0

Exhausting

I am too exhausting
for you to open your door
and greet me on a Friday night
with a tongue drenched in red wine.
I am too exhausting
for you to unbutton my shirt
and toss it in some corner
I will eventually be left
scrambling to find.
I am too exhausting
for you to pull down
my crumpled skirt
and the black tights you like
while I wrap my legs
around your waist
and exhale yes
into your ear,
my fingers running
through your cloud of hair
and down the smooth expanse
of your back,
our mouths waging wars
as you carry me
to your bed
and we soak
your sheets
with unbridled lust
until we are
a tired tangle
of limbs
speaking only
in rapid breaths
and eyes
that linger
and smiles
that play coy.
I am too much
for this to happen
You are simply exhausted.
I bring you down
but not to your knees.
You need someone
who lifts you up.
On her back.
With her tongue
and heart
cut out.

0

A Blueprint of Desire

Kiss the inside of my thighs,
my stomach,
my face.
Press your lips hard each time.
Leave moist imprints on my body.
Do not slobber.
If you are hungry
graze my neck
suckle my breasts
feast on ripe fruit
I laid bare for you to eat.
Don’t just taste me.
Consume me.
Rein in your teeth.
Do not bite too hard.
Invite your fingers
to dance upon
my crown jewel.
If you get lost,
I will show you the way
to hidden treasure.
Keep a steady rhythm.
Learn to multitask.
Kiss me.
I want to know your mouth.
Get acquainted with your tongue.
Speak a nonverbal language of lust
with your lips.
Put your hands
all over my body
not just the places
you were taught to yearn.
Stroke my waist.
Cup my hips.
Grip my thighs.
Do not pull my hair.
Do not touch my head.
Do not choke me.
Every so often,
press your face
against mine
and whisper,
does this feel good?
Make sure I am
damp with longing
not just spit and lube
before you slip inside.
Slow. Steady. Then faster.
Dance to a rhythm
of shared pleasure.
Do not hit the hallway
of an empty home
you cannot move into.
Do not slam into me.
Thrust to make me moan.
Can you make me moan?
This must be
your never-ending goal.
Love my body
the way it deserves
to be loved
and I
will do the same

0

Tinderp Tale #3: Truth or Drink

What are you looking for?

That’s it. The most important question you can answer as a single navigating the dating scene. The 3 options and their consequences to keep in mind are as follows:

a) If you answer dishonestly, you might hurt someone down the road.

b) If you answer honestly, you might scare or turn someone off.

c) If you skirt around answering or addressing the question, you or whoever’s the most neurotic in the flirtationship will live in an amorphous and complicated state of confusion, anxiety, and stress over where things are going and why.

In my experience, we millennials rely heavily on c), much to my dismay and detriment as a neurotic single. Apparently, direct communication is out of style. Let’s just be chill and not specify what the fuck we’re actually doing!

Back on OKCupid, I was looking for a long-term relationship while also pretending that I wasn’t actually looking for a relationship. (Obviously, this plan was set up to fail and did, in fact, fail.) Now that I was on Tinder, I was unclear of what I was looking for but knew it vaguely had something to do with chemistry, whatever that thing was. Must I resist the urge to throw myself at him in person? Then yes, it’s really a match!

There wasn’t much room to be selective on Tinder, anyway. You judged based on pictures and a brief bio, which may or may not have actual words in it. Which in my case translated to: I forced my Dating Sensei/roommate/friend Sayuri to judge based on pictures and on the bio which should definitely have at least SOMETHING in it, because I’m not that fucking shallow, goddamnit.

One of the matches she obtained for me was a guy I will call Anthony. Anthony was cute. He had high quality photos that included an adorable close-up of him and various action shots that showed he was a fun guy who possessed an actual social life. Also, his bio had words that made sense! (Yes, my standards for dating material had lowered considerably post-OKCupid.)

I was excited and optimistic enough about Anthony to hit him up first and decided to go with a pickup line I would never have the guts to use in real life. (To be fair, it wouldn’t make much sense in real life anyway.)


You matched with Anthony on 6/25/15

Me

What brings your handsome mug to this dating cesspool? 😉


 Anthony

Wow I was about to give up on this whole tinder thing. First time a cute girl actually messages me first


Me

So I win?


