Click & Tell: Just Another Bad Date

Online dating is not just winks and flirty emails. Some dates are so full of halting conversation they would best be portrayed in silent-movie form. This is the story of one such bad date. After emailing back and forth a few times, N. and I decide to get a drink. We agree to meet at the corner of a busy intersection, for reasons I don’t remember. “Hi, are you N.?” I ask a guy approaching the appointed corner. He looks relatively similar to his profile photos but seems to have shrunk several inches since he typed 5’8” into the height field.

“Um, yeah,” N. says. “I just ran into someone I haven’t seen in a few years, but I couldn’t stop and talk to them because I had to meet you.”

“Oh. Um, I’m sorry. Do you still want to get a drink?” He mutters some sort of response (mumbling seems to be the only way he knows how to communicate), and we walk to a bar down the street.

“Let me buy you a drink since you didn’t get to talk to your friend,” I say. “What would you like?”

“Whiskey on the rocks.”

Waiting for the bartender is nice. For four whole minutes, I don’t have to make forced conversation. After I pay for our drinks, I sit down and hand over his glass of whiskey. He sucks it down. Fast. Maybe I should have bought him a shot.

“I’m going to get another drink,” he says. I’ve had about three sips of my beer, so it isn’t terribly rude that he didn’t ask me if I needed another.

He returns to his seat. “Have you ever been on a date with someone you met online before?”

“Yeah,” I say. “I’ve been on a couple.” Silence. “Have you?”

“One. This one is going a lot better.” Oh dear.

We chat, with frequent extended pauses, for about an hour. I would have been fine, elated even, if we had gone our separate ways after one drink, but he keeps going to the bar and getting more whiskey – four in total. I excuse myself to use the restroom, taking my phone with me. I text a friend: “Where are you? Can we meet for dinner NOW?”

I sit back down at the table.

“So, what are you doing tonight?” he asks. “Do you want to go do something else?”

“Oh, I can’t,” I say, trying to sound regretful. “I’m meeting some friends for dinner in just a little bit.”

“Oh,” he says. He sounds sad. “Well, let me walk you there.”

“You totally don’t have to — it’s not even in the direction you’re going.”

“That’s okay,” he insists.

“Okay, thanks.”

We walk seven blocks to the restaurant. I say goodbye, nice to meet you, good luck with your amateur boxing. He says, “Can I get your number?”