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27 Apr

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OkCupid London: Pete, Who May Have Called Me Fat

24 Mar

Despite the awkward goodbye with the Dutchman, my faith in successful – or at least enjoyable – first dates was restored. I had planned to meet Pete a week earlier, but cancelled because I was infected with a disgusting sinus infection that left me completely unimpressive-looking and also miserable-feeling.

Pete’s reaction to my cancellation lost him points before we even met. Having texted him at 4:08pm, a solid 2.5 hours before we were set to meet, I thought I had waited long enough to see if I felt better but not so long that it was a terrible last-minute-cancellation. And I suggested a raincheck, to make it clear I wasn’t just bailing. Instead of graciously telling me to feel better, Pete begged for “just a cup of coffee.” Guys, please don’t make me detail my runny nose and phlegmy cough in an effort to convince you that I am too sick to meet you. When I explained that it really wasn’t an option to meet, he complained that he’d already been waiting for an hour. I’m sorry, you got to our date three hours early? WHY? Dude, that sucks for you, but that’s so not my problem. At all.

So anyway, I was unimpressed by Pete already. But meet we did on Friday circa 6:30pm and off we went to find a bar. I wonder – what is it with guys in London not taking the initiative to choose a place? It’s happened enough that I feel like it may be an actual cultural difference and maybe I’m not just meeting bumbling idiots. Is this a British thing? Pete asked where I wanted to go; I told him it was his city and he could choose. At which point he felt it appropriate to tell me this was the worst neighborhood we could have met in since he didn’t know his way around at all. Why did you suggest meeting here, then? We found a place, but as places tend to be on Friday evenings, it was crowded. So we moved on and went into a restaurant where he suggested we just get dessert and split a bottle of wine.

Pete seemed nervous. He hardly sipped at his wine, while I took almost-gulps, probably over-compensating for his jittery nature. Being around Pete put me on edge. He was high-strung. Most of his stories involved him getting incomprehensibly angry or frustrated at trivial things. Like, he’s the type of person who makes comments on the subway in NYC when it’s crowded. I hate those people. Everyone’s annoyed, no one likes this, but take a deep breath and deal with it.

At one point, in a conversation lull, Pete looked at me and said, “I heard you’re hilarious. Be funny.” Dude, what the fuck? You don’t say things like that, except maybe to your best friend as a joke.

Also, Pete broke some cardinal rules. He started stories with caveats like, “You’re not easily offended…are you?” and “You’re not religious…are you?” I mean, so what if I was? On a first date, your conversation should never venture into territory where that will matter! For the record, I’m not easily offended or particularly religious, but I might indignantly pretend to be if you demonstrate such disdain so early on for those qualities.

And then Pete called me fat. Well, he may have called me fat. It’s still really unclear, but I think Pete thinks he called me fat, which is enough for me. The context is actually irrelevant, but as soon as he said it (something along the lines of “She was bigger than you”) he slapped his hand over his mouth and stuttered along about being awkward and stupid and saying dumb things and being so so sorry. I had pretty much missed what he was saying so I was confused and got tired real fast of assuring him I wasn’t offended. “I mean,” I said, “Should I be offended?”

Basically, Pete was an awkward, stuttering, offensive 32-year-old mess. However, I wasn’t about to let Pete ruin my evening – it was just getting started. As the date ended, the Dutchman texted:

I noticed none of your plans tonight named me. Any chance of that? I wanna see you!

OkCupid London: The Dutchman & The Most Awkward Goodbye

22 Mar

I went out with the Dutchman last week. (I’m way behind on the OkCupid updates, I know, I know.) He’s super cute, super tall, and had a Dutch accent. I have no idea how to describe this since I’d never heard one before and don’t even know what Dutch sounds like. (In fact, I mistakenly believed that The Netherlands – aka HOLLAND – was in Scandinavia. I never claimed to be good at geography.)

Anyway, we had a nice time. He was normal and incredibly smart and really tall. Like Boris the Smelly Loris, the Dutchman didn’t drink. Very much UNlike the Loris, the Dutchman bought me a beer and then explained he wished he could drink one with me but he was just finishing a round of antibiotics. How responsible. We all know that wouldn’t have stopped me from having a pint.

