We’ve talked about it before – someone being great on paper but then it not working out in real life. But what about being great on paper AND being great in text and then there being zero spark in person? How is that possible? Do people have ghost (text) writers?!
The week after the half marathon in June, and the awkward date with Whistler Teacher Slash Photographer, I was off to Vegas for a bachelorette weekend. And contrary to the general consensus about Vegas, I’ve never once gone to hook up. My focus is only ever on having fun with the people I’m with. Unfortunately on this particular trip I was sick as a dog with a cold, and so neither of those things were going to happen.
Just before I left Vancouver, I matched with a guy on Bumble and we started chatting the day I flew out. Turned out he was away for a boys weekend to Seattle and so via text over the course of our weekends we compared drunkenness, funny stories, mishaps and suntan progress. I hadn’t expected to hear from him as much as I did but it was kind of nice.
We both worked in tech, we lived near each other and it sounded as if we liked a lot of the same things. So far so good. He also had some pretty good banter. The night when our group’s plan was to go for an Italian followed by the Thunder From Down Under Strip show (yes, it’s really called that) he made the observation that it was going to be all “penne and penises” for us. He was then forever known as that to me. And given that he shared a (real life) name with Toronto Dimple Chin, I chose to save him in my phone as Penne and Penises also, you know, to save confusion.
As our weekends wore on and a couple of drunken nights threw up (pun intended) some drunken texts (more on his part than mine, because my cold had rendered me almost unable to drink), the messages definitely turned a little flirty. Add to that, him having started following me on Instagram and making comments about pictures of bikinis and barely there Vegas dresses, and you got yourself some fairly sexually charged conversations.
It was a risky move and I was aware of that but I like to think I’d always done my due diligence… to the extent that you can with online dating! At least been able to prove they were a real person and not some creepy old guy getting his kicks pretending to be a 27 year old hot guy.
I always find that bit weird. I’m not saying I don’t engage in it. I clearly do. But when you take a step back, it’s still odd to me that people can get to that level of “comfort” with someone who is essentially a stranger. That we can be so happy to share such intimate thoughts and details with someone whom we haven’t even met yet. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are some people that would absolutely not let any dating app conversation go down that road until, maybe even well after, they’ve met someone, and I always thought I was that person too. But, as I was becoming more comfortable with my sexuality and my apparently growing sex drive, I was finding it easier to let my mind wander and open myself up to people who were still just a name and some (hopefully not false) pictures on a screen.
So yes, the texts had escalated and, by the time our weekends were over, we were pretty excited to finally be able to meet up when we were both back in Vancouver. Unfortunately, the cold was still kicking my ass, and I was rendered useless for the first week after I was home.
During that time he checked in on me everyday and asked if I needed anything brought over. But I was hardly about to have a guy I’d never met, who I thought there might be potential with, see me for the first time when I looked like a massive bag of crap.
Eventually the second Monday after we were home, I felt a tiny bit better to the point that when he said he didn’t care I was sick he just wanted to see me, I agreed that he could come over. It wouldn’t have been my first choice of first date location but I still wasn’t up to going out.
After what had, by that point, been a couple of weeks of texting we finally got to meet and I was super excited. But that excitement was put on hold when he turned up wearing a Celtic football top – Celtic are a football team from Glasgow in Scotland, and the football I’m talking about is the OG, not of the American variety. But how was he to know that my ex-husband was a die-hard Celtic fan and, in my residual pettiness, I now hated everything about them?
It wasn’t the best start, nor was the fact he looked a little heavier than the pictures on his profile. And it didn’t look like muscle. But whose weight doesn’t fluctuate at times? And I’m hardly sat here with an athlete’s body. So I didn’t let it put me off. However chewing gum the whole time we had sex, keeping his white tube socks on throughout, and the incredibly off-putting sex faces? Yeah those put me off.
And yes, I had sex on a first date. And yes, I had sex while I was still full of the cold. And yes, I’m aware none of these revelations paint me in the best light…
The spark that we’d had in all those messages was definitely not translated into real life and I remember I was really keen for him to leave as soon as possible after we’d finished the no pants (but keep the gum and white tube socks) dance.
I hoped it had just not been great because I was still sick and that maybe if we’d had a proper first date, rather than a 6pm slightly sick sex date, it would have been different. But you can’t undo what’s already done and so, arranging to go on a proper second date, I just held out hope that we could figure it out from there on out.
In between the first and second date, the texts went back to being great and, maybe unsurprisingly, even more sexually explicit given that we now knew each other more intimately. And, despite the lacklustre feeling I’d had after seeing him that first time, the spark was re-instated in our messages. So I was hopeful the second date could be an improvement and wondered if he’d been in anyway disappointed in our first meeting…
As it happened, the second date ended up occuring in the exact same way as the first one – I was still sick (and by now so incredibly sick of being sick), so he came round to mine. Albeit not wearing any reminders of my ex this time, thank the Lord for small mercies I guess. But I was even less physically attracted to him and it actually annoyed me.
It annoyed me that there could be what felt like a great connection in messages, fun, easy banter, playful flirting, all mixed in with some serious life talk but when it came to being in the same room as each other it was flatlining. And that’s not to say it’s all on him, that he was a good texter but a bad in-person person.
It’s just that’s the way we were together. It was as much about me as it was him. Dating truly is a chemistry thing. And you can get the formula right on paper, but in real life it can still fuck up.
It didn’t mean we didn’t have sex again but nor did it mean he took his socks off this time either, despite me hoping that had just been an oversight the first time. At which point I decided I definitely wouldn’t be seeing him again because, let’s be honest, when the sexts are far better than the sex, you know you should cut your losses.