Tinder has been kind of dull in the past few months. When I first downloaded Tinder, I liked the swiping. But that gets old quickly, and I realized that 90% of my Tinder dates do not go anywhere because there chemistry just is not there. Also, most of the messages from guys either fizzle out really quickly and never lead to anything, or they just get weird which also of course leads to nothing. At the end of January, I matched with an incredible looking guy, lets call him Larry (no, I did not get matched with a 50 year old man in the suburbs but I don’t want to use his real name, which begins with “L” and I cannot think of another male name that begins with an “L” right now). He sent me a message immediately after we matched (yay!), and I responded… but then just got radio silence from him for the two days. He only had one picture on his Tinder account, which made me think it might be a sign of a catfish. He finally messaged me back and then disappeared again after I responded. It pretty much went like this for the next three weeks. I would respond almost immediately to his messages, then check constantly to see if he had responded for the next two days, convince myself that he was probably fake, only to hear from him three days later. After a few weeks of this, I did not think I would ever meet this guy in person. Then, he finally asked me out 24 days after he first messaged me, which is the Tinder equivalent of like a 7 year engagement. We made plans to meet one Sunday, and this happened to fall on the Sunday after an extremely crazy Saturday night (for me). Crazy Saturday nights at this age definitely do not mean the same thing as a “crazy Saturday night” when I was in my younger twenties. However, this particular Saturday night consisted of a few shots, and some age-inappropriate behavior on the dance floor of the Saint Ex basement. The Sunday of my date with Larry was therefore extremely painful. I did not actually get out of bed until 3:30pm, and needed a long, hot shower as well as several greasy pupusas from the restaurant next door in order to feel slightly human again. Larry suggested meeting at Barcelona Wine Bar at 5:30pm that afternoon.
Barcelona Wine Bar comes from the Connecticut-based Barteca Restaurant Group. It first opened in the fall of 2014 during the 14th street explosion of new spots. It has a beautiful outdoor patio with fire pits, and a large bar area full of wood and beautiful stone work, which immediately made the restaurant a big hit. I actually do not think the tapas are that amazing (I would probably prefer Jaleo or Estadio for the food), but the atmosphere at Barcelona makes it appealing enough to keep returning to.
By 5pm on the day of my date with Larry, I was still hurting from the previous night’s bad decisions, so I decided I should head to the restaurant first in order to regroup and get some caffeine in me. Also, I was still not sure Larry was real. I mean, his picture was just so incredibly good. And again, there was only one picture which could definitely be a sign that someone just used a picture off of Google. Also, he was so sporadic with his messaging that there was a small part of me that wondered if someone completely different looking was going to show up. Or maybe no one would show up at all. I got to Barcelona and managed to find a spot at the relatively crowded bar, ordered a coffee and chugged a few glasses of water before Larry arrived, looking even better than his Tinder picture. I mean, this guy is gorgeous. In my opinion, and I realize beauty can be subjective, he is not just good-looking or handsome, he is actually BEAUTIFUL. I consciously told myself to stop staring at him with my mouth open, and moved my purse from the bar stool next to me so that he could sit down.
We immediately went through the whole first date generic questions as we looked at the drink menu. I decided to go with wine because that seemed like the least painful option in terms of putting alcohol back into my system, so he ordered us both a glass of malbec. Quick summary of Larry: he moved to Eastern Market back in August for a one year fellowship at Georgetown Law School after working as an attorney in LA for the previous six years. He was successful, put together, and most importantly, funny. I kept thinking to myself: how was this real? For the past month, I was doubtful that he even truly existed. Now, he was sitting right next to me looking even better than his incredible picture, he had his shit together, was hilariously snarky… and then…. wait for it….. also asked me if I wanted to order food. Uh, should I take my pants off now or later?
We ordered the Hamachi Crudo, Chorizo with Sweet & Sour Figs, and the Brussels Sprouts with Warm Chorizo Vinaigrette. The Hamachi was light, fresh and slightly sweet. The chorizo, which I have ordered several times before, is one of favorite dishes at Barcelona. The thick slices of chorizo are salty and meld well with the sweet, chewy chunks of figs. They definitely are a little heavy handed with the salt and oil when it comes to the brussels sprouts, and I prefer my sprouts on the crispier side, so this was my least favorite of the three dishes. After finishing up these plates, we ordered another glass of wine and stayed at Barcelona talking until around 10pm. The time had flown by quickly, and I appreciated how he had not looked at his watch or phone at all during this time. He settled the bill, and offered to walk me the half mile home. As we walked along 14th street, he asked me when I would be free next and I told him I would actually be leaving for California in the next week. Like I had previously mentioned, it is a little hard when you leave for a trip right after meeting someone. So I was pleasantly surprised when he suggested squeezing in another date before I left. We made tentative plans for the following Thursday, and he left me standing outside my building with what I think may have been butterflies in my stomach. I tried not to read too much into it, especially after the last few promising great first dates that fizzled out because of lack of any real connection. If nothing else, at least this had been a delicious meal with a gorgeous guy on a Sunday afternoon. Not a bad way to treat a hangover at all.