#100 Happy 5 Years …to this eccentric email experiment

No word from Sauce Man, as expected, but I did run into his Hinge profile last weekend. His answer that initiated our matching (”Typical Sunday”) changed from “running, edible, errands” to “long run, spliff, errands.” He also updated the cigarette section from “Never” to “Sometimes.” I don’t know why he’s intentionally making himself less attractive to potential mates, but maybe my complete intolerance of his slowly-increasing tobacco use really bummed him out. He’s also now seeking an avid runner (I guess I wasn’t athletic/outdoorsy enough in the highly specific ways he wanted), so I wish him the best of luck in finding a health-oriented woman who is cool with cigarettes. There’s someone for everyone!

On a similarly adjacent note, I was in a rooftop yoga class Thursday morning when I spied Sauce Man’s cousin a few rows back. She doesn’t live nearby so this was especially random. I intended to say hi to her after class because 1) I did like her, and 2) I wanted to prove I am gracious as fuck and doing really well—but as the Universe would have it, it started to rain and I had to bike home before it got worse. In the end, I think it was probably for the best that we didn’t interact.

But anyways, back to Hinge. A few weeks ago, my friend shared a guy’s profile with me, so I had no choice but to recreate my own to engage. Since then, a few guys have asked me out on IRL dates, but our conversations weren’t riveting or even complete enough for me to risk meeting up during a pandemic only to have our first interaction impeded by masked facial expressions. Plus, having missed out on the virtual dating boom of early quarantine, I had been looking forward to meeting men in the safest, laziest way possible.

The one guy who asked me out for virtual drinks seemed pretty cool, so I agreed to MY FIRST ZOOM DATE. Last Wednesday night, I made myself a martini and we chatted for almost 3 hours. It was awkward at moments, but enjoyable overall (so, like, the same as most offline dates?). I have no idea if we’ll have a second virtual date or *gasp* an in-person date, but the gentle ego boost from our sustained, sporadic texting is all I’m really looking for as I continue to focus the majority of my attention on ME ME MEEEEEEEE!

#99

As some of you may know, Sauce Man and I broke up the day after Memorial Day, a week and a half before our 6-month anniversary. 

The first 4 months of our relationship were a whirlwind of fun, joy, and romance. It was great to be my weirdest self with someone again, and it was just plain nice to both have and be a someone. It really felt like we’d known each other for years. Maybe that’s why we assumed we knew each other better than we actually did. It truly felt like we were falling in love, but ultimately we were stopped short. 

Mid-March, I told him I loved him. He told me he “hadn’t really thought about it.” I think that’s probably when I started shutting myself off from him, little by little. Withholding my vulnerable, truest self until he “deserved” it by saying it back. Not a winning strategy, to say the least.

Then quarantine happened and the momentum we had gained suddenly turned us into an old married couple, but in a bad way. Only allowed to see each other, we started spending all of our free time together, and I think I lost myself a bit. Desperate for him to feel what I was feeling, I let my world revolve around his, and made more time for him than for myself. 

Mid-April is when we had our first big talk. (If I’m being honest with myself, that’s when I knew deep down that we were doomed.) I don’t think either of us knew if quarantine was to blame for the changes in our relationship, but we decided to roll things back a bit in order to recapture our spark—which sounds completely illogical in hindsight. Instead of connecting more and going deeper, I was made to hold myself back from my supposed “boyfriend.” Red flag.

And things did get better, for a time. We celebrated his birthday (no more Tauruses, please!), we Zoomed with his friends, we hiked and biked. But we still weren’t communicating. We weren’t being intimate in any sense of the word. And I went along with it. I saw all of the red flags, and I didn’t speak up. I ignored my gut and pretended everything was fine. I lied—to him and to myself. 

