Recently, a friend of mine posted on Facebook asking for stories of bad dates. I knew this was my time to shine since storytelling is (obviously) one of my favorite things to do. Especially when those stories are mostly negative and completely humorous. I tried and tried to think about the worst date I had been on and, to my surprise, none of them were that bad. Honestly, I haven’t been on many dates, and the ones I have been on have mostly been mediocre. I settled on a story of what I considered my “worst” date, a date that was bad because I made it that way. But thinking about all the boys that I have been on dates with got me thinking about something new: a date series.
So here it is: I’m going to take all you readers (all three of you) on a journey through my dating life, bad and good, starting in 2012. I have a surprisingly detailed memory when I really set my mind to it, so these stories will likely be a lot more drawn out than they need to be. Hopefully it’s somewhat entertaining.
Dating Without Expiating, LA, part 1 of ?: Cale
expiate (v.): to do something as a way to show that you are sorry about doing something bad
My first two weeks in LA were nothing like I’d hoped they’d be, but exactly like I’d expected them to be. I left my apartment once a day at most, usually just to drive around for a few minutes to pretend I was “exploring.”
I realized very early on that I needed friends, but I knew before I even started the drive out here that I’m not very good at making friends. I can’t tell you the last time I made a friend on my own. But that’s what the internet is for, right?
I spent the beginning of my second week the same as I’d spent my first, but I was doing a lot of swiping right and left on Tinder. I had forgotten what it’s like to be in a new place where all the gays don’t know you and your reputation. I got a lot of matches and a few messages, but nothing promising early on. One night, though, I was drinking a bottle of wine (or two) and got to talking to a few guys. Some of the conversations died off, but two kept going strong: Cale and Richard.
Cale worked in PR and lived about a mile from me. His pictures seemed fun and he had a cute smile. He actually reminded me of a few guys I had dated before. Early in the conversation, I admitted that I didn’t have any friends (I’m really good at selling myself) and he offered to be my friend.
“I’ll even refrain from kissing you when we hang out. It will be an authentic friendship,” he said. This was the kind of friendship I was looking for and Cale made me realize it. The conversation turned from innocent conversation to innocent flirting. I was really feeling this guy. Or the wine. And the wine.
I decided to make the move and him my phone number and, as soon as I pressed send, I got a message from him. With his phone number. It was probably the cutest thing that has ever happened to me.
We texted a little more that night, then he went to sleep. Or I passed out. Who can be sure?
I texted him the next day, Wednesday, but didn’t get a response for a while. I thought it was over as soon as it started, but he did text me back a few hours later. Apparently there was some sort of “crisis” at his “job” that he was “responsible for.” He texted me as he left work and asked me to hang out.
Because of the nature of our Tinder-turned-texting conversations, I wasn’t sure how much to read into this request. Of course I jumped at the chance to hang out with someone other than my body pillow, so I hopped in the shower and put on a cute outfit.
He picked me up and we drove around for a while in downtown Culver City looking for parking and a cute restaurant. There wasn’t much conversation other than me forcing him to talk. So far, it was going great.
We ended up parking at his house and walking to a close-by chain restaurant, where I only ordered an appetizer and large glass of wine. The conversation at dinner was as sparse as it was in the car, except now he was talking about voting third party because he hated Hillary Clinton. I should’ve walked out right then, but he seemed intelligent enough to have formed a logical opinion. I quickly changed the subject and hoped it wouldn’t come up again.
He loosened up a little on the walk home when he admitted that he needed a cigarette. Apparently that’s what was holding him back, because the rest of the night was a lot less awkward.
When we got back to his apartment, I wasn’t sure what to do. We walked to his car instead of to the door, so I assumed he was taking me home. He asked me to help him take in his dry cleaning. Not very romantic. Maybe this was just a friend date.
While at his apartment, we exchanged stories about our college friends and for every hot mess story I told him, he managed to at least match it. Sure, my best friend is a psychotic mess with a passion for whiskey, but his best friend was in rehab. At some point during a lull in the conversation, he kissed me. So this was a date. Or something.
After we hooked up, we lay naked on his bed for a little bit talking about our tattoos. I smiled through the explanation of his several religious tattoos and managed, somehow, to keep myself from laughing. One of these tattoos was very large and took up his entire chest and said something biblical in Spanish. He doesn’t speak Spanish. He’s lucky I was desperate because otherwise I would’ve walked myself back to my house as soon as he told me about that.
All of a sudden it was 1:00AM. It didn’t really bother me because I had no job and nowhere to be for the foreseeable future, but he had to be at work in the morning. Instead of offering to take me home, he said “So I’m not saying you have to, and I’m not really asking, but… are you going to spend the night?”
That’s literally what he said. I don’t think I’ve ever been more confused by a boy. I taught myself long ago to never get my hopes up, so I decided that “are you going to spend the night?” was his way of saying “aren’t you ready to leave me alone?”
I probably didn’t say anything for a few minutes because I was panicking. After an intense sidebar between myself, my neediness and my anxiety, we all came to a clever retort: “well I would love to, but I can’t sleep in my contacts.” This was the perfect chance for him to definitively pick a side. If he didn’t want me to stay, he would say “oh that’s too bad. Good thing I’m already holding my keys. Let’s go.” Or he could have begged me to try to sleep in my contacts or just throw them away, because surely I had more at home (I did. Probably would’ve taken that route).
For once in my life, something went better than planned (I should’ve known it was too good to be true at this point): “I have a spare contact case,” he said. “You can use that.” So he wanted me to stay.
We stayed up a little later and slept in, even though he was supposed to be at work early. The conversation was good even though he mostly liked to talk about sports. He drove me home on his way to work and texted me when he got off that afternoon.
The next morning, I texted him and asked how the sports game he woke up early to see was going. No response. Never heard from him again.
For a while, I had to drive by his apartment every day on my way to and from work. He’s lucky I never showed up at his door, especially on the night I was sitting at the light on his corner listening to Lemonade.
A month or so went by and I was steadily texting and occasionally seeing Richard, the other Tinder boy from the same night I matched with Cale, so driving by his apartment was the only time I really thought about him.
Except for the night of the election, when I wanted to show up at his door with a baseball bat.