Dating apps, for better or worse, are 100% responsible for the dates I go on.
Say what you will about them, but they make my dating life easier. As someone with an ever-changing retail schedule, I don’t get an opportunity to go to happy hours or mixers or most other social engagements other young adults can. Datings apps allow me to browse through the potential hopefuls that the app’s matching algorithm presents me with and message them based on common interests should I feel so inclined. Additionally, as someone who deals with a a level of social anxiety that inhibits my ability to even talk up to a cute stranger at a bar and say “Nice hair!” without sounding like a total dipstick, the internet is a lifesaver.
The internet is also really ugly in its ability to give anonymous and weak fuckboy-types a sense of bravery that enables them to throw all caution out the window and send unsuspecting folks shitty messages. On datings apps, they message you all kinds of gross questions because they have nothing to lose thanks to the distance that the internet provides.
Prior to moving to Baltimore, I never had the “pleasure” of casually running into someone I’ve exchanged messages with online. The folks I exchanged messages with were far more spread out, often several cities over. The likelihood of running into them at the local Denny’s or Target was slim, and I took comfort in that low probability.
In stark contrast with the suburbs, Baltimore is densely populated with young-ish, horny singles, and everyone has a dating app profile. After moving, I was instantly inundated with more eligible people than I knew what to do with. Having very few screening tools at my disposal and even fewer local friends to cross-check potential matches with, I found myself talking to a wide range of people, good dudes and bad dudes alike.
This, unfortunately, is not a story about good date with a good dude.
At first glance, he seemed nice enough; according to his profile, he could put a sentence together well enough for me to hold momentay interest. He was involved in cancer research professionally, mentioning that continuing his education was important to him. Nothing else stood out about him; he was very much a button-down-and-khakis kind of guy, very much into Adam Sandler flicks, Bud Light, and classic rock. It’s not that I have anything against these types of guys, I just don’t really click with them because we have no common ground to build on.
But it was a Friday night and I had nothing better to do, so when he asked to hang out, I was open to the idea. He seemed harmless.
Initially, his best suggestion was to drink tequila and eat ice cream at his place, but after I resisted (because my better judgment instantly red-flagged the shit out of that idea), we agreed to meet at a bar. There are few, rare instances in which I’m comfortable meeting someone at their house a first time, but the pushiness of his messages excluded him from being one of those instances. His pushiness triggered some anxiety and caused me to question whether or not going out with him was a good idea. But I went forward with the plans. I was determined to have new experiences, so I put my doubts on the backburner and met him at the bar.
The place was dimly lit, and he was waiting at the corner of the bar; the seats were a little more secluded, a little further away from other bar patrons. We stayed for about an hour. I let him buy me beers, Yuengling I think, and I ended up drinking him under the table, so to speak. The bartenders gave him a not-so-gentle ribbing for getting “white girl wasted” off of two drinks, and I didn’t stop them. I was amused by their unrelenting chastising of this guy. I gathered he was a regular; the bar tender didn’t hold back in making fun of him. When I asked how often he came to the bar, he said that his apartment was less than a block away. The more intoxicated he became, the more frequently he suggested going back to his place. There was nothing endearing about this guy, which was disappointing only because I wanted my first date after my move to be memoral for good reasons. Sadly, he was calculating how to get in my pants and I was calculating how to get home.
When we parted ways, I deflected his attempt at a goodnight kiss, got in my car, and went home. My bedroom at The Copycat embraced me, and I felt asleep, not thinking about him for the rest of the night.
In the days following the date, his attempts to see me again persisted. I expressed a lack of interest, but it’s as if my words fell on deaf ears, or in this case, blind eyes. No matter how many ways I said no, he pushed. It was kind of fascinating how little my words mattered to this dude, how blatently he ignored them, and how he kept trying to get his dick wet even after I said up, down, and side-to-side “hell fucking no.”
So I stopped responding, because sometimes that’s all you can do. If no does not work, vanishing will do in a pinch.
I deactivated my dating profile after that outing. Even though this was my first attempt at dating in a new city, I needed time to figure out how to weed out the bad from the good and get exactly what I needed from casual dating experiences so as to avoid dates similar to the trainwreck I had been on.
Since then, I’d like to say my approach to online dating has been more discerning, that I’ve had a wealth of quality interactions with wonderful people, but I’m not a perfect person and I don’t life in a perfect world, and what would be the fun in that?