Whenever I go on a date with a guy, I have an overarching ambition: to leave as quickly as possible. I’m usually happy to do a lot of listening or flirting and see where it goes.
Having said that, there have been at least a few times when it seemed like things might take off. One date I ended up dating for like eight weeks was this guy who I had met at this empty bar in the Dupont Circle area. I was in my late 20s, she was in her early 30s, and we were both just trying to see what happened over the course of a single month. We usually found common ground in a (relatively) vague conversation, and he was always making some vague promise to get in touch. Each time we were on a kind of mission to see if we could find common ground. It was almost like he thought it would be okay if there were some bad feelings and that we would find some way to work through them on our own. For me, that kind of promise from a man isn’t the most compelling feature on a date.
Sure, it is nice that he is nice. People think that if you spend some time with someone, they will be nice. They’re either gay or straight, from the suburbs or the city, with a wide circle of friends or a personal trainer. Unless you’re in that group, the assumption is that everyone is nice because they’re nice. If there’s someone there who’s different, they usually get ignored or insulted in some way. When someone is nice, you’re supposed to like them, even if they’re a complete asshatter.
(Screenshot/The Washington Post)
All of that may have been true of this man, and maybe he had a rich history of decentness. Perhaps he was raising money for an organization or had a good reason for being there. Maybe it was a relatively lame excuse. Maybe it was just a hot moment. The problem is, I didn’t want to like him. I wanted to leave.
I was in love with my job, my friends, my job search, and I was a fan of other people. I was sad that I didn’t know anyone in the neighborhood where she lived or my friends lived. Plus, I had a whole life to focus on. That’s how dating in Washington works.
After maybe 10 to 15 minutes, my best friend walked up. “That was fun,” she said. “Why don’t you guys just go back and meet up at the next bar?” It was the least romantic of romantic statements, but I had lost my date already.
I was met by two people who looked quite drunk and extremely obnoxious. “Sorry, we can’t leave,” they said. I was dead serious and didn’t see what was the deal. This was my out. All he had to do was make one joke to me and I’d leave. But then the next person who looked like he was even worse blew it up into this huge fiasco. We went to the worst bar in the entire neighborhood, and it just kept getting worse. I shouldn’t have been doing this, but my instinct was to not look at myself in the mirror. I started drinking with them, until I saw that they had brought beer.