Him: I mostly use the Internet so I can buy stuff from targeted advertising based on the “which character are you from (insert popular tv show/movie quizzes).” I’m still paying off my credit card debt from when I bought that crate of Twilight glitter. Seemed like a sound investment at the time.
Me: Pics please!
Him: No such pics exist. Only a shirtless bathroom selfie holding a fish I caught in Machu Picchu while petting a tiger.
Me: You had me at shirtless bathroom selfie holding a fish you caught in Machu Picchu while petting a tiger.
Him: I forgot to mention the bathroom mirror has toothpaste splatter build-up from, like, several months.
Me: Shhh. Don’t ruin it. Quick, ask me out.
Him: Hey, so I was thinking we should go out sometime. Interested?
This is Archie.
Here’s what you need to know about our date: it was a rainy, cold spring night. He showed up wearing a hoodie and cowboy boots. You know how I’ve said that everyone is 20% less hot than in their pictures? And you should only be swiping on people whose pictures you want to make out with, because let’s not pretend this isn’t a dating site. Archie turns out to be 20% hotter.
The bartender was profusely apologetic whenever he came over to check on us. In fact, he apologized so much for interrupting to ask if we wanted a second drink that I started to wonder if he was making fun of us, but he didn’t seem to be—I have no idea where it came from or why, but I think he was rooting for the date? He seemed genuinely invested. I’d say he had a bet going with his co-workers, but he would have had no way of verifying the outcome. He looked really happy when Archie ordered a second drink and we stayed a little while longer.
By the end of the date, I wanted to curl up into Archie’s hoodie. I wrote my phone number on a coaster and gave it to him—a ridiculously old-fashioned move but I’ve had whooping cough, so I’m already stuck in the Victorian era, and I’m here to report that it still works.
(It gets bonus points for not involving phones. Here’s the thing with phones: you can’t just give someone your number. You have to either ask for theirs—which is fine, but not what I was trying to accomplish in that moment—or ask them if they want yours, or start reciting your phone number unprompted and hope they catch up real fast to what’s going on. Either way, one of you is going to have your phone out and be awkwardly typing while the other stares. Sure, I could have just waited and sent him my number over Tinder once I got home. But this was much more immediately satisfying, and I can’t quite explain how silly and fun it felt to write my name and number on a coaster. Hey, everyone always says my apartment building looks like the one in Singles. I’m just doing my best to re-enact that movie in real-time and document it here for you. I’m doing this for you. I am flirting with handsome, charming men for you.)
Archie and I hugged at the end of the date, and it was the nicest, warmest hug at the end of a first date yet. See: Handsome man. Hoodie. Curl into.
Archie texted me. I texted Archie. Then he didn’t text me for five days.
I was like, “Ok. See you later.” Then I was like, “Oh man, it’s spring. It’s sunny. Reggie isn’t texting me either. Boys are stupid. Too bad they’re so fun. Good thing I have no
pride ego and two thumbs which are terrible at playing video games but good at texting.”
I lured him with tacos. Everybody loves tacos, but especially people who say they love tacos in their Tinder profiles.
We went on a second date. Archie’s from Georgia, which in Seattle is basically like being from the dark side of the moon. I realized I was asking him questions just to get him to talk so I could
look at listen to him. I’m not someone who’s that interested in hearing men talk just to talk. They do enough of that on their own. I have to a) like you b) find you interesting and c) like the sound of your voice for this to happen.
I traded by telling him about my speech impediment. Think of this as the part of the Bachelor where every contestant comes up with a sob story about a personal journey that resulted in “growth” or a “defining” moment of some kind—and if you don’t have one, the Bachelor says he just doesn’t feel like you’re opening up, you’re not being vulnerable, and you must not want love. Read: you don’t deserve love. So in Bachelor terms, this was episode 6, and our first one-on-one date, and the rose was on the table, and I had to pull out all the stops and go for my most tragic yet simultaneously attractive story. This is crucial. No gory stitches or unladylike food poisoning for your tragic story. No details about mental health struggles. No information about your period.
Pro tip: Save the period talk for date 5.
Preferably you should look beautiful and wear full make-up and a bikini while you tell your story about finding out you had asthma at a young age, which changed your life forever. Definitely don’t talk about how your asthma sometimes makes it sound like you’re a dying whale having sex with a monkey. Just say it’s sad because when you were four you wanted to be a marathon runner. Ignore the fact that people with asthma run marathons every day and that you thought a marathon was something to do with being too busy to help with the dishes (you were right). Your eyes can well with tears but they can’t spill over. But if they do spill over, you’re wearing waterproof mascara.
I watch the Bachelor every season I’ve seen one or two episodes of the Bachelor, I know what’s up, I’m sitting there and I’m like it’s date 2, which remember in Tinder terms means it’s date 1.5 or 1.75, I’ve got to do it or die alone, it’s either the sinus surgery which made my face hurt so much I threw up, the dog dying of cancer which made me cry so hard I threw up, the whooping cough which made me cough so hard I threw up, the sinus infections for which the antibiotics made me throw up, the allergies which cause vertigo which makes me throw up, the migraines which make me throw up, the mysterious illness which made me unable to drink alcohol and made me feel hungover for two years when I finally stopped throwing up, the fact that I’m a poet which is basically a guaranteed existential crisis every day (gross), or the speech impediment.
