Tag Archives: rejection

Rejection Done Right

24 Aug

Last night I experienced an exhibition of the rare, considerate date etiquette I’ve long prescribed from my soapbox—and I wouldn’t believe it had I not seen it with my own eyes. There we were having a great second date. The girl, whom I’d found in the OkCupid catalog, was cute, funny, and had great stories to tell. We meshed really well from the first moment and I was sure this was going somewhere. (This should have been my first warning—never trust a good feeling blindly.) We had some great drinks and food on our second rendezvous, a totally informal hangout at a really nice Belgian restaurant. There I was, getting all starry-eyed and thinking with tingling anticipation about making out with her before the night was over. There was the check arriving at our table. And there she was fidgeting at my standard offer to cover the charges.

“I have a confession to make.” Well, I knew which way the wind was blowing, but I let her proceed anyway.

“I’m not attracted to you…Does that change your mind about the check?”

Now, in my younger, more naïve days, I probably would have pussied out and paid anyway, awkwardly spouting non sequiturs and fingering dried French fry bits until we could part with a disingenuous hug and smile. But fuck that, I’m now 32 (yikes!) and I’ve had my time wasted enough that I don’t mind cutting my losses. So I was only too happy to accept 50% as a severance. And, after a few moments of contempt for this broad, we actually went back to our conversation with minimal awkwardness, both relieved of our very opposite pressures—hers to reject me in ma very direct manner, and me to clumsily insert my tongue into her mouth in front of an express bus driver. She bought off her guilt with money—the price of honesty—and I would not feel like a sucker afterward.

To her credit, this level of sincerity, while off-putting and somewhat insensitive, is exactly the kind of female dater behavior I’ve endorsed on the pages of this blog. Having been out with someone 2 or 3 times who was only too happy to have me foot the bill only to tell me, chicken-shit style over text, that she didn’t want to mislead me as to her intentions, I would much rather accept this knockout blow and get up before the count of 10 than be sucker-punched in the head and mugged. So, ego slightly frayed, but my wallet not ripped off, I’m still standing. On to the next one!

Why I Blogged

27 Jun

Everybody Hurts…Sometime

In January of 2012, I decided, mostly on a whim, to start a blog about online dating. This was no New Year’s Resolution or sudden epiphany that I was born to be a dating blogger. I wish I could say my hand was forced by destiny…that my mind was pregnant with blogorrheic nuggets of wisdom handed down to me by the gods of online dating themselves. No, dear reader. Alas, this electronic rag was first inspired by an experience most mundane—rejection.

The cute Jewish political operative and I had hooked up on OkCupid and exchanged some very bland and decidedly unbantery overtures to meet. Not only was she a Jew, but a Jew from Florida, which meant no escape from the late-December visit to the panhandle. Fresh off an ugly breakup and a string of fruitless first dates (yay, online dating!), I had no expectations when we met up at a South African wine bar in Hell’s Kitchen. She was even prettier than her pictures and I was immediately attracted to her. Over the next several hours and many glasses of Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, the chemistry was palpable and the night disappeared in front of our eyes as only those really great first dates can. Halfway through the bottle, we both had to pee, only to learn that the bathroom was overflowing. This led to a somewhat memorable experience of being ushered to their sister restaurant down the block by the bartender through pouring rain. With no umbrellas, it was a nice opportunity to take charge and wrap my arm around her in a most manly fashion.

When the night was finally over, we walked to the intersection of our parting and she congratulated me on being her longest date ever. Then, she punctuated it with a clear opening for a kiss. We made out in the rain, not quite Spiderman style, but pretty intensely, neither of us really wanting to go home. We both knew we’d see each other again.

We swapped texts and set up another date for the weekend. Lamely, I suggested we see a movie and get food later. (They can’t all be winners, whatareyagonnado?) On Saturday, screwed by Brooklyn’s ridiculous weekend subway changes, I rushed from the train to the train to the shuttle bus, back to the train, just to cut my lateness by a few minutes. I sent her texts and she was perfectly understanding when I met her just as the movie was starting. She looked great again and I counted the minutes until we could just let go again. After Young Adult (which was an OK date movie I suppose), a fabulously amazing and fabulously expensive tapas experience was followed by a perfectly divey bar. Not long after some beers, I volunteered to cab her home. We got into a car and started making out in the back. I didn’t expect her to invite me in, but she asked me to come up and “meet her cat.” (Oh, ladies, how I love your subtlety.)

Upstairs, after a quick tour of her charming Hell’s Kitchen apartment, we were back at it until we both started falling asleep in each other’s arms. She was sorry for not asking me to spend the night but she wasn’t quite ready, and I absolved her of any guilt. It was totally understandable. As I left, I texted that I really loved holding her. It was a totally uncensored but (I thought) fairly harmless expression of my feelings. I was feeling good again, all was right with the world, there was magic in the air. The Times Square fumes smelled better.

Over the next few days, I was really excited. I texted, I even called. But all I got in return were delayed and tentative replies, with lame and well-worn excuses about having a “crazy week.” It’s not that I hadn’t been rejected before, but not like this. Not after two awesome dates where two souls, as different as any other two, seemed so perfectly in-sync. Not after we kissed the way we did. Not after I’d met her cat, for chrissake! What the fuck did I do wrong? Was I a bad kisser? Was I merely kiss-raping a very timid girl the entire time? Was she seeing someone else who was just a tad more special? It didn’t matter. Her steely response (or lack thereof) was pretty clear. She blew me off without an explanation; I was no better than some loser contacting her online for the first time. I thought of confronting her for answers, but what would that do? So she could fire off some template sandwiching a firm rejection between telling me how awesome I am and that I would find someone great? For the first time in a long time, I was hurt. Truly hurt. Start-a-blog hurt.


