things to take issue with in Harry Potter, the allegedly insufficient exposition around the wealth and power of the antagonists was what bothered him the most? Oh jeez.
“So, I take it that you don’t want to go on future dates with me?” he asked, point-blank.
I looked at him, surprised he would be straightforward. Again, he earned a teensy bit more of my respect.
“Well…no,” I answered truthfully. “We don’t really have anything in common, do we?”
“No,” he admitted. We lapsed into more silence for the rest of the bus ride.
Back in downtown, we shook hands, as if we had just concluded a doomed job interview.
“It was nice meeting you,” he said.
“Yeah. It was a nice hike,” I politely lied.
He looked at me in a searching kind of way. “You’re an interesting person. Keep in touch.”
Why would you say that? I was tempted to ask. You know we’re going to do no such thing.
Instead I walked away without looking back.
Driving home, I melodramatically filed this experience as the “worst date ever,” which inspired parody lyrics to One Direction’s “Best Song Ever,” the song that was stuck in my head at the time:
I just went on one of the worst dates ever
We had nothing in common, ‘cept I liked his sweater
Forgot the things he said but don’t care to remember
Cuz it was definitely one of the worst dates ever
I was like no, no, no
Cuz it sucked yeah, yeah, yeah
I was like bye…whew!
worst date ever
it was the worst date ever
okay second worst ever
(Just so we’re clear, the first worst date was with the dude who didn’t know about rape culture. See OKBye Story #3: “10 Things I Did Not Particularly Like About Him.”)
What was the lesson here? Quit talking to random (white) guys from the Internet?
Unfortunately, it would take me many more mediocre dates to catch on.
tl;dr Girl texts boy who messaged her a while back, girl and boy meet up for a hike, girl regrets it the first five minutes in, girl and boy have little to nothing in common, boy asks if they are never going to see each other again and girl confirms yes, girl and boy never see each other again