When it is just not there

It’s always exciting when you start talking to a guy who is a good texter. When you text something ridiculous, he doesn’t just respond with “hahaha,” he plays off of what you said: it is like setting someone up to bat, you give him a nice easy toss and he eyes that remarks and hits it right out of the ballpark with a hilarious text back to you. Being a good texter makes a guy come off as clever, funny and interesting. I love that feeling of seeing someone’s name pop-up on your phone, and knowing that you have something entertaining to read (do not even get me started on “LOL” as a completely unsuitable response) and respond to. So I was thrilled when I starting texting with K after being matched on Tinder. There were several promising details:

  1. He is half Asian: I have never actually dated an Asian guy before (unless you count the few dates I went on with an egomaniac doctor a few years ago which ended with me pretending to go to the bathroom while actually leaving the date because he told me that he “couldn’t care less about the abortion issue because [he] does not have a uterus”). I have no bias against Asian men, the opportunity to date one just never presented itself. But as I get older, I realize the appeal of dating someone who shares a similar background, or can empathize with stories of growing up first generation (did your mother pack quail eggs and baby corn in your school lunches? ALL I wanted was a normal pb&j sandwich and to not have chopsticks in my lunchbox).
  2. He works… wait for it…. get ready… for the Shake Shack corporate office. That is right. He works for that genius company that creates the world’s most amazingly crunchy, perfectly salty crinkle fries, and that juicy burger I am willing to wait 40 minutes in line to eat during a National’s baseball game (unless it is a $1 hot dog day because during those games, I am the model citizen of weiner city).
    1. He sent me several pictures of custards from the Dupont Shake Shack. I was not lying to him when I responded that these were some of the hottest pictures a guy has ever sent me.
  3. He likes to eat (this may be a subsection of #2, but I feel it deserves its own paragraph because of its importance to me). We immediately started discussing our favorite NYC ramen and pork bun spots, which is basically a form of foreplay in my mind. And when he mentioned Ippudo, my heart melted into a puddle.
  4. He asked me on a dinner date. I am not against a first date over drinks because I understand you’re taking a risk with someone who you have never actually met face-to-face. It is easier to end the date when you have not committed to a full meal if the person ends up being a dud, and sitting at bar is much more casual. However, I do love the idea of a dinner date with someone who also loves good food. What is hotter than devouring some hot meat with a new, attractive man?

Being new to town, K asked me to suggest some restaurant options with the only specification being that he was in the mood for Asian food. I suggested Mandu, Ping Pong Dim Sum, Masa 14, and Doi Moi, and he picked Doi Moi (which is my personal favorite out of those), a Vietnamese/Thai restaurant from the owner of Estadio and Proof. As soon as I saw K outside of the restaurant, I just knew. I just knew there was not going to be any chemistry. There is no real explanation I can give, or any specific reasons. But sometimes, there is a perfectly nice looking, decently dressed man in front of you and you just do not feel anything. And you know in your gut that you will probably never feel something for them.

We sat down and perused the menu, deciding to share a few plates: the fried salt and pepper squid, the fried pork dumplings, crispy radish cakes, the blue crab fried rice, and the crispy whole fish. When he mentioned that he wanted to try the whole fish, I immediately kicked myself for writing him off (come on brain/heart, don’t you realize that is the sign of a keeper??). I have been to Doi Moi several times now and have never been able to get someone to order the whole fish. Granted, I have also been with more cautious eaters who are hesitant about having something with a face on their dinner plate. But I had finally found a man who was not only willing to eat it, but actually excited about ordering it.

Thoughts on the food:

  1. The salt and pepper squid: deliciously crispy and well seasoned. The tentacles are my favorite pieces, and they were fried to perfection here.
  2. Fried pork dumplings: the small pockets of meat were overwhelmed by the overly thick fried skin. Overall, an uninspiring dish.
  3. Crispy radish cakes: my least favorite dish of the evening. These cakes lacked character, and the mushroom soy dipping sauce was a little too watery. I would rather use my stomach space for something else.
  4. Blue crab fried rice: they definitely did not skimp on the chunks of lump crab meat. This dish was delicious.
  5. Crispy whole fish: the ginger dipping sauce was fragrant and went perfectly with the juicy and sweet meat.

After this date, I fully understand the benefits of dating someone from your culture. Normally, I would feel a little hesitant about someone’s reaction when eating an entire fish. Are they going to look at me weird when I start munching away on the crispy fish fins? Do they find it gross if I pop an eyeball into my mouth? In this case, K tore the head off and offered it to me casually, in the same way someone offers you a chip out of their bag of Lays. I declined it, and he started peeling away at the cheekbones. If only there was chemistry between us, because it was a strangely attractive site.

In the end, it was a pleasant night getting to know someone new over some delicious food. He was the perfect gentleman. We liked the same food, something that is normally a huge turn on for me. He asked the right questions to keep the conversation going. He is smart, successful but not arrogant. He told entertaining stories. On paper, this date should have been a hit! But when the feeling isn’t there, unfortunately it just isn’t there.



  1. Ann · February 13, 2015



  2. Ann · February 13, 2015

    Just kidding (about the previous comment). I love that story about the fish head! I cooked a whole fish for dinner with our neighbors once, and just casually popped an eyeball into my mouth while my neighbors stared at me. So yeah, much appreciation to those special people who don’t blink an eye about eating the head. But hey, when the chemistry isn’t there, what can you do? Next!


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