I knew I had already met him the moment we matched on Tinder, but I thought “what the hell?” Two years ago, drunken fourth year debauchery, I passed out, we did nothing more than kiss and he was gone before I woke up in the morning. At the time, 30 seemed really old. Now I’ve been with a 36 year old married man. At the time, my life was a pile of bullshit. Now I like to think I have a modicum of that shit together. But, when he walked up I realized that I didn’t want to fuck him then and I didn’t really want to fuck him now. He was still incredibly tall and lanky, had a kind face, nice bone structure, the tiniest bit of crookedness to his teeth but in an endearing way. He was soft spoken and intellectual. He probably had an office on grounds he could bang me in. But, still, I didn’t want to fuck him. I wanted to want to and, maybe, if I had a bit of bourbon from a stiff manhattan or two in my system I would have. Unfortunately, he’s not really what this post is about.
I take all my dates to the same haunts. If it’s food I suggest this Thai place I love. If it’s drinks I have a selection of about four bars I hop between. I’ve sat at the same table at the same Thai restaurant twice now as it was about to rain outside and had to move. It felt like deja vu and I also realized that I had almost become a female version of John Tucker (that reference may be too old or too young for some of you readers). I’ve been to the same bar, where I ordered the same drink from the same bartender with different guys two nights in a row. The best part is, none of them are the wiser. I have it down to a science, or, so I thought.
As I sat at the bar of a cute dive I frequent with literally every date I’ve had since June, I was surprised to see a familiar face walk in. I was clearly on a Tinder date. He was….clearly on a Tinder date with a janky looking blonde bitch. He also seemed surprised to see me and came up and gave me a close hug from behind. Then, he introduced himself to my date. His date stood off to the distance and I could see on her face a register of trying to figure out what the fuck was happening. I was wearing the backless shirt he told me I should never take off and I had actually just been contemplating bootycalling him after my date was over. In a moment, all that was thwarted. In a moment, I felt simultaneously awkward, upset, angry, hurt, betrayed and downtrodden. Because I realized that my date routine is always the same. That I don’t have to modify my game. But, I also realized that all the mystique and fun of our dates was just a part of his dating game, as well. I realized the playa bitch had gotten played at her own game.
He took me to certain bars, ordered certain drinks, said certain things, but all with an end game. He chatted me up once a week when it was convenient for him. He made lofty references to how we should take a weekend away or how next time we should do this or that, to make me yearn for a next time which may actually never be there. He was attracted to me, but his eyes and appetite yearned for the world of possibilities that keep him from being satiated by one person. I wanted to be pissed at him. For texting me yesterday and then not responding to the last thing I said when he clearly had looked at his phone since then. I wanted to be mad at him for being on a date with some ugly blonde instead of me.
As I walked back past the bar, I saw his face inches from hers. I saw flashbacks of myself in that very same spot, in that very same situation. I looked at the lanky, handsome Indian professor next to me and realized I could take him home and fuck him so easily. He would fulfill novelty, he would help me make sure I didn’t end my night alone when my GreekGuy clearly didn’t have plans of that happening to himself. But, how would that help anything? GreekGuy wouldn’t know, or care, what I did. So, would I be trying to prove something to myself? The closer we got to my car, the more I realized I had nothing to prove to myself. I could bang him. I knew that before I even got to the date. I am desirable. I am worth more than being a pawn in someone’s dating game.
At my car, the IndianProf was as awkward and shy as he had been the whole date, so I continued to steer the night the way I wanted it to go. We kissed, then we made out and I’ll admit that this really shitty part of me hoped GreekGuy would walk out from the adjacent bar and see it happening. He was so tall I practically had to stand en pointe in my new fall booties. He grabbed my waist and laced his hands under the fabric of my backless shirt. He silently begged “just come back to my place for a little,” as I had already refused the let’s go back and watch a movie or something offer. I lied, feigning exhaustion, when I knew when I got home I’d either A. try to find someone else to bang or B. eat an entire box of pasta.
When I got in my car, I felt a surge of relief and also like I wanted to cry. I deleted GreekGuy’s number, unmatched him on Tinder and will be making an appointment with the gyno since the condom broke with him last week and I now know he’s more of a man-whore than I ever imagined. I considered texting the IndianProf and revoking my decline to come home with him. I went through a list of guys I could call in my head. None of them seemed like good options and neither did driving over to have sex with the 30-something soft-spoken, vegan, Californian math professor who didn’t even pay for my last beer but still thought he was getting laid.
I’m tired of the dating game in my small, college town. It’s stale, I run into my current lovers while on dates with potential new ones. I’m getting played by guys who feign feelings and whose friends I’ve fucked. It’s all the same. It’s all predictable. I knew GreekGuy was a player, in fact, I liked that about him. I liked that it kept me from liking him as a human, I liked that his accent gave him novelty. I liked that I could say things like “sometimes I don’t understand a thing you say, but it doesn’t really matter because you have an accent,” and he didn’t care. But, I don’t like feeling like I’ve lost. I don’t like feeling like I’ve been one upped at my own game. When I should have seen it coming all along.
But it’s all the same
I could have foreseen
That you would act like you are
Oh so cool you seem
Blending with that scene
Wearing what you think is hard
I can see you struggling
Boy, don’t hurt your brain
Thinking what you’re gonna say
Cause everything’s a game
Always trying to calculate