Alicia is a 32-year-old marketing executive who lives in Forest Hill. She describes herself as “a jeans, t-shirt, blazer, and messy, next-day hair kind of girl.” Her personality is “ridiculously fun” and “disgustingly optimistic” (“I’ve been called ‘infuriatingly joyous’“)—and she enjoys having dinner with friends, followed by a game of Balderdash, or throwing the occasional kitchen party. She met Marc through friends.
A while back, when I was happily single but looking to meet new people, two friends of mine decided to set me up with a friend-of-a-friend of theirs. I saw a photo of Marc: It was blurry, but he looked cute and clean-cut. I was wary as all get-out, but I took the Jim-Carrey-in–Yes Man approach to life and agreed to let them give him my email address.
I received a clever email from him, and we went back and forth about books, movies, and politics. He was intelligent, and his emails were well-written. It was thrilling. We made plans to get drinks one Friday after work. I attempted a pre-date Google stalk, but nothing turned up. I decided he would look like Ben Affleck and all would be well.
I sat at the bar drinking while I waited for Marc to arrive. He was late, but I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. When he walked in, I wanted to pretend I wasn’t me. He looked haggard. He had shaggy blonde hair and a huge beard, and he smelled like a teenage boy’s bedroom—one with a two-week-old pile of dirty laundry in the corner. He did not look like Ben Affleck.
I wished I were a worse person, one who could walk calmly to the exit, while pretending to be on the phone. But, no, my mom raised me to be nice. (Thanks, Mom.) Instead, I came up with an escape plan. I told him that my friend had an emergency, and that I couldn’t stay very long. I guess I’m not that nice.
“Yeah, um, sorry I’m late,” he said, not even meeting my eyes, which was weird. We chatted about mundane shit. There was no trace of the guy from the emails. As I sent wine down my gullet as fast as possible, I realized he still wasn’t looking me in the eye. It made me furious.
“Are you wondering why I won’t look at you?” he asked, suddenly.
“Yes!” I blurted.
Marc told me that he had social anxiety—and a really bad skin condition. I wanted to tell him that those things were no big deal, and had nothing to do with why I was desperate to bail, when he interjected with, “So, you won’t sleep with me?”
For some reason, I replied, “Yes. Sorry about that.” Why was I apologizing? And how had I wronged the universe? We sat there for a few minutes, then I said I should go and help my friend. I high-fived him to avoid a hug, and he asked—again—whether this meant I wouldn’t have sex with him. I just said, “Okay, bye!” and walked away. I practically leapt into a cab and called my friends to yell at them.
Alicia rates her date (out of 10): 1
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