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Tinderp Tale #9: I’m An Asshole Again

I had turned twenty-five at the end of last August. I threw myself an awesome birthday party that involved a Trump piñata, a jump house, and Pokémon balloons–an elaborate, immature attempt to repress my anxieties and dread of getting older but not any wiser, richer, or happier. I was still a virgin who hadn’t found what she was looking for (which was literally anything other than seeing a guy a couple of times then never seeing him again). I disliked my nonexistent sex life but stopped caring as much as I had earlier in the year. (Getting an IUD wasn’t a complete waste, I reasoned, because not having a period was pretty awesome.) I went on a few dates here and there–guys I met through Meetup, Instagram, a friend. (Her ex-Tinder date, actually. I told you I was desperate.) Nothing came of them. I wondered what it would take for a guy to like me enough to put in actual effort. I wondered what it would take for me to like a guy enough to let down my guard. Maybe I wasn’t the kind of girl a guy would give chase to. Maybe I wasn’t the kind of girl who could open her heart to a boy who wanted to open her legs.

Over the summer, I tried dating apps outside of Tinder with zero success. Bumble had too many uppity white dudes. East Meet East had too many passive Asian guys (and was also just a really terrible name, period). I was taking the initiative and composing messages to men in hopes of securing their interest. To be fair, they weren’t very good messages, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

Like, wouldn’t you feel compelled to respond to this titillating message?

13346580_10208596919096629_5080661148535377128_n

Okay, fine. What about this one?

ear talk

OKAY WHATEVER AS IF YOU CAN DO ANY BETTER just kidding, you probably could.

I thought about how and why I was such a failure in the dating department. I thought about this often. There wasn’t a singular reason I could isolate. I had friends who were feminists and introverts and just plain awkward like me, yet didn’t have as much trouble finding what they were looking for, whether that was a casual hookup or a long term relationship. Other people were also confused about my spinster virgin status, but for the wrong reason. To them, being cute dictated I shouldn’t be single or a virgin. I knew that was wrong. Cute could only take you so far when you’re me.

There was just something in me that refused to compromise, that refused to flatten myself to appear more palatable to the fleeting desires of men, that curled up into a little ball whenever a guy came too close, that pulled flaws out of every single quirk and mannerism and sentiment expressed by a guy and immediately categorized them (and in turn, him) as unworthy and unforgivable, that hated uncertainty even though it was all I knew–especially when it came to romantic and sexual interest, that would prefer solitude over company if company meant having to spend time with a stranger through a contrived set of circumstances. I was impatient and unlikable and an unapologetic misandrist by default, and that was not going to change.

I started worrying about being alone in the long term. Did I have friends who would be there for me when I was old and frail? Or even now, when I get sick? Or would they be too busy with their spouses and future children? I needed to strengthen my safety net. I knew I couldn’t count on falling into a relationship for security. The idea of having a boyfriend was pretty laughable at this point. Learkana’s Boyfriend was a mythical creature, up there with the likes of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster. He didn’t exist, except in the confines of my erratic imagination.

I realized I didn’t know how to live life in conjunction with someone else anyway. Being perpetually single had warped me into a solitary, eccentric creature with habits that were questionable and okay fine, sometimes downright gross. I talked to myself out loud. I danced alone in my room and occasionally attempted to twerk (then felt kind of embarrassed and guilty for having tried). I blew my nose and let the used tissues pile up next to me in bed. I clipped my nails and sometimes let them fall where they may. I preferred sleeping alone, watching shows alone, crying alone, reading alone, and writing alone. I had determined that I was pretty much a lost cause.

tinderp 9.1

Actual bedroom does not look like this.

Still. I figured I would keep going on dates anyway. It was similar to what I felt about patriarchy and white supremacy: I didn’t think anything was going to change, but I’ll be damned if it was due to a lack of effort on my part.

I ended up on Tinder again in September of that year. I was coerced into creating a new account by my friend Chelsia, who was interested in trying Tinder Social, a new feature that enabled users to go on group dates (and was probably created to increase people’s chances of participating in a threesome or orgy). She changed her mind, but I stayed on the app, sucked in by all the new prospective dates within reach of my fingertips. Dating in real life isn’t going to be any better, I told myself. Guys are still flakey. Guys are still boring. Things are still going to be awkward and confusing and disappointing. Might as well make use of an app that helps me get through them faster until I find Mr. 38-100 (See Tinderp Tale #4 for explanation).

One day, a guy I will call Tayo popped up on my feed. I knew he was interested, because he had Super Liked me. I skimmed through his photos. Only one of them made me think he was attractive. It was a high res, close up picture of him holding a turtle. I decided the quality of the single photo was enough for me to surmise that he was probably good-looking, and swiped right.

After matching, we talked a little about Pokemon Go (my current obsession at the time) and exchanged numbers. He hit me up via text right away.

9/24/16 1:38 AM
Tayo: Hey cutie. It’s Tayo #teamvalor

Where’s your name from?

