Tuesday, June 14, 2011

An Open Letter to My Date From Last Night

Dear sir,

You can take this with a grain of salt, since I don't know you very well.  In fact, maybe you should take it with a bucket of salt, since I don't feel I really know you at all.  After two and a half hours of sitting and talking with you, I don't think I know anything more about you than I knew before our date. 
Let's call this problem #1: WHO ARE YOU?  While it is cool to like the same books, movies, and television shows as someone else, it is not endlessly fascinating.  You don't go on dates with someone to drop as many references as possible and see how many they get.  Or at least let me say I don't go on dates for that reason.  You go on a date to get to know someone a little bit and see if you'd want to spend some time with them.  Learn a little bit about them, maybe share some personal anecdotes or stories.  Even if your date actually GETS most of your pop cultural references, that doesn't make it cool to go on and ON and ON about these things.
Let's call this problem #2.  IT IS OKAY TO STOP AND TAKE A BREATH EVERY ONCE IN A WHILE.  If the person sitting across from you LITERALLY has to interrupt you in order to get a word in edgewise UR DOING IT WRONG.  Combine this with problem number one and you'll see that all my attempts to steer the conversation away from "every comic book you've ever read" and into things like where you went to school, where you've traveled to (if anywhere), what your lifestyle is like as a freelance writer without a 9-5 job, were overruled by your need to give me stream of conscious ramblings about pop culture for 2 1/2 hours.
Oh, and 2 1/2 hours.  Let's talk about that for a minute.  I'll call this one "PROBLEM #3: SOCIAL AWKWARDNESS."  When you are having a conversation with me and it's so clearly one-sided, how do you not see that you are making me incredibly bored?  How long did you possibly expect my attention span to last?  How is it possible that an hour and a half into it, none of the following signs tipped you off to how awkward you were behaving: looking out the window every five minutes, paying more attention to the conversation of the people sitting next to us than to you, sitting back from the table, endlessly wrapping my necklace around and back off my finger.  Not until I literally started tapping my foot on the metal table bottom (accidental outpouring of frustration, btw) did you notice and stop long enough to ask me if I wanted to move to the bar next door.  My mental response? "I think emphatically NOT."  My actual response? It did allow me to say that I didn't think I'd make it to pub trivia at 9:30, but once those words had left my lips you considered that license to keep talking until that very minute, never letting it occur to you that my next sentence was going to be "Actually it's getting late and I need to head back to Durham."  Thankfully a well-timed call from a friend allowed me to say to her, "I think I'll be heading back to Durham pretty soon."
Continuing in the vein of social awkwardness and not understanding conventions or moirés: let's talk about the fact that you invited me to meet you for coffee/food at 6pm (when you knew I'd be coming straight from work).  Then, you sat in this café for 2 1/2 hours and DIDN'T EAT OR DRINK ANYTHING OR PATRONIZE THE ESTABLISHMENT AT WHICH YOU WERE HANGING OUT.  And looked askance at me when, after an hour of listening to you talk, I couldn’t stand being hungry anymore and had to go up to the counter and ACTUALLY ORDER SOMETHING.  Not only because I was starving (and eager to give my ears a break) but also because it's good to actually buy something if you're going to take up a table for that huge amount of time.  And when I asked if you were hungry you said, "No, I ate right before I came."  WHO DOES THAT?  Someone who doesn't understand how these things work.
Alright.  I hate to do this.  Because I have struggled with my image/weight/confidence/etc practically my whole life.  But the one thing I have never done is misrepresented it to other people.  If anything, I am probably harder on myself and more critical of my appearance than I ought to be.  I certainly don't overpromise and under deliver.  I have several full length pics of myself on my profile and none of them have been digitally altered or strategically cropped.  I am what I say I am - WYSIWYG. 
You, on the other hand, are all about misrepresenting yourself, and not just physically.  Let's call this problem #4: LIES.  Not only did you make the fact that you had lost 60 pounds two years ago a focal point of your profile, but additionally all your primary pictures are you ridiculously skinny.  Then two fat pics at the end where you say something to the effect of "I can't believe I used to look like that."  When, in exchanging messages with you, you mentioned you still go to weight watchers, I was super excited.  I was like, "Ooh great, we'll have that in common."  When I tried bringing it up in conversation, however, you were totally uninterested in talking about it.  Perhaps the reason for this is that in contrast to the 'success story' you make a highlight in your profile, your current appearance is a bit different.  YOU GAINED THIRTY OF THOSE SIXTY POUNDS BACK AND FORGOT TO TELL ANYONE.  Or perhaps, purposefully didn't tell anyone.  I was sort of willing to give you the benefit of the doubt on that, until it appeared you had fudged more facts about yourself than just the one.  Another big part of your profile was where you consistently lauded yourself for being employed as a freelance writer and actually making enough money to live, and live well.  You cited the swanky downtown Raleigh neighborhood where your "sweet pad" was, and said how nice it was not to rely on your parents any more.  Then, on our date, you offered the following gem - your "sweet pad" is actually a condo you inherited early from your parents after they purchased it outright on a real estate windfall from another house.  And this free living situation allows you to write and not worry about exactly how much money you are making.  Ok, here's the thing.  I DO NOT CARE ABOUT MONEY.  Or at least other people's money.  I care about my own money a great deal and have made certain sacrifices to get it, and therefore feel sort of protective over it (even though I think the whole currency thing is kind of a sham, and that's upsetting, because what have I been doing for six years focusing on making money.  Ground we've covered already).  So back to the point.  I wouldn't have cared that you were freeloading off inheritance in order to do something you are passionate about regardless of income. In fact I think it's kind of cool.  But the fact that you thought you had to lie and misrepresent your financial situation, I think, says something bad about you as a person.  That you're not comfortable in your own skin, that you care too much what other people think, and that you actually do play the money game.  Which later, you confirmed by telling me you were thinking of giving up freelancing to write for a company and do press releases and marketing and stuff.  When I asked why, you said "Green talks."   BARF.  I am trying to head the opposite direction from that with my own life and feel like intelligent people make the realization they need to run away from money & convention, not towards it.

This could have been a great date, and I was actually pretty excited to meet you. But I didn't really get a preview of the real you, and you put up a lot of walls that I have no patience for or interest in breaking down.  I am an open book and I'm looking for the same openness in a partner. You never gave me any fodder to really connect with you on. It's really too bad.

I could go on and on about the things that irked me about you, but I am running out of time on my lunch hour, and I don't need to allow you to waste any more of my life. Let me just close by saying this: 1989 called and it wants its jeans back. 
Your disgruntled date

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