Dater X: Three Extreme Dude Fails — Or Were They?

“What do you do for a living?” I asked the hot guy who’d just bought me a vodka and soda. He had turquoise eyes and a freshly shaved head that I wanted to run my hands over. His bicep muscles bulged where he’d rolled up his plaid shirt. All in all, he was one of the 10 best-looking guys I’d ever talked to in person.

“I’m an FBI agent,” he responded.

“OK, what do you really do?” I shot back.

“I’m a magician.”

I stared at him with a look that (I hope!) said both I-want-to-make-out-with-you and cut-the-crap. “What do you really do?” I asked.

“I’m a sanitation worker,” he said.

Buzz. Killed. Let me start by saying that there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a sanitation worker. I know that it is a difficult job and one totally necessary to the operation of our society, whereas writing is not. And I would absolutely date a sanitation worker—if he were smart, funny, and had creative ambitions on the side. But as I talked more to Hot Baldie, it became clearer and clearer that wasn’t the case here. My attempts at witty banter were met with head scratching. When I asked him his favorite places in New York, all he could come up with was “the gym.” Uh oh, I thought. Am I talking to The Situation?

Hot Baldie continued to deflect my attempts at conversation with awkward requests for high fives. Then he tried some smooth talking. (“It’s nice to dance with a girl as sexy as you.” Puh-lease.) After 10 minutes (see, I gave him a chance), all I could think about was how bad my best guy friend, a chef, smells after a day of work. What would this guy’s aroma be after a long day on the garbage truck? When he asked if I wanted to go with him to another bar, I politely declined. When he said he wasn’t leaving without my phone number, I gave it to him with a digit wrong. (Lame, I know.)

And that’s kind of what the past week has been for me—experiences with guys that started off looking amazing and turned a little smelly.

It’s been about two weeks since Tall Guy told me that he didn’t think we were compatible. I spent a day being sadsies and a few more overanalyzing—the results of which you read last week. And then I came to the light-bulb-over-the-head realization that being rejected just isn’t a big deal. I was ready to get back on the proverbial horse with a new attitude—that being bucked off ain’t no thang. And hey, if I want to be a champion rider, it’s going to happen on occasion. I decided to go out, on Tamara’s advice, on my own on a Thursday night. Which is when I met Hot Baldie.

A few days after that fail, I got an email through an online dating site from a hipster with round glasses. After a day or two of correspondence—witty banter, check—we made a date to meet for drinks at his favorite dive bar. When I walked in, I instantly spotted the glasses on the bar stool. Only, the person wearing them wasn’t quite what he’d been in his pictures.

I told myself not to be shallow and sat down. And we had a great time talking—about our work, our families, and our love affairs with New York City. Only, I wasn’t attracted him. He suggested going to shoot a few games of pool and I obliged. (For the record, I won two of three.) We had a great time. But at the end of the night when he leaned in for the kiss, I just couldn’t do it. I felt repulsed in that weird way—my body physically refusing to let me settle.

As these things go, of course he called over the weekend asking if I was free. I worked up the guts to tell him that while I enjoyed his company, I just wasn’t feeling the spark.

And these things always come in threes, no? So naturally a few days later, a guy I’d met a party, oh, a week before Tall Guy, finally decided that to dial the number I’d scribbled on a piece of paper for him. I agreed to meet him for dinner at a cute BBQ joint. It was maybe the most disappointing guy experience of the week. Rather than being the charming guy I’d remembered, he seemed like a robot. A robot who asked me no questions about myself and couldn’t stop talking about getting divorced two years ago. The next day he texted me, “Hope last night wasn’t too disappointing. I had a good time. Haven’t opened up like that to anyone but a therapist in years.” I wrote back and let him know that it wasn’t a disappointment—just a case of a green zebra meets a red koala bear.

But here’s the thing: none of these encounters felt like a waste of time to me. Even though I ended up not being interested in any of these guys, each one showed me a little something. From Hot Baldie, I got the incredible ego boost of a man that freaking good-looking telling me that I was sexy. From Glasses Guy, I got reassurance that I’m a fun girl who guys enjoy being around. From Divorced Dude, I heard proof that people feel comfortable talking to me on a level they don’t with most people. All three of these guys wanted to see me again—and that’s made me feel incredibly wanted. And hey, in the dating world where the shoe can so easily end up on the other foot, I will take that. And hopefully bring the qualities these guys found appealing to someone I’m feeling a connection with, too.

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