So when we had our second big talk in mid-May, I was ready. I knew things hadn’t been good, and I knew it was because we weren’t talking about anything real. A lotttttt of stuff came out during that conversation. Like how apparently there were a lot of small things I did that bothered him—like talking too loud or not managing my time well enough. And instead of bringing them to my attention and talking about them, he tried to manage situations so that I wouldn’t “do” something I didn’t even know I was doing to annoy him. That felt fucking patronizing. Plus, bigger differences—like how we approach money—were becoming obvious as well.

At the end of that conversation (which actually ended on a positive note), we decided to not talk for a few days, so that we wouldn’t immediately resort to our old patterns—like we did after our first talk. He was going to his cabin for Memorial Day weekend (alone—because instead of thinking a change of scenery and a weekend away together could be beneficial, he assumed we’d have a bad time together………………..), and we’d regroup when he got back. That’s when I finally started asking myself what I really wanted, and if I actually wanted to be with him, now that I knew more about his views and values. After a much-needed “me” weekend of journaling and vision boarding (and honestly not missing him all that much), I concluded that while I didn’t yet know if we were a perfect match, what we had together was special enough to keep trying.

On May 26th, he came over at our prearranged time and we talked. Well, mostly he struggled to convey his thoughts and reflections. After a somewhat confusing monologue, I finally had to ask him if he wanted to keep working on us or if he wanted to end things. He wanted to end things. I guess as much as a guy “respects” you, thinks “you’re a badass,” and claims you’re “probably the best girl he’s ever dated,” none of it matters if he’s not willing to fight for you. 

Before leaving, he asked if we could hug goodbye. I reflexively said “no” but then acquiesced. I told him I’d miss him, he said he would too, and then he took the longest time to exit my apartment: fumbling with the door knob he’s opened a million times, and staring at me with what I can only assume was remorse as he closed the door on himself as slowly as possible. It was a scene right out of a tragic love story, and I just wanted it to end. 

The next day was the worst day I’ve had in a really long time. I slept in, blew off work, and cried a lot. Everything hurt and I hated every minute I had to feel it. The day after that, I already felt so much better. Still a bit down, I was mostly back to normal after 2 or 3 days. I actually started to worry about how “well” I was handling it. And while I’ve had a few bad days since—most of which have been due to the guilt and responsibility I feel being a white person in this repugnant society—I know I’m better off.

While I’ll never know if quarantine was the “reason” we broke up, I like to think it fast-forwarded us to an inevitable realization that might otherwise have taken us way too long to grasp. And for that efficiency, I’m grateful. 

I had some amazing times with Sauce Man, but I also learned a lot—about relationships, myself, and what I really want. Sauce Man might have been my boyfriend, but he was never my partner. And that’s what I’m looking for now. 

My 20s have been a rollercoaster of sex and love, heartbreak and hilarity, lessons upon lessons, and an uncomfortable amount of self-reflection. As I prepare for my 30s, I’m finally getting clear on what I want, and I refuse to settle for anything less than what I deserve.

To Sauce Man and all the characters who came before him: Thank you, next.

#98

Remember Degrassi Dude? Apparently he moved to Park Slope, because I had my walker shift at the Food Coop last month and HAD TO WALK HIM AND HIS GROCERIES TO HIS APARTMENT. I didn’t recognize him until I was too close to hide/make him wait for another walker, but I greeted him with a “Hey!” that I assumed communicated, “I recognize you, but let’s not make this weird.” However, I’m not sure if he recognized me (??? Is this even possible? I guess I was wearing a hat…) because he tried to make small talk, which I quickly shut down with a “Fine” and proceeded to walk 3 steps behind him for our mandated 10-minute stroll. It was from that vantage point that I noticed his bald spot had increased :-/

Entirely unrelated, I have since switched my coop shift to another team, day, and time :)

Otherwise, I’m still dating Sauce Man!

#97 Caught a cold, and a boyfriend

Surprise!

I met him 1 month ago, but it feels like we’ve known each other longer. After matching on Hinge, we squeezed 5 dates into 12 days before I left for the holidays.