Right, so the date itself was totally real. It felt honest and upfront and we talked about everything from our jobs to dating impressions to world politics. It was fun and we laughed and it was average and relatively uneventful. Which brings me to its ending…

Being in England has its complications, you know? Like people here have no concept of personal space and eat different food and drive on the wrong side of the road. You never know when you might make a mistake – do I walk on the left side of the sidewalk, too? It’s still not clear to me. But you know what else is different in pretty much every country in the world? Greetings and goodbyes. I’ve been to a lot of places and all of the following has happened to me for a hello, goodbye, or both:

  • Handshake
  • Hug
  • General smile/awkward standing still
  • Air-kiss-on-the-cheek
  • Real-kiss-on-the-cheek
  • Double-cheek-kiss
  • Triple-cheek-kiss

That’s a lot of options. When the Dutchman met me, he shook my hand. So, as we left the bar, I was enormously curious about how we might say goodbye. I knew I found him attractive, but he was incredibly hard to read so I had no idea what to expect.

Luckily, he told me (in true European-speak-your-mind-fashion) that he was wondering if he should ask me how I wanted to say goodbye (which is really just asking me how I want to say goodbye, but we won’t get into that). I said I’d take his lead and he said, “For me, it’s customary to kiss.”

Kiss where?! I thought. Lips? Cheek? How many cheeks? How many times? Ohmygod.

So I hugged him. But he leaned to kiss me. So I air-kissed his cheek. Then he called me out!

“Were you thinking of the other kiss?” He asked.

“No.” I lied. I had no idea what kiss to be thinking of, expecting, or anything. I was becoming stressed.

He leaned down to kiss my cheek again. Success! And then he went to kiss my other cheek. That damn double-cheek-kiss. Threw me right off track. Another awkward moment where he was trying to kiss my cheek and I was at this point doing some kind of chicken-head-dance bobbing my head front and back, side to side, having no idea what to do with my mouth.

The last try was a success for the double-cheek-kiss and at that point I pretty much ran home in a fit of embarrassment, confusion, and bewilderment. Who knew saying goodbye could be so incredibly complicated?!

Lucky for me, the Dutchman and I had the following text exchange while I walked home:

Dutchman: Are you sure you weren’t thinking of the other kind of kiss?

Me: Yes! I didn’t know if it was one cheek or two!

Dutchman: Oh. That’s too bad…

Me: Did you want me to be thinking of the other kind?

Dutchman: Yes :)

I hate emoticons but I love making out, so this turned out to be the perfect end to the Most Awkward Goodbye.

Big News & Related Thoughts

18 Mar

The big news is that my stay in London has been extended an extra 3 weeks. Instead of heading out on March 26 (next Saturday), I’m not leaving till April 16. Instead of spending 6 weeks here, I’m spending 9. Maybe it’s because I’ve been here a month and now have another month left. Or Maybe it’s because I rely so heavily on Mental Plans and my original Mental Plan is now completely uprooted. Maybe I’m just homesick, but somehow, that extra 3 weeks feels like forever.

I was given a choice to stay in London longer. If I really didn’t want to stay, I could have said no and gone home as planned. To me, the wasn’t an option. My career is important to me; this opportunity and my decisions surrounding have illustrated just exactly how important it is to me. Apparently, my career is my main priority right now. It would have been foolish (and also felt immature, whiny, and pathetic) to have said, “Gee, thanks, Awesome Company That Employs Me, but I’d rather not take you up on your offer to let me live in London for 2 months. Because, you know, I miss my friends.”

Just, no. That would never happen. I would never make a decision like that because I know exactly how ridiculous that would be.

It doesn’t change the fact that I’m really fucking lonely here. My coworkers don’t make an overstated effort to entertain me on weekends (not that that’s their responsibility, at all), I live by myself in a not-so-social neighborhood, and I really only have 2 friends. I’m trying really, really hard not to throw myself pity parties all the time – there is so much AWESOME in my life right now it feels ridiculous to ever be sad. But I can’t help it! Sometimes I run out of energy to convince myself that everything is so amazing and now is one of those times.

So, when my friends and family back home ask how I feel about my extended stay, I struggle with the answer. Under no circumstances do I want to sound ungrateful and I certainly don’t want to complain. But am I unequivocally thrilled about staying another month? If I said yes, I would be lying to everyone including myself.

However, am I spending every last ounce of energy I have to enjoy the time I have here? Am I focusing on making the best of every single situation I find myself thrown into? Am I continuing to explore and get to know London? Am I still on OkCupid? Hell fucking YES.

I’m also making lists of reasons to be happy on a daily basis. And I met a super cute gent from Holland this week so here’s hoping for more ridiculous blog fodder instead of this serious sad stuff.

