The Little Date That Couldn’t

CONTENT_man-textingI have a love/hate relationship with online dating.

Mostly, I hate it. But the part I love is where I get to write and chat with people via texts and messages. It’s fun, interesting and right up my word-filled alley. Witty banter is my favorite, and I’m always excited when I meet a dude who can hang with my smart assiness.

Aaron could. I met him on Tinder and he clearly stated he was not just looking to get laid. Don’t laugh–I’m gullible and believe shit like that. Plus, once I finish my story, you’ll see that it’s really true.

We started texting on Tinder, exchanged numbers, and then one day Aaron “took things to second base” (his words – cute) with a phone call in the middle of the work day. I liked his style. And his voice. And the cool swagger in the way he talked. I knew immediately I wanted to meet this guy, which I made clear with several “I want to meet you” texts over the course of the next few weeks. I’m nothing if not subtle.

I know, I’m supposed to let the dude chase–I clearly played this wrong, as you’ll see in the end. He did seem interested in meeting, though, and we tried several times to make it happen.

There was a lunch date on a Thursday that I didn’t realize we’d scheduled (but apparently we had, perhaps while I was sleeping). He said I flaked out on it. Okay.

Then there was that drink on a Sunday we had to cancel because he was out of town, stuck in traffic.

There was that time he called me to meet him for a spontaneous lunch. At 12:30. On a Monday. Some of us have to work, dude.

And then there was a Thursday night date we planned, but I canceled the night before because he couldn’t nail down a time and place or even confirm that we were really “on.” By this point, my patience was thin.

Yes. That may have been a little harsh. But I firmly believe that if a dude wants to meet a woman, he’ll make it happen. Clearly, this was not happening, so I chalked it up to lack of interest and moved on. Someone else could enjoy his cool swag voice. A few weeks later, I missed him. Our texts. Our phone chats. His elusiveness. God help me, I’m a sucker for a man who’s unavailable. And I decided to try to reconnect.

We did, he seemed interested again, and minor texting ensued.

Finally one Wednesday afternoon he called me. “What are you doing tonight?”

“I don’t know? Probably working. How about you?”

“I have a bike ride till 8:00, but then I’m free. Wanna get together?”

I’m pretty sure I screamed, “I get to meet you for real?” like a silly little girl. Slight overreaction–but dude, seriously. It had been two months of chatting. I love to text, but please. Eventually things have to move from phones to face-to-face conversations if there’s any hope of having a hot makeout sesh at the end of the evening. Nobody has created an app for that. Yet.

That evening after work, I showered, put on my favorite perfume, kick-ass heels, my cute new polka-dotted baby doll top and my swaggiest jeans (to match his swaggy voice, of course). Then I took off in my car toward his area, about 45 minutes away. Still without a place to meet–but no worries. Because we at least had a time. Sort of. And that was a step in the right direction.

“Stop by.” That’s the text I got from him once I was on the road. Simply, “Stop by.”

“Stop by where?”

“Stop by the bike shop. Have a beer.”

Beer? Bike shop? Wait–I thought we were meeting. As in, “Meet me for a Manhattan at this swanky bar in San Carlos.”

I called him. “But I’m not dressed for a bike shop. I’m dressed for a date. With you. Like, I’m wearing heels and a cute shirt. Not spandex and a helmet.”

“I’m all sweaty and gross–I just got done riding. I don’t wanna go home and shower and change for a drink. Just meet me here, we have beer and North Queensland Fury Training Sessionappetizers. Maybe you’ll buy a bike.”

I was driving on the freeway at this point. That’s where I ran out of words. Completely. I always have words. But at this point, driving 70 miles an hour toward an elusive date I’d been trying to nail down for two months, I ran dry. I hit the “end call” button on my phone, got off the freeway at the nearest exit, turned around and went home.

Tears welled up. I called a girlfriend, she said, “I told you so,” and then I laughed. It was all I could do at that point–just laugh at the absurdity of the situation. At how hard I’d worked to meet a man who couldn’t be bothered to even take a shower for me, let alone plan a date without 40 of his biking buddies. At how much I’d built this guy up, only to realize that he’s simply a dude who wants to live according to his own agenda, females be damned.

I laughed at my own issues . . . how I’m ridiculously attracted to men who aren’t emotionally available. And I laughed at the sheer luck of finding–but never actually meeting–the one man on Tinder not looking for a hook-up.

That night, I took off my kick-ass heels, slipped into my PJs, and I sighed a few sighs for the little date that simply couldn’t.

I’m glad I didn’t go to that bike shop. I respected myself enough to not show up for a man who clearly just saw me as a potential beer buddy. First dates are supposed to be when you put your best out there. If “sweaty, gross and helmet hair” was the best he had to offer, what would the second and third dates be like?

As women, we’re told from early on that what men want most, outside of sex, is respect. And many of them deserve it. There are a lot of stand-up guys I know who I respect immensely. But I will never respect any man or his wishes or his agenda or his sweaty, gross, helmet-headed self if, in the process, it means I stop respecting myself. At the end of the day, I have to look in the mirror and know that I did right by me and my convictions.

And my self-respect is worth a thousand times more than all the fucking bikes in the bike shop.



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