Sunday, February 28, 2010

Punk Rock Punch

This is the story of EVG's worst first date.

EVG sets out to meet an OKCupid girl at a bar. He arrives surprised to see that she has brought an army of friends with her. His surprise is not only due to the lack of intimacy, but more so at the physical appearance of his new friends. The girl and all of her friends are dressed like extreme gothic rockers. Mohawks, black lipstick, ripped clothing, pins and piercings are the fashion among this crew. This sense of style is not apparent from the girl's online dating profile.

Shock notwithstanding, the date ensues. After a while, the girl and her friends depart to the bathroom leaving EVG at the table. They return some ten to fifteen minutes later looking wired, rubbing their noses, ecstatic to move on to another party. The girl asks EVG if he wants to go to a punk rock concert with them, but moreover, if he can handle going to a punk rock concert.

He hesitates, wondering what he's getting himself into with a group of punk rock cokeheads. "Yeah, I think so?"

She punches him hard in the gut. Recall that the "E" in EVG stands for "effeminate." His delicate constitution does not react well to the sucker punch. She yells in his face, "Are you sure? Can you really handle it? Because this is what it's like!" Cue another punch to the gut. "Well? Are you?" And for good measure, she throws in a third.

EVG backs away and says, "OK, I get it! Please! Stop hitting me." They end up moving on to one of their apartments instead. At this point, he knows the date is a throwaway, but why not see it through to its crazy end? He follows them to the apartment. The rockers disappear into a bedroom while he waits for them in the living room. Once more, they return decidedly more upbeat. They all start undressing.

When two of them start having sex on the floor in front of him, he decides that the crazy end has been reached. He rushes out of the apartment, only to be followed by his date who is now barefoot and half-naked, running after him, screaming, "Come back! We started off on the wrong foot!" He manages to catch a bus and escapes.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Effeminate Vampire Guy

My first date in my Arch seven was at a pub in the Haight with some nice beers on tap. I met the guy, EVG, through OKCupid. He seemed to have a sense of humor about him because he admitted in his profile, "I have been known to wear girl jeans on occasion. (I have skinny legs, its totally justified!)" This was cause for some concern, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. "It's just a date, and I have a challenge to complete," I thought. The only other thing I knew about him was that he was, at the time, a law student.

We were just supposed to get drinks, but when I met him, he had gotten seated at a food table. Shortly into our conversation, a waitress came by to take our order. It turned out he didn't want food, so the waitress reprimanded us -- rightly so -- for taking up a table when there was plenty of room at the bar. Nevertheless, we continued the date at the table.

I knew within the first 10 minutes that I wasn't interested in him based on his appearance and on the way he talked. He had an effeminate aura about him, pale skin, delicate hands and constitution, a high pitched voice. He also had minor gaps between his teeth that emphasized the sharpness of his teeth. He was willing to jump right into good, meaty, embarrassing stories, so the conversation was enjoyable. He shared with me one of the best first date horror stories I'd ever heard. I reciprocated with the Pizza Guy story. We had chatted for about two hours when I ended the conversation and asked for the bill.

The bill did not have his beer on it, which I pointed out to him. I pulled out my wallet, held it in my hands for a few seconds, then pulled out my credit card, held that in my hands for a few seconds, then put it down on the bill. He put his credit card away. When the waiter came by to take my credit card with the bill, EVG said to the waiter, "Hey, my beer isn't on there." The waiter said he'd take care of it and promptly returned with a credit card slip for me to sign, which now included the cost of EVG's beer. Total cost: $15.13.

Obviously, when he had told the waiter that his beer wasn't on my bill, the waiter was going to charge me for his bill. But what makes this situation even worse is that he genuinely believed that the waiter would bring out a separate bill for him with just his beer on it. When he realized that I was charged for his beer, he freaked out, apologized profusely, and he said to me, "I don't want to be the Pizza Guy! I wish I could pay you for it, but I don't have any cash." If only I owned a Square (https://squareup.com/), I would have charged his credit card for the reimbursement right there.

When we left the pub, I quickly hugged him goodbye to avoid any kiss attempt, and walked towards my bus stop. He meekly followed me to the bus stop and lingered with some awkward conversation before swooping in and trying to kiss me. I parried his move into a hug, at which point he finally walked away.

