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OKBye Story #8: There’s Something About Learkana

Another white dude, another blog post.

(I would like to reiterate that these dudes messaged me first. I had not yet gotten to the point where I felt comfortable initiating contact. If I had, I’d like to think the selection would have been somewhat more diverse.)

I don’t remember much about what was said with this particular nerdy 90something percent match white dude. (Let’s call him Eric. To be honest, I don’t remember his actual name.) I remember he was very persistent. I kept replying only because he kept messaging. He looked handsome in his pictures, but his profile was wordy and boring, probably because he had studied cognitive science at UC Berkeley (no offense to cognitive science majors who are actually interesting). At some point in our constant, insipid messaging, he brought up meeting in person. My ambivalence gave way to agreement. Sure, why not. If this was a mistake then whatever, I’m in my twenties.

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He asked what I wanted to do. I racked my brains, trying to think of something interesting. I hadn’t gone bowling in a while…

I located a bowling alley in San Leandro for us to meet up at. But he didn’t drive, so the plan was for him to BART over to the San Leandro station, where I would be waiting with my car to pick him up. He arrived about thirty minutes late. I was kind of annoyed, but played it cool. He looked like his pictures, but was much shorter than I had imagined. (Not that I am all that fixated on height–well, less so than the average woman. As long as the dude is at least a couple inches taller than me, it’s all good–given that I am 5’1”, this has been the least of my first date worries.)

So I drove us over there and already I was like, meh. We made the usual small talk. I think he said he was a canvasser of some kind. I told him I was an administrative assistant, and mentioned it was stressful at times. “But…you’re just an admin assistant, right?” he said.

Bitch, as if your job is any better, I was tempted to say. “Well, yeah,” I passive-aggressively said instead. I decided right then that I didn’t like him.

But we still had to go bowling. Upon getting there, I realized what a terrible mistake I had made. First of all, who the fuck goes bowling with just one other person? An awkward Asian girl with a shitty dating life, that’s who. Everyone else was in big, sociable groups. Another thing was that everyone there appeared to be good at bowling. Where were my fellow mediocre bowlers at? It only later occurred to me that a weeknight was not the preferred time for my bowling demographic.

We got a lane and our shoes. As I watched him pose with the ball, his back faced to me, I suddenly noticed how slim he was, how his hips narrowed. It was an instant turnoff. (I don’t mean to body police, but I just don’t like scrawny dudes. I don’t like overly buff dudes, either. If men get to fetishize me because I’m petite and cute or whatever, then I get to be picky about their physical builds too, goddamnit.)

Eric ended up being exceptionally skilled at bowling. I ended up exceptionally sucking. I was not surprised. After the ice skating fiasco (see OKBye Story #4), I should have known better. He even admonished me for stepping up to bowl when someone in another lane was preparing to roll their ball. “You’re actually supposed to wait until other people are done bowling before going up,” he said.

I felt stupid. “Oh.”

He had been part of a bowling league back in the day, and admitted to finding bowling to be somewhat stressful.

“Then why did you agree to go bowling?!” I exclaimed.

“I don’t know, I thought it might be fun,” he said.

It wasn’t fun. I was annoyed at myself for coming up with this bad idea. I could tell Eric was feeling awkward about it too. He knew I sucked, but didn’t want to seem like a condescending know-it-all by giving me pointers, which I sort of appreciated.

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After we finished one game we mutually agreed that we had filled our bowling date quota for the rest of our lives and left.

But now, what to do with him? I found myself driving aimlessly around the East Bay with him in the passenger seat. He still wanted to hang out, although I would have been perfectly happy dropping him off at the nearest BART station. I decided to grill him, and asked him to define rape culture.

“Rape culture? Uh…” he paused for a very long time. “Well, it’s…I know what it is, it’s just…” he fumbled for a good ten, fifteen minutes to the point where I just felt bad for him. “It’s okay, you tried,” I said to end his suffering.

We ended up at a park in Oakland Chinatown. We climbed up into the jungle gym, still talking. This was the part where Eric showcased a surprisingly detailed knowledge of my profile. He quoted me on several things I wrote. He even mentioned watching my Youtube videos, only one of which I had linked under the section “On a typical Friday night I am…” (a video of me lipsyncing and dorkily dancing to Taylor Swift’s “22”). I was not sure whether to feel flattered or creeped out. I had barely skimmed his profile. The only thing I remembered was a question about virginity he had answered in a way that had bothered me. Something about him preferring virgins, which I felt reinforced the sexist, patriarchal idea that women needed to be pure and innocent in order to be respected and seen as desirable. I decided to bring it up. “So…do you have a virgin fetish?” I asked.

