I’ve decided to jump back into the world of online dating. I joined Match.com in hopes of finding the perfect : fun loving, adventurous, down to earth, easy going, outgoing, passionate about music, loves to go out but also enjoys staying in, sassy and smart, new-to-this-whole-online-dating-thing-and-still-thinks-it-weird-but-thought-she’d-give-it-a-try girl. I chose Match.com over some of the free alternatives like Plenty of Fish because I appreciate the commitment it takes to give out your credit card information and spend 25 bucks a month to find love.
Before I get into my first Match date, I’d like to say one more thing regarding the profiles. I’ve already ranted about these in my 10 Things I Hate About Online Dating blog, but there’s a new epidemic that needs to be addressed. To quickly add one more to the list . . .
11. The Dog Pictures
Not the ones of you and your dog, the pictures of JUST your dog. You know who would enjoy seeing photos of the cute terrier spaniel mix you rescued? Other fucking chicks. Not dudes.
Despite a seemingly pessimistic attitude, I still get excited over the prospect of finding my “soulmate”. And so it began.
She was a blue eyed beauty named Kelly0584. She messaged me first, saying how much she enjoyed the documentary King of Kong (it’s in my profile). She had a pale complexion, contrasted with dark brown hair. I thought she looked like Zooey Deschanel, who is easily the most underrated hot celebrity. She was also an aspiring writer who has her own blog. I was in love. Unable to control my excitement, I emailed her picture to my friend Dustin, telling him about the date we were soon to go on. I chose a particular shot in which she especially resembled Zooey, boasting about how I’d found the next best thing. “She’s either hot or she’s not hot” he ambiguously replied. I stared blankly at his words on my computer screen for a minute or so, trying to decipher what he meant by this. Surely there was something in between hot and not she could be, like “cute”.
We agreed to meet at Bosa Nova, the only restaurant in Hollywood I’m familiar with, even after living there for two years. I pulled up at 7:20, ten minutes before our arranged meeting time, and received a text from my future girlfriend saying, “Work is crazy ugh! running a little late, can we push it back to 7:45?”. I told her it was no problem and turned the ignition back on so I could listen to the radio. At 7:40, I checked my reflection in the rear view mirror one last time before stepping out and walking down to the restaurant. The hostess who greeted me said there was no wait for a party of two, so I told her I was expecting my date to arrive any minute. She suggested I sit outside. It was a beautiful night.
At 7:50 I received another text. “Moving just as fast as I can! traffic is ridiculous, be there in 15”. Reading this, I felt a wave of relief. For ten minutes I could relax and not worry about doing my best James Dean impression while posing on the wooden benches out front. I slumped into a more comfortable sitting position and stopped checking out every dark haired girl walking by to see if it was her. I looked through the emails on my phone and actually read them instead of just making my cool reading face. Finally, when ten minutes passed, I went back to James Dean mode. Unsure of which direction she might be coming from, and not wanting to look like a spaz jerking his head left to right every two seconds, I popped the collar of my Euro jacket and stared into the distance, furrowing my eyebrows as if deep and meaningful thoughts filled my head. At 8:10, another text: “So sorry, almost there, 10 more minutes”. I started to grow impatient and care less about my looks.
At 8:20, fifty minutes late and fifty pounds overweight, she arrived. She had a huge, wide, fat head that seemed almost cartoonish. I figured she was an ex-body builder and the gigantism was a side effect of the steroids. She was sloppy, and frumpy, and out of breath from the fifteen feet she had to walk from the valet service. Instead of imagining the song we’d first dance to at our wedding, I now wondered whether she’d be worth calling at 2 a.m. after twelve beers. Deciding that my drunk dialing list could always use another name, I sat down to find out what was in that God-awful large head of hers. Despite being completely turned off by this girl the instant we met face to giant fat face, I still sought her approval. I wanted her to walk away thinking I’m a catch.
They placed us beneath a hot white light that beamed down on the shiny surface of our bright orange wooden table. To the left of us sat an older couple just three feet away, separated by a giant metal heater that raged on with the fires of Mordor. Even though I’d written off this date, I still wanted to maintain my mystique, so I kept my Euro jacket on despite the aurora borealis looming over our heads. I wiped beads of sweat from my forehead and flipped to the back of the menu for the beer selections.