Timeline

Date 1: Started with beers, ended with ramen.

Date 2 (24 hours): Edibles at the NY Transit Museum, brunch at a diner, beers at a dive bar, spontaneous decision to join him at his friend’s party (where I made all his friends love me), pizza & sleepover at my place. (This is when he gave me the cold)

Date 3: He cooked me dinner at my apartment AND washed the dishes. That’s when I knew I’d found myself a Sauce Man.

Date 4: He came to my friend’s holiday brunch, where he met and impressed a few of my pals. He told me he deleted the apps, and I accidentally called myself his girlfriend (facepalm).

Date 5: Dinner and a movie.

*[I went home for the holidays for nearly 2 weeks, but we texted and video chatted plenty]*

Date 6-?: 48 hours with all of his friends (who I actually like just as much as him) at his family’s cabin for NYE. ‘Twas a grand ol’ time.

This past weekend, we/I decided that a normal enough amount of time had passed to call this what it is.

Details

Name: Sauce Man

Age: 3.5 years older than me

Occupation: former physics teacher, works in education

Hometown: upstate NY

Hobbies: cooking, running, being really nice to me

I’ve been single for nearly 7 years, so I’m a little rusty when it comes to sharing myself with another human—but so far, so good. However, we’ll see what happens when I inevitably tell him about all of THIS…

#96 Long Time, No Sex

My October of weddings was a blast, but ultimately a bust. I got the closest at wedding #1, where I danced a lot with another guest, but he fell asleep (somehow, standing up) on the shuttle bus back into town. He is not to be confused with Coworker’s Friend, who was also in attendance because it was the wedding of said coworker. We shared a few minutes of mandatory small talk, and then didn’t interact much after that thanks to responsible seating charts and me ignoring any potential eye contact. As for weddings #2 and #3, I achieved nothing aside from a fresh batch of dating profile pics… Because for fear I might have lost the ability to date, I recently redownloaded Hinge, Bumble, and Tinder. (The faux-feminist Bumble is still my least favorite because the men on there are lazy and entitled while we women have to put in all the effort—but maybe I’m just sour because it’s been the least fruitful.)

Last Friday, I went on a sober yet surprisingly enjoyable date with a Midwestern Jew from Hinge. Without prying too much in the first 20 minutes of our date, I gleaned enough information to reassure myself that he’s not a relentless addict like DCD. However, without knowing the full backstory of why he doesn’t drink, I have not eliminated the possibility that his sobriety could be a red flag. We got tea, walked around, ate pizza, and then I had to run onto the subway before we could kiss. The next day, he texted “good morning” and basically has not stopped texting me since—which, honestly, never bodes well. But the week of attention was fun, and we even acknowledged the lack of kiss; so, I was excited to see him again this past Saturday. We went to a morning movie and then got lunch at a Jewish diner (not a traditional makeout-inducing course of events, but ya never know). We briefly held hands during the movie, which he both initiated and ended, twice (???). After lunch, he walked me to the subway and we had an even more awkward non-kiss goodbye. Afterwards—over text, of course—we again acknowledged the lack of kiss, and I told him it was his fault. He doesn’t seem to know when/how to make a move, and I’m starting to worry he has no game. But the more he texts me, the harder it is to extricate myself from the situation, and it’s starting to feel like I’ll have to “break up” with him before we’ve even kissed. Normally, I would hope/expect for the texting to die down over Thanksgiving, but I really don’t see him relinquishing my attention that easily.

In similar news, I went to a fundraiser on Thursday and ended up talking to a guy who was a year older than me in college. We moved in the same circles (I frequented his frat’s parties), but we didn’t know each other. I do not find him attractive, but he was fun to chat with while I waited for my friend (who ended up never showing lol). He asked for my number, and it felt weird to say no, but now he’s texting me a lot, too, and I don’t know how to prevent him from asking me out. I never thought I’d ask this, but HOW DO I TACTFULLY GET GUYS TO STOP TEXTING ME???