He rambled on about him being sexually inexperienced and preferring to see sex as a way of making a deliberate, special connection. Well, something like that. “Are you a virgin?” he asked.

“Wouldn’t you know? You read my profile,” I semi-evasively responded.

“What are your thoughts on love?” he wanted to know.

I started swinging on the bar. He stood at one end and watched me as I swung back and forth, back and forth, towards him and away. “I don’t believe in soulmates,” I told him. “I don’t believe in true love. I’m just a very jaded, cynical person.”

He had a small smile on his face as I was saying all of this. I hated it. I told him it was getting late. We got back into the Shatmobile (the name of the craptastic car my cousin bequeathed to me as a college graduation gift) and I dropped him off at a downtown Oakland BART station. He got out of the car and looked at me with another smile. “See you later.”

“Okay, bye,” I said. I drove off thinking, meh.

Eric texted me later on, wanting to meet up again. I was somewhat surprised. I didn’t think we had really hit it off. But okay, sure. Maybe I was too harsh on the first date. Maybe I would like him more when I wasn’t throwing gutterballs. Clearly, something about me appealed to him, although I felt I had been an incredibly lackluster date as well. We took forever to make plans, though. He responded so slowly that a full week passed before we decided that we would meet up at a dive bar on Piedmont. I hate making plans, let alone plans with strangers I felt little to no fondness for, so this was torturous. By the time I had to meet up with him, I was not feeling it at all. In fact, I was contemplating cancelling at the last minute, but didn’t want to be a complete asshole, so I drove over, inwardly fuming.

I went inside. He wasn’t there. I ordered a beer, sipped it, and waited. I checked my phone: no new texts. After almost thirty minutes, I was done. I chugged most of my remaining beer and walked out. As I was leaving, I saw a glimpse of someone who looked like him, but thought, nah. He would have texted me. Right?

I sat in my car and waited out the slight wooziness I was feeling from the beer. Might as well let him know.

I texted: ‘Hey, you weren’t there, so I left.’

He texted: ‘You were here? I was waiting outside.’

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Ah fuck, so it was him. Well, why didn’t this motherfucker just text me when he got there? I guess I could have been proactive and texted him to let him know first, but he was the one who wanted to meet up with me, not the other way around. Ugh. Whatever.

He texted: ‘Come back.’

I texted: ‘I’m feeling really tired. Sorry for pulling a dick move.’

Does this count as standing him up? I wondered. God. I really was a dick. I felt really bad, especially knowing that he took public transit to get to the bar and was now probably walking back to wait at the bus stop he had just gotten off at. Still. I had no interest in meeting up with him. If me pulling a dick move was what was required for him to move on, then fine by me.

Except that he texted me a few days later, asking to meet up again. I was totally confused by this point. Hadn’t I proven myself to be a terrible person? Why the hell did he still want to hang out with me?

I texted: ‘Hey. So you seem like a cool guy and all, but I think this can only be platonic.’

He texted: ‘Why? Because of the virgin thing?’

I texted: ‘Well, partly. But I also don’t think we’re compatible.’

He texted: ‘Okay. Want to get dinner?’

Fuckkkkkk. I didn’t expect that he would take me up on the friendship offer. The truth was, I didn’t want to be friends with him either. He was boring vanilla, and I wasn’t interested in being his exotic topping.

I texted: ‘Sorry, I’m really busy.’

He texted: ‘Come on. Take a walk with me in the rain.’

I didn’t answer his cheesy ass invite. He didn’t try texting me again.

I guess instead of telling him I was busy, I could have said, “Sorry, when I said ‘platonic’ I didn’t mean I actually wanted to be friends.” But that would have been a bitchy thing to say, right? I hated that I had to lie to him. That dating was just a game of well executed lies and skirting around the truth until you inexplicably found yourselves in too deep to care about putting on a front with the other person.

I once told a friend, “I can’t play the game, so I will always lose.” As melodramatic as that sounds, it rings true.

tl;dr Boy messages girl, girl and boy go bowling and have an awkward shitty time, girl and boy end up at park where deep questions about love and sexuality are half-assedly answered, girl and boy try to meet up again but girl changes her mind and kind of ditches him, girl and boy never see each other again