I’m really quite healthy. In the grand scheme of things.
Instead of a camera crew, though, at this moment I’m looking at a remarkably short prep cook chopping cilantro for tacos.
But I did have a speech impediment as a child that made me sound like I was from Boston. Really close relatives—like my aunts, my mother’s sisters—would ask my mother if I was from Boston. This despite knowing that I wasn’t adopted and my parents have never lived in Boston. My speech impediment meant I said w’s instead of r’s. R’s at the beginning of words are particularly hard for me.
Things really came to a tongue-twisting climax when I was cast as a lion in the Wizard of Oz. We were quadruple-cast—4 tin men, 4 scarecrows, 4 cowardly lions. Which means it was nothing other than pure evil which made the adults in charge of the summer camp assign me the line “I will roar my terrible roar.”
Better known as: I will woar my tewwible woar.
When the audience roared with laughter, by some miracle of development and self-preservation, I was just enough of a ham to bask in it instead of doing my standard move when things didn’t go well and I perceived myself to have been less than perfect, which was to cry and grind my teeth. People act like adults have it hard, but being a perfectionist as a child, when you’re in even less control of the world and not even in control of your own body (tongue, teeth, mouth), is the worst.
Now I’ve gone and told the whole world my story about overcoming hardship and I have to admit, I’m not wearing any make-up and my sweatpants have a hole in them and my right sinus feels a little congested.
A) I will never find love.
B) I am undeserving of love.
C) My mascara hasn’t been used in so long it probably has bacteria in it.
D) These are only reasons 1–3 of 2,346 (more reasons being added every day) of why I can’t go on the Bachelor, including the fact that there really aren’t 25 people in the world I’m willing to make out with simultaneously.
E) They don’t let Bachelor contestants bring books on the show with them, so that all they have to do all day is drink, work out, and fight.
F) If you’ve ever seen me drink, you know that I would literally die if I had to drink that much, and yes, I know what literally means. See aforementioned mystery illness which appears to have been (and potentially will be again) triggered by alcohol.
G) I’d have to pretend to be one of the religions that doesn’t allow drinking, and we all know that everything that happens on reality TV has to be wholly authentic.
H) Did you see that season with the blogger from Chicago who went on the show and before the first impression rose was given, she was hiding in the bathroom crying, an anxious mess? It’s so easy to wonder what’s wrong with her—she can’t make it one night?—until you stop and put yourself in that situation: Here are your new 24 roommates. Half already hate you. Try to make the one person who’s going to be nice to you fall in love with you while everybody watches. Slow dance on a stage in front of a band playing in an empty theater just for you. That isn’t awkward at all. You’re scared of heights? Here, rappel down the side of the Chrysler building with a man you’ve never met who knows nothing about climbing. Drink. Drink more. Drink again. No books. No phone. No contact with anyone from home. Why don’t you have hair extensions?
I) I’m crying in a ball on my couch just thinking about it.
J) I really need to live-blog this next season of the Bachelor.
K) Did I tell you guys that I ran into Catherine and Sean—I went to school with Catherine—this fall and I have a picture with them?
L) US Weekly contacted me after that blog post, you guys, and asked me for more dirt on Catherine.
M) I didn’t have any.
N) I also saw Catherine at my 10 year high school reunion. She remembered everyone’s names without needing their name tags. Yes, she’s as nice as she seems on TV, which was poet Sharon Olds’s first question.
O) Yes, Sharon Olds watches the Bachelor. But what she’s really into is America’s Next Top Model. Yes, this is what I talked to one of America’s most famous poets about when I had the chance.
P) All of the above.
The point is, clearly my seductive story about humiliating myself as an 8-year-old worked, because Archie kissed me. Attraction is weird.
(I mean, who knows what he would say about why he kissed me—to keep me from throwing him over the rooftop in a reverse axe-murderer online dating twist of fate because I can’t stand a cliche?—but I’m going with the speech impediment story.)
In fact, Archie kissed me on my rooftop overlooking the city. I’m not kidding. I sort of wish I were. I’m what’s known as not a romantic—you can ask my ex-boyfriends, who have had to endure blank looks and vague murmuring noises when I’m presented with romantic gestures.
This is my favorite story about romantics dating non-romantics:
My friend Sally was dating Harry (just go with it). It was their one-year anniversary. Harry handed Sally a card, which surprised her, because she’d forgotten it was their anniversary. She thought they were eating pizza because pizza is delicious, and not because it was the first thing they’d ever eaten together. Sally was wrong, though.
Inside the card was a rock.
Sally: Why are you giving me a rock?
Harry (hurt): It’s from the hike we went on together for our first date.
Sally: You saved this for a year?
Harry: It’s romantic.
Sally: It’s a rock.
So you can see how admitting this whole rooftop thing is actually sort of difficult for me. The fact that it was my fault—I mean, it’s my building, he didn’t wander up there on his own—just makes it worst. He had the good grace not to comment on it, which I appreciate it.
Grade: I stopped using the peach emoji to signal a butt and started using it to reference Georgia. I mean, it’s still a butt, too. It will never stop being a butt. Now it just depends on context.