My retelling of previous OKCupid dates might make it sound like I was done with white boys. But I wasn’t done with them just yet.
What’s with this fixation on white boys anyway, you might be wondering. Well, living in a white supremacist world helps a lot, quite frankly.
And to be further honest, I don’t think I cared for white boys much until I got to high school. Probably because I didn’t see very many of them. Once I was a teenager, however, those messages from the media about eurocentric beauty standards started sinking in, reinforced by seeing a plethora of cute white boys at my school. It was ugly and awful internalized racism, of course, but it didn’t really register as such at the time. Ironically, white boys were a foreign species to me. Except for my next door neighbors, I knew little of the ways of my white male peers, except for what I saw on TV. So perhaps that was the appeal for me: a nice and wholesome, good looking white boy whom I could project all my heteronormative, vanilla fantasies onto. (I know, I make myself want to vomit.)
Online dating had unfortunately become an entry point into better understanding the white male as an identity, an identity deeply entrenched in privilege and entitlement. The more I interacted with white dudes, the more I wondered why I was interacting with them to begin with. I guess I didn’t want to come off as “racist.” (Social Justice 101: you cannot be racist against a people who benefit from structural racism, aka white people.) But if a guy was cute, kind, sociopolitically aware, laughed at my jokes and just so happened to be white, would I really hold his race against him?
Well, no, I grudgingly admitted. I just had to really make sure that this elusive white boy was actually sociopolitically aware though.
Which was why when a seemingly cute, kind, sociopolitically aware white boy messaged me, I decided to respond.
Our conversation went exactly like this:
RandomDude12 Hey, just wanted to say that I found your profile entertaining to read. What do you find fun about writing an OKC profile? Most people seem to hate it. Sent 9/13/2014
CrumpleHSnorkack I think the fun is in being able to create an impression of myself that isn’t totally restricted by standard social norms. I’ve noticed other people (friends included) who treat their profiles like a resume and write to impress, but who am I trying to impress on here, really? I figure if I’m going to go on and on about myself I might as well try to make it kind of entertaining, even if I’m the only one being entertained.
Also I’m a writer and a social media narcissist so the OKC profile is both a good exercise in character development and an excuse to talk about myself without actually talking to anyone about myself.
Do you hate it?
RandomDude12 I don’t hate it. It stresses me out, but it’s an interesting challenge. I tend to post very little on social media, but since OKC doesn’t really work that way, it gives me an opportunity to go out of my comfort zone and try to differentiate myself from the hordes of other users. It’s a balance, I suppose, of writing to impress (shameful, I know), and trying to express the unfiltered me.
I find exchanging messages to be trickier, since I’m not only attempting to express myself, but also trying to emulate conversation in the absence of social cues. So to follow up on that, would you be interested in meeting up and continuing this conversation over coffee, maybe this Thursday?
CrumpleHSnorkack Okay maybe I’m interpreting your invitation too literally, but I don’t drink coffee lol. How bout drinks Sent from the OkCupid app
RandomDude12 Sounds good! I’m less familiar with drink places in Oakland, how does Jupiter in Berkeley sound? Say at 6:00? Sent 9/14/2014
CrumpleHSnorkack Okie dokie. See you then! Sent from the OkCupid appRandomDude12 Cool, see you Thursday! I’m Connor*, by the way.CrumpleHSnorkack Cool, I’m Learkana. Sent 9/15/2014
*name changed to hide true identity of generic white guy you are unlikely to successfully cyberstalk even if I had revealed his actual name, which is only slightly less generic than “Connor”–presuming you would even care to cyberstalk him, which you probably don’t, so whatever idk
I headed over straight after work. I ended up being kind of late because traffic was a bitch, trying to find parking was a bitch, and trying to find the damn pub was also a bitch (ugh, fuck Berkeley). Connor seemed pretty nonchalant about it however. In person, he was pretty cute. His voice was a little too squeaky, I noted. (I have this thing about voices. Don’t ask.) We briefly hugged, sat down at the table he had secured for us, ordered our drinks, and commenced with the awkward small talk.
God, what did we talk about? I think we went all over the place. We talked about all the boring stuff: work, family, school, interests. The more alcohol that went in me, the more I was willing to say whatever the fuck came to my mind.
“I really hate awkward pauses,” I told him. “Don’t you hate having pauses in the conversation?”
“I don’t mind them,” Connor said.
“Oh. Well, I just think they’re really awkward.” Thus making it all the more awkward, of course.
I wish I could blame it all on the alcohol, but all I had was a hard cider.
“So…can you define what rape culture is?” I asked. This had been my go-to first date question for a while now. A very straightforward approach to screening dating candidates. A method by which I have separated the decent guys from the rest. A litmus test for sociopolitical awareness and feminism (or a lack thereof).
Which was why I was completely thrown off when Connor pursed his lips and said, “I would rather not.”
