Context: Hey readers! While I’ve been off gallivanting around the Grand Canyon, my one-time Tinder match/long-term text message correspondent Calamity James (he chose the pseudonym, clearly…) has valiantly volunteered to write a blog post about yours truly. Although we both feel that we have known each other forever due to the frequency of our written correspondence, the truth is that we have only met once – at Ted’s Bulletin on a Monday evening. Read on to hear what Mr. James thought of a date with the notorious J!
J—I suppose to maintain the anonymity of the creator/demigoddess/supervillain of this website, I need to call her “J”—was late to our date. Not that being late actually bothers me very much, I’m usually running on the later side of things myself. So while I wasn’t upset or put off, I just found it funny that after roasting plenty of unsuspecting gentlemen on the internet for being even the slightest bit tardy, the J herself left me sitting at the corner of the bar for about 20 minutes. Given the degree any inconvenience caused by first dates has catapulted guys like Beans to D-list internet fame on this website, I was damn sure to be firmly butt-placed on a bar stool by 7pm sharp.
Seriously though, her being a little late was totally okay. Men getting their man-panties in a twist over punctuality (very early on in dating, anyway) is a BIG red flag—but more than that, the Orioles game was on the rickety cable television hanging over the liquor rack. Provided I have access to alcohol (we met at a bar, so ‘check’) and baseball (the bar had baseball on TV, ‘check’…), I can’t ever be all that existentially unhappy in any given moment.
Realistically, I’m not even sure she was telling me the truth about what caused her to be late in the first place. Earlier that day, J told me she was working from home, but if memory serves correctly, “something about the office” is what held her up that night. We had texted throughout the day, as we occasionally do, just to chat: J let me know she was really hungover that morning (it was a weekday…), had coffee with an ex-lover on a whim, AND—for reasons she never quite detailed—had inflated a massive blow-up duck the day prior.
Needless to say, I was aflutter at the thought of meeting my ever-so-stable date that evening.
No matter. Charismatic and energetic as ever, J burst through the revolving doors and lit up the room at approximately 7:20pm. Now, I haven’t read all of the articles on Tinder District*, but from the TD articles I have read I’ve gathered that J hates the proverbial “me” not waiting outside the restaurant in the event I get there first. Makes enough sense though, right? It is always a little awkward when you have to downplay the anxiety that is hoping you don’t blatantly walk past the person you’re supposed to meet—or God forbid, go up to the wrong person. “Okay, okay…” I thought to myself, doing that overly-animated nodding-effusively-in-agreement thing that everyone does, “I can understand that one.”
*Which surprised her—though in retrospect, her genuine shock that I might have an existence outside of reading her work shouldn’t have surprised me as much as it did.
The English major in me feeling smugly that I could make a “direct reference” to the text (in this case, “the text” was quite literally text messages), I informed young J that while I realized her preference was for me to wait outside, it was humid; I’d decided instead to perch myself just inside the door. I think she found it in herself to forgive me.
She was wearing a fairly thin navy dress, the kind that billows a little bit if it is breezy (or if she’s trying to motor to 10,000 steps that day on her FitBit, as she did later after declining my offer to drive her home). The color of the dress accentuated the intense crystal blues in her eyes. It was a good play to get the attention of any man who appreciates quirky, intelligent women with dark hair and bright blue eyes—which really should be every man, I think. It’s also a good play to get your food paid for, so I had to give J some dual-credit here: as one of the only dates she’s had that has been even aware of the hot literary mess that is Tinder District, I knew going in what she was actually after. As any reader of this website knows, approximately 35% of my intrinsic value to J was affording her a free fancy meal. However, even if I hadn’t been so painstakingly aware of her frugal taco desires, J’s vibrant energy and dashing blues would have convinced me to pick up the check without a second thought.
I’ve found when I try and script out how the conversation for a date is going to go, it becomes overly robotic—which provides insight as to why my high school acting career was short-lived. While it goes against my over-prepared nature to not have at least some dialogue structure in mind, I decided to throw caution to the wind, trusting that two people as ridiculous as J and myself would find plenty to ham on about.
ALSO: I ensured my “throwing caution to the wind” would be a strong conversational play by downing at least 50-some dollars-worth of adult libations during the course of our date. She claimed to be so hungover that she couldn’t touch alcohol that night, though my inner alcoholic questioned why in God’s name she would ever respond to drinking by not drinking. Frankly, if so much of this blog wasn’t devoted simply to J telling the world about how much she loves to get drunk, I probably would have followed her lead and not drank alcohol. Scratch that—I definitely would not have drank alcohol; I never drink on early dates if the good lady isn’t similarly sipping away. J is such a shining beacon for all our first dates though—a very schlumpy, drunken, shit-faced beacon—and resultantly, I still feel absolutely no reservations about legitimately getting drunk and making increasingly-dark jokes throughout the course of our time together.