Anthony

Yep, I think I owe you a drink or two now


Looking back at this exchange, I must say I’m pretty impressed with my ability to establish flirtatious rapport with a cute guy without fucking it up even once. (It’s the little victories, okay.)

tinderp-3-1

Anthony and I made plans to meet at Cafe Van Kleef, a divey sort of bar in downtown Oakland with eclectic wall decor. The last time I was there on a date was 2 years ago, but I figured it was unlikely I would run into Steven #1. Anyway, I had given up on making an effort to try new activities or places for first dates and decided recycling through previous bars would suffice. (Lowered standards, check. Brief flirtatious exchange based off little to no information, check. Half-assed planning, check. My transformation into your typical millennial dating app user was complete.)

I think Anthony got there before I did. (I am more often than not shamelessly running late to dates. Time as we know it is a Western bullshit construct anyway! Just kidding. Actually, that might be true. Hmm.) He was sitting at the bar and got up to give me a hug when he saw me. Much to my relief and joy, he looked just as good in person as he did in his pictures! We each ordered a beer and got to talking.

I remember enjoying our conversation and feeling somewhat shy, which tends to happen when I’m around guys I find attractive (and is really fucking annoying to my inner/outer radical feminist). He was a techie college dropout who was completely disconnected to his Latin roots, but he was hot and a good listener. His laugh however was really annoying, to the point where I was inwardly cringing every time he chuckled, but I mean, it would have been stupid of me to make that a dealbreaker, right? (Although the dude waiting in line with me for the unisex bathroom at one point in the night jokingly[?] offered the opinion that I should just run away when I confided in him and another stranger about how my date was going (yenno, because I’m an embarrassingly open book, on- and offline).

I could tell Anthony liked me because whenever the conversation trailed off, he would just stare at me and smile. I would look back at him, but I couldn’t maintain eye contact for too long. He made me nervous. It was too intimate. But it was nice, being looked at by someone who clearly desired me in a consensual, non-creepy way.

This is it, I thought excitedly. This is what they call chemistry! 

I ended up suggesting we play the game “Truth or Drink,” in which we took turns asking each other questions. You had the option of either answering honestly, or passing and taking a drink. Unlike previous times I’ve played this game with other guys from the Internet, this round with Anthony opened up actual dialogue. There were two things of note that were brought up in the game: his ex and my virginity.

I think it started with me asking, “How long was your most serious relationship?”

“Seven years,” he answered.

WHAT. “Wow, that’s a long time,” I said. “What happened?”

“One day she just stopped loving me,” he said with a straight face.

“Uh, okay.” Kind of a grody way to answer, but okay. I wonder if he was still hung up on her. Given the way he phrased it, maybe. Ugh.

“How long was your most serious relationship?” Anthony asked in return.

“Oh. I’ve never been in a relationship,” I replied, feigning casualness.

He was taken aback (as they usually are). “Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Have you ever been with anyone…? Like intimately?”

“Oh, uh…no,” I said quietly. “I’m…a virgin.”

It was uncomfortable to say it out loud. I had never been a proud post-adolescent V-Card holder, honestly. Not that it’s anything to be proud of (boo to implicit slut shaming!).  But to me, being a virgin signaled a lack of worldly life experience. It meant I was sexually naive and immature, and only three-quarters of an actual adult. It wasn’t like I was waiting until marriage, or anything like that. I was simply too awkward and insecure to make it happen, and a real opportunity had never presented itself.

My public confession was made worse by the look on Anthony’s face. I could have been reading too much into it, but he looked like he was the slightest bit dismayed by the news. Like maybe me being a 23-going-on-24-year-old virgin spinster was a total turnoff and dealbreaker. Like maybe he wouldn’t have sex with me because he thought I was an attached bleeder.

tumblr_mex5dihk6k1ryf8if

From S1E04 of the HBO show Girls.

I was definitely not looking at him anymore.

“Are you okay?” asked Anthony. “You’ve gone quiet.”

“Oh, yeah…” I mumbled. “I just feel like…it’s weird.” Damn it, I should have drank instead.

