And He Was Normal

Dating is hard. To say that, full-stop, might be a gross over-generalization, so I’ll rephrase: Dating is hard for me. I’m not great at first impressions, I’m attracted to emotionally unavailable people, and I’m slow to warm. With new people, witty banter doesn’t come easily and I completely suck at general questions like “What do you like to do for fun?”.

Met “Richard” via Coffee Meets Bagel. Like Tinder it’s a dating app that sets up a joint messaging service for you once you mutually agreed that you would like to connect. What I like about the app is that it doesn’t have the urgency or geo-fencing of Tinder (because I’m weird about geo-location apps) and I find that the people who tend to use the service have a similar background to my own as it was created by a group of people from MIT.

It was easy to click “yes” to connect, as the app notifies you when someone “takes” you i.e. selects you from their pool of options. He looked nice, had a good standard set of photos, went to the same college and already clicked like. Why not? Briefly chatting we both happened to be headed to the same foodie event that weekend with different groups.

Eventually we swapped numbers after swapping Ramen Festival horror stories and then met up for dinner at Moveable Feasts. I was half an hour late due to a total fail of me not paying attention to which food truck location I was supposed to go to.

We split this from Hula Truck and fried ravioli for dinner while chatting.

FATTY PORK is under this over easy egg!

FATTY PORK is under this over easy egg!

Since we were at a foodie event, I randomly started talking about sous vide because it’s something I’ve been obsessed with since I bought my Nomiku to find… Richard built his own homemade sous vide crockpot. The nice change of pace for me here was we didn’t talk about dating at all. On all my recent dates we’ve talked about dating, which is oh so meta. Talked about random things till the feast shut down. Gave a quick hug and he mentioned he’d like to do this again, and for once I didn’t feel repulsed.

Before you go all bat shit crazy on me and say I’m a bitch, here are brief descriptions of the people I’ve been meeting with recently.

  • Mr. Negativity – Our first date went great. He was nice, polite, calm and we talked about Comic Con. Then his first text message to me was how he hated his work and how his boss sucked, and how his every day was miserable. I asked if we could be friends. He agreed but immediately asked me for restaurant recommendations, and yet when I sent him some, he followed up with a text about how he didn’t go to any of them. *Sigh*
  • Mr. I’m Too Busy – During dinner he kept writing work emails. Then when he wasn’t doing that he was looking off into the distance at other couples in the room fighting. He was self aware, “I like to look around when I’m having a conversation.” I almost left while he was in the bathroom.
  • Mr. In the Closet – 100% certain he didn’t like the opposite sex. I don’t even know why he suggested meeting up. We had lunch, cattily disagreed on all conversation points and parted ways within 20 mins. At least I had a good sandwich.
  • Mr. Immaturity – Came right out and asked if I was as attractive as in my photos via text message. He also mentioned he doesn’t know how to cook, clean or take basic care of himself since they can hire taskrabbits that work pays for to do all mundane chores for him. I recommended that perhaps his opener wasn’t the best way to start a conversation with a woman, whereby he exploded and called me judgmental, mentioning it was a totally fair question so we don’t waste our time. I politely wished him luck on his journey.

All these previous dates had me feeling horrible about the world. To have met someone that I’m not repulsed by instantly is a nice change.

Richard texts on Friday, asking if I wanted to go see the Bank of the West Classic later that night. He knows it’s last minute, but thought he’d ask anyway. Oddly enough? I already had plans to see it with a friend. Didn’t want to cancel on a friend, but also didn’t want to add Richard along as we wouldn’t get to sit with each other. Instead I suggested lunch the next day.

The next day we meet for lunch at this place he picked in Mountain View. Chat some more, and I’m realizing he’s easy to talk to and we exist in the same realms of conversations. Sadly I have to leave to go to SF for an event. Our conversation flowed more easily this time, making it difficult for me to leave, but this special 10 year anniversary Yelp event has been in my calendar for 3 weeks for Real Escape SF and it’s been on my list of todos for 6 months. We part ways and once I reach SF, they ended up double booked by mistake and needing to reschedule the event.

Third meeting. I asked him to the movies for the upcoming Saturday. It’s a horrible date thing to do, but hell, I wanted to see Guardians of the Galaxy since friends went the weekend before.

Tragedy strikes. My grandmother passed away and her memorial service and events are the day of our next date. Didn’t want to explain it, as I didn’t want to be a Debbie Downer. Instead I had to move our date to a weeknight.

He suggested dinner beforehand. Mentions beef noodles and a love for stinky tofu. I suggested a Taiwanese place I like, but as it turned out, they also have stinky tofu there. I’ve never had stinky tofu, but am willing to try it. I ordered pig ears which I adore, which he has never tried, and we took turns trying each other’s dishes.

Tit for Tat

Tit for Tat

Keeping with our running conversation I mention the Yelp event was rescheduled to a month from now but now we can bring +1s, he blurts out “Can I go?” to which I respond bluntly “Will we still be talking then?” He backtracks the ask awkwardly, and mentions he’d like the name of the event so he can suggest it as a team building event for work.

I readily admit when I’m an asshole, and in that moment I was. Had not intended that remark to have the affect that it did, but wasn’t sure how to remedy it. I’ve only ever really dated friends, or friends of friends, and was flattered, that someone I just met would still want to see me in a month. We parted ways awkwardly with what felt like a goodbye hug at the end of the night.

That it’s too late to apologize.
It’s too late…
I said it’s too late to apologize.
It’s too late, too late, oh, oh.

Apologize. I wanted to do this in person. Texted him a joke about the tofu, he didn’t respond immediately. Then I asked him if he was free for dinner, and he didn’t reply right away. The next morning he texts that while he had fun, he didn’t feel the chemistry and wouldn’t mind keeping in touch because we have so much in common. *sigh* It’s too late to apolo… I messed up and now something has me holding back again.

While it was nice of him to say, I can’t be friends, I’m embarrassed by my inadvertent rudeness. I leave him with as much honestly as I can muster “But in any case I thought you were fun to hang out with”, because it was.

Richard wasn’t the unicorn that would change my ways. However he was a rare species of man that was polite, kind, silly, bright, courteous, particular about things but not demanding or chauvinistic, and generally fun to be around. While he did have a strange affinity for stinky tofu, he was completely normal which is a high bar compared to the recent set of bachelors I’ve been meeting. I’m not sure why I was constantly holding back, but if we met in some other way, or if the timing was different, maybe we could have been friends.

Thanks “Richard” you restored faith in humanity and here’s me finally being open and honest: I’m sorry if I ever hurt your feelings in any way, I didn’t mean to. You were nothing but awesome and you’ll make someone really happy someday.

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