Ugh. THIS question? He was a person of color, he should know better than to ask. (You may be wondering, what’s wrong with wanting to know? Well, nothing, if  a question like that is posed to everyone, but it’s not. Nobody asks Becky or John where their names are from. It’s lightweight racist and a microaggressive form of Othering, k.) We had barely chatted and already I was annoyed with him.

 Okay suck it up, or else you’re just trying to be a spinster virgin on purpose, I told myself sternly. I responded to him the next day.

9/24/16 10:21 AM
Me: Sup. Just woke up lol.

It’s Cambodian

Tayo: Sup lol. Well good morning to you. Sleep well?

Me: Actually I did! *beige thumbs up emoji*

Are you a night owl too?

Tayo: That’s good. I slept alright! No morning cuddles from you tho lol.

And yes I AM a night owl haha

Oh god, he was already shamelessly flirting with me. I had always felt that it was a risky move to be that explicit when you hadn’t even met the person in real life yet, but where had that attitude gotten me? Zero sex and zero relationships, that’s what. I decided to take a gamble and flirt back.

9/24/16 1:03 PM
Me: Cool cool cool

Maybe we can resolve the cuddling issue in the near future 😉

Tayo: I’d like that 😉

tinderp 9.2

State of Millennial Dating Culture, 2016.

We started talking about Pokemon again. He suggested we watch the show together sometime soon. I was fine with that until I found out he lived with his family and wanted to come over to my place. MY place??? I didn’t bring guys over to my place. I shared a dilapidated house with 3 other roommates. On top of being rundown, it was always messy and kind of grody (through very little fault of my own, or so I’d like to think). It was definitely not the kind of living situation you’d want to invite a guest into unless that guest was your really good friend or family member who you know for sure wouldn’t judge you and even if they did it didn’t really matter because you know they would like you anyway.

Regardless, the thought of having a guy over sounded awkward and potentially mortifying to me, no matter where I lived. I had never done it before. Would I have to give my roommates a heads up? What if my date and I ran into one of them? How would that introduction go? Was it even necessary? “Hey, this is my roommate Mackenzie. Mackenzie, this is…uh, sorry what’s your name again? Well, never mind, I’m never going to see you again anyway. Let’s go to my room and possibly fuck WHAT I’m just saying what everyone’s thinking okay bye Mackenzie!”

Me: Yeahhh let’s do something else hahaha

Tayo: Drinks?

9/24/16 5:09 PM
Me: Kk

We made plans to meet on a Monday night at a bar in Alameda I had never been to. After confirming our date, I assumed I wouldn’t hear from him until the day of, which was typical in my experience of online dating. But no. This bitch kept hitting me up over the weekend, asking me what I was up to. Honestly, I was weirded out and annoyed by his eagerness to be in constant communication with me and probably that was assholish of me, but c’mon! We didn’t actually know each other and we had already made plans to get better acquainted in person. No need to fill in the space before then with vapid small talk. Maybe OKCupid Learkana would have liked this pre-date back-and-forth, but Tinder Learkana was fed up with it and didn’t want to hear from your trivial ass until she could verify your fuckability IRL.

 Monday night came. I was late to our date because I had gotten sidetracked by discussing the first presidential debate with one of my roommates (aka ranting about what a mediocre racist sexist piece of shit Trump was/is). I felt slightly guilty but mostly apathetic. I walked into the bar and was unpleasantly surprised. It was filled with white people. I was slightly irritated because I like my spaces to be diverse whenever possible. A predominantly white space signaled to me that there was a reason people of color stayed away. But there was no backing out now.

Tayo and I greeted each other with a hug and got a couple of beers. Despite our racially homogeneous surroundings, I enjoyed talking with him. He was easygoing and friendly and it didn’t feel awkward at all. He was a dance instructor for kids at a local school, which I thought was pretty cool. The problem was that I wasn’t really attracted to him. That one picture I had depended on ended up being a fluke. In person, he was more compact than I thought he would be. He actually kind of reminded me of the turtle he was holding in the picture, but like, not in a good way. I felt bad, but it couldn’t be helped. I was also feeling a little uneasy, because I could tell he was still attracted to me IRL. He complimented me on my outfit and subtly touched me throughout the night. It spelled trouble in my mind. I pushed the discomfort away, kept drinking my beer, and blabbed on and on about Pokemon and books and music and TV shows. My attempts to keep things light and breezy were helped by the blinding white environment in which it probably wouldn’t have been safe for either of us to bring up the current election in great detail, although the white people in the background (for once) were pretty preoccupied with playing white people trivia. (Well, I assumed it was centered on white media, because the questions revolved around shows both Tayo and I had never heard of or watched. Could have just been a generational thing, but who are we kidding, probably a white people thing.)

tinderp 9.3

Actual bar was not this fancy.

After a couple of hours of chilling at the bar, we headed out. He walked me to my car, smiled and hugged me. “Text me when you get home,” he said.

