We were sitting across from one another at Big Bar in the East Village when I realized his interest in me had turned to hatred.
“So… I guess I should just leave?”
I was a mess last night, which could have been predicted given my whole pre-date routine of ‘I’m drinking and having an emotional breakdown after hot yoga by myself in my apartment,’ but sometimes I don’t realize before it happens that my being a mess isn’t like, Zooey Deschanel adorable (Fuck you, Zooey! Why are you so cute that fucking COTTON wants you to represent it?!?). I was texting Nina tipsily my whole cab ride down about how much I was not in the date zone, how I’d be home in two hours, how Rutherford seemed super dumb. Yes, Rutherford… I make up names for all these guys and I’ve decided to just have fun with it because I’m running out of Johns and Kevins and because he really did have a weird name, even though it wasn’t Rutherford.
I realized pretty quickly upon meeting him that a lot of his stupidity was due to his being a recent Seattle-NYC transplant. People new to New York are like babies! I’m sure we wouldn’t like each other sober – he talked about himself a lot and asked me the worst questions… but then we started drinking. I really enjoy this part of my dating life; getting drunk with a total stranger is what I’d imagine a bartender experiences every night. Because we’ve only just met and we don’t know each other’s last names or social circles, the conversation gets more honest more quickly. I underestimated Rutherford until he admitted to me that he’d been on an online date RIGHT before meeting up with me. I high-fived him, because let’s be honest, anyone feels cool doing that. I went on two dates in one day last summer and I felt SO COOL and kind of evil but also in a cool way.
After that confession, most sentences started with “Since we’re being honest….” even though we weren’t telling each other anything that really needed the preface.
We smoked cigarettes outside and had idiotic conversations –
“Since we’re being honest…. I was fat in high school!”
“I was too! How fat?”
“That is kind of fat – I got skinny around age 13.”
“Oh….you were much cooler than I was….”
“Yeah, I was kind of cool in high school. When did you lose your virginity?”
“I was almost 21. You?”
“Since we’re being honest… I was almost 17.”
I high-fived him here.
I didn’t think he liked me, because I didn’t like him, but when we got up to leave the restaurant he said something about there not being anything here (gesturing between the two of us) and I was like OMG I KNOW, RIGHT? I’M GLAD WE CAN BE HONEST.
And then he said, “I was joking? Wait.. you were joking right? Come have another drink with me?”
“Oh.. yeah. I was totally joking.” Some how that worked and we stumbled over to Big Bar.
I think it’s all the interviewing I’ve been doing that made me want to tell him at least one real thing about me. I’ve been answering all these questions about why I want to leave my job and where I see myself in 10 years and I’ve been lying through my teeth. I hate lying, and so before I knew it, the truth about why I go on online dates was tumbling out of my mouth at a terrifying speed.
“Since we’re being honest…”
I tried to backpedal after that, but there was no saving the conversation. I got up and saw myself out. I thought about feeling bad, but then I got into my cab and the super old Latino driver offered me a cigarette. He told me about how much he hated his job and how all he wanted to do in life is get drunk and watch tv. We bonded. I came home and threw up on my pillow… it’s been a weird week.
This morning I’m faced with a gross pillow and blurry thoughts of my conversation with Rutherford. Is telling someone, “This thing you think is a date isn’t really a date” any worse than when guys use online dating just to hook up with girls? I don’t think it is, but maybe I’m an asshole.
I’m going to comfort myself by thinking that Rutherford now has a story to tell his Seattle friends about crazy New York people. I had to wait until my fifth online date to have anything crazy happen so, YOU’RE WELCOME, Rutherford.
The great part of online dating is that when you fuck up royally as I did last night, you get to walk away with a feeling of lightness. I’ll likely never see Rutherford again, as long as I don’t eat at the restaurant where he’s a chef.
And since we’re being honest… I can’t afford that restaurant anyway.