by Aly Teich
On Tuesday night I went on a memorably bad date. Let me start by saying — sadly, having been single for a few years now, in what I would call this nothing-short-of-savage-dating-app-culture (and multiply the intensity of that 10x in NYC) — this actually was not THE worst date I’ve been on. However, there was just something about this date, and I even put my journalist hat on to observe it from a slight distance, with a sort of entertained curiosity.
Perhaps my amusement came from a place of no longer taking what happens on a first date personally, including the follow-up (or lack thereof), as I’ve decided these limited and rather surface-level interactions don’t actually offer enough time for anyone to TRULY get to know me. (Never mind appreciate what a fucking catch I am – and, like so many of us out there, I am, in fact, a catch!) What’s more, in a city filled with endless options of singles to go on first dates with (and dating apps adding even more options to the pool), it seems people are unapologetically churning through dates with less consideration than what to watch next on Netflix.
Dating theories aside, as I could write a book on them, here is a recap of how the date went down:
We met on Hinge. His “impressive resume” was matched by his good looks. He wasn’t American (which is generally a bonus in my book as I’m a sucker for accents and someone with a potentially worldly view). Our initial text banter was great, and he showed himself to be smart, witty, and thoughtful enough for me to agree to meet for a drink. Which we did two nights later.
We met at a casual bar on the east side of Houston Street. He was even better looking in person than his photos gave him credit for, and spoke with a half South African and half Australian accent (the two places he grew up) that likely kept me interested longer than I should have been. We ordered beers and had good chemistry from the start. I found it a little odd, but also endearing, that during his first bathroom break, he removed the Invisalign retainers he had in (something he clearly hoped I wouldn’t notice, and I would never let on that I did).
By the time the second drink arrived, I started to realize that we really had only been talking about him the entire time (which can sometimes happen, as the journalist in me is good at getting people’s stories out of them). At one point, he seemed to pick up on the uneven conversation as well and said, ‘I feel like I am talking too much, tell me about you!” I felt hopeful and said, “Well, what would you like to know?”
I can’t remember the question he asked, but I barely made it through two sentences of my answer before he interjected to keep bragging (I then realized it was, in fact, bragging the entire time) about himself. This trend continued through the second drink, which was taken to a new level as he picked up his phone (which was sitting on the bar face-up, allowing his eyes to dart at the screen as messages were popping through), and started to show me photos of his life which spanned from childhood, to lavish international trips, to then photos of various female conquests.
I learned that he’d had all the hair on his body lasered off. He informed me of his affinity for fake breasts, and said something along the lines of being an ambassador for them (I wasn’t fully listening as I was starting to think about my exit at this point), before going on to observe my breasts with a snarky comment about how they were obviously NOT FAKE. I confirmed, with pride, that they were, indeed, natural. I think the “Seriously, dude?” look on my face, mixed with the attention on my breasts managed to bring the conversation back around to me, and he finally asked, “So what is it that you do again?” By now, I wasn’t taking much seriously and figured I’d play down to his level. So, with a straight face I replied, “I’m a stripper.” I wondered if this would excite him, turn him off, or if he’d even get the joke at all. It seemed to accomplish none of the above, as he proceeded to undress me with his eyes in such a way that made me want to run home and take a shower, smirked, and said, “Not with THAT body.”
Through experience, I’ve learned to book dates on evenings when I have other plans in order to not burn an entire night on a stranger, and I’ve also learned it’s essential to always have an out — after the stripper comment, I was officially ready for my OUT. I told him I was going to have to leave after this drink as I was meeting friends for a BBQ (which was true). He challenged my reason to leave and seemed to be convinced I was heading to another date, asking, “Who’s the lucky guy?” And then strangely started in with what seemed to be a pitch on why he was great boyfriend material. I bit my lip and excused myself to the bathroom, so I could have a good laugh and pee. (And take some hilarious video confession footage, which you can find on my Instagram!)
When I returned, he asked where I was meeting my friends. I told him I was headed to the West Village, and he said he could give me a ride. I challenged the offer by asking, “But don’t you live in the East Village?” (Where we currently were.) He confirmed he did, but informed me that he wasn’t heading home from our date, as originally planned, and was now planning to go meet “the TV anchor,” a girl he had been on several dates with, who he had told me about at one point, when I mentioned my career had started in television. (Likely 1 of 5 facts that came up about me.) He clearly felt the need to let me know he was already seeing people with similar resumes. At this point, I was too amused to be offended, and decided a free ride to my BBQ was the least the South African Ambassador of Fake Boobs could offer me, and agreed to let him give me a lift.
He paid the bill (thank you), which was comprised of the two beers I had, and the six he managed to consume in the same amount of time. When we got in the Uber X, I said with a giggle, “I don’t think I’ve ever been dropped off from a date by a man heading straight to another date.” (But then started to wonder how many times this had actually happened without me knowing.) He defensively fired back that he was doing nothing wrong and had every right to go on another date. While I told him he was absolutely right and I actually didn’t care (which I didn’t), I couldn’t help but think about this dating culture that has become so unapologetically transactional, and how people can book a new date faster than they can order an oat milk latte.
For the sake of the next 9 minutes of my life when I would still be trapped in a Honda Civic with this dude, I decided it would be best not to poke the beast, and asked him another question about himself – I can’t remember the question, but I remember thinking that giving him another opportunity to talk about himself would be sure to fill the time. He turned to me, looked me in the eyes, and just when I thought I was going to receive an answer to my question, I, instead, received a faceplant in the form of a kiss, which allowed me to confirm that he did, in fact, remove his Invisalign. I will say, he actually was quite a good kisser, which caused me to hang onto the kiss a bit longer than I otherwise would have. Also, honestly, it was far better than talking to this mongrel.
As we neared my stop at the wine store where I was picking up a bottle to bring to my BBQ, he mentioned something about seeing me again, to which I laughed and threw out an empty offer to become friends. I stepped out of the Uber, and he held the door open from the inside, smiled at me widely and said, “Enjoy the Sav Blanc.” I bought Sancerre.