If I send a man a message on a dating site and he doesn’t respond, I let it go. I won’t send a second. Or a third. Or, even with the help of a little tequila, a fourth, hoping this will be the one to finally inspire him to fire back a sweet response.
Then I saw Matt. I was bored at work, perusing Match.com for a few minutes, and came across this hot scruffy-faced, shaggy-haired man who looked hella fun and had a smile that lit up my computer screen. He owned his own business. Traveled around the world. Wrote intelligently. So many things to like, in one little profile.
So I messaged him. No response. So I tried again. No response.
Typically I would have walked away after the first sign of crickets, but for some reason, I couldn’t let it go. So at the risk of looking like a stalker, I sent a third message. And he responded.
“Thank you, the feeling is mutual :). Would love to talk, here’s my number.”
What. The. Actual. Hell. That worked?! Matt and I set up a date for later that evening. We were cutting to the fucking chase, man. Apparently the third time is a charm.
First red flag: He asked me to meet him at a hotel bar called The Rosewood. This place has a raging rep for being a hook-up spot for Silicon Valley suits and middle-aged gold diggers. Not exactly appropriate for a first date and I questioned his choice, but he sounded offended so I let it go. “The Rosewood it is,” I agreed.
Second red flag: He called to say he’d be 50 minutes late. Sounded like poor planning on his part, but okay. Shit happens.
Third red flag: The strap on my sexy black shirt broke just as I walked into the hotel’s front lobby. I mean, that’s not exactly a flag – more like an omen. You know, that things were about to get uncomfortable. Or embarrassing. Or just plain shitty. Luckily I was in a hotel and the front desk had a safety pin.
That, right there, was the highlight of my evening.
The second that Matt walked into the lobby, my heart sank. He was not the hot scruffy-faced, shaggy-haired entrepreneur from Match. Matt was a short, unattractive and immediately unfriendly Silicon Valley geek with a bad taste in clothing and a terrible hug. It took all of three seconds for me to know this evening was going to be brutal.
This happens, right? Sometimes people are not who you think they’ll be, and that’s okay–I always figure I can still make an evening of it and perhaps come away with a new friend. Matt, however, was obviously as disappointed in his date for the evening as I was. The difference was, he was not going to make this easy. He had “oh, shit,” written all over his face. And demeanor. And in his extremely fake smile. He was as unimpressed with me as I was with him. And he wasn’t hiding it.
We didn’t have zero chemistry. We had negative chemistry.
We wormed our way through the crowds to the back of the line at the bar, behind all the fake boobs, Italian suits, perfume-soaked designer dresses and potential Thursday night hook-ups, and Matt said, “This is ridiculous.”No shit, Sherlock.
“Let’s try the other room, maybe we can get a seat on a couch and order from a waitress,” I suggested.
He looked at me blankly. “What, you can’t handle a crowd? Do you ever go to In-N-Out? Any restaurant in the Bay Area on the weekend? Don’t you know there are crowds everywhere here?”
Right. Fuck me. How could I be so stupid? I’m sure every bar and restaurant in the Bay Area is as impacted as The Rosewood on “cougar night.”
I ignored his snarky comment and fought my way into the next room where potential lovers were flirting and fawning all over each other in the bar’s sexy little sitting area. He followed though I’m not sure why, and we eventually landed a spot on a couch where I ordered “the largest glass of Pinot Noir you have” and he requested a shot glass of Moscato. He didn’t like alcohol.
Which made our meeting spot even more ridiculous.
And from that point, it just got worse. He yawned at least 5,493 times. Maybe more. Checked the weather app on his phone obsessively. Talked about his car parts business incessantly and in way more detail than I cared to hear (or could even understand). Answered my questions in one-to-three word answers. Refused to make eye contact. Answered incoming texts while I tried desperately to carry on a conversation. At one point, an Asian man sitting next to us and the two women by his side looked at us and smirked, then whispered something to each other and laughed.
Hell, I don’t blame them. In fact, I wanted to join them. I would have been making fun of us too.
For 45 minutes I sipped my Pinot, fought like hell to be kind and interesting and make something of this pathetic date, and Matt sat on the couch with his phone, his shot glass of Moscato and his “get me the F out of here” attitude. Finally I put down my glass, looked at him and said, “Matt. You look more bored than any date I’ve ever had in my life. I’m going to finish my wine and then I think we need to leave so you can get to bed. Or something.”
I guzzled what was left in my glass, then we hightailed it to the door. He didn’t walk me to my car–he just gave me another terrible hug and awkwardly said, “We’ll be in touch.” *fake smile* And turned around and walked quickly away.
Oh, sweet baby Jesus, please do not be in touch.
I ran through the rain to my car, and as soon as I got inside, I took a deep breath and texted a man I’d been crushing on for two months, but who was no longer speaking to me.
“I just had the worst first date of my life. And I know that right now you’re not interested in talking to me much because of how I fucked things up between us, but I want you to know this: I have never appreciated our chemistry and connection more than I do right now. Feeling immediately comfortable with you . . . the sparks between us . . . the physical and emotional attraction . . . the way we connected intellectually . . . all of those things are rare, at least for me. And tonight I was reminded of that. I hope you are able to find that again. And I hope I am too. Because it’s a wonderful thing when it happens.”
He surprisingly responded and we texted for a few, but it was obvious he had moved on. And that I needed to.
I don’t know where it comes from or why it exists with some people but not others, but there is nothing better in the early stages of dating than finding an exciting, soul-stirring, heart-pounding attraction. This man that I just mentioned above–the one who no longer speaks to me . . . early the next morning after our first date, he texted me, “Very little sleep last night. Lots of dreaming of you.” I was barely awake when I read it, but it made me smile a sleepy smile. It melted my heart. That’s what great chemistry does. It melts your heart.
Bad chemistry? It melts your brain. I had such a headache after The Rosewood I had to go home, take four ibuprofen and go to bed.
Dating is a total bitch when you don’t make a love connection. Even bitchier when the strap on your favorite shirt breaks in the same evening. And it’s at its bitchiest when bad chemistry reminds you of the amazing connection you fucked up not that many weeks ago.
Here’s hoping I don’t fail my next chem exam quite so miserably.