“Can I get you guys something to drink?” our server asked with a midwest accent. Fat Zooey jumped at this, sparking up a conversation about her home town of Alabama, or somewhere around there. They gabbed like old friends, making me feel as if I should offer up my seat to the waitress and see if she was fixin for a nice glass of sweet tea. I sat back watching the two talk and wondered how I could’ve been so deceived by this girl’s pictures. We all try and pick the most flattering images we can find to represent ourselves. I had a lot of shots where I’m doing that 3/4 head turn to conceal my double chin. I also had a few shots taken indoors with the flash, which seems to wash out everything and hide a lot of the unflattering details the spot light above me was sure to pick up. Still though, she was fat. That’s just a flat out lie. I merely manipulated the truth. The equivalent to this would be for me to post a bunch of photos where I have a beanie or a hat on, then show up with a hairline resembling Fraiser Crane’s. She even had a couple full body shots in her pictures, including one with her and all her friends, giving what I thought to be an accurate sense of scale. To make matters worse, in all of her emails she always managed to find a way to slip in the fact that she was about to go to the gym, or just got back from the gym, or “Really sore from this cardio class that totally kicked my ass!” Which seems counterintuitive, like getting a 900 on your SAT’s and defending your low score by explaining that you studied your ass off for months before taking the test.
Our server returned with a large sangria for Fat Zooey and a Corona for me. We sipped our drinks and looked through the menu. “She’s nice.” I said, referring to her new BFF. ” I don’t know how you do that. . . just spark up a conversation with a stranger . . . I’m not very sociable, I usually find it to be a waste of time . . . I mean, you’re never gonna see these people again, so why bother getting to know them?” I asked rhetorically, shrugging my shoulders and taking a swig of my beer. She nodded politely and finished her Sangria in three massive gulps. When a bus boy came by she ordered another one. We still hadn’t received the complimentary basket of bread.
“So, do you know what you’re gonna get?” I asked, trying to cool things down and find a neutral topic. We then discussed the menu – what we wanted, what looked good, what we’ve tried before. Then, I started up again. I told her I lived in Hollywood for two years and this was the only sit-down restaurant I knew of because I usually just eat fast food. She reached for her straw as I continued. “I hate cooking or preparing food, all the meals I eat at home are the pre-packaged stuff you buy in the freezer section of the grocery store. You know, like chicken nuggets or fish sticks. Sometimes I’ll buy a bag of tortilla chips and shredded cheese, but I’ll be too lazy to put the two in the microwave and make nachos, so I’ll just sprinkle some cheese on a chip and eat it like that, usually over the kitchen sink so I don’t make a mess. Actually, I eat most of my meals over the kitchen sink, that way I don’t have to do dishes.” I smiled uncomfortably at her blank reaction and looked back down at my menu. She asked a server walking by (not ours) for another large sangria, her third.
After we ordered she excused herself to go to the restroom. When she was no longer in sight, I grabbed my napkin and wiped down my sweaty greasy face. My jacket was itchy and uncomfortable and the collar chaffed my neck. I desperately wanted to remove it, but I knew if I did that now she’d know I lied when I said I wasn’t hot. After sweating it out for another minute, I finally took the stupid thing off. I doubted she was smart enough to realize I lied anyways.
When she sat back down, I brought up something she mentioned in her latest blog. “So. . . your sister just had a kid?” I inquired. This turned out to be a success as she talked in circles about it for a good five minutes. She gave the same redundant speech every single girl my age gives – ” I want kids, but not now, some day, not today, but I LOVE kids.” I told her that I worked daycare with Parks and Recreation for four years. “I loved the job, except for the kids . . .I hated the kids” I explained. She turned quiet until the sound of her slurping sangria broke the silence. “Well, I didn’t hate ALL of them . . . just most of them . . . When you think about it, kids are just smaller dumber obnoxious versions of adults.” I reasoned, remembering all the brats I got paid minimum wage to babysit. She grew nervous and kept a watchful eye on my hands, as if they had been strangling sweet innocent children earlier. I found this judgment to be a little unfair because when she thinks kids, she’s thinking about the cute four-year-old that calls her Aunty Kelly and asks her to play tea party. When I think kids, I’m thinking about the little cry-baby throwing a tantrum every time he gets out in dodgeball. Just in time to break the awkward silence, our food arrived. Fat Zooey (curious what her nickname for me at this point might have been) ordered her fourth sangria. I knew this to be the exact number because she was too fast for the bus boys and had accumulated a line of three large, purple stained, empty glasses.