On a lighter/weirder note, I matched with a self-proclaimed astrologist on Tinder (truly the only reason I swiped right). He invited me out for drinks on Friday and we spent a couple bizarrely interesting hours together. He’s a super intuitive Pisces, and it was basically free therapy with wine. I even learned about my Mars in Gemini, which provides insight into the type of man/relationship one is attracted to (spooky stuff!). When he texted me the next day saying he honestly didn’t know if I “liked his vibe,” I told him I did, but just as friends. He responded: “that makes sense actually.” Lolzzzz

After years of dating so many different types of weirdos, I’m slooowly starting to realize (and be able to articulate) what I do and do not want in a partner. Better late than never, right?

#95

Remember the Older Dude from the Circular City Week events, with whom I drank to escape Phabio? (By older, I was assuming early 40s.) He and I professionally kept in touch, and got coffee a few weeks later. Then, in May, he invited me to grab day drinks in our neighborhood. Unlike my friends, I wasn’t sure if he meant it as a date; but just to be clear that it wasn’t, I wore no makeup and told him I had to go grocery shopping afterwards (which I did!). Despite a lower-back-touch that I had to quickly wiggle away from, and a declined invitation to continue drinking on his roof, I think I did a pretty good job of establishing our friend zone. I deflected a few follow-up invites, and then didn’t hear from him again until he asked me to get drinks last weekend. He’s cool, and I assumed our age difference was enough to solidify the friendship boundaries, so I accepted. (His age has since been confirmed as 46.) Unbeknownst to him, we met up after I’d spent the afternoon drinking multiple tiki drinks at my friend’s party, but I think I managed to come off as deceptively sober. After two cocktails that I definitely didn’t need, he walked me to where I was meeting up with some other friends. He left, and we girls got ice cream! It was a perfect day of friendly socializing.

The next day, he texts me:

Nice to see you last night. How was the rest of your night? So, the few times we’ve met it’s been in this somewhat professional zone. However, I’d like to take you on a proper date sometime. You’re lovely company :)

Before you say “aww,” you should know that he has a roommate—an automatic loss of points for anyone trying to date me. Plusssss, I have the rest of my life to date 40-somethings—and only an ever-shrinking window to cradle-rob 20-somethings!

I responded:

That’s very sweet, but I have to decline. I’m interested in someone else right now.

He said:

Understood!

And that was that!

Who am I actually interested in? The Psychiatrist (31), who won’t text me back or make plans to see me again—of course!

#94

This past Friday, I went out with the psychiatrist I met while #dancingonmyown. We had texted sporadically over the past 5 weeks (mostly him initiating—ha!), and he finally asked if I wanted to get a drink when he came into the city for a haircut and a change of scenery as he studies for the boards. I had already scheduled a bikram class before our date, and I only had time to shower before meeting him, which means I was fairly dehydrated and hadn’t eaten since 2pm. He chose a bar for its live music (woof), but it ended up being a surprisingly great time. When the music ended, I’d had three beers (and water!), and told him I had to stop drinking and start eating. He suggested I also start smoking, so once again we ended up back at his friend’s abandoned apt (which he cleaned!!!) to smoke, listen to music, and eat pizza.

Every smoke session is a roll of the dice with me, and this time I was decently awkward. At one point, I played Pizza Day by The Aquabats for him, which killed any semblance of a mood (at least for me, haha). He didn’t try to kiss me until right after the pizza arrived, and I had to shut him down after less than a minute because I was starving. Aside from correctly guessing many elements of his birth chart (double Virgo, Venus in Cancer), we didn’t get too intimate and I eventually went home.

