I’ve previously mentioned that as a 31yr-old perpetually single lady, I regularly combat the pervasive doubt that my single state is in great part my own fault. My strategies to keep this fear at bay includes wine, chocolate and sexy shoes. Sometimes with all 3, at once. #fancy! Some of my kind readers have kindly suggested that everyone has baggage, and since I am aware of mine, and upfront about it, I have effectively addressed this weakness in my quest for domestic bliss, and it cannot therefore be the cause of my singledom. That’s a cute theory. And a false one, as this story will demonstrate.
What not to do on a date
This past winter, I had a Tinder date that I was actually quite excited about. I found him funny and rather gentlemanlike, online. He’d given me access to his Fbk profile too, to calm any pre-date jitters and to confirm he was not a catfishing murderer (his words, paraphrased). I liked what I saw. Consequently, I was incredibly nervous. So much so, I not only put on a clean and flattering outfit, but I also put on lipstick and mascara. #overachiever
He was as good-looking as his pics. He put on a show, as though he was doing his best impression of the ideal funny date. The lack of authenticity made me more nervous; but then I felt like a hypocrite, since I was attempting a similar impression, faking an urban charm I was far from feeling, to try mask my anxiety. I slipped on my persona of a touchy-feely giggly flirt, and felt myself becoming ditzier by the second. He didn’t seem to mind. I noticed his humor had an edge to it, was excessively self-deprecating, which I didn’t find funny, but who was I to judge? I assumed his nerves were at fault.
Conversation shifted to our hobbies. As I’d gathered from his Fbk profile, he is an amateur stand-up comedian. Ballsy! We compared how stand-up comedy and fighting a boxing match can have similarities (they both involve a certain mastery of nerves, the ability to read the audience/opponent and then adapt, and the acceptance of the possibility of failure – no guarantees in either setting). Because we were talking about our respective interests, we both dropped some of our affectations and the conversation’s dynamic improved. Until he made an offhand comment that all humor is a variation of sarcasm. Say what?! I took immediate exception to that statement. I proudly refrained from pointing out that if he truly believed that, he must be a terrible comic. Yay, social skills! However, I was so opposed to his opinion that I had no choice but to engage in some gentle debate. So gentle that I busted out my iPhone, looked up the definition of sarcasm, which I waved in his face, as well as the Google search results for “types of humour”. Types. As in plural. BOOYAH!
Then I had an out-of-body experience and realized that my helpful discussion about his incorrect opinion could maybe possibly slightly be accurately interpreted as a criticism of his comedic skills. Which would likely be offensive to him, and defeat my objective of creating a favorable impression. My brain helpfully made me simper, “but you’re the stand-up comedian afterall. I’ll defer to your expertise.”
At that point, I accepted my brain hated me and wanted me to die a cat-less cat-lady. I facepalmed myself, chugged my beer and waited for the date to implode.
My date surprisingly did not walk out on me after I had spent 20 minutes deconstructing his lack of understanding of the art of humour. This made me even MORE nervous. Clearly, he just wanted to sleep with me, since there was no way he could like me for my personality after what I had just done. As the date wrapped up, my ditzy persona firmly in place, I said goodbye and prepared to walk the short distance home. He offered to drive me home.
I considered this carefully. He was gentlemanly enough for me to suspect that my conviction that he wanted to jump in my pants rightthisinstant was probably an exaggeration, caused by my anxiety-laden mind. Also it was freezing. I accepted his offer.
The short drive home, I psyched myself up for the inevitable goodbye kiss. It was going to happen. I owed it to him, after my ridiculous behavior. I was ready. Let’s do this. He double parked. We resaid polite noises and our goodbyes. He paused momentarily, as if to check that a goodbye kiss would be welcome – see? I told y’all he was a gentleman.
In that instant, I knew I did NOT want to kiss him. But did I react? Did I say something, or move out of the way? NO, THAT WOULD BE TOO EASY. I stayed frozen, with a polite smile on my face . Time slowed down painfully, giving me ample time to watch his gradual approach to my mouth. Slow-motion, slowed down till the motion part barely was noticeable.
It was only as his lips touched mine that I snapped out of my paralysis, and pushed him gently away. “Yeah, no, this ain’t happening. Sorry. I don’t kiss on the first date.” He stared at me, taken aback. I shrugged and exited the car.
WHO SAID I HAD ANY SOCIAL SKILLS? I LIED.