How About We (Part 3: The Conclusion)

by Stephanie

So I was just about to quit my How About We social experiment (that’s what I call dating: one giant social experiment), when I received an email from a guy named John.  He commented on my witty date idea, and asked me out for a drink. I gave pause because John was not exactly my type. He worked in finance, and if you know me, you know I love my men to be creative, tempestuous, and very, very poor.  But the whole point of this was to try something new, and this guy seemed nice, so I responded. The only other red flag on his profile was that his pictures were less than clear (I could’ve sworn one of them looked like it was taken underwater).  They also only really showed his profile, which begged me to believe that he must have some horrible disfigurement on the hidden right side of his face (don’t judge me, these are just the harsh realities of cyber dating).

After a round of emails, we exchanged phone numbers.  While I was waiting for a flight, he delighted me with silly text conversation. He made a casual reference to spending the holidays with his family during which he found himself reciting poetry at a family event. I couldn’t resist the urge, so I inquired about the poetry and he responded with a 3-part text completely in a Dr. Seuss-like rhyme. This was it guys–I found the one! Ok, not really. Side note: I responded with a brilliant limerick about the angst of Delta flight delays that I found particularly inspiring.  We settled on a time and place for our date, and I anxiously looked forward to meeting Finance John.

The date almost didn’t happen actually. When we were deciding when to meet, he asked me what time I would like to meet on that particular Saturday. I hate it when guys put that ball in my court, so I just responded with 8:00, the most generic time for a date. Two days prior, he texted and said that he might need to meet up with some college buddies, and he wanted to know if I was ok getting a drink at 5:00.  This guy, very unsubtly, was already preparing for Plan B, and I was having none of it (no one puts Baby in a corner, or me in a 5:00 slot).  In a true act of passive aggression, I told him that perhaps it would be better to cancel since he sounded so busy. He responded immediately with a heartfelt mea culpa, confirmed that the original 8:00 time was good. Did I mention that he did all of this all in rhyme (8:00, date, late, great, etc. You get the idea)?

It’s date night, and I’ve done all my pre-date grooming rituals, got my roommate to approve my outfit, and started my commute towards the LES bar where we were meeting. As I walk up, I see John standing outside and make my way towards him. I realize now that he has no facial disfigurements. Phew! He does, however, look a little bit like Spock.  Before I even get a chance to process anything else, John goes in for the awkward kiss on the cheek greeting that people seem to do in NYC that irritates me to my very core. I have a large bubble of personal space, and I usually need to be around a person for more than 30 seconds before I allow them to cross the 12-inch invisible barrier that I like to keep clear around my face. At any rate, he starts to lead me away from the bar explaining that there is a long wait, and we’d have better luck going somewhere else. As we’re walking, we start off with some general small talk. “What neighborhood do you live? Oh, Brooklyn? That’s nice. I live in NJ, blah blah blah.” I didn’t think we were off to a bad start because I already got a few hearty laughs out of him, laughs which were startling to hear because he sounded exactly like Santa Claus. Ho, Ho Ho.  Yes, folks, he looked like Spock and sounded like Santa Claus. I wasn’t too phased by any of this. These are just casual observations to paint a picture.

We turn the corner, and I hear his phone ring. He asks me if I mind if he takes it, and I allow it (though I made a mental note of the rude behavior). He walks a few feet in the other direction, but I can hear that the conversation is distinctly pleasant (a pleasant greeting, laugher, a non-urgent up-beat tone). He hangs up, turns towards me and says the following exact words:

“Listen, It was nice meeting you, but I have to go.”

As the sentence began to make his way into my ears and through the gears of my brain, I notice that Finance John has now begun sprinting down the street in the opposite direction. I am left standing there alone on the street. I started processing what had just transpired and rapidly moved through shock, rage, and then finally landed upon the feeling that would carry me all the way home: utter disappointment and hurt. Despite how I felt about Finance John’s long-term prospects (which wasn’t much since we had spent a sum total of 3 minutes together), it is very difficult to not take something like this completely personal. The thing about first dates is that you are essentially allowing a perfect stranger into your intimate little world, and opening yourself up to the possibility that the person might just shrug their shoulders and say “nah, not for me.” Deciding that someone is not a right match doesn’t necessarily reflect poorly on either individual, but because of that possibility, there are certain rules of etiquette that must be followed–common human decency that must be exhibited for this process to not reap horrible destruction. Finance John broke all of those rules when he decided that he didn’t even want to sit through a quick drink and polite conversation with me.  He broke protocol when he didn’t even attempt to make up a fake emergency to attend to. I called my roommate at exactly 8:07, and she was surprised to hear from me so soon.  After the shock wore off, she gave me her usual pep talk. Sadly it didn’t work. I went home that night and shut down my account. Perhaps I’m better suited to the old-school method of dating. You know, where you start with meeting the actual person, and not their carefully edited Interweb persona. Ah, who am I kidding? Nobody does that anymore.