Sorry for the absence, darlings. Holidays and travel and all that jazz; speaking of, I hope you all had a lovely holiday season surrounded by the people you love, and also, your family.
It occurred to me over the past few weeks that I have yet to discuss any of my dates from Tinder proper. Thus far, it has just been about dating in Buffalo. Well it’s a new year; time to rehash more recent dating fails! I’m going to talk about my latest Tinder date, which, while it is by no means the worst one I’ve been on, is exemplary of the kind of date/man I seem to attract.
His name was Buck.* I actually broke one of my Tinder Rules (full set to come) (not like that, perv) by swiping right to him: there was no clear picture of his face, but I liked his other pictures a lot, and his description seemed funny and sardonic, so I figured, what the hell? We started talking, and things seemed to go pretty smoothly at first. It turned fairly quickly into a playful butting of heads, but I enjoy a challenge. He told me he didn’t understand my love of Talking Heads, and judged my musical taste harshly because of it. And then he admitted that he had only heard one or two of their songs. I’m not quite sure why I agreed to meet someone who was already admittedly judging my taste level, considering that he himself admitted that he listens to almost exclusively 60s music. Which is great; I love me some Beatles and Monkees. But I’ve learned to be very skeptical of people who only listen to one genre of music, and Buck is confirmation that I should be wary of those people. Homogeny is boring.
We agreed to meet for a drink near the hotel where he was staying. He was in town for a few weeks for work from Southern California; I wasn’t expecting much except to maybe have a few drinks and meet a new friend. No such luck. Traffic was horrendous that night. What should have been a 10-15 minute drive took an hour, and then I couldn’t find parking. I texted multiple apologies full of cuss words at the traffic, lack of parking, my anger at the Gods of Travel, etc. When I finally walked into the tiny dive bar, he was not there, even though I was extremely late. For a minute I thought I’d been stood up. I stuck out like a sore thumb in my cute dress and expectant face in this dirty, skeevy bar. Perfect. I went to the bathroom, and finally got an answer to my distress signals. He himself was running behind but showed up quickly enough. I was still hiding in the bathroom. When I walked out, I saw him at the bar, and I instantly knew… that I did not like him. I should’ve just kept walking. At this point, however, I was pissed off and in dire need of something alcoholic, even if it meant keeping him company for a half hour.
We were almost the same height (he was slightly shorter) with longer blonde hair and a mustache. The only way I can describe him is a young David Crosby, complete with acne and a jacket with elbow patches. No offense to Mr. Crosby, but that’s not my style. And I don’t mean an actual, young Crosby. I mean take your mental picture of Crosby in his mid60s, and just take off about 40 years. That's exactly right. Buck bought my drink, and we sat down at a table to have incredibly awkward and stilted conversation. He explained that he had been late because his shoes were in the bathroom, and his roommate (or whatever) had been in the shower. I tried to get him to answer why his shoes were in the bathroom in the first place, but his explanation made almost no sense. “You know when you’re running late so you take your shoes off in the bathroom instead?” No, no I don’t. He also said he had to “wax Mario.” Thankfully, that was not his nickname for his penis (that I know of). He had put in his Tinder profile that he had a mustache named Mario, which I thought was a joke. It wasn’t. He seriously calls his mustache Mario, and referred to it as a person. Oookay.
I quickly changed course, and brought up his dislike of Talking Heads. Buck responded that he had listened to a few more songs, and didn’t hate them completely, but still didn’t understand how they are one of my favorite bands of all time. Just then, “Burning Down the House” started playing in the bar. I thought it was fortuitous, and said I would go to the jukebox to put on more Talking Heads. He explained that no, actually, he had an app on his phone that synched to that jukebox, so he could play whatever he wanted. I said I would still go put money in. He said that whatever I tried to play would pop up on his phone, and he would continually block it. I asked if I could play songs through his phone, then. He asked if I would look through his phone and I told him genuinely I would not. I didn’t get his phone. I started pounding my vodka so I could get the hell out of there.
More random subjects were discussed. He asked about growing up in Buffalo and what there is to do. I said a lot of eating and a lot of drinking. He said, “that sounds boring.” Clearly you don’t know how to do either of these things properly, sir. He told me how pretty I am. And then this exchange happened (not quite verbatim but pretty damn close):
Buck: You have a ten-dollar smile.
Me: What? Ten dollars? People usually say a million dollar smile.
Buck: When I was growing up, we were poor, so ten dollars was a lot of money to me. So I say a ten-dollar smile.
Me: Is ten dollars still a lot of money to you?
Buck: No, of course not.
Me: Well, the expression is a million dollar smile.
Buck: No, that’s way too much.
Okay, asshole, point taken. By this point I believe I have finished my drink, and I’m trying to think of a way to leave. The bar has slowly filled with regulars. I feel trapped. I’m not sure how to proceed. And then he starts asking me if I will put his hair in a manbun. Really. He became insistent quite quickly.
Buck: Please? Pleeease? I don’t know how.
Me: Uh, you gather your hair and put it in a bun on top of your head.
Buck: But I can’t!
Me: Yes you can.
Buck: How about if you put my hair in a bun, I’ll put yours up in a ponytail?
Me: *gathers all my hair, puts in ponytail in under 5 seconds.* I’m quite capable, thank you.
Buck: But you’ll get to play with my hair!
Me: My hair is exquisite; I don’t need to touch yours.
I needed out. He noticed my drink was gone and his beer was only halfway finished. He offered to get me another; I declined, reminding him that I have a long drive back home. I started to panic. I could just leave, right? Or is that rude? Just be honest? I was feeling like a coward, my ten-dollar smile long gone from my face. Suddenly, a decision occurred to me. I would employ the mythical “friend is in trouble” phone call that women have used for years to get out of bad dates. Am I proud of this decision? No. Should I have been an adult about this whole situation? Yes. Yet I was overwhelmed and aggravated and needed a quick out. I texted my friend Sara, under the guise of texting my mother (whom I had been texting earlier in the date, actually, about a recipe for Thanksgiving), and told her I needed out of a bad date ASAP. She did not disappoint.
About two minutes later, my phone rang. Sara’s name popped up, but when I answered, it was her boyfriend. “Hey, it’s Anthony.” “Oh, Anthony, why are you calling from Sara’s phone?” “Don’t freak out, but Sara and I were just in a bad car accident.” “Oh no! Let me leave this loud bar!” I mumbled some apologies to Buck, slamming together phrases: “Oh shit, car accident, friend, have to go, might be back, let me go talk outside” grabbed my purse, and nearly ran out the front door. As soon as I was a few feet away, I told Anthony I had gotten outside. He was worried that I would take the whole thing seriously, but I assured him I knew better. Then Sara got on the phone, and I thanked her (and Anthony) profusely as I walked to my car and figured out how to get home. But first I noticed that Buck had apparently added me on Snapchat at some point leading up to the night, and had sent me six snaps that I hadn’t seen. I never added him back; I have no idea what those snaps were. Probably manbuns.
*Not actually his name, but it was nearly this bad. Should’ve been the first clue.