“I mean, it’s fine,” he said. “I’m not judging.”

tinderp-3-2b

The subject was changed, and we thankfully moved on. At the end of the night, he walked me to my car. He smiled like he meant it and gave me a hug that told me he wanted to see me again. I drove away, in awe that I had finally met someone I was interested in, who was also interested in me! Maybe this would turn into something real for once. Maybe I wouldn’t be left disappointed.

He texted me a few days later, asking me if I wanted to get dinner.

I said yes. Then, my worst dating nightmare happened: I had an acne breakout.

FUCK. WHY?!

It was one of the worst breakouts I’d gotten in a while. Of course this would happen right when I had made plans with a guy I finally clicked with. Of course.

He thinks you’re cute, I tried to console myself. So what if you have a couple of pimples on your face? You’re still cute. The pimples will pass.

Shut up and crawl under a rock, you ugly fuckface, my inner mean girl voice replied.

I cancelled the date, citing tiredness.

That’s when Anthony invited me over to his place.

Oh. My. God.

This was it. My opportunity to get laid!

Excitement quickly devolved into anxiety and fright. This was a really last minute request. I hadn’t even properly groomed myself (i.e., thoroughly shaved down there). And I still had those fucking gross zits to reckon with. I bravely looked at myself in the mirror. It’s okay. You can do this. You deserve this. You’re beautiful. You’re awesome. You’re–

Nope. I couldn’t. I couldn’t do this. Insecurity took over.

Well, maybe we don’t need to have sex.

Bitch, please. He did not invite you over to play board games. 

tinderp-3-3b

I was disappointed and frustrated with myself. I had spent years trying to unlearn the shame and self-loathing that came with my body and my sexual desires, in a world that taught me both were wrong. It seemed I still had a ways to go.

I let Anthony know I couldn’t make it. He seemed okay with that.

A couple of days later, he texted me with some bad news.

Anthony: Hey I know this is really sudden, but I’m moving to New York next week. My company offered me a promotion and I accepted. I didn’t think it would happen so soon. The timing sucks because you’re the first girl I’ve really liked in a while.

I read his words, feeling kind of sad but not too upset. I didn’t know him well enough for this to have really impacted me, but it was disappointing that the first guy I ever had chemistry with was being snatched out of my hands by the tech industry. I mourned the lost potential. I would never have sex with him now. I mean, I could, but he was leaving for good and having sex with someone in those circumstances would make me feel used. Was this it, then? I realized I still wanted to see him regardless, even if we weren’t gonna bang.

Me: Thanks for telling me. It sucks because I like you too, but I’m happy for you. 🙂 Would you be down to hang out one last time?

Anthony: Lol sure

Per the suggestion of my Dating Sensei, Anthony and I met at Off the Grid in Oakland, a weekly food truck event hosted by the Oakland Museum of California. My breakout had subsided by that time. I was relieved when he did not look at me like I was a fizzling slug. Instead he hugged me and briefly rested his head on mine, a small gesture that made my heart leap with joy.

We ordered food and sat down to watch people dance along to the live band playing salsa music.

“I don’t understand how you’ve stayed single,” he exclaimed at one point. “You’re so cute!”

I gave him a small smile and shrugged. No point in ruining his projected fantasy of me. But it also irked me, to be diminished to this one word: cute. He only liked me because I’m cute? Is that really the only prerequisite for a guy to like a girl? I was more than just cute. Cuteness was only something I had recently made a conscious effort to cultivate. It was mostly aesthetic and superficial, and I had other valuable qualities outside of this flimsy label. Obviously, this train of thought didn’t make for dateable commentary, so I just shut up and took a huge gulp of my Coke.

The event ended close to 9. I asked Anthony if he wanted to walk around Lake Merritt with me. “Is this where you take all your dates?” he joked.

“Haha, no,” I said. (Just some of them, ahem.)

Night had fallen by this time. We walked side by side, under the soft light coming from the lamps strung along the path. I had this strong urge to hold Anthony’s hand, because I had never held hands with a guy before. Yes, this is pitiful, but bear with me. Who knew when I was going to meet a guy with whom I shared mutual attraction to again? The time to lose my handholding virginity was now.

“I….I have a question to ask you,” I mumbled.

