Context: I matched with ‘Teddy’ on Tinder, where the factors that incited me to swipe right were a) that he was fucking beautiful, b) that he was HELLA tall, and c) that he had a quote from ‘Parks and Rec’ in his bio that wasn’t Ron Swanson’s once-funny-now-cliché “I’m a simple man…” line. We chatted for a bit, and agreed to meet for a hike at Theodore Roosevelt Island on a Saturday afternoon.
Hey guys!! Want to play a fun game that I call ‘list our little neuroses and then get in a prayer circle and cry about them’? Awesome, me too!! I’ll start.
I am absolutely terrified of ending up as one of the victims on ‘Law and Order: SVU.’ In fact, I’m absolutely terrified of just about everything. But, don’t worry, we won’t explore my feelings about snakes/banana peels/toenails/Nicholas Cage on the blog. I’ll save that shiz for my shrink. Back to the topic at hand: murderers!*
*I’ll be very interested to look up the new Google search terms that bring viewers to my site following this post.
It all started in the fall of 1993 when I was born. Wait, hold on, that’s a little too far back.
It all started in the summer of 2007 when I was about to enter high school. I was spending a week at my family’s beach house, high on a combination of the legal drug known in some circles as ‘ice cream’ and the feeling of power that comes with absolutely CRUSHING your 8th grade graduation. Since I was feelin’ fly, I decided to take a little stroll along the main drag, Jesse McCartney hit clip in my ears, Circo-brand skort from Tar-jay floating in the breeze, hot sauce in my bag (swag).
About five minutes into my walk, a group of ~teenage~ boys drove by in a hip, vintage vehicle (1999 Honda Civic #getatme) and honked their horn twice – the most effective flirtation technique. I’m sure they didn’t expect me to respond, but I thrive on breaking the mold, so I let out a “hey boys!” and a sly wave. Shocked, the driver stopped the car and invited me inside to take a ride to “Fantasy Island.”
…this would have been absolutely terrifying and a DEFINITE reason to call the police, had Fantasy Island not been the name of the amusement park at this beach, and had these boys not been SO CUTE (for 16-year-olds). We did end up going to the amusement park, where the boys bought me even MORE ice cream (my first taste of men as wallets) and won me a stuffed frog. They then dropped me off at my house, where my dad was FUMING, waiting by the door for me to get home.
Dad – HEAVENS TO BETSY, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!
J – I was taking a walk! Hee hee hee.
D – Where did you get that frog?!
J – Oh, some boys picked me up on Ocean Ave and took me to Fantasy Island, and they won this for me! But don’t worry, they were really nice!!!
Apparently, my ‘really nice’ wasn’t quite convincing enough for my father, who then sat me down and gave me a looooong lecture on how dangerous men are, and how everyone in the world is out to get his little princess, and how no one will ever be good enough for me, so I should probably just enroll in a convent now. They would probably let me keep the stuffed frog, too!
…so, long story long, I still harbor this fear that all men are plotting to kill me at all times. Thus, when ‘Teddy’ suggested we go hiking, I was skeptical.
J – Hey, a hike sounds great, except I think you might be an axe murderer so can we not?
T – How about a super public hike – like Theodore Roosevelt Island!
I had never been, but I had plans to drink nine pitchers of margaritas later than night and figured it would be good to get some exercise in first, so I agreed. We decided to meet at the entrance to the park at noon.
…which would have been perfect, had I known where the park entrance was. Google proved unhelpful, so I loitered near the Key Bridge with my hobo friends while I waited for Teddy to respond to any one of my four ‘SOS’ texts. He eventually instructed me to walk down the secluded, tree-lined Custis Trail. My axe murderer senses were tingling, but I pressed on. Fuck it dawg, life’s a risk, am I right?
All my fears were alleviated when I saw a tall, smiling Calvin Klein model headed my way with… cups? What was this? ROOFIES?!
T – You look like you could use some hot chocolate!
J – *Teeth chattering, nose purple* H-h-how did you kn-kn-know?
T – I wasn’t sure if you were Mormon** or something, so I didn’t get coffee.
J – Haha, I’m not Mormon, I’m like as far in the opposite direction as you can get!*** Hahaha. Also are there roofies in this?
**Are Mormons on Tinder? Asking for a friend.
***This is a GREAT thing to say to a date who you later learn is from a very religious family and barely drinks and is all-around a ‘good guy.’
We strolled along, and the conversation went really well! We touched on the standard topics (jobs, schools, backgrounds) as well as my typical weird litmus test questions (if a turtle loses its shell is it naked or homeless? etc.) and it quickly came to my attention that he was nice. Which I really love in a person but really hate in my love interests. Have I told you lately that I hate myself? I hate myself.
…I had him nice-guy-friend-zoned up until we got to the highest point on the island, traipsing lackadaisically over ground where John Mason’s since-demolished manor once stood, and he said ‘This would be a great place to make out, if you’re into that sort of thing.’
Umm. OK! Out of the friend zone. Leggo.
We hiked back to the start of the trail where he had parked, and he offered to drive me home. On the way back to Clarendon, he asked me if he could take me out to lunch first. Now, I’m a girl whose ideal party game is spin the bottle but with snacks instead of people, but something was off. Maybe it was the fact that he actually liked me, or perhaps it was the fairly effeminate tone of his voice, but I was kind of uncomfortable. I thanked him for the offer, but told him I needed to get ready for the pregame I was going to that night (girls just take, like, SO LONG to get ready!). He dropped me off in front of my building, we kissed goodbye, and I walked inside and immediately face-planted in my bed for a much-needed nap.
That night, I was out at a friend’s birthday party on U St, when I got a text from Teddy:
T – Hey, I had a lot of fun earlier! I think I’m going to start a fire and watch a movie, if you want to join!
J – Ahh sorry I’m at my friend’s party on U St! *And a pitcher of margs + 2 beers deep*
T – I’m actually staying sober to drive my friends home later, so I can come pick you up if you want!
J – *Ugh STOP BEING NICE* I promised my friend I’d split an Uber home with him later so I can’t really!
T – I can give you both a ride! This fire would be much better if I had someone to share it with…
J – *four tequila shots deeper than my last text* THanjbfj buuut I’mn DANching!!!
T – Haha, ok, get home safe! Goodnight beautiful!
I’m SO GOOD AT ROMANCE.
We continued to text sporadically over the next few days, and on Tuesday he asked me if I wanted to get dinner on Wednesday night. I responded that I would love to, but I already had plans to go to Zumba with BP. He replied that he totally understood, and was really just inviting me to ‘feel out if I felt a romantic connection too.’ I had absolutely no idea how to respond, so I cancelled my wireless package and moved to Hawaii to become a pineapple farmer.
JK. This actually came shortly after I venmo’d Politics for Plan B (don’t do this) and had a REALLY uncomfortable PHONE CALL with him about it (really, really, really not worth the $52.99). I figured I was not in a position to burn any romantic bridges, so I said I would be interested in hanging out soon.
So, wish me luck!*
*Bring me tequila and I’ll be Gucci.