In the last month, my dating life has been the most eventful since 2018 started. As reported in the last Tinder Tale, I joined Tinder in May. On Saturday, June 30th, I decided that instead of going to a movie and eating alone, I was ready to go on a date with a complete stranger. After a morning of yoga and a fresh haircut, I returned home to find a companion for the night I had planned for myself in the next three hours.
I found my first Tinder date after a few swipes. Instead of the usual sitting around waiting for a match, then messaging each other; I bypassed all the small talk and got straight to the point in her IG DMs. “You Know What I Came For” might have been my opening line if I didn’t think it was too aggressive. The actual exchange was much calmer, but still bold. It opened with a “Hello” and how I found her; mentioned that I was into creative types, photographers, like herself and how I would like to take her out that night. She appreciated my direct approach and agreed to meet me for dinner, but declined the movie because she didn’t do scary movies.
(Hereditary is worth a watch. While I thought the ending was too long, the film is done really well visually and had my full attention the whole time resulting in me gasping, holding my mouth at least three times during certain scenes. Some people, including, the concessionist at the theatre, told me that it was slow paced, but I didn’t feel like I was watching a two-hour film until the last ten minutes that felt a little long. Strangely, I just did a quick IMDB search while writing this post and learned that Hereditary director, Ari Aster, directed his first short The Strange Thing About The Johnsons in 2011 and B-Easy said he was very talented back then. 7 years later, he lives up to the hype with his directorial debut.)
Left the theatre promptly after I was unable to share my satisfaction with the film with the concessionist. After I changed shirts in the car, I drove swiftly to the restaurant that was five minutes away to arrive at the exact 7:30 PM time that was discussed. Ten minutes went by and I sent a DM announcing my arrival. She replied that she would be there in 15 minutes. The thoughts that went through my mind went from the lowest self-esteem and insecurities I haven’t felt since high school to the self-assurance of a man that took a chance and learns from his failures. She arrived 30 minutes late and I threw out all expectations and hopes. My decision to stay was only so I could learn from this experience. GOD heard my prayers and answered with what transpired over the next two hours.
The 1st ten minutes were us at the table giving her friend directions to the restaurant. The friend was the worst at directions. Once the friend arrived, she left us to go to the restroom. I told my date that her friend was so bad at directions that I bet she is going to get lost on her way to the restroom. I swear to you, one of the waiters pointed her in the right direction and she still went the wrong way. Here’s a secret about Short-T: I know how to talk to people. It’s a shocker because I’m not the biggest people person, but if I’m sitting across a table from someone, then I become a conversationalist because we’re each other’s entertainment and all three us at that table, surprisingly, had a fun night. Work, accents, somehow Ben Stiller in The Heartbreak Kid, Tinder, (which at this point I called the friend out on her hypocrisy as she shared about the time a friend she made on the dating app attempted to make her more acquainted with her boyfriend. She said that it would be awkward for her to a third wheel with a couple. I said, “Do you mean like this?” She replied, “This is different?” I asked, “Is it?”) and of course, my favorite topic that can be turned into an hour-long discussion, food, all were used to keep away any awkward silences. Please believe that there were still awkward moments.
Drinking with a stranger is one cautionary red flag, drinking with a stranger and their best friend is a sure sign of being aware. My only order was one rum-based drink (trying to drink more dark liquor this year) and fried green tomatoes that I shared. I lost my appetite once I realized that the friend was staying the whole time instead of just checking in on to make sure I wasn’t a danger. I made sure I wasn’t in danger or the victim of any scams. I had every intention to pay for one young lady’s meal, one only. I sat quietly as my date’s friend complained about her Mimosa not being filled to the top of the glass or tasting any alcohol. I watched as the two mid-twenty-year-olds split the bill on a mimosa and $18 pork chop. Later, I wondered how did they have enough leftover for both of them to have to-go-plates. I thought the night was over, but there was still one surprise left.
Their other friend arrived as we’re paying our separate checks. Yes, a third person arrived. I do not recall the gentleman’s name, only remember that he was African. At the end of the night, you had my date and her best friend on one side of the booth with myself and their male friend on the opposite side. The three best friends and I left the restaurant together. They planned on attending a friend’s house party, then a club in Plano. I sat quietly with no intentions to join them, said goodbye and wished them well on their travels. I drove home, even took a detour, listening to Drake’s Scorpion, strenuously trying to figure out what just happened.