“What is it?”

“Um…uh…it’s a really awkward question.”

“Just ask me.”

“Uh…”

This literally went on for 10, 15 minutes and is definitely one of the top 10 Most Embarrassing Date Moments I’ve suffered in my entire anticlimactic dating history.

Eventually I burst out with, “Canweholdhands?”

“Sorry, didn’t hear you,” said Anthony. “What’d you say?”

“UGH! FORGET IT!”

He laughed, came closer, and slipped his hand over mine. It sent thrills through me. I was elated, and also really nauseated by how elated I was by this sappy, innocent gesture. People passed by us. It struck me that to them, we were a couple in love, not two singles going on their final date together before they never saw each other again because why the hell not. It was sad. But also, gross. I had become one of those people who blocked up public pathways with my desire for physical affection.

tinderp-3-4b

We ended up cuddling on a bench overlooking the water. We talked about random shit, but kept returning to the subject of relationships (or the lack thereof).

Anthony elaborated on his 7 year relationship. They started dating when she was a senior in high school and he was in his first year of college. They were even living together, but then she started getting distant. She eventually cheated on him and that was the final straw. They split up.

And apparently, this officially ended like only a month or so ago. He did clarify that the breakdown in the relationship happened long before, but still, COMPLETE turnoff. Part of me was glad he was leaving. But I knew that at this point, I couldn’t really be picky about anyone’s relationship baggage, just because I was some weird anomaly who had none.

“I don’t really like dating,” said Anthony. “I prefer relationships.”

“I don’t know if I could be in a relationship, honestly,” I said.

“What do you mean?”

“I like being alone, and being independent. If I were to be in a relationship, I would want some personal space. I wouldn’t want to hang out with someone all the time or feel obligated to text or call someone everyday.” As I was explaining this, I could see disagreement register on Anthony’s face. Hmph. I guess it was a good thing he was leaving after all.

“I still don’t get why those other guys never worked out,” he said.

I took a breath. “Okay. So when I first started doing online dating, I was set on finding someone who had the same sociopolitical beliefs as me, because I don’t want to date someone who’s racist or sexist or whatever. I would ask guys to define rape culture on the first date, and bring up feminism and stuff. But then I realized doing that wasn’t helping me find someone I liked or clicked with. So I stopped.”

“Oh. Well, I consider myself a pretty open-minded guy, so–”

I looked at him. “I think you should stop talking.”

He laughed. We stayed on that bench for a little while longer, trying to savor the moment.

Eventually we made our way back. He walked me to my car and gave me a final hug. “I’m glad I got to see you again,” he said.

“Yeah, me too,” I replied. He was just looking at me and smiling. Anxiety kicked in. Oh god. Were we supposed to kiss? It didn’t seem like he was trying to do that, though, and I didn’t know how to initiate one. I didn’t think I wanted to anyway, because kissing in my experience was shitty and I didn’t want to ruin our farewell with a gross, sloppy tongue dance. Also, we had both eaten garlic shrimp pasta for dinner, so no. Definitely not.

He told me to keep in touch. I was surprised.”Do you mean it?” I asked.

He shrugged. “Yeah. Why not?”

I didn’t keep in touch, and he never reached out to me again either. What was the point? We were on opposite sides of the country. He was looking for love, and I was looking for something that couldn’t be provided to me through a long distance connection.

I think about him from time to time, wistfully wondering what could have been. It’s my default dating mode. I’m always looking back. Pinpointing mistakes. Stuck on what-ifs. Longing for what isn’t. Fantasizing about what could never be. Filled with regret. It’s incredibly lonely when romance and desire are experienced more through retrospect than in the present. But the ache is so familiar, it’s become a part of me.

tl;dr Learkana finally has chemistry with a guy! Learkana freaks out about some zits and her cunt and doesn’t get laid! Learkana engages in some nauseating handholding for the first time, woo hoo!

Now it’s time for…

RATE THAT DATE VENUE!
Venue: Cafe Van Kleef
Rating: *****
Review: Well, this is the second time I’ve been here, so obviously I think this place is awesome. Chill vibe, cool decor, nice people. 5/5 would go again (and did *cough*).