We stopped talking and ate. I anxiously awaited the server to come by after my first bite and ask me “How is everything?” because they always do that shit and I can’t really enjoy my meal until it’s out of the way. Knowing you could be interrogated by a stranger at any moment when you have a mouthful of spaghetti doesn’t make for a pleasant dining experience. “How ya’ll doin? everything alright?” Our southern bell asked us with a much thicker accent now, possibly to get a bigger tip. I gave a thumbs up and a smile, my polite way of shooing her away.
After barely finishing half of my food, too full from adrenaline and angst, I pushed my plate away in an act of submission and sipped my water. Fat Zooey took another bite of her chicken and washed it down with the remains of her fourth sangria. Our server walked by and she lifted a hand, then lazily pointed to the empty glass, now ordering through sign language. A fifth sangria quickly found its way next to the bottomless drinking machine. For a second, I thought about ordering a large beer and playing catch up. Maybe if we both got drunk this might turn out okay. I discretely glanced at my cell phone to find it was already past nine. I still had a half an hour drive back to my apartment and this girl wasn’t worth the DUI. We reverted to small talk again, as if we skipped over the first five minutes of the date and needed to make up for them. “Nice night out.” I commented. “Yeah . . it’s nice” she complied. “Did you park far from here” she asked. “No . . . not to far” I replied.
Once our plates were cleared, I found myself alone at the table as she retreated again to the ladies room. This time I got on my phone. I scrolled through my emails and felt a sting when I saw the ones sent from her. What used to be my most cherished notes, notes that would make my heart skip a beat with anticipation before opening to read, were now junk mail. Emails from Netflix letting me know what DVD’s were coming Thursday bared more relevance. My life returned to the mundane routine of work and television. I wanted to hurry this thing up so I could squeeze in a few more episodes of Party Down Season 2.
“Ya’ll save room for desert?” Our server asked when my date returned. I smiled and shook my head no, looking across the table to see if we were in agreement. “Okay, how about another round” she asked, eyeing the line of drinks. Drunk Zooey shook her head in bewilderment, “Nope, I think we’re good” she said casually, as if this were a ridiculous question. The waitress came back shortly and placed a black folder next to me. I picked it up and watched Drunk Zooey look around the patio, avoiding eye contact. I leaned over to pull out my wallet and grabbed the bill. She hesitantly reached for her purse and I blurted out before thinking over the consequences, “I got this.” She said nothing and put her purse back down. I don’t know why I said this, we were two adults that failed to make a connection, the reasonable thing would be to split the loss and go our separate ways. Instead, I signed my name under the $87 tab and started to identify with those girls that complain about feeling cheap and used after putting out the first date. I knew I’d never see this girl again, and more importantly, she knew she’d never see me again, yet she sat in silence and watched me pay for her five God damn sangrias.
Driving home, I thought about my old dating motto of, “You don’t shoot you don’t score” and began altering it to fit my current opinion. “You don’t shoot you don’t miss . . . You don’t shoot you don’t humiliate yourself . . . You don’t shoot you don’t waste 87 fucking dollars on a chick you didn’t really want to score with anyways.” I thought about all the DVD’s I could’ve rented, or Chipotle burritos I could’ve eaten, or 12-packs of Coronas I could’ve drank with that money. I’ve always hated the term “puppy love”. The older I get, the more jaded and pragmatic I become. I feel like love is at it’s purest at 16 and slowly gets diluted with age. The search for “The One” has slowly been replaced with the search for “A cool chick I like hanging out with who doesn’t photoshop her fatass pics and mooch sangrias off me without even thanking me.” From now on, I’m taking all these online floozies to lame ass Starbucks. Zooey Deschanel is no longer my favorite under-the-radar actress.