I decided to take a cab instead of the bus after that debacle. The cab driver who picked me up begged me to date him the whole ride home, turning the meter off halfway en route to my apartment. I looked too good to pay some deadbeat's beer bill that night, and even the cabbie knew it.

The next day, he sent me an email trying to salvage the situation, indicating interest, and apologizing again for the tab. If you let a woman pay the entire bill on your first date, you should also cut your balls off and hand those over with the bill. He lost his chance with me when he handed me the balls in the relationship.

Post-mortem for you men out there:
  • Always take cash with you on dates.
  • Always offer to pay the entire bill on a first date. If you can't afford it, then pick a cheaper date spot.
  • Here are five things that EVG could have done differently with the bill:
  1. He should've offered to pay the whole bill
  2. He should've offered to at least split my bill with me since his beer wasn't on there and he was going to get away scott free
  3. He should've specified to the waiter to bring his beer on a separate bill
  4. When he learned that they charged me for his beer, he should have insisted that they take the bill back and take his beer off of it and charge him instead
  5. If he didn't want to deal with the hassle of reversing the charge, he should've offered to take me out to dessert or somewhere else to make it up to me

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Pizza Guy

A couple years ago, I met a guy, "JR," through some friends. He had a bachelor's and master's degree from prestigious (and expensive) universities. He was, at the time, working as a software engineer for a tech startup that was doing well, earning six figures or close to it. After intense flirting at two parties, I sacked up and asked him out.

We met up at a sports bar in SoMa for some beers. Conversation flowed well until he realized that I worked at Google. At that point, he abruptly shifted gears and asked me, "Did you get in on that Google IPO action?"

I thought it was completely rude to bring up how much money we made on a first date. I started well after the Google IPO, which I told him, but then I quickly tried to talk about something else. Before I could, he interrupted, "But I bet you're making a ton of money."

I awkwardly responded, "Uhh... I'm doing alright for myself, I guess," to which he replied, resentfully, "Better than me."

The conversation rebounded, and aside from that blip, the date went well. The bill came out to under $20, and as one could easily guess, we went dutch. I gave him another shot, and we went on a couple more dates.

His roommate was frequently gifted free tickets to Warriers games, and for what ended up being our third and final date, JR was the beneficiary of a couple of these tickets. JR didn't have a car, so I drove us to Oakland. Parking was $20, and JR didn't move a muscle. Annoyed, I paid for parking, and we proceeded in. We were supposed to get beers and dinner there, so I went off to find us beer while JR had the task of procuring our dinner. I had no trouble getting us giant beers, but none of the food vendors ventured near our seats. In the third quarter, JR stood up and said, "I'm going to go get myself a pizza." Crickets.

This would be a much better story if I could say that, after he left to get his pizza, I left his ass there to find his own way home. Alas, here I cannot tell such a bold lie. I stayed and watched in shock as he devoured most of his pizza without saying a word to me. Only when there were a few bites left at the end did he look at me to say, "You want some?"

The Arch Challenge

Dates are usually a miserable thing. I rarely used to go on them simply to avoid all the awkwardness that comes with first date territory, especially in the case of blind dates. Most of us have experienced, at some time or other, those horrible insecurities over our looks, fear of what the other person will look like, embarrassment after finding food stuck in our teeth or dribbling coffee down our chins, and fumbling over the question of who will pay the bill.

As I was singly approaching my 27th birthday and my mom's anxiety over my spinster status mounted, I decided to make more of an effort to date. Luckily, this happened right around the time that I met a man whom I'll call, "Arch." Arch is a seasoned dater with stories to learn from and advice to give, possessing the ultimate evidence that he's someone I should listen to: he's married to the perfect woman.

To encourage his friends to put themselves "out there," in the dating wild, he has formulated a challenge: if you go on seven unique, consecutive dates, he'll make you a beautiful glass condom-holder bowl. Seven straight days, seven different men (or women, if that's how you roll). He even has a lax definition of a "date:" a situation in which there is the threat of a kiss. Wanting me to succeed, he gave me a leg up and made two important notes. There is no quality standard in this challenge, and I should be prepared for inevitable last-minute cancellations.

I'm competitive by nature, and I really wanted the glass bowl; but my main impetus for taking on this challenge was to become comfortable with dating, to shed my insecurities, to fine tune my process for weeding out men, and to have fun.

And so the fun begins.