Reflecting the next morning, I felt unsettled by the fact that we hadn’t “progressed” on our second night together (in fact, I’d say we regressed), and I got anxious about whether or not he would text me. Reflecting on THIS, I realized that I’m not used to *not* rushing into sex, and I subconsciously assume taking it slow (which is apparently more than 2 dates) hurts my “chances.” Chances for… I’m not really sure what. Sex? Love? Maintaining their level of interest? I had apologized when I stopped our makeout, and he told me I never have to say sorry for that—[pause to swoon]—so, logically, I’m not worried; but psychotically, I’m convinced I “messed up.” As a supposedly progressive, feminist woman, all this introspection has been quite the mind-fuck—especially when all I’ve been wanting for the last 6 months is a body-fuck. Or have I???

If I do see him again, would it be inappropriate for me to lay all this on him and get some professional feedback? :)

#93

A few weeks ago, I went on a strange first date (he asked if I was an artist, if I considered myself a hipster, and if I’d ever run away from home). That more or less finalized my decision to deactivate my Hinge account, and I am now officially off all dating apps, with no plans to sign back up. It feels great!! Leading up to this, all I had been doing was sporadically talking to a few guys that I wasn’t even excited about. In fact, when one of the odder ones suggested we meet up, I unmatched from him rather than agree to a date I knew would be miserable.

Little did I know I’d run into him at a bar while out with my friends this weekend! LOL. We had literally just arrived when I squeezed into an open spot at the bar to fetch us all drinks. The guy on the adjacent stool started talking to me (he said my “sorry” didn’t sound very genuine, and I told him he was right), but I was trying to make eye contact with one of the bartenders and order. I could feel him staring at me, so I made a bit of conversation while I waited for our drinks, and then moved away from the crowded bar as soon as I got them. Back with my friends, I told them I was pretty sure I had matched, chatted, and unmatched with the guy at the bar. We chalked it up to a kooky coincidence and allowed ourselves to be approached by the many other male bar patrons. A little while later, the same guy from the bar/Hinge approached me, said I looked familiar, and asked if we knew each other from somewhere. I told him we had matched on Hinge; he remembered me, and how I unmatched him (lol). I told him I actually deleted my entire profile, skirting the fact that I had first deleted our match. As usual, my instincts were right! After politely conversing for a few minutes, he could not pick up on the hint that my friends and I wanted to hang out without him, and he proceeded to awkwardly linger and STARE AT ME, neither attempting to make conversation nor leaving us alone. As he fiiiinally finished his beer, my friend asked if I wanted to join her at the bar to order more drinks, and I agreed, fully ignoring and leaving him behind. The move was a lie, and my friend confirmed he left the establishment as soon as we walked away, leaving us all relieved to be free of the dually dull and creepy cockblock. Hooray!

#92 Oh, What a Night

There was a Scorpio full moon last night, and what a wingwoman she was.

I had been wanting to check out this monthly dance party at a nearby bar, so I invited a slew of different friends to ensure I’d have someone to go with. But, reminiscent of many a birthday party, nobody showed. Still, the moon had me feeling some type of way, and I knew I was going regardless. I leisurely pregamed, primped, and showed up around midnight, where I waited in line behind a guy who was also alone; though I assumed he was meeting people inside, like a normal person with friends (NOT ME, THANKS GUYS). But actually, thank you—I ended up having the best time, and I’m now convinced you’re all cockblocks! (Please still hang out with me though :))))))

I paid the $5 cover and ordered a Tecate (#ad). As I tied my jacket around my waist, a stranger tapped me on the shoulder and said I dropped this. He was holding a crumpled $20 bill. I told him I didn’t think it was mine, but he gave it to me anyways. So, despite having zero friends and paying a cover charge, the night was already profitable.

The party was bumpin’ and it was dark and crowded enough that I didn’t look crazy for being there alone. But really, who needs friends when you’ve got beer, a vape pen, and some funky beats? I was having a great time, but definitely being a full-on Scorpio creeper as I lurked in the shadows watching everyone dance.

