Because what's the point of suffering through awkward situations if you can't exploit and laugh about it later; let's talk about my recent online date. I shall call him Brisket. I met Brisket at Huckleberry in Williamsburg after a few email exchanges which weren't exactly scintillating but — having only recently gotten back into the dating scene — I felt buoyed enough about potential romance that I thought, oh what the hell, why not! It's a numbers game after all, right?
Well. I arrived shortly after he did and it was quite apparent from first glance that a) I wasn't attracted to him physically, and [a few minutes later] b) we weren't going to have any funny or interesting conversation. But at that point, a drink was being ordered and I was feeling adventurous enough to humour this guy through one round at least. And you know, there was still the possibility that he could surprise me.
Much awkwardness ensued. I tried to keep my cool, but eventually, my anxiety won out and I was completely unable to generate any sort of false enthusiasm or interest, and apparently, it showed because a few wine gulps later, he turned to me and said, you know Kate, I didn't have a lot in common with the last girl [his first online date], but at least there was some sort of connection. But...I don't think there could be any less of a connection with you.
At that point, I laughed. A big, hearty, genuine exhalation of relief. Finally, the pressure of Making This Work was completely gone. Now we could just talk about whatever and kinda laugh about the whole tedious affair of dating in the city and move on to other funny, but related topics — oh but wait. Let's get back to Brisket. Because he wasn't laughing. Not At All. Rather, he looked quite offended that I was. Because — he was saying — not only was he unhappy that this date wasn't going well, but he felt traumatized enough by it to swear off online dating forever. This, this awkwardness, was exactly what he'd imagined. And that was definitely not what he was looking for.
So I tried to make light of the situation and interjected with my standby, well, it's a numbers game—
Brisket: No. This clearly isn't for me.
Me: Oh, well, but it's kinda funny if you think about it.
Brisket: You can go if you want.
Me: Oh, okay.
Brisket: No, really, you can go.
Me: Well, I'll pay for my drink.
Brisket (dismissively): No, it's fine.
Me: Ohhh kay.... Well, I guess I'll see you around —
Brisket: NO, YOU WON'T.
Me: Well, I just meant, you know, the same neighborhood and —
Brisket: Right right.
Then Brisket turns his attention to the bar and shoos me away with one hand. And I think to myself, whatever LOSER. Anyway true to his word, when I checked the personals later, he really had removed his profile. It was THAT BAD.