When one date goes badly it can be annoying but when three dates in one weekend end up in the garbage pile I can’t help but feel like I’m wasting my time. Or maybe I should just date less…
It was the September long weekend, both here in Canada and in the US, which I always think takes the fun level up a notch or two as the Americans cross the border and come to town. And this weekend was no different.
I’d started it spending all day Saturday on the beach drinking with friends. Or more precisely, drinking and swiping. It was one of those weekends when my friends wanted to “play Tinder” for me. Yah, that’s right, my dating life can seem like a game in more ways than one. Though in all honesty I was happy for them to do it on that occasion, I was pretty sure I was getting Repetitive Strain Injury in my right thumb.
When my phone got handed back to me there were a number of matches, to varying degrees of suitability. I deleted the ones that were clearly jokes on my friends part and started doing the dating admin, as I call it. The annoying part when you actually have to start a conversation. I like to be efficient and get this done asap so then I’ve done my part and the onus is on the guy to move it on. I also just really don’t see the point in matching with people and not starting a convo. Either delete the matches or start the conversation. I don’t have time to mess around! Definitely one of my online dating pet peeves.
As the day at the beach was wrapping up, I received a response from this 31 year old, tanned and tall guy that, despite his tan, looked like he could be English… I can always tell. If they’re British or Irish, they stand out like a sore thumb to me. I’m not sure if that’s because I’m so familiar with them, being British myself. I’ve always wondered if North American women can spot them as quickly.
He suggested we meet for drinks that night but, while I was pleasantly surprised by his quick moves to set something up, I was coming off the back of a full day of sunshine and drinks and if I’m honest getting ready to go on a date in a matter of hours seemed like a real hassle. One I wasn’t sure I had the energy for. I cheekily implied that to him “it better be the best date ever if I’m going to make it out the house after the day I’ve had”. He replied saying he actually couldn’t really be bothered either and if he was really honest, he wasn’t looking for anything serious, so maybe he should just come over to mine.
Well he did say honest. And it was maybe also a little presumptuous. But I didn’t hate the idea. In our few short messages he’d come across as funny and down to earth, and truthfully my laziness took over, so I agreed. I told him I needed to shower and eat something but to come over around 8pm.
When he arrived he was indeed tanned and tall, half English and half Portuguese. We watched a movie, chatted a lot about our lives here, he told me about his construction business and his plans for the future. He was a little cocky, making a few comments about how much Canadian women loved him because of his mixed background. I wondered if I should remind him that as a Scot we’re hardly the English’s biggest fans and that my ex had strong ties to Portugal so also, not a huge fan…
Still, it was fun and easy, albeit even in the first couple of hours I was sure I probably wouldn’t see him again, even as a casual hookup. He talked about looking for something casual and made the comment that “most women can’t do casual”. Well, buddy, let me tell you, I’ll be able to be so casual with you, I probably won’t ever see you again, how’s about that?
We then started to fool around and despite my reservations about him, I was interested to see if his bravado was all talk. As it turned out, he didn’t live up to his self-proclaimed hype, it was all very meh. Although he did have a great body and the tan was exceptional. But he kept his socks on… what the fuck. Really? Why do people do that? Is it laziness? Are they in such a rush to get to the good stuff they just forget about them? Is it cause it gives them extra grip? Or maybe they want to remain just that tiny bit unsexy? I’ve never been able to work it out.
Laying on my bed afterwards, I was now more exhausted than I’d already been after the day of sun, and I couldn’t wait to sleep. And I didn’t really care if he stayed or went. The idea of snuggles is always nice but given how I felt about him, the thought of him staying was much like the sex – also meh.
He seemed to be getting comfy though so I accepted the fact he’d be staying, until he said “oh by the way, I snore. Is that going to be a problem?”
Um, will my fist going into your face be a problem?! Yeah it was a problem, and not one I intended to put up with that night. And so with that I asked the English Portuguese Snoring Builder to leave, which he duly did. Interestingly it was him who texted me three more times in the weeks that followed asking to meet up. But my promise to myself to do casual with him to the extent I never saw him again stayed true.