After a while, I noticed that the guy from the line was indeed there alone, fully focused on the dj’s and strictly there for the tunes. *swoon* It became my mission to eventually get close enough to strike up a conversation and/or dance-off. While I was boppin’ and schemin’, a cute guy started talking to me. He was cool, and we went outside to hear each other better. It came out that I was there by myself and he congratulated me on valuing my time enough to do what I wanted, with or without accompaniment. I agreed and said, “on that note, I’m actually gonna get back to the party, but I’ll see you around.”

I went back in and got to groovin’. (I think it was at this time that a girl got on stage and started dancing with her top off. #scorpiofullmoon!) I didn’t have to deal with creepers grabbing on, which was nice, and I politely declined one guy’s invitation to dance. I was on a mission, remember! At one point while I was off to the side, I could feel a guy near me working up the courage to make a move. He pointed out that we were both drinking Tecate and asked if I wanted another one. I said no thanks and he backed off. He was cute, but I actually didn’t want another drink (I had been intermittently refilling my can with water #stayintheblue). I felt a little bad about shutting him down so fast, and decided that if I ran into him again I would give him another chance. About 20 minutes later, he respectfully approached me while dancing. I really do not love dancing with guys, because they usually can’t keep up and/or just want to rub their dick on me, so it’s kind of a big deal when I allow a man to touch me on the dance floor. He wasn’t as bad as he could be (which I told him), and we were having a good time. Then we start making out, and my inner monologue just cackles away at how well my solo night out is going.

He lives on Long Island for his psychiatry residency (originally from LA), but was staying at an out-of-town friend’s apartment nearby. I hadn’t had a decent shtupping in almost a year (DCD), so I mentally prepared to see this ridiculous night through to its most Scorpionic conclusion. (I had even shaved my legs for the first time in many weeks thanks to the fresh spring weather.) We went outside for air and decided to go to “his” place for weed and Artichoke pizza. I made him promise not to murder me (doctors make the best killers after all), and texted a friend my whereabouts because safety first! He apologized in advance for how messy it was, and thank goodness he did. As we smoked and waited for the pizza to arrive, I told him I couldn’t have sex in that apartment—no woman could—and to relay my feedback to his friend. [While I clearly didn’t mind having sex with Diet Coke Dealer amongst pounds of cat hair and a sink full of dishes, this place was waaaaaay too messy, the couch was uncomfortable, and I wasn’t going anywhere near the unmade bed.] He was nice and said he wasn’t expecting anything (even though I had been, sigh), and we chilled for about an hour until I went home, virginity intact, at 3:40am.

Remember when I said I had to stop smoking weed with guys because I get too weird? I’ve recently changed my tune on that, and think guys kinda need to see the high me to know and appreciate the real me. Can’t decide if that’s tragic or not, but it definitely allows me to be more “authentic.”

In conclusion, if you really want to go do something but don’t have anyone to join you, go fucking do it anyways.

#91

I had two first dates last week that were both fun, but I don’t really care to see either guy again.

  • The first guy is a theater kid who’s obsessed with Starkid (and thinks I’m really cool for being associated with them) and karaoke, and tried to pressure/shame me into a Monday night karaoke second date. When he wasn’t running his hand through his own hair, he touched my knee a lot; then he walked me home but didn’t try to kiss me. All in all, I’m skeptical about his enthusiasm for vaginas.
  • The second guy was nice and funny, but a little basic. We went to a dimly lit champagne lounge (not.my.vibe) where we made out briefly, but he opened his mouth way too wide. I got duped into going further uptown, where he invited me to “watch something” at his apartment. I declined, we got food instead, and he was impressed that “unlike most girls,” I didn’t order a salad. Who orders just salad at a Thai restaurant?

I don’t know if I’ve maxed out my “luck” on dating apps after 5 years, but I think I need to stop going out with random strangers I meet online. Or maybe I’ll re-download Tinder first, just to be sure. Regardless, I fully intend on meeting someone at one of the many weddings I now have on my horizon—so to all my brides-to-be, don’t give your single guy friends a plus one.