Spring of 2014: You know the setup by now.
Nerdy ninety-something percent match white guy messages me and I respond, because he seems cute and nice and liberal-leaning and I hadn’t cut white boys out of my dating life yet. We exchanged several messages discussing our views on social justice, which confirmed to me that he was indeed not a total douchebag. Then he asked if we could meet up, and I said yes.
Then he asked for my number, which I gave to him. Then he called me.
He called me.
He CALLED me.
This bitch called me…TO TALK ABOUT OUR PLANS.
Introverted awkward millenial girl does not compute.
I had only texted or messaged guys so far in my dating ventures. Unless I was actually on my way to meet them and couldn’t locate them or something in which case–for practicality’s sake–I had to suck it up, whip my phone out and cringe-dial them. I thought there was an unspoken, textual communications-only agreement between me and random Internet dudes, but apparently not. Apparently a guy can just call you up out of the blue, like well-adjusted people who don’t have any phobias around talking on the phone.
Suffice it to say, I did not take him calling me very well. The phone conversation went something like this:
Me: “Uh, hello?”
Him: “Hi, is this Learkana?”
Him: “Hey, it’s Matt**, from OKCupid?”
Me: “Uh…is there a reason you’re calling me?”
Him: “Yes, you said you wanted to meet up? What do you want to do?”
Me: “Uh….I don’t know.”
Him: “How about a walk around Lake Merritt?”
Me: “Okay sure.”
Him: “Okay, so I’ll see you on Tuesday?”
Me: “Okay sounds good bye” *hangs up*
**name changed mainly because actual name has been forgotten.
I realized only after I had gotten off the phone that I should have at least pretended to sound like a decent human being. Oh well.
We met up in the evening, after work. I was walking over to the lake when I spotted him. Spotting a date from the Internet has always been a weird phenomenon to me. It’s like seeing an Instagram selfie unfiltered, or if you’re lucky, extra filtered. The person always ends up looking at least a little less or more attractive than what you assumed based on a handful of ill-chosen photos. I sometimes get this fear that I won’t be able to identify the guy, but I always do.
He was pretty much like his pictures except kind of more feminine looking than I was expecting, as per usual. (I know “feminine” isn’t the greatest or most specific term to use, but I can’t really nail down what I mean–CUZ GENDER IS A SOCIAL CONSTRUCT, yeah yeah yeah. I guess what I mean is shorter, thinner, features more refined, other stereotypical characteristics, etc.)
We greeted each other, said some words, went off and…um, well, that was it.
No, really. There is very little I can recall of what transpired on this walk around the lake, which is extremely telling of how the date ended. I know that we walked around the entire lake. I know at some point I remarked that there was a lot of bird shit everywhere. I know that he showed me some capoeira moves because I asked him to, only to regret him complying with my weird and awkward request. I remember thinking, I don’t think my outfit is appropriate for an evening stroll around the lake (I was wearing a blazer and a short, tight skirt). I remember saying, Wow, we’ve gone pretty far, how much further do you think we have left to go? when we were only halfway there. I remember feeling, this is very unromantic and strange and pretty fucking boring and a bad idea. Our small talk was stretched too thin by the distance, the silence between us made deafening by the quiet exuded by the still waters of the wide open lake. It was a disconcerting, almost alienating experience to take a walk with a stranger I had only a few handfuls of words for.
At the end of it, it seemed to me he wasn’t very interested either. He politely said goodbye, and walked off. I don’t think we even shook hands or hugged. I drove home, getting the sense that I would not be hearing from him again, and being okay with that, even if the petty, narcissistic part of me wanted him to reach out as proof that I had “won” (again with the evil mind games!).
He ended up texting me later on, asking me if I would like to hang out again. (I win!) I responded with “Sure, let me know when you think of something fun.” Then I never heard from him again. (I lost?)
My friend Chelsia suggested that I could have used better wording. “Your response sounded pretty rude,” she told me. “I would have been offended by that.” Ah Chelsia. Keeping it real.
Maybe she was right. Maybe I had sent him running with my vague and apathetic text message. But who really nitpicks about things like that, aside from super uptight, neurotic people uselessly applying their English degrees, a demographic I completely and totally have no relationship to whatsoever? (Cough, cough. Eyes shifting.) Repressing my urge to needlessly overanalyze, I figured it was mostly the fact that we had met up in person and had not been able to connect with each other that had caused the dissipation of our initial mutual interest.
But what exactly went wrong? He was nice. He wasn’t ugly. We were a high match and shared similar beliefs. Why hadn’t I liked this guy? Why hadn’t he liked me? I was seriously starting to rethink my dating strategy at this point. Maybe it didn’t matter whether or not a guy could define rape culture. Maybe it didn’t matter whether he self-identified as a feminist or was aware of the ramifications of white privilege. Maybe what mattered was whether I made him laugh, and whether or not he kissed me, and I let him. Maybe his worldview mirroring mine meant nothing.
But it meant something to me, I argued with myself. Everyone knows me as the annoyingly hardcore intersectional feminist who bombards everyone’s Facebook newsfeed with patriarchy-smashing posts. I eat, sleep, breathe, and shit feminism. Every little thing I hear or see or read is automatically analyzed and deconstructed based on its relationship to race, gender, class, etc. etc. I can’t just let my heteronormativity compromise my values!
And what if my worst fear gets realized? That I take social justice out of the equation and continue seeing guys. Find a guy I click with. We start seeing each other more. Take things slow. Then things get serious. He meets my friends. He meets my family. We move in together. We share the same bed. Then I wake up one day and he leans over, kisses me, and says something just really fucking racist. That’s what I’m afraid of. That I’ll fall in love with someone who was secretly an ignorant asshole all along. That I’ll fuck a racist. Or a sexist. Or whatever. God. Then what? Then I’d have to set my vagina on fire out of shame and disappointment and horror. Okay maybe not that exactly, but you know what I mean.
I had to keep doing what I was doing, I decided. Even if I was rendered a spinster because of it. Because the most important thing was staying true to myself, and that was exactly what I was doing. Right? Right.
But then, inexplicably, my OKCupid account was deleted. One day I tried logging in, and found that no matter how many times I very carefully typed in my username and password, OKC would tell me that there was an error. My account was an error. My dating life was an error. I was an error.
I asked friends who were on OKC to look me up, just to make sure. They tried to search for “stangrlthecat.” Nothing came up. My profile was gone.
I was kind of upset, mainly because I liked my profile, but also because I didn’t get a chance to respond to messages from 2 different guys who actually sounded promising (one who will later show up again, pssst). But now I had no way of ever contacting them again.
I took this as a sign that I wasn’t meant to be doing the online dating thing, and called it quits.
(For a few months. Then got back on again upon realizing that unfortunately I was still a straight girl who had no other way of meeting guys. But that’s another story, for another time–specifically, another blog post for whenever I feel up to regurgitating more cringe-inducing memories of awkward and anticlimactic dates from my brain.)
[Edit: Okay, so it actually only took me a couple of months to return to the online dating cesspool. Guess I was more desperate than I remember, oops. I regret the error–and the fact.]
tl;dr Boy messages girl, boy calls girl, girl freaks out, boy and girl decide to go for a walk around the lake, girl and boy walk around said lake, boy asks girl to hang out again and girl says sure, girl and boy never see or hear from each other again