Everyone has their swiping strategies. Some people (yeah, I see you 90% of men) just swipe right on everything and see what sticks. Others strike a balance between people they find attractive and a witty profile tagline. Personally, I decide based on every individual profile and usually err towards guys who look good in their best man toast photos, include photos of them and a cute dog, or have a particularly witty profile that mentions bourbon, Star Wars, or a clever joke.
I usually try to go with guys that are similarly or slightly less attractive than I am to maintain a power balance, but every once in a pinot-fueled moon, I swing for the fences and swipe right on a 10. We all do it, briefly envisioning the day when that smokeshow Insta model will look past our slightly above average pictures and see the heart of gold that lies within. 99% of the time, this ends in a no match, or (more commonly for the gentlemen) an invitation to join this particular lady on a video chatting site for a suspiciously high number of “roses.” Unless this girl is a former washed up delusional Bachelor contestant, roses = cash, and you’ve got yourself a prostitute.
It was in such an optimistic swiping session that I swiped right on a particularly attractive specimen that was just my type, which I refer to as “The Brad.” It doesn’t matter what their actual names are, they all look like that guy from your lacrosse team who wears a backwards hat and/or visor to all events regardless of weather and think boat shoes go with everything.* This particular Brad claimed to be 6’3’’ and had Prince Eric’s hair, John Cena’s upper body, and Gronk’s derpy smile. I was about it, but he was clearly out of my league. I could barely contain my excitement and confusion when Bumble informed me that we were a match.
“Okay, well obviously he’s a swipe right on everyone kind of guy,” I reasoned to myself.
Upon further investigation, his profile was blank- always a great sign. Did I let any of these clearly questionable indicators stop me? What a dumb question. Have you even read one of my columns before?
I usually try to scan a profile and find something interesting or relatable to lead with in a message. This guy had nothing but generic Brad photos. College lax picture, wedding tux, dog photo, travel photo. I had no choice but to use my go to line for when there’s really nothing else to say: “Hey, are you a fruit? Because honeydew you know you’re pretty cute in your profile picture? ;)” Dumb? Yes. But, when used appropriately, it has an 83% rate of return on a dinner invitation.
I didn’t really expect him to respond, so I was further shocked when I saw a message notification almost immediately.
“hahahaha ur funny,” he responded.
Lack of witty response and improper grammar usage. Be still, my heart!
After the usual brief exchange of, “how long have you lived here/what’s your favorite bar/how about this weather?” he asked if I wanted to meet for drinks. I agreed in disbelief. Obviously, there was something wrong with this guy. I was too blinded by his square jawline and biceps to investigate further.
We met up at a dive bar near my house known for its eclectic decor, arcade games, and cheap drinks. It had occurred to me that it was possible I was being catfished or set up to meet a 45-year-old married guy using photos from his glory days. This guy was way too attractive to be real. However, when I waltzed in a fashionable 5 minutes late (fine, 15 minutes), there he was at the bar with his Captain America good looks, mint-colored shorts, and a visor (indoors, of course). I couldn’t believe my good luck. We hugged hello and started with beers and at some point moved to my favorite pickleback shots.
At this point, things quickly began to unravel. I assume everyone is familiar with the Barney Stinson Hot/Crazy Scale, where the hotter a girl is the crazier they are? I present to you its counterpart: the Quinn Truflais Hot/Dumb Corollary, which simply states that the hotter a guy is the dumber he is. Yes, of course there are exceptions to both of these scales (looking at you, John Legend and John Krasinski), but generally they hold up to the rigorous scientific method I utilized to reach this conclusion.
Most of our conversation focused on our dogs and our favorite alcohol, but since we live in DC, the conversation inevitably turned to what we did for a living.
“Oh, well I’m actually not really working right now,” he said, staring down into his Blue Moon.
“Oh! Well hey, shit happens! You never know in this political climate, right?” I brushed it off. “What do you ultimately want to do?”
“Um… well… since I finished school, I’ve kind of bounced around as a private lacrosse coach.”
I would like to note for the record that he is 29 and “finished school” 7+ years ago.
“Ohhhh, well… that’s cool…” I faltered.
