So, I was in downtown LA the other day. I had to take my pimp mobile (aka my 2007 Honda Accord) in to get some recalls serviced. While waiting for my car to be fixed—a mere 7 hours—I decided to mosey around downtown and as I was admiring the neighborhood, a memory flickered in my mind from last year. The memory of a date from the depths of hell.
Now, I’ll be the first to tell someone that my 27th year of life was not that bad (even though I was unemployed, on welfare, and slowly going crazy in my haunted apartment).
At 28, however, things are a little more in perspective, so I can usually find a way to rationalize or try to understand whatever traumatic experiences occurred in my past.
But, some of these cringe-worthy moments and nauseating instances will rear their ugly faces in your mind, and instead of cataloging them in a healthy way, you elbow it in the face and send it back whence it came (aka Repression Town). This date is one of those memories, but maybe I can make sense of it somehow.
Last year, I met an Irish lad named “Liam” on Grindr. Some people would be all about it for the accent alone, but that really didn’t move my needle one way or the other (for some reason, I find people who are really into “accents” disingenuous. I don’t care how you sound, as long as the sounds coming out of your mouth are forming coherent sentences.)
After chatting with Liam for a couple days, we decided to hang out.
First mistake: I offered to pick him up because he didn’t have a car.
Second mistake: I got stoned before going on the date.
Once I got there, I texted him that I was waiting at our agreed-upon location (his lobby), to which he wrote back “one sec.”
“One sec” turned into 10 minutes, which may not seem like a lot, but if you’re on a first date, it’s more than a little rude.
The boredom from waiting mixed with the fact that I was high as shit led to my decision to scale the bridge near his house to take capture the scenery (for Instagram, of course).
He texted me, “Hey sorry, I was doing dishes, I went downstairs and you weren’t there. Where’d you go!”
Uhhhh dishes? Annoyed, I texted him back that I’d be back in a minute.
I get back, and after waiting yet again, he finally appears.
He’s cute, toothy, unruly hair, pale, and nice eyes or whatever. He tells me that we should go upstairs because he needs to finish getting ready. Uuuuhhhhh okay. First off, I wasn’t born yesterday. I know that move. That’s my move.
Spiraling up a staircase, we get to his loft space, which he shared with a few other people (they remained unseen). It was actually pretty interesting inside. We eventually drank some coffee on the balcony--but not before having a legitimate argument about the world’s energy crisis. I fucking kid you not. I certainly didn’t bring up this topic, but somehow he came after me saying the United States sucks because of coal and oil and that nuclear power was the future. Which I mean, fine, but I personally disagreed with him, because of y’know, I don’t know, FUKUSHIMA?! Sushi has been ruined forever.
Point is, we were already fighting. In fact, every conversation we had turned into some sort of antagonizing debate where his attitude implied he was right and I was wrong. Attempting to move this along, I suggested we grab lunch. He had other ideas. I told him no and used my parking meter as an excuse (which in LA is a very valid cop-out).
I didn’t want to hook up, but he wasn’t budging. Stubborn Irish man, he was. So, it happened. I wasn’t really thrilled with the results, but it wasn’t a “bad time.” I make the best of any situation really. Except when the situation involves you getting a parking ticket for an expired meter. Sigh.
You could describe my reaction as a chill solar storm. Again, I was unemployed and this was $63 down the drain just because I was cajoled into fooling around.
“Oh, well. It’s just $63,” he muttered. OH.
“I want a hamburger,” Liam declares.
“Sure. I know a place. It has lots of stuff.”
I’m pretty sure we drove all the way to Los Feliz (what was I thinking?) in silence. When we got to Alcove, I ordered a salmon salad, and he got huevos rancheros. Although he previously demanded a hamburger, he instead ordered something completely different. You know what? More power to him.
When our food came…actually when his food came (mine never did, more on that in a moment) he starts to eat, all the while criticizing each and every bite. No flavor, the fried egg wasn’t runny enough, the beans were mushy, the dish as a whole was not spicy enough, etc.
I just sat there watching him.
“Are you sure you don’t mind that I’m eating?” He says while literally halfway through his meal. I wasn’t even hungry anymore. So, I go inside, and negotiate a refund for my meal since they’d forgotten about it.
I sat back down and told him that I got a refund. He seemed surprised. “You complained? I would never do that. Too awkward.” The contradictions were astonishing.
While paying the bill, he asks me, “So what did you think?”
“About what?” I replied.
“You know, back at my place… What we did.”
Oh. Well… I thought about it, and several reviews came to mind but for some reason my mouth settled on this one: “It wasn’t worth $63.”
This apparently really hurt his feelings.
I mean, look--I did feel like I paid for something I didn’t really want to begin with. I felt cheated. Unlike Alcove and the salad, I couldn’t get my money back.
Skipping to the end of the day date, we end up back at his apartment. I need to pee so bad that it pains me to tell you that I went back into his apartment. But after using the toilet, I tried to dart.
“Where are you going? Don’t you want to keep hanging out?” Huh? How could he possibly think that?
I told him I had to have dinner with a friend (which was true), but he maintained we keep hanging out. Flat out, I explained to him I couldn’t. Traffic would be bad leaving downtown, I need to like run an errand, whatever.
Well, let me tell you, I thought I had shaken the dude, but he texted me as soon as I ejected myself from his place.
Peaks and troughs today, but I had a good time. Hope you did too.
This is where an anxiety attack began to set in. I thought I was caught in some sort of planetary warp. A parallel plane of existence that was incomprehensible.
HOW THE FUCK DID HE HAVE A GOOD TIME OR THINK I COULD HAVE POSSIBLY ENJOYED MYSELF?
Shaking, I texted him back a message that most would consider calm.
I think we are two different types of people. I don’t think it would work out. But it was nice meeting you.
He wrote back, accusing me of being vague as to why I was rejecting him. At this point I was finally understanding why people just don’t respond sometimes. It’s just easier, right? Well, I couldn’t resist the chance to be honest.
I texted back in gruesome detail as to why I never wanted to see him again. From there, he attacks me for being rude.
Clearly, I wasn’t going to win this argument. I mean, that was clear from the beginning.
Dating is hard. After my date with Liam, I considered dating to be one suicide mission after the other, except you somehow kept surviving. Miraculously, I’m still going on dates despite this. People often are amazed that I’m able to do so. My best friend who recently ended a long-term relationship told me she “doesn’t even know what dating is like anymore.” And while it’s definitely not hard to get a date (thanks to the internet), it’s definitely hard to have a good one.
Some say, dating isn’t worth it. It’s a waste of time, people are weird, the right one will come along one way or another…
But I believe if you’re like me—now working a full-time job, crafting personal projects, hanging with friends--it’s difficult to meet anyone that’s not already in your sphere.
So, making the choice to actively date feels right, even when you’re handed bum guys like Liam who end up costing you $63 and having you doubt the entire country of Ireland.
As bad as they may be (like Liam), every experience is just another step forward in personal growth and another step in finding the one that doesn’t make you immediately question reality or make you physically ill.
Staying hopeful and positive, while keeping a sense of humor about all your encounters, can be rewarding.
Or, at the very least, give you a good story to tell.
Alexander Rose is a writer and Scorpio living in Los Angeles. He's completely unwilling to settle for less.