Waking up the morning after, I was glad I’d had a proper sleep, by myself, with no Snorey McSnorerson next to me. And I was ready for another day at the beach! Sundays of a long weekend are my favourite. You’d ordinarily be getting ready for work the following day but instead it’s a whole extra day to do whatever you please. Is it Saturday? Is it Sunday? Who knows!
More of the matches I’d sent first messages to the day before started to trickle into conversation. Admittedly a lot of them had replied the night before, funny how late on Saturday nights are when men are most chatty on the apps…
And there were a lot of visiting Americans. One in particular was in town from Denver, with his brothers and a couple of friends. They were staying in a loft Airbnb in Gastown and were spending Sunday hiking near Whistler. He asked if he could see me on Sunday night.
Here’s the thing with visitors to the city: after my initial experience with The Tourist, I went back and forth on how I felt about meeting up with people who were only in town for the week/weekend. Sometimes, when I was fully ok with a no strings attached hookup I was absolutely open to it. But other times, when I was going through a stretch of wanting more, wanting commitment, actually looking for a relationship, there really was no point. No matter how pretty or fun they seemed.
This weekend was the former. Especially after the O saga, I really wasn’t sure I wanted to get into anything serious and at least with tourists you always knew it couldn’t become something more because they’d be gone as quickly as they got here. Hell, some men that lived in Vancouver were like that, but I digress.
So meeting up with Denver Banker seemed like it would be fun. He was very proper, he suggested dinner, not even just drinks. But given his day in the mountains, he said he’d text me later and we’d make plans. Ordinarily with tourists that can be a slippery slope to never hearing from them again but with him it seemed different. Though I’ve been proven wrong in my first assumptions before.
I went about my beach day and around lunchtime I got a message from another tourist, this time a guy visiting from Seattle. He was the typical tourist – here with friends, clearly for a good time not a long time, asking where the best bar to “hit up” that night was.
As my beach day drew to a close and my friends and I made plans for that night, Seattle guy asked me where I was and if I wanted to meet up. He told me he was now in a bar in Yaletown, which I knew wasn’t far from my apartment. I slowly got showered and ready for the night, not sure at all where it would take me.
I don’t really live like that generally, with undefined plans, but sometimes I can allow it. Long weekends were often those times. Generally you know you’re going to end up doing something, even if you’re just not quite sure what.
While my friends napped and ate before we were going to meet up, I decided I may as well go and meet Seattle Tall Boy. He was 31, 6’4 and big. He even said himself when I was on my way to meet him “you can’t miss me, I’m the big guy, like the “woah he’s big for an Asian” guy”. He was half white, half Taiwanese, worked in finance and had moved from Boston to Seattle in the previous year. He’d been here with a friend who’d apparently had to go home for some reason or another. I wasn’t sure if I bought the story, but that’s the thing with tourists – you have nothing to go on, you really do have to take them at their word, far more than when you’re dating someone who lives in the city. For locals, there are ways and means of confirming a lot of what they say. Tourists? They can tell you any old shit.
On my way to meet Seattle Tall Boy, Denver Banker messaged to say he was sorry he hadn’t been in touch but they were on their way back from Whistler, and they were all starving so would eat on the way back down but he’d still love to meet me for drinks and he was sorry that he hadn’t come through on the dinner plans. Seeing as I was on my way to meet another Tinder date, I couldn’t exactly be mad, so I told him to text me once they’d had dinner and then we could make a plan.
I sent my text reply to Denver Banker as I arrive at the Banter Room, the bar that Seattle Tall Boy was in, and he is indeed unmissable. His large frame dwarfed the bar stool and seemed only more imposing when he stood up. He’d clearly already made friends with all the bar staff, having been sat at the bar for a couple of hours, and quickly asked me what I wanted to drink.
