January was just a cold, dreary month. It was hard motivating myself to go out during the week, and most of my social activities consisted of running across the street to SM and N’s apartment to sit on their couch during the weekdays and filling my evenings up with mind-numbingly bad reality TV, with an occasional bout of Tinder swiping. Peter, one of those Tinder matches, had relatively decent pictures and grammatically correct messages, but it was pretty boring vanilla conversations. I actually ignored him the first time he asked to meet up in mid-January, and at the end of January he messaged me again to ask me if I wanted to get a drink. I figured it would be good to actually get out of the apartment…. and maybe give SM and N a break as well. Plus I was feeling a little blah about my recent dating life and figured it would probably be good to socialize with someone new so I agreed. Also, he suggested Churchkey, which is just a few blocks from my place, definitely made the idea of a date more appealing as well ( the weather here this winter was no joke and I was not trying to trek through the city when the temperature is in the single digits). I made sure to get there about 15 minutes earlier and posted up at the bar, so that he could be the one to find me because I would have felt extremely awkward combing through the crowd in a packed bar looking for some guy who hopefully looks like his two Tinder pictures (Question: why do people post less than three pictures on Tinder?).
He arrived on time, and actually looked better than his Tinder pictures (woohoo!). We ordered a round of beers, and started talking. The conversation flowed fairly easily, and we went through the whole boring but sometimes necessary DC first date conversation checklist (where are you from, college experience, what do you do, etc). We followed that by another round of drinks and silly stories about our families and our childhood. Before I realized it, it was close to midnight and we were still chatting away. It had been a surprisingly enjoyable first date, and I actually felt a little giddy as we said our good byes and I made my way back home.
He suggested Izakaya Seki for our second date the following week, which I eagerly agreed to. Izakaya Seki is a tiny little restaurant off of U Street run by a father-daughter team that serves absolutely amazing Japanese street food. Peter texted me the day of the date to let me know that he had a work event that evening would have to push our date back by an hour. By the time I got home, I was tired, cranky and starving after sitting in horrible rush hour traffic. I knew that if I sat around my apartment for the next hour and a half, I would be in a foul mood by the time we met for dinner. So I piled on some layers and headed to Bar Pilar, where I knew the bartender working on Wednesday evenings. Perhaps it is not always the best idea to go talk to a cynical bartender who has to watch awkward internet dates interact in front of him on a daily basis, but he did have a new boozy frozen hot chocolate drink for me to try while telling why dating in general is bad after more than three dates. After getting sufficiently buzzed off of half a glass of wine and three sips of the chocolate slushie, I made my way over to Izakaya Seki where I found a seat at the downstairs bar. I got a text from Peter at 7:35pm saying he had just gotten into an uber and was running about thirty minutes late. When he finally showed up thirty minutes later, I was still riding the buzz from my Pilar pregame. He seemed extremely nervous that I would be pissed about him being so late, but I was just mostly excited to eat. We started with the tuna tataki, followed by the grilled mackeral. Both these fish dishes were fresh, light and delicious. My favorite dish of the night was the baby octopus kara-age, which was a plate of fried whole baby octopi. They were so crunchy, and I appreciated how Peter dove right in, popping whole tentacles into his mouth.
I also was worried that the second date would fall flat, especially since the last few great first dates that I have been on have resulted in absolutely nothing besides a complete lack of chemistry. On this second date, we still had plenty to joke about. But I was unsure if I felt any physical attraction to him. As we sat there talking, I kept staring at his face, trying to figure out if there was any chemistry between the two of us. At some point, I had a quick inner dialogue with myself, where I told myself to cut it out and stop trying to overthink this. That pep talk seemed to help and I tried to concentrate on actual conversation instead. We stayed until the restaurant closed, and he walked me to the metro where we said hugged good-bye and made tentative plans to meet up a few nights later. I was still unsure if there was any romantic connection, but I figured it was worth at least exploring the potential.
That Friday, I met up with a few friends at All Souls (my new favorite neighborhood bar). Peter texted me to see if I wanted him to swing by, so I let him know my location. About thirty minutes later, he showed up to the bar and when I looked over as he walked into the bar, I just felt…. nothing. I just knew in my stomach when he walked over that there was no chemistry there. There’s no explanation for it, no real reason I can point to for this. I just knew that I could not imagine kissing him. At all. Of course I felt bad because he had made the effort to meet me out, so we spent the night chatting and he left before my friends and I hopped over to Dupont. But our conversation just lacked that spark, at least on my side, which made me feel completely uninterested.
By Sunday, I knew I should say something to him after he followed up by asking to hang out again. It seemed rude to not address it, and he was a perfectly nice guy who had done nothing wrong so I did not want him to waste his time wondering if there was any potential between the two of us so I responded with what I was hoping would be a good explanation:
(Ignore my misplaced third sentence, I meant “I’ve had fun the past few times.”)
I was not really expecting follow-up questions from him. I thought that was the kind of thing you just said “okay” to and move on. But I also still felt bad because this was clearly all on me (really though, why am I not attracted to this nice, intelligent, successful, good-looking guy?). So I tried to respond by stressing that this really had nothing to do with him, and probably just because my own brain is my biggest cockblock.
Okay, now when I said “Yeah, definitely!” I meant in a “sure of course but that is assuming neither of us is ever going to follow up on this. Kind of like when you run into someone you went to high school with and someone goes, “we should get drinks and catch up sometime” and the other person responds, “yeah, definitely!” but nothing ever happens because you both understand that it is not necessary. That is what I thought would happen! Well apparently I was the only one that got the memo on what “Yeah, definitely!” means. Peter, on the other hand, assumed that “yeah, definitely!” actually mean “Definitely!” The next night, I got a text from him that just said “I’m at daikaya.” Errrrrrrrrrr, huh? First of all, we had not ever discussed Daikaya so I was not even sure why this was relevant. Second of all, what am I supposed to do with that? A few minutes later, he texted me asking me if I wanted to hang out the following week. I… don’t… even… what…
I couldn’t even respond to that because I was unsure what to say. I hoped that the lack of response would be clear, but two weeks later while on vacation I received another text from him asking if I wanted to hang out. Note to self: do not assume people have the same definition of “yeah, definitely!” as you do.