I don’t remember if I had forgotten or if I purposely neglected to send him the requested text. (Knowing me, it could have been the latter. Yes, I can be an asshole, I thought we established this.) But a little while after I got home, Tayo checked up on me:

9/26/16 11:07 PM
Tayo: Did you make it home ok?

Me: Yes! Sorry I’m terrible at sending “I made it home” text messages lol I always forget [this is usually true okay]

Tayo: lol you totally forgot haha *laugh-cry emoji*

Thanks for tonight *smiling blush emoji* *rose emoji*

Were those emojis really necessary? What the hell was the rose emoji supposed to represent? If he had actually given me a rose in person, the emoji would have made sense in addition to being a much sweeter gesture, but no. Ugh, millennial dating culture. But anyway! This was bad. I tried to sound noncommittal in my response.

Me: Yeah! I had a good time [I mean it was true, just not in the way he wanted]

Tayo: Cool. Let’s do it again soon. We never watched Pokemon hah

Oh god, he was still fixated on that?! I cursed myself for flirting with him and carelessly indulging his Netflix-and-cuddle fantasies before we had even met up in person. Lesson learned: Do NOT flirt with someone until you’ve looked them in the face. (Or at least keep it to a bare minimum and don’t suggest intimate activities beforehand.) Watching Pokemon was probably a euphemism for fucking. Even if he had no ulterior motive, I still didn’t want to watch Pokemon with him. I was perfectly fine with reliving my childhood and retrospectively hating Ash’s arrogant, mediocre Pokemon trainer ass on my own, thank you very much.

If I was a decent person, I would have sent a very tactful response explaining that while I had a good time with Tayo at the bar, I regretfully didn’t feel much of a spark. But at the time, I couldn’t think of what I could honestly say without sounding like a total asshole. The truth was that I wasn’t physically attracted to him, and that sounded terrible no matter how I tried to spin it. I didn’t want to lie either. So I took the coward’s way out and didn’t say anything, which still made me an asshole–just a more passive one.

A few days passed. He texted me again, much to my dismay.

9/29/16 8:06 PM
Tayo: Hey u

Me: Sup

Tayo: How are you

9/29/16 10:05 PM
Me: Hella tired *dead-eyed emoji*

Tayo: I feel it. I’ve been falling in and out of sleep.
How is your week going?

I didn’t respond. The thought of texting either small talk or a politely worded rejection to him overwhelmed me. I couldn’t deal with it. Please just let him take the hint, I thought.

He didn’t. Or maybe he refused to. (Dudes are socially conditioned to be pursuers, after all.) Over a week later, he sent me another text.

10/10/16 2:19 PM
Tayo: We totally should go Pokémon hunting
around lake Merritt. I want more dratini’s lol

Goddamnit why couldn’t he just get that I didn’t want to see him again?! I wasn’t sure what to do.

“Just text him that you’re busy and will hit him up when you’re free,” said my friend Susan.

“But…isn’t that lying?” I said incredulously, as if my silence didn’t also make me an asshole.

“Just do it,” she advised. “That’s how dating works. If you’re not interested, tell him you’re busy. He’ll get the hint eventually.”

I unfortunately took her advice.

10/10/16 9:22 PM
Me: Hey! Sorry I have a lot going on right now, I’ll let you know when I’m free

Tayo: Ok

I wasn’t sure if he finally got the hint in that moment or maybe days, weeks, even months later, but I never heard from him again. I’m pretty confident that I reached new levels of assholishness with this exchange.

Looking back, I wish I had responded to his text message about wanting to meet up again with something along these lines:

Me: Hey, so I think you’re a great guy and I enjoyed hanging out with you. But I didn’t really feel the sort of chemistry I’m looking for in a potential dating partner. That said, it was nice meeting you and I wish you well. 🙂

Or maybe that message would have been more hurtful than what I did. I’m not sure. I’d like to think honesty is the best policy, but I know not everyone thinks that. I also know that pairing tact with honesty doesn’t guarantee a warm reception. “The truth hurts” is cliché for a reason. Suffice it to say, rejection sucks on both ends. (Although yes, quite a bit more on the receiving end. Ugh. I’m really sorry for my shitty behavior after our one and only date, Tayo…who will likely never read this apology considering that it’s embedded in a very wordy blog post written almost a year later and addressed to a pseudonym.)

If I was deeply invested in the idea of cosmic consequences for individual human actions, I would say that the universe probably wanted to punish me for how I treated Tayo, because my next misadventure ended up being the worst thing to ever happen to me thus far in my sporadic dating life. But that’s an excruciatingly humiliating and tediously complicated story for another time.

tl;dr Learkana is going to die alone and unlaid, probably! Learkana ghosts on a guy because she didn’t want to tell him she doesn’t like his face although in hindsight she definitely could have used her writing skills to offer up a more nuanced and considerate rejection! Learkana is an asshole!

Now it’s time for…

RATE THAT DATE VENUE!
Venue: Swell Bar
Rating: *
Review: Too many white people. But if diversity is not your thing, you’ll like it okay.

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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

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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.

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.

eric3

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.’

eric4

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