Right away I could tell the bar staff were trying to work out who I was and how I knew him. I couldn’t quite pinpoint if he’d told them I was a Tinder date. But they got plenty of opportunity to interact with both of us as he was seemingly on a merry go round of drinks – Miller beer, followed by a whisky, followed by an espresso martini. And round and round he went in that order… It was the most bizarre combination of drinks, but he seemed pretty happy with his choices, especially when every so often he’d throw in a round of tequila shots for everyone sat at the bar.
I essentially was just a witness to him having a fun time and while we did chat, I’m not sure he’d have been having any different a time if I wasn’t there. He asked if I wanted food, which I did after another long beach day snacking on anything unhealthy. But when I paused after ordering my Thai beef salad for him to place his order he said he wasn’t going to eat. Ohhhh ok then. I’ll just eat by myself I guess?
It was clear this was anything but a date, it seemed more like he’d just wanted someone to hang out with him at the bar, and it could have been me or it could have been any other random person he pulled in off the street. It’s so nice to be made to feel special….
Given that I was hardly feeling the vibe, although he was a funny guy with that hardened, Boston attitude and humour, I decided to keep my drinking to a minimum, especially if I had another drinks date later. The same cannot be said for Seattle Tall Boy. His drinking was really maxing out to the point where the bar staff were definitely slowing down between their “do you need another one” enquiries. And I knew they were aware of his increasing alcohol levels when at one point when he went to the toilet, one of the bar staff asked if I was ok.
I had hoped that I’d have heard from Denver Banker and could have just gone straight to see him but as it was my phone was giving me nothing, and I was starting to lose the will to live with all of the random, and in no way interesting, subjects that Seattle Tall Boy was bringing up, plus his want to have conversations with everyone else in the bar was starting to grate on me. So instead I decided I was going to make my excuses and just go home.
I’d teed up my story as soon as I’d got there, telling Seattle Tall Boy I was planning to meet friends later but that I could have a few drinks with him in the interim. Whether I went to meet my friends or Denver Banker had remained to be seen at that point and it was in fact neither and I was happily going to head home and sleep.
Seattle Tall Boy attempted to get me to stay, he also half asked if he could come with me to meet my friends, both of which I shot down pretty quick. I tried to placate him with a “maybe once I’ve met up with my friends and I know what our plans are we can meet up again…”
I felt bad leading him on and not being straight up with him, but in all honesty, I didn’t trust what his alcohol fuelled reaction would be if I did tell him the truth that I wasn’t into him and there was no chance we’d be hooking up that night. Even just in the time I’d been with him he’d had eleven drinks and I’d had three, and he’d already been there a couple of hours before me. Now he was a big guy, so I’m sure his tolerance was pretty high but still… it was getting sloppy and it was time for me to go.
I walked the seven minutes home and just as I was waiting at the last crosswalk, imagining me curling up in bed, my phone pinged with Denver Banker apologising profusely for the lateness of his text (it actually wasn’t that late, it was maybe 8pm) and wondering if I’d still like to meet up. Ugh….
I mean, I did but I didn’t. But I should. I felt bad flaking on him. Why do I do that? Why can’t I just say no if I want to say no? That was a conversation for another time, because at this point in time I needed to get back to near where I’d just come from to meet Denver Banker in another bar.
We met at a bar near where I lived that had a good balance of atmosphere but quiet corners to sit and have a conversation. He was as much of an All American Boy as I imagined – blonde hair, blue eyed, cute, well mannered and quite softly spoken. We covered everything from family and jobs, travel, sports – all the standard topics. While I was explaining why I had chosen Canada to move to, I said “and I did consider the US but I’m pretty glad I didn’t with everything going on there just now”. It’s something I’ve said 100 times when telling the same story but the response I got was a first.
For context, this was in Trump’s first year in office when he’d already implemented the travel ban, and announced his intention to ban transgender personnel in the military, and a large portion of the western (and non-western world) were wondering if the whole presidency was a joke.
