Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Ninja

I had tickets to a Mariah Carey concert on a Friday night. This fell on Arch date #6. I was planning to fulfill the date by having a quick drink with someone before the concert, but then my concert buddy had to bail, leaving me with a spare ticket. I thought it would be fun to find someone adventurous on OKCupid whom I felt comfortable taking with me. I knew most men wouldn't like Mariah Carey. I figured I'd pose it as a surprise concert where we'd get drunk and have a good time regardless of who was playing. So it was that I found the Ninja.

The Ninja was 25, decent looking, and had a clear love for exploring the new and different, which I could tell based on his profile and photos. He was the first person whom I proactively messaged. Our OKCupid messaging went smoothly so we started IMing and texting each other. He had a decent amount of dating experience and had in the past gone on several OKCupid dates. He worked in a similar field to me, and he acted like the kind of guy who would fit in with my friends. He had a sense of humor, on the goofy side. This upcoming date was looking up.

The plan was for him to show up to my apartment, have a few drinks there, then take BART to the concert. At one point, still in the dark on which artist we were seeing, he texted me, "Here's to not Mariah carrey."

On Friday night, he showed up to my apartment on time, looking like his photos, a decent looking guy, tall. However, the pictures would have been more accurate if he was slightly blurred because this guy was quaking in his boots from minute zero all the way to the crash and burn ending. He was nervous as all hell and had no idea how to hide it. This was my seventh date in eight days; I abandoned anything resembling nerves by date two. He giggled nervously, stumbled over his words, could barely get complete sentences out of his mouth. Every single time he tried to tell a story, he lost his train of thought and prematurely ended the telling by saying, "Nevermind, this story doesn't really have a point." He hunched, fidgeted, and didn't drink a drop of his beer. When I pointed out the fullness of his beer glass to him, he said, "Actually, I don't really like beer. It makes me sleepy." I had offered him the choice of two nice beers, and he chose this one, the Bruery's Saison Rue, which is a "Belgian/French-style farmhouse ale." Never did he mention a distaste for beer.

I asked him if I could get him something else to drink, but I only had wine and gin. He said that he really only drank shots of vodka and tequila, but that he would drink the beer I poured him for the sake of the adventure. Then he chugged my fancy beer.

He suggested we get some coffee on the way to the concert. There's a great coffeehouse near my apartment, Four Barrel Coffee, so we stopped by there. I ordered a latte, and he ordered an espresso. This somewhat made up for the chugging as it takes a coffee connoisseur to appreciate espresso enough to sip it. He threw back the espresso like an actual shot, though, while I sipped my latte. I had been trying to withhold final judgment on him until after seeing how he coped with Mariah Carey, but I could not turn a blind eye to this. I am a sipper, not a chugger, and I cannot envision myself on dates at my favorite haunts -- Philz Coffee, Blue Bottle Coffee, Rye, Bourbon & Branch, Monk's Kettle -- with a chugger.

He exhibited a strange behavior whenever we walked anywhere. This may have been borne of nerves; I'm still not sure. He pretended to be a ninja, occasionally crouching low while walking, karate chopping the air, doing things of this nature. I couldn't wait to get to the concert and to its promise of alcohol in order to chug my way out of the reality of this date.

He was a trooper about the concert. He was determined to make it a fun night for me, refused to let me pay for anything until he ran out of cash, and gave me my space to enjoy the three songs I loved during the concert, which were, incidentally, Always Be My Baby, My All, and Heartbreaker. When Mariah started singing Heartbreaker, I told him that in high school, my best friend and I thought it would have been so cool to be the Heartbreaker. The proper reaction to this would have been, "Why?" A judgmental comment about how I must have been a sadistic, vengeful person would have been acceptable, too. He either didn't hear me or was simply trying too hard to impress me. Everything I said just made him smile fervently and nod eagerly with no response or dialogue. It's one thing to feign some enjoyment for the benefit of your date, as he should have done with the beer I had given him in my apartment; it's an entirely different, and rather annoying, thing to be an ass kissing puppy dog. I'm a cat person.

We walked around the venue a few times during the concert. I kept my hands in my pockets with my elbows locked firmly to my sides the whole time. He kept trying to put his arms around my shoulders and my waist, from which I'd wriggle away, and he kept pounding his fist into mine through my coat. The slicker his moves got, the more I avoided eye contact. At this point in the date, every time I did sneak a peak at his face, I felt a little pang of regret that my concert buddy couldn't make it or that I couldn't be there with "Shakira," a previous date who knew what it was to be a fun person.

Two margaritas and a shot of tequila -- which made me veritably drunk -- couldn't hide some of the shortcomings yet to come on this date. On the crowded post-concert BART platform, waiting for a train, he escalated his aggressiveness and somehow mauled me into a hug. My hands were still planted deep within my coat pockets, now held there by his embrace, so I couldn't push him away. I started twisting left and right to escape this most unwelcome advance, not just avoiding eye contact but fully ducking my head, facing downwards. It was no matter. Nothing could shake the Ninja. He was on a mission to kiss me, and I was threatened. When I sensed his face far closer than it ever should have been to mine, I yelled, "No! You can't kiss me on the first date!" Did I say "yelled?" I meant screamed. Only then did he let me go.

When we got back to my apartment, he kept trying to prolong the date, asking me if I wanted to stop into some of the bars we walked by, then pretending to be too drunk to drive home, then finally asking if he could come upstairs to use the bathroom. I let him use the bathroom, but he took around seven minutes in there. The toilet seat was up, and it didn't smell, so I couldn't help but wonder if he had been snooping. Regardless, when he walked out of the bathroom, I held my door open for him to leave. As he left, he asked me to a second date that upcoming week. I told him I had to check my calendar, to which he sneered, "You use a calendar? Seriously?"

Post-mortem for the boys:
  • Be genuine. No matter how badly you're into the girl, you shouldn't compromise your tastes and interests to be agreeable. You're allowed to like different things. Being too agreeable is off-putting.
  • In the case of the beer, if he disliked the beer so much that he didn't want to drink it, he should've been up front about that before I opened it. We could easily have made other drink arrangements. Once he chose the beer for me to pour for him, he should have just sucked it up and drank it. He didn't have to pretend to love it. The beer was in a nice bottle, and therefore, was clearly something I put some thought into choosing. Sipping a beer is rather trivial and would've been far less rude than to leave a full glass behind, and certainly less rude than treating it like it was a shitty drink and chugging it.
  • You are civilized human beings, not baboons brandishing limbs as wannabe ninjas and chugging every drink put in front of you like it might be taken away from you at any moment.
  • If a girl is avoiding eye contact on the first date, it's probably not wise to try and kiss her. Wait till the second, or sometimes third date.
  • If a girl is avoiding physical contact on the first date, it's probably not wise to try to force it. Wait till the second, or sometimes third date.
  • Not always, but as a general rule, don't ask a girl to the next date while still on the date. It has potential to read too eager. It also doesn't respect the girl's space to reflect upon the date and to decide whether she wants to go on another date. Thus, it encourages the girl to lie.
  • Don't judge how your date organizes her life on the first date. Yes, I seriously use a calendar. Dumbass.

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