IMPORTANT INFO: This story is completely fictional. It is based solely off of a collaboration of my friends’ experiences along with my own imagination. No character is to be an exact portrayal of a real person.
Online dating: a resource never to be used in an attempt to find the one; or so I’m told, although I have heard contradicting arguments. I had a date with one of my matches I got on Tinder last week; Andrew Coleman was his name. This is how it played out.
After parking my blue Volkswagen convertible, I walked into the “mom and pop” diner off of main street, its neon open sign reflecting in the puddles on the sidewalk. It was only March and the weather was still unpredictable, as it always is in the great state of Michigan. With a cloud-filled, dreary sky above my head, I was forced to pull my thick scarf over my face to guard my skin from the biting wind. Thankfully it was only a few minutes of walking before I reached the door.
A wrinkly, old man swung the diner door open without noticing me, his dark green ball cap popping slightly off of his balding head. Full of surprise, he grabbed the glass door, sweaty hands leaving a foggy residue. I slid past him, carefully. My hands burned as I entered after being outside without gloves to cover them from the cold. I began the scan the room for a man who somewhat matched the profile of the Andrew Coleman character I messaged this morning. I hope he’s actually real, I told myself.
Suddenly a hand flew up across the poorly lit and heavily decorated room. I caught a glimpse of a smile accompanying the hand. I stepped over feet and chairs to meet the man whom I prayed was not a creep. We’re in a public place, it’s going to be okay. I’m safe, right? These thoughts ran through my mind as I tried not to trip over the cracks in the flooring. I partially slowed my pace before reaching the booth but returned to my normal pace once I fully saw his face. He looked like Andrew – thank goodness. I slid into the squeaky, faux leather booth across from him and grabbed a menu.
“Maria, right?” Andrew said, his dazzling smile was complemented by a smooth, low voice.
“Yep, that’s me, I’m Maria. I was getting worried when I couldn’t find you at first. But now you’re here, and so am I. It’s freezing outside, I felt like I was in the arctic when I stepped out of my car-” Shut up, shut up, shut up. Stop talking or slow down. I was spitting out words like I had to give an elevator speech instead of simply introducing myself.
He gave me a bit of a concerned look but continued talking anyways, “It’s really great to meet you and I’m glad you were able to make it here!” He seemed super peppy. He began to ask me a bunch of random icebreaker questions, which I didn’t mind, until he started to fill the air with super strange phrases and questions. For example, “if you had to be eaten alive by any animal, what would it be?” or “what do you dream about when you’re sleeping?”.
Not knowing what to say, I spit out the first thing I could think of and ended it with an awkward chuckle.
“Uh, a shark? And I don’t know, food? People?”. I was at a loss with this guy. Andrew would not stop talking. His lips flapped at the speed of a motor boat that never ran of fuel. He was so attractive until he opened his mouth; rich chocolate skin, a defined jawline, about six-foot five in height, muscular but not too muscular, and his eyes – I didn’t know the color of moss could be beautiful until I saw the same color glistening in Andrew’s eyes. Sadly, we had to actually make conversation.
He was an engineering major at an upscale university. He babbled on and on about different jobs he has had and where he currently worked. He polluted the air with words related to calculus, physics, random foreign languages, and video games. May I repeat: video games. That was the kicker for me, ladies and gentleman. Another thing, while he spoke, during his pauses, he would include names for me like “baby”, “honey”, or “dear”. Each of those words hit me like a poison dart aimed directly at my throat. I could almost feel it swell up. I barely knew the boy in front of me and he was already assigning me pet names. That was a big no-no for me.
I tried to stay positive, continually searching for an external pause or stop button located somewhere on him. With no such luck, I sat with the weight of boring conversation in my lap for over an hour and a half. Time seemed to be moving at a snail’s pace so I glanced down at my “watch”. Unfortunately I had forgotten to put on this morning, so all I looked down at was a watch tan line that was fading from the summer.
“Oh man, Andrew, I need to go to work,” I sighed. In reality I was off from work today, I asked for the day because I was hoping my date would turn into an all day (or longer) thing, but that was not happening at that point.
“Really? Wow, time sure flies when you’re having a good time with someone!” Again, a reply too peppy for my taste. We clearly had two different definitions of a good time. I did not care about anything else at this point, all I cared about was standing up and running out the door. “We should do this again, don’t you think? I had a great time, what about you?” Of course you had a great time. I thought to myself while staring across the room. You were the only one talking. There was a long pause and I continued to stare in silence. The air became still between us and he looked at me with hopeful eyes, fingers tapping on the table. I could see him attempting to reach for my hand. I remained still.
“Yeah maybe. I’m not sure, I’m super busy with work and school. We can try, maybe,” I tried as hard as I could to emphasize the maybe in my statement but I had a feeling the emphasis made no difference. I was no longer speaking to a interesting man named Andrew, like I thought I would be today. I was stuck sitting across the table from a paper bag – boring, bland, no one really knows what to do with it. (Do you reuse it? Recycle? Throw it away? Just ask for plastic? Who knows, really?).
He seemed content with the maybes. We stood and began what felt like an endless trek through the wilderness to get to the front door. Children like monkeys tossed food around at various tables. Purses and totes were rocks to trip over; there straps, vines to be caught in. The puddles of water from shoes covered in melting snow, became rushing streams that kept me from moving forward at a steady pace. Finally, gripping the stainless steel handle of the glass door, I began to pull it open. Andrew had the same idea and pressed his hand over mine on the handle and “helped” me open the door. Our arms were suddenly woven and I was trapped. The static electricity from rubbing my feet across the floor while making my way over here had built up immensely and when he touched my skin he was shocked and so was I. Awkwardly we somehow made it out of the building.
The cold air of the outside world was freezing but liberating. I was no longer sharing the same air as Andrew. The sun caught the shine of my baby blue car and I could see it from where I stood. I happily begin the journey to the safety of my vehicle, forgetting to say goodbye. He grabbed my arm, a little too tightly and turned me around to face him. My personal space bubble was popped abruptly by the tiny radius Andrew created between my face and his.
“I’m glad you came”. He whispered, attempting to set some sort of mood. I remained silent.
“I’ll message you later tonight and get your number so we can do this again sometime and maybe something a little more.” Another attempt at being his version of “romantic”. I threw up in my mouth; it felt more enjoyable than whatever was happening in that moment.
I turned my attention away from the gross picture in my head and back towards him. His head was leaning in towards mine and he lightened up his grip from the arm. Let’s go, Maria. I think this is your only chance. You need to move.
Slipping through his grasp and dodging his wet lips, I scrambled away from Andrew with a quick salutation, “okay, see you around, dude!”, no longer facing him.
Hearing the promising sound of my car door unlocking, I sat down quickly, locked the doors, and pulled my phone out of my coat pocket. After unlocking my phone, I swipe through the pages of apps to find Tinder. Holding the app down, I clicked delete. He’s gone now. Officially gone.
And that was the last time I went on an online date.