This is a pretty unusual response in DC and it caught me off guard. At this point my dates have usually informed me how important they/their boss is and given me a rundown of their master’s thesis while I suppress an exaggerated eye roll and wait for it to be over. However, I didn’t want to be a snob, so I focused instead on how increasingly attractive he was. From that point we stuck to topics we had in common, primarily revolving around alcohol and social sports.
The end of the evening approached and I couldn’t believe this guy was still into me. There was some clear indication of interest on his part: leaning in, occasional hand on the knee, lower back touching, so I knew I wasn’t imagining it. It was pretty clear to me that this guy wasn’t long term material. I don’t need sparkling conversation from my temp roster. I was going to try and close the deal.
“So… do you need to go home to let your dog out?” I asked coyly.
“Oh no,” he smiled, “my parents will let him out. Let’s try your place!”
“How nice! Are they in town to visit?” I asked hopefully.
“Nah. I’ve been living with them since I’ve been unemployed.” Was his rebuttal.
My efforts to control my facial expressions deserved an Oscar nod.
“Please let this be the last red flag,” I silently willed the universe.
We headed out into the slightly rainy weather.
“Ugh,” I complained, “I’m so over all this cloudy weather!”
You know things are going well when you resort to weather small talk.
“Yeah,” he agreed. “But here’s a cool fact – did you know that clouds are the densest objects in the universe?”
I stopped short and turned to look at him.
“Um… sorry… what?” I asked, incredulous.
“Yeah,” he proudly reiterated. “They’re the densest things that exist.”
It took a Herculean effort for me not to say, “No, Brad, YOU’RE the densest thing that exists.” Instead, I responded with a neutral “hmmmm.”
Try not to fall out of your chair in surprise, but I happen to have a line of work requiring me to know that the densest element in the universe is Osmium, which is known for its particularly dense electron clouds. I see all of your “give him the benefit of the doubt, maybe that’s what he meant!” comments, and I raise you the following exchange.
We got back to my house and were discussing my home state, which is particularly warm and has lots of bodies of water.
“I love visiting there,” he informed me. “It’s so cool there that water is different from anywhere else in the US.”
“Um… what do you mean?” I asked confused.
“Well, I think the molecules are different in the water or something because it’s the only place I’ve been to where you can get electrocuted by lightning if you’re swimming.”
For obvious reasons, I was stunned. I sought further clarification.
“Yeah, it’s the only place they tell you to get out of the water if there’s a lightning storm.”
Ohhhhhh. Ohhhh no.
At this point, all of my attraction to him evaporated faster than the air in a Patriots football. Attraction was quickly replaced by a feeling of genuine wonderment that this adult human had made it this far in life and survived. It suddenly became clear to me that I was dealing with a dweller of The Bubble. You may be familiar with The Bubble from a 30 Rock episode in which Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) discovers that her boyfriend (Jon Hamm) is so good looking that people don’t correct or expect anything of him. This results in him being unable to perform the Heimlich maneuver, even though he’s a doctor, and other similar life skill failings.
I’m willing to put up with a lot of shit to close a deal, and I would love to be Tina Fey in almost any situation, but this was beyond even my capacity.
“Hey,” I gently told him as he went in for a make out attempt, “This is moving a little fast for me and I have an early meeting tomorrow. Maybe another time.”
He was confused. Or perhaps he was in his normal state. Unclear. With slight apprehension he happily agreed. I let him kiss me goodbye as I shut and bolted my door, barring against the visions of future conversations we would have to have if we dated.
“How to do your taxes,” “how to boil water safely,” and “don’t microwave aluminum foil,” come to mind.
Sometimes I wonder what Brad is up to. I like to think he’s out there as we speak, floating in the “special” waters of my home state during a lightning storm, gazing up at the densest objects in the universe.
Oh, Brad. You beautiful, beautiful man. Stay gold, Brad. Stay gold..
*Disclaimer: these statements do not apply to all Brads. The author extends apologies to any Brads reading this who were offended by the characterization of their fellow Brad and acknowledges the possibility that they may not be visor-wearing dummies.
Image via Shutterstock