She said she liked questions. Scratch that…she said *with the crazed look in her eye of a 3rd grade schoolgirl at a Beyonce concert* that she liked questions. Specifically questions about herself. I would come to find that J has a great desire to share her existential being and subsequent crises with the world. Maybe the website could and should have tipped me off about that, but the entire concept of Tinder District has been so fascinatingly….different, really, that I really wanted to get to the bottom of the question I think every guy who has read this website has thought at one point or another: is this chick for real?
For one, lads, yes. She is very much real. I can officially confirm that J is the tall, chatty, shapely-in-the-hips (DISCLAIMER: this is a good thing) brunette that her Tinder profile claims her to be. There is no catfishing here, unless you count the fact that about 25% of her conversations with you on Tinder is one of her friends, and another 40% is her toying with you over text for the amusement of the masses.
I also found out the Tinder conquest is real. Very real. Like, there really doesn’t seem to be any aspect of this little game she plays that is fabricated in any which way. Most of me respects that, or at least respects that she’s committed to the process of her (quasi-manipulative) social experiment. It’s the part of me that thought we might be going on a date that would yield any form of significant emotional connection that found itself disappointed—albeit only a tad. In actuality and real-life application, how much one man can happily enjoy time with the emotional Rubik’s cube that is J likely boils down to how much he understands that there are very non-traditional aspects of this person’s romantic process, and subsequently plays into her game accordingly.
As B-Rock Obama likes to say: “Let me be clear.”
By “romantic process”, I mean the systematic—albeit somewhat ingenious—usage of Tinder to procure free alcohol, humorous tales of relational calamity, and above all: delicious and consistent tacos that inspire wonder and awe within the soul.
And by “plays into her game accordingly”, I mean that you should probably pay, bitch. And if you don’t pick up the check, check your Venmo sooner rather than later. There’s actually a chance she will Venmo you if you don’t pay for a large portion of the date, if not all of it. And if you don’t come around like a true gentleman and quickly send her some compensation through the app, there’s a hefty interest rate the longer you avoid payment. As appalling as that actually sounds on paper, don’t judge her too hard. This kid Beans was a real motherfucker.
I said don’t judge her too hard, not don’t judge her a little. God.
Another way you, the progressively-dejected-as-you-read-this male, can score dating points with J by way of playing into her game is to mention what a clever game you find it to be in the first place. CityGirl J does think she’s quite the intellectual acrobat, and she’s quite right to characterize herself as such. It just isn’t because she does things like trick boyz (LOL!), or drop her SAT score on a first date, or tell you where she graduated in her college class.
Well, college maybe is a little different. She did a lot of impressive things there, though she seems fairly tepid about mentioning something that could be traced back to an significant aspect of her person. I heard much more about her friends, her follies, and her exes. She’s clearly a very sociable person, and her relationships—platonic and otherwise—mean a lot to her. So while that’s legitimate and not some sort of “shallow-with-intent” façade in of itself, I’ve always wondered why someone who seems so skilled at first getting to know people doesn’t have much recourse for connecting with them past a certain point. I was taken aback by a handful of things she referenced that her most recent romantic conquest didn’t know. And this being a guy that I’ve heard her talk about more positively than any other man she’s mentioned.
This isn’t to say that J is at all relationally inept. In fact, I think she’s quite the opposite. Generally, someone who is as intelligent and emotionally literate as J is—while simultaneously being so focused on romantic relationships—seems like a good candidate to actually know quite well what she ultimately wants. It’s just that I walked away from our time together wondering how close she is to figuring out what she wants. Or, perhaps, the degree to which she knows what she wants, yet is unwilling or unable to put in the emotional effort to attain it.
Maybe this is all entirely foolish, inaccurate postulation. After all, J is terrifically enterprising, not to mention gifted at charm and being a social chameleon. Maybe that was just the mood she was in that night. Maybe she just wanted to run home and tell her life partner/spirit animal (the aforementioned blow-up duck) about how she had bamboozled yet another suitor.
Don’t think I have all the answers. I’ve just been on one date—one date where somehow, J didn’t stumble away after downing more drinks than her date that night, or even drink at all. She just had a milkshake. And I appreciate her being upfront about her past issues with some aspects of mental and emotional well-being, even sans liquid confidence. I don’t think she’s some evil, conniving woman out to take out her frustrations on MANkind by way of Tinder trickery and deceitful dinnertime conversation. Honestly, I don’t think the real J is actually all that much like the entertainer that we all get to laugh with and enjoy on this website. I think there’s a lot more to it than that.
I’ll probably need at least another date, though, to get the whole story.