I sat at an outdoor bar last night cursing myself for wearing khakis. Contrary to what many believe, I do have clothes that don’t include socks and sandals. My mind was elsewhere as I picked my outfit out for a date with a girl I had begun talking to less than 24 hours prior. I probably should have worn shorts, but on this uneventful night in late June I had opted for pants. “Caribbean Queen” by Billy Ocean played faintly from a speaker indoors, and I tapped my foot along trying not to think about how I was going to get through this date.
The temperature in Austin proper hovered somewhere around 90 degrees. I shifted around on my stool, searching for a comfortable position that would make me look relaxed. Calm, cool, and confident was what I wanted to display outwardly.
Five weeks ago I was on top of the world as it pertained to women. I had options for Christ’s sake. I got knocked down a few pegs upon arrival in what has been described as the tech capital of the United States. This designation is entirely lost on me, as all I’ve seen thus far from the Austin City Council is a knack for shutting anything down that is looked at as progressive. Five weeks removed from the dating scene has left me feeling rusty and a little bit less confident than I have been in the past.
Hannah seemed like a nice enough person from the limited interaction I had with her through Bumble. She wasn’t the hottest girl I had ever convinced to go on a date with me, but at this juncture I really just needed to get my ass back on the proverbial saddle. This is going to sound crass, but Hannah was a solid seven. Not quite what I would describe as “a smoke” but definitely serviceable. She claimed to be a pre-med student at the University of Texas, just one semester shy of graduating and moving onto prep work for the dreaded MCAT.
Our connection was twelve minutes away from expiring on Sunday night as I sat in a bathtub sipping a glass of Pinot Grigio on ice. She messaged me a few minutes before the match would have disappeared forever. To say that I was desperate wouldn’t be accurate, although I’m almost positive that this is how I came off. Her opener was a variation of a line that I have received several times – “I bet my ass is fatter than yours,” referencing the line in my bio that reads “great hair, decent ass.” I responded less than a minute later and we were off to the races.
We only went back and forth once on the app before I gave her my number, requesting that we move the conversation to text message. Forty minutes later I had an agreement to meet her for drinks the following night at 8:00 p.m.
My fourth week deep in the heart of Texas and I hadn’t had any luck with the opposite sex. My attempts at small talk with women of varying degrees of attractiveness had fallen on deaf ears every weekend since I had moved. That’s not to say that my confidence was shattered, but I wasn’t anticipating this level of resistance when I moved from the friendly confines of Chicago.
Butterflies danced in my stomach. I had a Dos Equis perspiring in front of me as I sat there twiddling my thumbs, waiting on a date to begin that I wasn’t 100% sold on. Then again, you show me a person who says they’re 100% comfortable with a random guy/girl and I’ll show you a liar.
I’m a punctual person by nature. I’m still learning street names and fastest routes from my apartment to various establishments around the city. It was not my intention to arrive fifteen minutes early.
I hate getting to an agreed upon rendezvous point before the rest of my party arrives. I always end up looking at my phone way too intently, side-eying the door obsessively to see if the person I’m meeting is walking in. I’ll pretend that I’m busy when the reality of the situation is that I’m just scrolling Twitter and berating myself for being early.
But what could I do? I allotted twenty minutes for a walk that only took me about ten minutes to traverse. I walked into the bar and strategically chose a seat near an oscillating fan fastened to the top of the patio’s roof.
At five minutes to 8:00, I texted Hannah to let her know my whereabouts:
“hey I’m on the patio at the end of the bar when you get here”
7:55 became 8:10. By 8:20 I was beginning to feel sick to my stomach. I hadn’t gotten a text back, so I checked my phone again. Nothing. My palms were sweating. I could feel my heart rate increasing. Was this actually happening to me?
I don’t get stood up. People with neck-beards get stood up. This shit does not happen to people like me. I ran my fingers through my hair and took a deep breath. A now lukewarm, half drunk Dos Equis stared through my soul as I checked my phone once more. I knocked the beer back.
“Do you want another one?”
It felt like I was hearing the question from underwater as I shook my head no.
“Just the bill when you have a moment.”
At 8:35 PM, I pronounced the date dead. The death certificate came in the form of a check for $3.50 – the price of one subpar Mexican beer. I checked my phone once more, just to be sure I hadn’t received a text message from Hannah. Crickets.
I got home some fifteen minutes later, unable to stop myself from muttering one word: “unbelievable.” My mind wandered as I crawled into bed and pressed play on a random episode of Veep.
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I went from perched on a ledge, looking down on others who didn’t have what I had in Chicago to this shit. I’m back down with the general pop – scavenging, clawing, fighting for scraps like a goddamn hyena.
I shut my computer off ten minutes into the episode and fell asleep, still not entirely sure that what had just happened actually happened. .