A Marathon First Date Runs Out of Gas on Mile 1

Could a six-hour first date signal a promising new beginning? Ha! Do you know the name of this site?

I went on a first date Saturday night (and the first date since Anthony dumped me).

It lasted six hours.

Let me start by saying I didn’t want to go. I debated whether or not to cancel most of the morning. If I’m being honest with myself, my heart just isn’t in it. But my good friend Alexis convinced me that I should go with the intention of having a good time and making a new connection — even if it’s a new friend. (Editor’s note: The idea that you’re dating to make new friends is dumb. That’s not why anyone goes out on a date.)

So off I went to meet Clinton (not his real name).

Despite my rule of not crossing the Hudson River for love, Clinton lives in Queens. We matched on Hinge while I was spending time in Jersey City barhopping with a friend. (Yes, I matched with someone on an app while I was out in a setting where there were hundreds of people in the flesh around me.) That is dating in 2019 in a nutshell.) We chatted for a bit over the course of a few days before we made plans to meet for “coffee or drinks.” I, of course, chose drinks.

Clinton asked where I wanted to meet, because in reality, we live very far apart. I settled on Jersey City because it is pretty much the midpoint for an NJ-NY interstate romance.

I arrived first for our 6:30 p.m. date and promptly ordered a glass of wine. When he arrived at 6:40 p.m., I could tell he appreciated how I looked in my high-waisted jeans and skin-hugging, burnt orange mock turtleneck — the same shirt I wore on my first date with Anthony (I’m trying to make new memories here!).

Clinton was dressed in a grey chunky, cable-knit sweater and looked just like his photos – a real rarity. His eyes were sparkling blue, his biceps filled out the sleeves of his sweater nicely, and his beard was perfectly trimmed.

Maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea to go out after all.

He ordered an expensive tequila on the rocks while I moved on to a spicy blood orange margarita (It was excellent, by the way.). The bartender asked if we would like to see a food menu. He said he wasn’t hungry yet. I agreed.

For the next hour we talked about our favorite things: sports teams (we both love the Golden State Warriors), television (we both love “The Profit” on CNBC), karaoke (“Benny and the Jetts” is his go-to), and travel (he doesn’t, but would like to). We also discussed his desire to move to California; his search for a new job; and how many people from dating apps we’ve been out with since Sept. 2018 (my number is seven; his is more than seven, less than 25 😳). It was nice.

“Nice.” This is how I describe dates I have zero interest in. Getting the “nice” descriptor an hour in is not a good sign…and yet the date continued for five more hours.

Why did I stay for another five hours? The answer is simple: Clinton was easy to talk to and it felt good to be out with someone of the opposite sex in a romantic setting who found what I had to say interesting — or who could at least pretend to.

After ordering food — he had a pizzetta, which he noted was not part of his keto diet; I had mac & cheese because I like carbs — he paid the bill and we headed to another bar. I know! I should have bailed, but he asked and I agreed.

I won’t bore you with the details of our conversation at the next bar, but I will say that we sat very close on a couch and I never once felt the urge to casually graze his knee with mine. Ugh. Attraction and physical chemistry cannot be forced.

Look, Clinton will one day make some woman — or man (a post for another day) — very happy. His future partner will find him charming and handsome and smart — all of which is true. But I am not her (or him).

I decided to call it at 12:30 a.m. — six hours after we met, and five hours after the point I knew it wasn’t going anywhere.

When it was time to depart, I hugged nice Clinton the way you’d hug someone you just met whom you’re never going to see again. As he walked toward the PATH, he turned and yelled over his shoulder, “Next time, let’s go do karaoke.”

There won’t be a next time, but at least I’m back in the race.

Is This Thing Broken?

Someone call 9-1-1. My thumb is dead.

Some wise person once said, “The best way to get over a man is to get under another.” In the aftermath of the breakup with Anthony, I decided to take that advice — minus the directive to sleep with a random dude — and headed back to the apps.

The fucking apps.

Tinder βœ…
Hinge βœ…
Bumble βœ…βœ…βœ…

I re-downloaded the usual suspects to the discreet “Dating” folder on my personal matchmaker — also known as my iPhone X — and got to swiping.

A funny thing happens when you match with someone on a dating app, meet him in real life and then ditch the app because the living, breathing version of a man is better than the one-dimensional version: you forget how crappy it is to shop for a companion.

Maybe my standards went up after dating Anthony, or maybe all of the decent prospects were picked up while I was in the off-season, but it seems nearly impossible to find one guy I would even consider allowing to think about possibly asking me to contemplate him tempting me to go out on a first date. For real.

A girlfriend and I spent a recent Happy Hour siting side by side at a bar, legs crossed, heads down, frantically swiping. Up, down, left or ❌. NEXT! Repeat. The only time our eyes gazed upward was to help guide our hands toward the awaiting alcholic beverages. Occasionally, one of us would hit on a “good one” and eagerly turn to the other for approval.

He’s alright. He has a nose with character, though.