South of Rock Bottom

7 Mar

No wonder I hibernate in the winter

Last week I had to go to Raleigh, North Carolina for a work meeting, shuttling in and out for a little over 24 hours. These short trips, with a few exceptions, bring me to random cities that speckle our countries between the coasts and give me the opportunity for solo travel exploration. As a rule, I deal with people considerably older than me, so social activities beyond an early bird dinner are usually not an option. So I end up going out by myself quite a bit. What’s a young whippersnapper to do on a Saturday night in North Carolina? In New Orleans, one of my favorite places in the world, the wealth of music clubs easily solved this problem for me. But what the heck is there to do in Raleigh? I asked Yelp. But Yelp can’t find me a friend, and I felt like having a drink with another human being than night. After a brief and desperate stab at Plenty of Fish’s mobile app, I did the unthinkable…I loaded Craigslist Raleigh Personals…yeah.

Needless to say, POF aside, Craigslist is the rock bottom of online dating, the equivalent of a jewel thief stealing change from a street musician—it’s a desperate move, more cry for help than real attempt at human bonding. The only way I could justify it was by telling myself that I was in a different town where I didn’t know anyone. I tried my luck, figuring no one would even respond at 10:30 PM on a Saturday night. 31/M/out of town/show me Raleigh…something like that. And I made sure not to post it under Intimate Encounters, mostly to fool my conscience into thinking this was normal social behavior. Not 10 minutes later, I had 2 replies in my inbox. One was from someone whose email address masked her real name but identified her a girl who enjoys running. She was interested in chatting but not hanging out. Since I’m not a 12-year-old boy in an AOL chat room and this isn’t 1998, I asked a few polite questions about stuff to do and moved on.

The next message was more intriguing. It came with an actual name (albeit a colorful one). She referenced a bar very close to my hotel in Downtown Raleigh that Yelp had earlier recommended. One that served mead and moonshine, no less (South!). She was heading out there in a bit and asked if I wanted to meet. This was as perfect logistically as it would get, so I sent her my number and asked for hers. A few minutes later, she replied asking for my picture and telling me that she’d left her phone in her friend’s car but would be wearing jeans and a blue top. Right away, my mind broke down the possibilities based on this dubious development:

  • 60% this was a dirty prostitute or worse
  • 30% it was some unsavory specimen of lady I’d never want to meet
  • 10% this experience would be neutral or better

For the first two possibilities, my contingency was simple: the hotel is virtually across the street and I can make my escape at any time. I shrugged, emailed her my photo, and headed over to the place. After a 5-minute wait due to over-capacity (take that, NYC!), I was waved into a basement den full of college and post-collegiate types, with a few hipsters thrown in for good measure. I noted the lack of diversity (98% of the bar was white) but this was preppy downtown after all. I sidled over to the edge of the bar to check out the menu when an attractive Southern belle asked me if it was raining outside. As someone who doesn’t hit on girls at bars very often, I took this as a cue to mildly flirt with her.

“What’s good here?” She pointed at a couple of bourbon-based cocktails.

“Wow, moonshine, really?” I asked, expecting her to flip her hair coquettishly, smile, and launch into a conversation about regional differences. Didn’t even crack a smile.

“And what will you be having?” I asked in the least cheesy-sounding tone I could muster. This was met with crushing silence and I buried my face in the drinks menu, pretending I was talking to myself. Biatch! No matter, I already had a date for the evening, after all!

I grabbed a regional double IPA and tried to plant myself non-creepily between hordes of bros and couples on dates. A table opened up and I plopped down, realizing that without the twentysomething social pressure to mingle and strut, 30-year-olds can comfortably sit at a bar playing Scrabble and Words with Friends without harsh judgment. Soon a co-ed group of friends invaded the table, no doubt annoyed at my intrusive presence. I stood my ground and eavesdropped on their conversation and inside jokes. At this point, I was pretty indifferent to my mysterious Craigslist date. The whole no phone thing was pretty sketchy and I was having some pretty intense tile exchanges in WWF. I sipped my beer and people-watched. At one point, a larger blob of southern preppies showed up, clearly intent on coagulate with their other half at my table. Stubbornly, I dug in my heels and furiously shuffled my tiles trying to ignore the exchange of pleasantries (bar conversations sound so dumb when you’re neither drunk nor involved).

The girl never showed. This was something of a relief. When I woke up the next morning, my biggest regret was not trying one of the bar’s moonshine offerings, a cultural opportunity I should have grabbed. In my inbox was an email dispatched at 5 AM by my now missed connection. “You’re hot! Too bad I missed you,” she declared, which meant she’d not seen the picture before leaving the house. She claimed to have gone to the bar, waited for me with a drink, then gone upstairs and waited there. It was a small bar and our time there overlapped, so I didn’t know how we could have missed each other, since the crowd thinned out after midnight, but c’est la vie. I was slightly flattered at the superficial appraisal of my “profile photo” but not enough to do something completely insane, like asking her to hang out during the day. Another city, another one-man rage, another missed connection, but this one I could live with. Still, in the back of my mind, I was intrigued at the unsolved mystery of the girl in jeans and a blue top waiting for me at the bar with a glass of moonshine and no phone in her pocket.