Honestly, I really felt like my date was the less transparent person at the table. It wasn’t until I walked her to her car that I learned that she was from Philly. Her friend spoke proudly of her Kenyan heritage once I noticed the pattern of her bracelet. I wonder if I had a better shot with the friend if she didn’t have a boyfriend. Sunday afternoon, I sent a DM thanking her for last night and leaving the door open for a second date. From there I haven’t heard from her since.
The following weekend, instead of setting up another same day date the same day with a different woman, I decided to plan for the next day. A few quick messages were exchanged through another creative type’s DMs and the date was set. Instead of an adventure at the museum, we agreed to an early evening dinner. 3 hours before dinner, she messaged me and said, “I might have jumped the gun a little bit. How do I know you’re not a jerk or serial killer?” My first thought was why did she say “jerk” first, making me wonder if it would have been okay if I was a serial killer with charm and a good personality that killed her at the end of the night instead of just a bad attitude the whole time. I boasted my 16personalities type, Logician, and referenced several Logicians. Albert Einstein, Kristen Stewart, and Ellen Page would never be jerks. I offered to show her my work to get a perspective on my personality. She declined to receive a link to my articles and praised me for going out of my way to make her comfortable. Honestly, I was a little disappointed I didn’t get a chance to possibly impress her with my writing. She said that she would still be anxious about meeting someone off IG, but will be there.
MEANWHILE, MY BAR WAS LOW! My second Tinder date was better than my first because she was punctual and showed up alone. Fortunately, we both agreed that this dinner was better than our expectations. Her scroll through my IG benefited me because she favorited an area of Dallas that I love. Over extremely delicious seafood, including a gumbo, I’ve been thinking about since then, we shared stories of our upbringings, living in Dallas after being raised in small towns from the tri-state area, aspirations, and our vastly different drink orders. She ordered an Abita beer while I ordered a Mango-Pomegranate margarita, because I’m comfortable with my masculinity, love those two aforementioned fruits, and decided that me being out on a hot day enjoying any type of frozen drink overrides my hate for margaritas. We talked about her affinity for beer and my distaste for craft, IPA’s and homebrews created by every white man that has ever had a beard. Perfect timing, after I compared my drink to a fun weekend based on its bright colors while hers was was the result of a hard day at the mines, the woman from the elderly couple next to us stopped and asked me what drink I was having before she left, because she was intrigued by the colors.
The check came and I was more than happy to pay for this exchange because this was actually worthwhile. She asked if I was sure because her Seared Yellowfish Tuna was $30. I replied, “Oh yeah, it’s cool.” Our hopes for dessert from the cake shop around the corner, were unfulfilled because it was closed. I walked her to her car and hugged her goodbye. We agreed that we have to do this again. From watching my date and her friend conspire on how to split the bill on an $18 pork chop last weekend to this 180-degree turn, I declared that my dating life was headed into a future as bright as a Mango-Pomegranate margarita. Alas, those dreams were deferred.
This is the part of the stage play when the lights go out and only a spotlight appears on a phone on a table placed center stage. Two days later, I returned to the DMs to plan another date for the upcoming Saturday, but she remarked that she would be working. I asked about her schedule for the rest of the weekend, she replied again, “working.” Two weeks later, including me taking a social media hiatus, but not before I gave her my number, it has only been dead silence. I can’t believe I’m making a Western reference, my parents are proud somewhere. I, the gunslinger that wants to hang his six-shooters up and ride off into the sunset must continue to meet up at the O.K. Corral at high noon for a showdown over drinks and tacos. (Why do Dallas women on Tinder love tacos so much?) I’m at a real crossroads; on one hand, I want to date around and not go all in at the first woman that shows interest in me, but I crave being in a relationship. Decisions and realizations are the only things I got from my last two dates.
There was a three year age difference between myself and my last date. I highly respected her after she asked, “What is that like, to be 28?” I answered that I learned that there are no age expectancies. Success comes when it decides to come. I’m no longer scared of turning 30. I felt her when she accurately described the symptoms of a Quarter-Life Crisis. Two dates are not the end and are not the worst thing to happen to me, these experiences are validating a new mantra I’m testing: I am not obligated to know everything, but I’m not regulated to know nothing.
More Tales To Come,