“Hey Rosy, we’re having our formal this Saturday. Would you like to come with me?” I got the text at around 3 o’clock on a Wednesday. Daniel was a student where I worked who I met via Tinder. I recently began to talk to him again in an attempt to be friends after breaking up with him last December. He thought it could work, but I firmly believe that 90% of friendships between two people who have dated end in failure, especially when they weren’t friends before dating. My instincts told me to sit on the text for a couple of hours, make up an excuse, and respond with a courteous “thanks.”
It didn’t help that Daniel is pretty annoying. I saw the thinly veiled rhetoric of “being friends” as his way of saying, “Even though you broke up with me over a text, I still think I have some chance of boning you.” Why? He had left me a Christmas present on my doorstep the day after I called it quits with a note saying, “I hope we can travel the world together as friends in the future,” and then texted me to see if I liked what he had gotten me, even though we had just broken up. When I would post a Snapchat story, he would sometimes send me messages calling me cute or sexy, which was neither something I appreciated nor something platonic friends do. Daniel has the social/listening skills of a gnat, and his ability to retain information rivals that of an eighty-year-old with Alzheimer’s.
A few minutes after I made up my mind to pass on Daniel’s invite, my phone screen lit up. “As of 02/24/2016, the available account balance was $48.57, which is less than the minimum balance in your Alerts settings.” Fuck. I immediately regretted paying for all those $12 salads at Sweetgreen instead of bringing lunch to work from home. It was barely Wednesday, payday was a week away, and the only thing motivating me to get through the rest of the week was the weekend. Staying in wasn’t an option, but neither was depleting the remainder of my meager funds on a Saturday night.
The easy solution to my conundrum was to go to formal with Daniel. However, the idea of introducing myself to people and telling them, “Yeah, I graduated last year from the east coast, and now I work at your school,” made me cringe. I also felt guilty about using someone who I suspected still liked me as a means to get drunk. Getting free drinks from a rando is different than feeling as though you’re manipulating someone you actually know, so I began to feel shame for even considering his proposition. Catholic guilt really has a way of creeping up on you when you least expect it.
That being said, the opportunity to drink whatever I wanted for free was too good to pass up. One look at my bank statement made me remember how I longed for the days when I didn’t have to shell out $12 to $15 for a fucking vodka-soda water with lime. I consulted with my best friends about what I should do as a means to assuage my misgivings about the situation. They recommended I go. Who could say no to free alcohol? After all, if things took a turn for the worse, I could just dip. As a purveyor of questionable decisions, I used my friends’ advice to rationalize my inability to practice self-control and accepted the invite. In the worst case scenario, I would have a story to share the next day.
Saturday night finally rolled around, and I met up with Daniel, some of his friends, and their dates at a sushi place. A few rounds of sake bombs convinced me that Daniel wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d remembered him. We finished our food and headed back to the house to continue pregaming, even though there would be an open bar at the event. After about an hour of slapping the bag and doing some shots, it was finally time for us to head out.
Things took a turn for the worse when we got to the venue. I felt like I was stuck at a high school dance, and no amount of free booze would get me to a place where I would actually have fun. It hit me that I just didn’t belong there. Daniel began to put his arm around my lower back, but by then, I was drunk enough that I lost any ability to filter my actions, and casually recoiled from his grasp. I played it cool until he tried to grind with me, at which point I had to stop pretending. The thought of his boner rubbing against my ass made me want to clench my butt cheeks as a mechanism of self-defense. After I rebuffed his advances a few times, he became visibly upset and walked off.
I sat down to chit chat with Diana, a Swedish chick who was at the same sushi dinner a few hours before, and we reached the consensus that we were both pretty bored. She suggested ditching formal, but I felt bad about abandoning Daniel without clearing things up until I got a text from him at 12:31 a.m.: “Your a horrible date.” I guess he had finally caught on, and I probably deserved it, but I still felt a little offended. His poor grammar added insult to injury, and I left the party without any remorse.
I don’t even know how it happened, but by around 3:00 a.m. Diana and I found ourselves at a strip club (my first time), and eventually, some after party in Beverly Hills. Thanks, Diana, for helping me make some regrettable life choices, and cheers to all the fleeting friendships that form out of dire circumstances.
And thank you, Daniel, for showing me that no level of desperation or fiscal irresponsibility justify stringing someone along, especially not someone I know I dislike. It’s just bad news for both sides. This final shot at formal reminded me why I became a bored senior at parties during the tail end of my college career. There’s a reason why Greek life mainly exists within the parameters of a college campus, for college-aged students. As fun as those four years were, you outgrow them eventually and move on. Wanting to relive those glory days has only served as an inhibitor for me to make more of an effort to go out and meet new people willing to do the same type of stupid shit as me. It just might be time for me to give Meetup a chance, or slink my way into someone’s brunch crew.
Joking, Will. I know I’m not cool enough. .