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Today I Learned…

July 25, 2011

So I am a single lady. And I’m pretty happy with that. But I do enjoy companionship and every so often I get a wild hair (or is that a wild hare?) and I wind up doing yet another stint on OkCupid. I don’t really make any secret of the fact that I’m a habitual online dater. Unlike many others, there ain’t no shame in my game. Online dating has been working for me since approximately 1999, when I first posted a profile on Yahoo! personals as a junior in college. In the past 12 years, I’d say that only about 10% of the dates I go on are from guys I’ve met in real life. I don’t go to bars that often, when I go to parties I generally already know everyone there, and especially with derby taking up so much of my time, my lifestyle is just not that conducive to meeting new people of the straight, non-creepy male variety. Besides, I’m kind of selective (no vegetarians or vegans, must love cats, not want kids, have a college degree) and you just can’t narrow the field like you can online.

I never thought of this as a disadvantage in any way. I go on a pretty fair amount of dates and every so often I wind up with something approximating a boyfriend for a few months. Contrary to the stereotype of online daters, I’m not socially anxious or crazy (at least, nobody has ever told me if I am). But…I am realizing that making this my main method of meeting people may leave me at a slight disadvantage when it comes to meeting people the old-fashioned way.

Let’s take this past weekend, for example.

Saturday we had a bout (Bronx won, yay!), there was an afterparty and I went to said afterparty. This is the extent of my bar-hopping nowadays. Aside from the occasional beer or glass of wine at home, I don’t really drink very often. Bout afterparties/derby events and major holidays are pretty much it.

So, afterparty. I’m watching the bout we just played and talking to various people, and it’s generally a good time. At some point in the evening I’m introduced to two guys who happen to have animal noses and whiskers drawn on their faces. Turns out this is from a “cat face party” that was going on down the street. Apparently, it was lame, so these two wound up at Manitoba’s. One of them had been to the bout before the party but the other had not. I am conversing with these two gentlemen and they seem generally ok and not creepy and they are interested in roller derby, so all was good. The one who had not been to the bout expressed interest in me and I wasn’t repulsed, so I was not rebuffing his advances, but I wasn’t draped all over him or anything like that.

(I would totally use names here, but I seem to have lost them in the bottom of a pint of Mother’s Milk stout. So from here on out we have Bout Guy and Hipster Glasses. Bout Guy is obviously the guy who went to the bout. Hipster Glasses had, well, hipster glasses, was kind of beard-y, and had on a blue v-neck tshirt. Somehow, I remember this but not his name.)

So Hipster Glasses and I seem to be getting along OK, I don’t remember talking about anything other than derby, but I liked what I knew of him and he seemed to like me as well. It’s getting a little on the later side and I’ve made up my mind that I’m leaving as soon as our bout finishes showing on the TVs at Manitoba’s. I tell Hipster Glasses this and he asks if he can walk me home. I’ve made the  stumble home from Manitoba’s by myself many a time, but sure, OK, if he wants to. Bout Guy had already peaced out by this time and so I say my goodbyes and Hipster Glasses accompanies me the 4 blocks to my place. On the way there he runs into the bodega catty-corner from me for a bottle of water. I, bleary-eyed and exhausted, teeter on the corner for a minute while he does this. He walks me to my door and I give him a hug and he goes in for a kiss. I let him peck me on the lips but I’m not allowing any more than that. I know I’ve been drinking a bit and wasn’t trusting the potential thickness of my beer goggles at this point. Besides, I think it’s kind of gauche to play tonsil hockey on one’s stoop right after closing time.

Hipster Glasses is trying pretty hard to get past just repeated pecking, and I make a move towards my door. “Would you like me to walk you up?” He says. I know I am not that drunk to let some dude I just met at the bar come up to my place. I also know that there is a bag of the worst-smelling skate gear ever on my kitchen floor, along with my sweat-soaked uniform, sports bra, and shorts all airing out in my bathroom and counters. My apartment was barely habitable for me, let alone a visitor. Not that that made much of a difference. For a dude with a cat nose and whiskers drawn on his face, he’s already lucky I let him walk me home and peck me goodnight. I giggle and tell him I’ll be OK, and he tries again with the kissing. And again, he’s not getting anywhere. Finally, I kind of nudge him away, because I’m nearly falling asleep on my feet at this point, and my bed is calling out for me, and me alone. We stand there awkwardly for a moment.

“Um, so I guess this is the part where I give you my phone number?” I say.

“OK. Sure,” he says, unlocking his iPhone and bringing up the “add contact” screen. He hands it to me and I dutifully enter my number. I helpfully add my full name, for some tipsy-logical reason that I can’t remember. I can’t even remember his name at this point but I feel it necessary he know my legal one.

“There you go!” I say, in as chipper a voice I can muster after 4 hours of yelling to be heard at the bar. I sound like I’ve gargled with lava rocks at this point so it sounds more like a growled threat than the cheerful sendoff I was going for. Hipster Glasses takes his phone back, hugs me goodbye and mentions he’s getting a cab back to Murray Hill, or Kips Bay, or whatever you call that horrendous bro-infested area that is not quite Gramercy and not quite Midtown. “Get home safe!” I croak as I unlock my front door. He nods and walks off towards 1st Avenue.

It wasn’t until the next day and a doozy of a hangover later (which demanded an emergency order of cheeses, bread, and cured meats from MaxDelivery), that I was in the shower and it occurred to me that OH MY GOD Hipster Glasses totally thought he was going to get laid. I was laughing so hard at my naïveté that I had to turn the water off and sit on the edge of the tub until the fit passed. He likely bought condoms along with the bottle of water as I was waiting obediently on the corner for him at the bodega. And he probably thought I was going to invite him up, but when I didn’t, he tried to ask himself up.

I dried off and got on IM with my friend Andy, who is a gay dude, but a dude nonetheless, and knows better than I do how dudes think. He confirmed my suspicions:

Andy: i think he just got the wrong idea
i think he thinks walking home from bar = action
and he probably thinks ur a tease for not asking him up
me: maybe
i just don’t see how walking a girl home that you just met equals sex
guys who don’t get it always call the other one a tease
some people think there are promises
they’re idiots
he probably told his friend he got laid
i hope he at least said i was good
no tongue kissing is a pretty clear sign that it’s not gonna happen, right?
i mean the walk home is why he was sure
I’ve let guys platonically walk me home and never got any expectation of anything
i’m saying that’s why he got it
that’s so weird
yeah, ask around
i totally take that at face value
yeah u do, ur literal
“walk me home” = “walk me home”
yeah, in what world does “walk me home” = “I wanna have sex with you”?
me: I’ve dated a lot and have never had that implication before
someone u met in a bar
walks u home
thinks he’s getting laid
well that’s my problem
I have literally never met anyone in a bar before
Andy: right
that’s the nuance
how u met
me: ahhhhhhhh
that’s so weird
it’s like a whole subculture i know nothing about
Andy: well this makes more sense to me now
that u say u’ve never met anyone in a bar before
cuz i couldn’t figure out how u didn’t get it
me: yeah this was a total first in that regard
oh this makes the whole thing even more hilarious


Well. You learn something new every day.

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