In an attempt to proactively tackle the sad feelings after the TBM break up, I have rejoined Tinder and have told myself that diving headfirst into the dating world is a good way to keep my mind off of things (obviously I am failing at this). My first post-break up Tinder date was a dud and lasted about 45 minutes before I stood up and frantically told him I had to leave. My second date option with Benjamin seemed more promising. He was a relatively funny messenger, and we seem to have a decent rapport over the span of a few days before deciding on a Thursday evening date. The day before the scheduled date, he messaged me:
I replied that I love Red Hen (who doesn’t??), and waited for him to let me know what time would work for his schedule. He did not respond that night, and he also did not get back to the me the following day. I just assumed he was ghosting me, and I was kind of looking forward to an evening at home in my robe, so I decided not to follow up with him either. As soon as I got home, I took a long shower and changed into my robe, took out my contacts, put on my giant glasses, and flipped on HBO. At 6:37pm, my phone flashed with a Tinder message from Benjamin:
Oh dear god, #tinderfail. Why would I be at Red Hen?? I was thoroughly confused because he had not confirmed a time, and for all I knew he could have work until 7pm usually. He acknowledged the misunderstanding and asked if I wanted to meet him later that evening or just reschedule. I looked down at my robe, then over to the couch longingly…. umm definitely reschedule.
The next day, I retold the story to AC over beers at Wonderland, she doubled over in laughter while exclaiming, “I feel sooooo bad for him!” After I thought about it, I suppose I felt bad as well. The poor guy showed up at the bar, probably sat down, ordered a drink, waited around awkwardly…. only to find out the other person just isn’t coming at all. I decided I should be a nicer person, and rescheduled the date to the following Tuesday at 7pm (and yes, both parties acknowledged the 7pm meeting time).
That evening, I made sure to head over early to avoid the confusion of trying to look for a white man of average height and weight sitting at a bar. Unfortunately, at 6:50pm, as I turned 1st Street NE, he messaged me “I’m here.” He was thwarting my game plan! I walked into the bar, which thankfully was relatively empty but also was occupied by four solo Caucasian male diners. I looked around to see if anyone made eye contact with me, but discovered that he was the one guy sitting with his back to the front door, and his head down. Reeeally keeping me on my toes here, Benjamin.
Now I love the laid back vibe of Red Hen. The big wooden bar in the middle of the restaurant and the open kitchen makes it a warm, neighborhood watering hole. And the rustic, comfort food has never failed to impress me so I was . I slid onto a bar stool next to Benjamin (why do men ever wear short sleeve plaid button-ups? Just say no, guys), and after about two seconds of interaction, I realized that there would be zero chemistry between us. He was a perfectly pleasant guy, but I felt absolutely no spark or physical connection with him. Also, while he was a very nice person, I appreciate it when someone can steer a conversation and I found myself forcing the conversation. After about thirty minutes of him not actually asking me a single question, I decided to just not follow up with more questions to him and see if he could actually come up with something. I got awkward silence. He cleared his throat as I looked around the restaurant and finally went, “so uh, do you do anything for fun?” No, Benjamin, I do nothing for fun. Let’s not even dive into his follow up question, “so the patients you work with must be cool?” Well, they mostly are suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease or are homeless schizophrenics who have lost their families/jobs/stable state of mind, so generally people suffering from currently incurable cognitive impairments…. therefore I am not quite sure what you mean by “cool.”
In between trying to think of more questions to ask him to avoid more awkward silence, we decided to order food: the Burrata with Grilled Asparagus Salad, Salami, Toasted Sesame, Oregano Vinaigrette & Breadcrumbs, as well as the Grilled Octopus with Spring Pea Hummus, Chickpea Salad, Fennel. I absolutely love burrata, ever since the first time I tried it at Fiola four years ago. The burrata at the Red Hen is so delicious, and oozes all over the light summer salad like the most sensual decadent dressing when you cut into it. The grilled octopus was wonderful: the firm octopus was perfectly smokey and charred, complemented by the creamy chickpea and fennel served alongside of it.
A little into the date, I started on a tangent about some awkward childhood story (there are so many to choose from), and as I delivered the punchline, I suddenly heard Benjamin unleash the absolute highest pitched laugh I have ever coming from someone with a Y chromosome. I was a little shocked, but continued talking only to hear him make that same noise again. Oh god. Now, when I like someone, I want to make them laugh. With TBM, every time I managed to make him smile that big, Crest-whitestrips-commercial worthy, toothy grin of his, or made him throw back his head and laugh, I felt a surge of adrenaline and pride shoot through my body. I strived to make him laugh as much as I possibly could. With poor Tinder Benjamin, the sound of his laughter make me instinctively curl up a little bit. I did not want to hear that noise anymore. Okay…. so I guess I only tell depressing stories from here on out, I was not trying to make him laugh again.
As we finished our delicious food and I finished my drink (he stuck with club soda), I told him it was time for me to head on home. It had been a pleasant dinner with a very, very nice guy, but definitely was not going to lead to more. I wish I could like these really, really really nice guys. If only he was a little more confident. Maybe with little bit more wit. Okay a lot more confidence and wit. So two disappointing Tinder dates post-break up…. I mean, this just means I’m putting in my time and something great is coming right? ………. Right? …………………Hello?