I’m pretty skeptical about any form of online/app dating. And that’s putting it gently. There’s only so many free hours in a day, and I usually choose to spend those hours investing in friendships and trying to get a solid community here in Minneapolis before I pair off again. It’s taken me almost a full two years to even feel like I have a solid group of friends up here, because believe it or not, Minneapolis is not an easy place to make friends. High school roots run deep, and it’s fairly common for people to ask me what high school I went to before they ask me about my alma mater (but seriously people, who wouldn’t lead with UW Madison AKA The Greatest Place On Earth?).
It’s not that Minnesotans aren’t nice. We all know they are. The problem is that Minnesotans are cliquey. They’ve run with the same crew since 1995. They’ve dated their significant other since 17. And if they aren’t already married, they will be soon. In all transparency, I’m probably just jealous. And since we’re all in the same boat of not having enough free hours in a day, I really can’t blame native Minnesotans for going to their default – their best friends that they know, love, and are comfortable with. New people, like myself, just simply aren’t on the radar.
So it’s no wonder that online dating has been suggested to me as a way to meet new people, and hopefully establish a connection that leads to an actual relationship – be it romantic or not. Like I said, I’m trying to find my community (read: squad), so it would seem that using technology could streamline this process a bit. I’ve been resistant for the better part of two years to this method…but something snapped in me Saturday. Maybe it’s the loneliness that sometimes accompanies the holidays. Maybe it’s nostalgia for seeing a whole year pass by without a significant other. Maybe it was the entire bag of chocolate covered pretzels that I ate. But I decided to download Tinder – knowing there were probably far better forms of dating apps…but hey, baby steps.
One of the first people I matched with turns out to be a former Badger. He’s from Edina (one of the schools that has the reputation for being THEE King of Cliquey), but I decide to give him the benefit of the doubt. UW probably made him a better person.
He’s been out watching football all day, and just happens to be at a bar a few blocks away. Conversation is friendly. He invites me to meet up. It’s very casual – just one Badger looking out for another Badger who wants to meet some new people. I enlist Courtney as my chaperon, because I’m not gonna be stupid and meet up with this dude alone. Nor am I going to risk looking stupid, when I walk up to his group of friends and say “Hi! I’m Melissa from Tinder!”
I meet up with…er… Dave. Let’s call him Dave. It’s a struggle to find him at the bar. After all, pictures are deceiving. Mine certainly are.
I find Dave with a few guys, and only one is in a Vikings jersey. And they are all over 6 foot. So I’m pleased. C is pleased. The beer is cold, and the music is loud, and all in all, this is starting to seem like an okay afternoon. Meeting new people, casual conversation, and then who knows?
Dave goes to buy me a beer, while C and I make friends with his wing men. We all joke about the nature of this meetup – being completely honest that this is a Tinder date, and I downloaded the app an hour ago. I’m a Tinder virgin, and Dave is about to be the standard for all of my Tinder encounters moving forward. Pressure on. His friends share stories about some of their Tinder fails. We laugh. It’s fun.
Dave comes back, sits next to me, and starts to apologize for being a bit drunk. He’s been out all day for the games. No harm, no foul, in my opinion. It’s isn’t even really a date – more like a meet up. I’m the one that crashed his party. And if he’s a true Badger, he should be able to have 34 beers and not even appear buzzed.
Then Dave forgot my name. And it became fairly obvious that Dave may in fact have had 34 beers…
He kept on getting up randomly and leaving me alone to talk to other people at the bar. It’s like he knew every single person there. I admire a social guy, and since my goal is to build a community, it’s cool to know that he has a solid group that maybe I could be a part of. But it’s like he forgot about my existence entirely. After all, he did come back and call me by the wrong name.
Between spurts of abandonment, Dave and I would engage in a little bit of friendly banter. Overall he seemed like a smart, social guy with a good sense of humor.
And then the racial and LGBT slurs came out.
I immediately snapped. It’s 2015, man. Get with the program. People just don’t talk that way anymore. And if they do, they are no friends of mine.
Dave apologized for his language, and started complimenting my good looks – in an attempt to remedy the situation. Cuz that always works, right?
I was mainly looking for an out…so I offered to go buy the next round. Cuz. Feminism. I’m a grown ass woman. In the amount of time that I was gone buying beer, Dave must have forgotten about my mission. Because he also returned with two beers. He then drank three to my one. Since he obviously needed more.
Dave starts telling me about his career (quoting his salary…), and like most millennials, work is a daily struggle for him. He needs a paycheck, yet feels unfilled in the rat race. He recently switched jobs, and the work hours kill him. 70- hour-weeks is the norm.
Being somewhat sarcastic and somewhat serious, I ask him if that’s why he drinks so much. His tone completely changes. He grabs my shoulders, looks me in the eye and says “Wow. You get it. You are so attractive for saying that. Not even my mom understands that. You just became even more attractive.”
I don’t think I deserve any psychology awards for discovering that tough jobs drive people to drink…but I should probably get some kind of medal for being the first person to bluntly confront Dave about his apparent & neglected alcoholic tendencies…
Drunk Dave was handing me more red flags then I knew what to do with. And apparently my distaste was evident. He disappeared for an extended period of time – only to strike up a conversation with a girl at the bar. He didn’t seem to have intentions of coming back.
So C and I chatted with Dave’s friends. Who turned out to be pretty reasonable, level-headed, fun guys that live two blocks away from me and share a love of Pizza Luce.
So we got in an Uber, got some Za, and I still ended up back on my couch watching Grey’s Anatomy, which is what I had been doing in the first place before I got this crazy notion that Tinder could be worth a try.
At least it gave me some great material to write about.
I think I’ll go back to my notion that time is precious, and I’m not going to feel ashamed for spending my time how I want to spend it. And I’m just not sure that includes online dating or dating apps. Not this month at least.
And for the record, Dave has yet to contact me again. I’m not sure if the embarrassment is too real, or if he actually doesn’t remember the encounter. For his sake, I hope he doesn’t.