“Wait, what?” I said. “Are you serious?”
“I don’t want to talk about rape culture,” he replied.
“But…why?” My mind was spinning. Obviously it’s an awkward subject to bring up on a first date, but it’s totally relevant! And if a guy knows what rape culture is, he’s less likely to be a thoughtless perpetrator of it, right? And if he was a feminist, he would totally be down to talk about it, right? Right??
“I just don’t want to,” he insisted.
I dropped the subject. For now.
We finished our drinks and a waiter came by with the check.
“Wanna split it?” I asked.
He said sure. He put down his card. I pulled out all the cash I had, but was short a couple of bucks. That was when I started counting out change for him.
“You don’t need to do that,” Connor said. “It’s fine.”
Still, I kept pulling out more change from my wallet. For some reason I was fixated on paying him the exact amount I owed him. It took a few minutes of him watching me helplessly as I very meticulously counted out pennies and dimes and nickels before I realized that I was being weird and should stop, immediately. “Uh. I’ll buy you a drink next time if you want,” I said.
He agreed to that. I got up. “I need to use the bathroom,” I announced. “Um. Feel free to leave if you want, I promise I won’t get offended.” Oh my God what the hell was I saying. Truth be told, I was kind of freaking out because this date seemed to be going terribly and I wanted to give him an exit if he needed one.
So I went to the bathroom, came out and couldn’t find him. Oh shit, he really did leave me, I thought. But then I spotted him waiting just outside the venue. Whew.
He asked if I wanted to take a walk and I said sure. We wandered through the streets of downtown Berkeley, talking about dating and relationships. Things quickly went downhill from there–figuratively speaking.
I started ranting about how awful online dating was, and how I would go on dates with guys, make awkward small talk, then never see them again. All my pent up frustrations with being a heteronormative intersectional feminist came pouring out. I told him I was too awkward and neurotic and blunt to be doing this, then apologized for doing this while being awkward and neurotic and blunt. Nothing I said was charming, sweet, or alluring. Everything that came out of my mouth was enough to shrink the boners of the most sexually deviant and easily aroused men, and ward off any guy with even the slightest propensity for romance: just 100% unfiltered, self-sabotaging word vomit.
Connor kept reassuring me that he was having a good time, though, and that he was happy I was being perfectly honest with him. I was not convinced.
“You’re very interesting,” he said.
“Well thank you,” I said, somewhat gratified. “But it’s probably because I’m slightly inebriated right now. Although you did think my profile was interesting and I was sober when I wrote that, so actually I guess I am interesting without alcohol, so thanks.”
I started running out of things to say, so I brought up the subject of rape culture again. “Would you be okay with defining rape culture now?” I asked.
He didn’t seem upset that I asked again, and did a decent job of defining it (uh, don’t remember the decent definition he provided, but I would have definitely remembered if it was shitty).
After walking up and down and around several blocks for the umpteenth time, I offered to walk Connor to his car. On our way there, a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk looked up at us and remarked, “Cute couple.”
We ended the night with the lighthearted conversation topic of racism (he talked about racist microaggressions experienced by a friend of his). We finally reached the parking garage where his car was. Again, a brief hug. No sparks. My bitter feminist monologue had ensured there was nothing to ignite. Then I walked away as fast as I could before realizing oh fuck I don’t remember where I parked my car fuckkkk.
By the time I got home, it was late and I had already revisited the night a hundred times in my head. Every time I thought back to all the things I said to Connor, I cringed and groaned and facepalmed and probably smacked myself a few times as a reflex. But there was nothing I could do now.
Except apologize, specifically for nagging him about rape culture when he had explicitly stated he didn’t want to talk about it to begin with.
So the next day, I wrote him the following message:
Hey! I just want to apologize for being so pushy about talking about rape culture when you were clearly uncomfortable with it. I can be a pushy person in general but that’s no excuse. I usually bring up the topic as a way of screening out dudes who are ignorant/apathetic/disinterested in feminist issues, but I guess I’ve never really thought about other reasons why someone wouldn’t want to discuss it (aside from general awkwardness). So yeah, sorry for being a jackass.
To my relief, he responded soon after:
Hey, I totally get that if there’s a dealbreaker issue, you’d want to know as soon as possible. Honestly, I found it refreshing to have a completely honest conversation with someone, it made me happy. So you shouldn’t focus on the negative (says the eternal optimist).
Evidently our conversation didn’t make him that happy, because I never heard from him again.
Not that I was surprised or anything.
This may have been one of the worst dates I’ve been on. And the worst part of it is, ~I~ was the reason it was one of the worst dates I’ve been on. I wondered if Connor had secretly thought the same thing.
Then I wondered, is it possible to be even worse at dating than you were to begin with?
tl;dr Boy messages girl, girl and boy meet for drinks, girl word vomits all over boy, girl and boy never see each other again