YAS! Where is he from? Brooklyn?! Nope.

Oh, he has a cute dog…and lives with his mother. πŸ™„

Sigh.

If this is how I’m supposed to get “under” a new man in order to get over Anthony, then consider me still standing…alone…swiping left.

In the Game of Love, Is the Risk Worth the Reward?

The Magic 8 Ball says…

I met a guy at the beginning of 2019. It was right after another guy I was seeing abruptly called it off. (And by “right after” I mean the next day, because keeping it moving is the only way to survive dating in 2019.)

On paper, this guy — let’s call him Anthony — is nothing like who I would have described five months ago as “my ideal man”:

He is over forty. ❌

He is divorced. ❌

He has two kids. ❌

But when dating men in their early 30s who’ve never committed to anything in their lives including adulthood without roommates, you switch things up.

Anthony and I matched on Bumble, the dating app I believe is the least wretched of the bunch. He had two too many car selfies and incorrectly used “to” instead of “too” in his profile, but I looked past my pet peeves because he was cute and his profile was otherwise amusing.

We hit it off on a Friday and, within hours, we had made plans to meet the next afternoon for drinks. We were on the same page about what we wanted out of a relationship (see actual Bumble exchange below).

Saturday rolled around and our schedules didn’t sync up, but we texted heavily for a couple of hours. The conversation flowed naturally. He was a smart-ass (so am I), but also thoughtful, vague enough to be interesting, and confident. Ding! Ding! Ding!

When we finally met that Monday, we both lived up to the other’s expectations, which when it comes to online dating, are very low. Basically, we both had all of our teeth, looked like our profile photos and could engage in interesting conversation for three hours.

After that first night, we began seeing one another about once or twice a week — a schedule dictated by his shared-custody arrangement. This was great for me, because to know me is to know I am always busy doing something. I have varied interests, love spending time with my friends and playing golf with my dad. A couple of days a week is all I have to give to a potential love interest.

Anthony treated me very well. He told me all the nice things: I made him happy; I made him feel loved and fulfilled; every time we were together was something to look forward to; he wanted to do things with me…in the future (btw, anyone want tickets to a comedy show in April?)! I met some of his closest friends. I even fell in love with one of his dogs (the other one is nice, too). We agreed not to date other people. Things with Anthony were different. I cannot explain it any better than that.

This relationship was headed in the right direction — if the right direction was a fork in the road on a NASCAR racetrack ablaze with heartache and tears.

Two months and 11+ dates later, Anthony hit me with the “I’m not ready for a relationship” text. Yes, text. [Editor’s Note: If you have been on more than five dates with someone DO NOT CALL IT OFF VIA TEXT. It is disrespectful.]

Now, I’ve been on the receiving end of the “I’m not ready for a relationship” text several times before. I believe men think it’s the easiest way out of dating someone — it is not. The easiest way out is to say, “I think you’re great, but I just don’t see a future with us.” Direct, truthful, and less painful than the modern day equivalent of “it’s not you, it’s me.” (No one ever believes that.)

Anthony’s text, though, knocked me over like a Kardashian finding out via TMZ that her baby daddy kissed her sister’s friend. I can’t say he was “The One” but he was definitely the one I could see myself with for the foreseeable future (whether that was short- or long-term was TBD). And I believed he felt the same way about me. But this was an overnight about-face.

I won’t share the exact details of the text, but he made sure to reiterate that he wasn’t interested in anyone else and that he really liked me. He said he just wasn’t mentally ready to give 100% to a relationship.

My hot take: He’s just not that into me.

Right?

Right.

Right???

I was hurt (was everything he’d told me about his feelings for me a lie? I don’t think so.), disappointed (I opened my heart up for this shit?!), and sad (am I really that unlovable?).

I repeat: AM I UNLOVABLE?

On it’s face, this is a dumb question. Of course I’m not unlovable. Many people love me, this I know. Some were forced into the endeavor because we share DNA, others came to the conclusion willingly because I give good advice and always have gum and Kleenex.

But falling in love looks so easy on television and in movies. I’m not naive enough to believe that’s how it is in real life, but I am a 36-year-old woman who has never been on the receiving end of non-platonic love. Cold, hard fact. Also a fact? This never bothered me BEFORE I set out on my dating quest.

Here’s a text thread between me and a very good friend of mine after Anthony broke things off:

Admittedly, that is some sad shit. But it is 100% real. I am tired of the hunt, the catch and the release. It takes a toll on my soul because, for me, being emotionally vulnerable is a Herculean task which requires energy, and I don’t have enough energy stored up to keep being let down over and over again. And even if I did have it, I’d rather spend it doing things I love with people who already love me, albeit platonically.

So…will I keep dating “for love” in 2019? Probably not. Should I? Maybe.

The one thing I won’t ever do, however, is not be “ready for a relationship” and pretend otherwise with the men I date. And right now, my heart is not ready, because it is stupidly holding out hope for Anthony.

What do you think? Should I keep up the fight? Let me know in the comments.