OkCupid London: The Smelly Slow Loris

15 Mar

I have been putting off writing this post because the experience was so terrible and awful that it is difficult to relive. However, enough of my friends have found humor and entertainment in it that at this point it needs to be public.

Allow me to introduce the Worst Date of All Time with the Boris, the Smelly Slow Loris. To offset the horror of the date, here is a picture of a real Slow Loris to make you happy:

This loris is cuter than Boris.

Boris the Loris emailed me first on OkCupid saying he wasn’t sure I was real, since I was very pretty but also my profile sort of sounded like it was written by a guy. Way to play into my aspirations to be the hot-one-of-the-guys-girls, Boris. Nice work. I was hooked – he didn’t look like he was unattractive, he said he was from Italy, and he listed himself as being somewhere above 6′ tall. What can I say, my standards aren’t hard to meet.

Boris the Loris and I agreed to meet last Wednesday outside a tube station near my office. I assumed he had somewhere specific he wanted to take me and figured he thought it was easier to meet at a clear central location. As I approached the tall, painfully skinny man lurking at the tube entrance, my stomach dropped. Boris the Loris was indeed very tall – maybe 6’4? – but also likely not surpassing too far into the triple digits of weight. As he said hello, it became clear that while his English was quite fluent over email, the speaking part was not so great. It was actually really hard to understand anything he said. He hugged me hello…and then proceeded to spend the entire evening attempting to be no more than 3 inches away from me. More on that later, though.

We headed around the corner to some bar where happy hour was still going for another hour, but there were no seats. I was already itching to leave, so I suggested we stand at the bar. Boris the Loris said he wasn’t really thirsty (what?) and suggested we take a walk instead. Now, we were in Leicester Square in London; this is comparable to Times Square or Columbus Circle in NYC. Not exactly a place for a leisurely walk. Walking itself also presented an issue for me. Boris the Loris insisted on touching my arm or back at all times. (This is a huge difference between American and EUropean mindsets that I’ve found – the Concept of Personal Space and the total lack thereof.) If I don’t know you, don’t fucking touch me. Seriously.

So, we were walking down some pedestrian zones and there are these barricade-type things that mark where the sidewalk is and where the no-car zone is (unclear why they distinguish, since there are no cars allowed). Anyway, Boris the Loris insisted on walking so close to me that to escape him, I would swerve around these barricades to gain some space and he would fucking walk into them!!! Dude, take a hint and BACK OFF. Here is an illustration of the types of barricades Boris the Loris insisted on walking into:

"Personal Space" is not a concept Boris the Loris grasped.

Right, so finally after walking into several of these poles and after I was squished into several walls as I tried to move away from the Loris, we reached the bar where we would spend the remainder of our date. As we sat down and each removed our jackets, a scent wafted through to my nostrils. It was foul, rotten…omg it was B.O. Not only could Boris the Loris not stop touching me, he also stank to high heaven. I kid you not, this was the worst B.O. I’ve smelled in Europe and I feel like given the stereotypes of hygiene, that’s saying a lot. So anyway, we stare at the happy hour menu for far too long given that there were three drinks listed and one was an actual shot of Oxygen (yes, the gas). We went to the bar to order and while standing way too close to me, Boris the Loris allowed me to order my mojito.

And then he allowed me to pay for it. STRIKE THREE ASSHOLE!!! You won’t stop touching me, you smell disgusting, and you don’t even buy me a drink? It was £3.50. COME ON. But wait, that’s not all.

Boris the Loris ordered a glass of orange juice.

Boris the Loris and I sat back down at our table, where I commenced chugging my mojito and he sat sipping his juice like a four-year-old. For an hour. I should have gotten up and left, but I’m too nice. Or too much of a wimp. Apparently I can only be a scathing bitch on this blog. I was painfully aware of our body language – he leaning so far forward I thought he may fall out of his chair, me shrinking so far into myself I was afraid my spine would collapse. He stretching his arms across the table, me leaning so far away from the table I hit my head on the bannister above me several times. It would have been comical had I not been so physically uncomfortable in every possible way and literally itching to leave.

I have no idea why I stayed, but after enduring Boris the Loris proclaim Family Guys’ hilarity and declaring it the best thing that came out of America (after I’d voiced my negative opinion of the show), I bolted up and announced I had to go. He walked me to the tube – at which point I realized I couldn’t even thank him for the drink since he didn’t buy it for me!

I am so scarred by this Worst Date in History that I have been watching Slow Loris videos on repeat. Here is one:

Enjoy. Next up here is some Big News and also a compilation of hilarious messages I’ve received on OkCupid.