Let’s write about Dates #3 and #4 together. To be fair, this post is going to be more Dudes #3 and #4, because both of them got second dates. I know.
I really lined up my first four dates very efficiently. Friday, Friday, Sunday, Monday.
Dude #3 was the Sunday. He’s a software engineer who I later found out majored in music (saxophone) and has since switched to playing the keyboard in a low-key way.
Dude #4 is a computer programmer who majored in music (saxophone) and has since switched to playing the keyboard in a more committed way.
Let’s start at the beginning. Dude #3—let’s call him Spiderman—asked me if I was into pinball and I told him I was more of a skee ball girl. Right before I got there, he texted me that there was literally no one at the bar, which I appreciated. I prefer to meet serial killers in not only public but busy places. But I really like skee ball so I stuck with it. And then skee ball was broken.
We ended up playing pool instead. This was a terrible idea. I warned him repeatedly about how long it’s been since I played pool and how awful I am at it.
I was actually decent at playing pool in high school, when a friend’s grandparents had a pool table in their basement in Seattle, and a house in Arizona for the winter, which meant we spent way too many hours playing pool. It being high school, sometimes my friends played strip pool, which meant you could either refuse to play, get really good at pool, or end up in your underwear for about 10 minutes before putting your clothes back on. It was basically the winter version of skinny dipping.
I suddenly got really good at pool. Have I mentioned I’m kind of competitive?
But I haven’t played since then, and I didn’t have as much motivating me for this game. Except, it turns out, ending the game in a reasonable timeframe, because Spiderman did not warn me that he was only marginally better. Nor did he ever acknowledge it, a testament of will that I found very impressive.
Spiderman did admit to working for a dating start-up at one point and I may have grilled him about dating sites. He was the first of, well, basically everybody since then who has been on both OkCupid and Tinder. He also helpfully tipped me off to the fact that Tinder, OkCupid, and Match are all owned by the same company.
Did you know that? If you’re getting high percentages on OkCupid with someone you’ve already matched with on Tinder, it’s not because their dating algorithm works or that you’re good at picking people out. It’s that, you know, computer servers. They talk to each other.
That’s my operating theory, at least.
Spiderman and I parted with an awkward hug.
When I met Dude #4—let’s call him Batman—the next night, I was thoroughly exhausted of small talk and really glad we’d agreed to meet for tacos so that I would at least get tacos out of the deal. We’d had a comically mistaken conversation a few days before wherein he said, “Is it too late to get coffee?” and silly me, seeing as we were on a dating app chat and he’d initiated a conversation with me earlier in the day, I thought that he was asking me out. He wasn’t. The end result was that I offered tacos on a different day instead of coffee, and he agreed because I’m irresistible and also tacos.
This is what you need to know about that date: for some reason I was talking about doing yoga at work, and how yes, it can occasionally feel awkward to stick your butt in your co-worker’s face, but you just sort of have to get over it. And one of the ways I comfort myself is by telling myself that if my boss is doing it, it’s definitely okay for me to be doing it. And then something about wanting the day off.
He suggested that it’s all in how you ask, and perhaps the best chance for securing approval in this case would be to just go ahead and slide under her while she was doing cat/cow—maybe on a flat scooter, such as is used in auto body shops.
I laughed so hard I snorted salsa up my nose and cried.
After I stopped crying, I got an ice cream cone at Dick’s and bought a copy of their 50th Anniversary book, which is filled with awesome/boring/hilariously awful memories people have of Dick’s. People are weirdos and intensely passionate about Dick’s and it’s glorious.
Batman: ENJOY YOUR BOOK.
Me: Who is this?
Batman: Shut up, jerk. I want to see you again.
As I was walking home from the date, I looked up and realized one of my Tinder matches was going the other direction in the crosswalk. I looked hard at him. He glanced at me. I looked hard at him. He looked harder at me. He did a bobblehead move after I passed him—a full 180 swivel like a cartoon character. He’s a baker, so let’s call him the Gingerbread Man. I’d talked to this guy on one of my first days on Tinder, and he’d asked me out for pizza. I said sure and then he never messaged me again. He’d picked up the conversation a few weeks later and we’d again ended up at pizza. He again didn’t continue the chat into that whole date-and-time thing which is rather essential for seeing someone.
Gingerbread Man: Did I just pass you on the street?
Me: Ha! Yes.
Gingerbread man: Here’s my number. Text me sometime.
Me: I’m not going to do that but we can eat pizza!
Gingerbread Man: Ok. When works for you?
Me: *falls over in a dead sarcastic faint from shock but schedules a time anyway*
Batman: I’m here for the jokes
Me: I’m here for the dick pics OH GOD PLEASE NO I WILL BURN THIS PHONE TO THE GROUND
Then I sent him a suicide story told entirely in emojis.
Batman and I went on one more date and then called it. He really loves going to all-night techno parties, which I understand to be raves without the glow sticks, which seem like the best part of a rave to me. Clearly fundamental differences of opinion there.
I think we’re friends? I hope so. We like each other’s jokes, I know that for sure.
Gingerbread Man cancelled our pizza date the day we were supposed to meet. I’m counting this as date #5 anyway, because I went to the pizza bar with a friend and we had a great night and a slow, tipsy walk home.
Spiderman texted me intermittently for the next 6 weeks, super innocuous things that I always eventually responded to. He asked me out again one Friday when I was in a great mood, taking a long weekend, on the ferry with my dog on the way to Lopez. At that point, I’d taken a break from Tinder dating to, you know, do other parts of my life, and was feeling open to reconsidering. We went out for a drink and it sort of felt like being on a first date again, but more comfortable and with someone you’ve already met and hopefully can recognize.
I think Tinder dates—by the way—are more like pre-dates. You haven’t even met yet. For all you know, one of you could be lying about everything—what you look like, what your name is, whether you’re going to show up. I think Tinder dates tend to be called Tinder dates for a reason. It basically translates to “as low of expectations as possible.” You meet somewhere convenient for a drink or two, you generally call it quits after that even if it’s going well. If you’ve met someone in real life and determined they’re someone you might like to go out with, you might commit a little more—a full meal, maybe. Someone might treat instead of splitting the bill. I don’t know. You do what feels right, but—Tinder dates are like 1/2 to 3/4 of a first date. First date vs. pre-date.
Have I mentioned I develop facial blindness syndrome when I’m meeting Tinder dates? No matter how often I look at their picture beforehand, I still walk into a bar and freeze.
So because I’d met Spiderman before, this felt more like a first date. But it had also been over a month, so we were starting at square one and asking some basic questions.
So I’m chatting with Spiderman, and playing pinball, and in walks Batman.
This is what you need to know about that date: right as Spiderman was a) reminding me that he was a software engineer and b) majored in music (saxophone)—facts these two superheros have in common that I must have blocked the first time I met them within 24 hours of each other—Batman walks by and says, “SMELLS LIKE SOUP IN HERE.”
Grade: Dammit, skee ball, I just can’t quit you, but you treat me so badly. Tacos are delicious. You should try the ice cream at Dick’s if you haven’t. I know the milkshakes are great, but try the ice cream. You won’t regret it. That book is the best thing I’ve ever bought for under $7. Pizza makes me think of Rome. Dating is confusing. People are mysterious and unknowable. I still don’t know the difference between a programmer/coder/software engineer.