1

Blank Space

i.
He kisses you
as if to swallow you whole.
His touch is too little
and too much
but you can’t help
feeling drawn to him.
The windows steam up
while he fucks you
in the backseat of his car.
He slams into you
again and again
without a word.
His silence hangs thick
between the two of you
whether he knows it
or not.
He leaves you
bleeding and blistered,
sad and wounded.
Tells you
emptiness is beautiful.
His touch lingers,
long after the last word.
The pain of him
haunts you because
he is your first.
You mourn sparks
that will never ignite
into flames.

ii.
You tell him to come over.
You’re so nervous, he says.
Holds your hands.
He showers you with compliments
and hits all the sweet spots.
His lips are so full
you’re not sure
what to do with them.
You two cuddle in your bed
while he rattles off more empty praises
and you pretend to be flattered
because another warm body
is sometimes worth the bullshit.
He gives you a good night kiss
even though you kicked him out at 3am.
He leaves you starving for more
just like he wanted all along
except you know better
than to crawl to him.
Instead you delete his number
and touch yourself
until the thought of him
turns you cold.

iii.
He has his own place and a cat
and this is enough to excite you.
You start on his couch
and end up in his bed.
His touch is too polite, too flimsy.
You kiss him again and again
until it becomes an empty gesture,
your lips and tongue
probing for sparks
that never come.
He thrusts with haphazard rhythm.
You lie there, watching him climax.
His eyes roll back into his head,
his filthy stream of consciousness
spilling out faster and faster,
undermined by a pretentious voice
that grates on your nerves.
You’re bored and tired.
He invites you to spend the night
but you have him request
an Uber home for you instead.
He leaves you sore and bleeding,
believing you like it rough
when really
you just wanted
to feel something,
anything at all.

iv.
Since you cannot be lovable,
you decide to embrace being fuckable.
You learn it is an art, not a science
and you are pretty damn good at art.
You are fascinated at how boys
have been inside your body
but not inside your heart.
They know and desire
your face, your private parts,
and very little else.
You marvel over
this strange new power
of fucking boys goodbye
and briefly wonder
if you are reclaiming
what is yours
or maybe just
recklessly
spiraling
out of control
but does it even matter
when the only fucks
you have to give
are from the place
in your thighs
that gives birth
to hedonism
instead of humanity

0

nostalgia

I flash back
to those hands
roaming my body
your mouth
in places no boy
has gone before
that moment
when kissing you
finally felt as good
as I imagined
and that look
in your eyes
right before
you touched me
like you never
wanted
to stop

I play them on repeat.
Let them linger.
These fragments of desire
that still have me blushing
and forgetting the wreckage
from which they sprung

– when nostalgia is a motherfucker

0

How to Lose Your Virginity and Only Kind of Regret It

You tell yourself virginity is a patriarchal social construct.
You tell yourself this, but you can’t stop thinking in these terms.
(Social conditioning, you know.)
You tell your friends you just want to get it over with. Get rid of it.
They tell you to wait until you’re ready.
They tell you so many people regret their first time.
They tell you that you are not alone.
They tell you, but you don’t listen.
You think losing your virginity doesn’t have to be a big deal.
Correction: you think making your sexual debut doesn’t have to be a big deal.
(A feminist reframing your friend came up with that you happen to think is pretty genius.)
You’re a 25-year-old virgin and every guy you tell is surprised.
You are way past due, it seems.
You feel locked out of some secret clubhouse
that almost everyone you know is in
and your face is pressed against the window
looking longingly inside.
You believe your first time doesn’t have to be special.
Or with someone you love.
And you would never save yourself for marriage.
Fuck marriage.
It just has to be the right timing.
With someone you like in the moment
and can trust with your naked body.
So here it comes.
Cramped in the backseat of his car.
And you can barely see each other.
And you’re not sure you like him.
But you know he likes you.
Or really, he likes your body
and what he can do to it.
And you tell yourself you’re okay with this
because this is what you wanted
to get it over with
to get rid of it
just another item to check off your to-do list
and you’re so curious
and his mouth is everywhere
and he’s flipping you this way and that
and it’s painful at first but you’re getting used to his dick
shoving itself in and out
in and out
in and out of you
and you can’t tell whether or not he’s come
but you know he’s enjoying this more than you are
and you really fucking hate that
but it seems there’s nothing you can do about it
so you check the time
tell him you should go
and fumble around for your underwear
while he goes outside to pee
before he takes you back to your car.
You notice he doesn’t touch you in the aftermath.
(For some reason, your boundaries only matter post-coitus.)
You exchange a brief hug
an awkward pause
no goodbye kiss
he says he’ll let you know
when he comes back from his trip.
You drive home.
You go to your room
the place where he wanted
to fuck you so badly
with a bottle of wine
not as in he’d fuck you
with a bottle of wine
but you know,
like he was going to bring a bottle of wine
and then you two would fuck
but you said no
because you’re embarrassed
by your living conditions.
You sit your bare ass
on the cold seat of your toilet
and take a piss to avoid the possibility of a UTI
then wipe to find blood.
You stare at the bright red blot
on your toilet paper.
You wipe some more.
More blood.
You keep wiping until there’s only faint spots left.
You feel sick.
You feel empty.
You already know this is a thing that happens
but that doesn’t make you feel any less sick or empty.
You remember watching a College Humor video
about the hymen
and how it doesn’t have to break
if a person is gentle enough
and you know nothing that just happened between your legs
was gentle.
You text him to let him know.
‘I hope your backseat isn’t stained with blood
although it would serve you right.’
You sound mean on purpose.
He asks if you’re bleeding badly.
You text no.
He says
‘Should be fine. Let me know if it doesn’t stop.’
This hurts you. How callous he is.
Like he didn’t just fuck you so hard you bled.
Like he doesn’t give a shit it was your first time.
Maybe he doesn’t–
he fucking knows. Don’t kid yourself.

You swallow the hurt. Ignore it.
Ignore your pussy aching.
Hope it’s stopped bleeding.
You shower.
Rinse your vulva.
Over and over again.
Rinsing.
Wondering if the slimy stuff
is just the usual discharge
maybe mixed with his saliva
and possibly with his cum
(Did he come?? You told him not to.)
You wonder how long it will take
to be rid of him
how long his residue
(whatever its makeup)
will stay in you.
You crawl into bed
feeling confused
unchanged
and deeply disappointed.
You push away regret
because you don’t want to dance with it tonight
and you don’t want to hear
the voices of your friends
inside your head saying
I told you so.
But really,
what would you have waited for?
Another fuckboy from Tinder
to come along
and leave you dry
while he gets off
because you don’t know
how to meet the right men
in real life?
You are too much
for romance.
For functional relationships.
For true love
(whatever the fuck that means.)
You are a diehard millennial
a heteronormative feminist
and that necessitates that anticlimax
is your life story.
But still.
You swallow anger and spite
for how you grew up as a girl
who was told
over and over again
that sex is dirty
shameful, vile, secretive
and that it will definitely hurt
and you will always be called a slut
no matter what
and there’s nothing you can do about it
no conversation that can change the course
of this compulsory heteromasochism
and all these abject things you’ve been warned about sex
are normalized and to be expected
and you start seething
at how boys
(or people with penises)
never get sex = pain
sex = fault
sex = guilt
sex = pathology
sex = criminality
drilled into their heads
by fucking anyone.
You want to scream
at how fucked this shit is
at how shit he was at fucking you
at how in an ideal world
you would have fucked a guy
who gave a shit about you
and your needs
with “Dance Inside”
by The All American Rejects
playing in the background
a guy who would have given you
the fucking test results you asked for
with written confirmation
from his fucking doctor
without derailing
or dismissing your concerns
by being a condescending asshole
a guy who would have known
how vulnerable you would feel
after your first time
getting slammed by a dick
a guy who would have had
the fucking ability
and fucking decency
to do whatever the fuck it takes
to make you fucking come
So yes
virginity is a patriarchal social construct
rooted in misogyny and heterosexism
that holds no significance or value
so there is nothing to lose
so then why do you feel used
so then why do you feel like crying
so then why do you feel betrayed
so then why do you feel
the taste of loss
creeping past
the tip of your tongue
hanging heavy in your throat
and down
to where
you think
your heart
used to be

0

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.

steven2.1

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