Denver Banker looked confused and said “why do you mean?” I realised he wasn’t joking and simultaneously made the realisation that he was either terribly badly informed about the political goings on in his own country or he was in fact not in any way perturbed by said political goings on. But he seemed too educated for it to be the former, so I had to assume in horror that it was the latter.
I realised I needed to tread lightly, given that it’s not my style to attack people’s personal beliefs, especially someone I barely know. Thankfully, just as I was trying to figure out how to ask if he was a Trump supporter without sounding incredulous at the same time, the bartender came over. This was the bartender who when we’d arrived had shouted over at us to sit wherever we wanted, that he was drunk from a day at the beach and he hoped we were having a good weekend.
He came over offering us free shots of Jameson, which we gladly accepted and with that I felt emboldened to dive back into the conversation. I don’t think any subject is necessarily off limits on a date, I’m an entirely open book (which is a blessing and a curse) so I’m happy to cover practically any topic. Obviously religion, money, politics and, to an extent, past dating aren’t my first choices of topics of convo for a first date, but I’m always happy to touch on them. It can tell you a lot about someone after all.
So I explained that since Trump had been elected it seemed like there was a lot of upheaval in the US and so I was “glad” I’d ended up in Canada with nothing but people talking about which Disney prince Justin Trudeau looked like most. He said any new president would always bring about change and it was to be expected. I said “so did you vote for Trump” and he said “yes”. I then realised that wasn’t the real question, the real question was my next one – “would you vote for Trump again now? Given the policies he’s already put in place?”
He looked at me confused, “what policies?” and so I explained in my best “I know I’m a foreigner and don’t exactly think of myself as an expert on Trump’s politics” way about the changes to immigration and military that he’d made, as well as some of his less than savoury Tweets. And while Denver Banker did sit fairly respectfully quietly through my moment atop my soap box, at the end he looked at me in a way which I thought was going to lead to a “yeah, fair enough” comment but instead he opened his mouth and said “but none of those affect me.”
Hello white male privilege, welcome to the table.
I’m not sure a single sentence has put me off someone more. I’ve had a lot of firsts while dating but having someone’s politics essentially write them off for me has absolutely never happened. And I can’t figure out if that makes me too quick to judge or simply resolute in my morals? Either way, any attraction I’d had for him, which was far more than I’d had for Seattle Tall Boy, had now evaporated.
We had a short conversation about whether or not he felt like maybe just because those things didn’t affect him he shouldn’t still have an opinion on them and want the best for his fellow countrymen, and fellow humans. He said he really didn’t think Trump had done anything that bad and if he could just get the tax bill passed that he’d been working on then it would be a huge win.
I realised there was no point in continuing on the conversation, from what he was saying I was piecing together what was obviously a very conservative background and family, and at the end of the day it was less about his specific politics and more about his complete oblivion to the massive, stinking pile of white male privilege that he was sitting on that just made me unable to want to engage further.
We finished our drinks, along with another shot from the barman, and despite Denver Banker’s enquiry as to whether there was another bar we could go to, I said I should probably get home, it had been a long day and tomorrow was going to be more of the same. Incidentally I’d told him about the beach I was going to the next day with friends and he’d said he and his friends had been planning on maybe going there too. He mentioned that fact again as we said goodnight outside my building. I was well aware he was hoping I’d invite him up but I just couldn’t. Even as a one night thing, all my attraction for him had gone. And while I’m a massive fan of snuggling, I decided on this occasion I’d rather have the bed to myself than share it with someone whose views I so vehemently disagreed with.
And I would have had a solid good sleep if it hadn’t been for a drunken 6.30am call (why do I never put my phone on silent?) from Seattle Tall Boy asking if he could come over… Whaaaaaat?! How hammered must he have been for me to have not heard from him since I said goodbye to him around 8pm the night before and only now is he following back up. Wow. I could only imagine how much he’d drunk.
Although later that day, I didn’t need to imagine any longer when he reached out in text, apologising for the early morning wake up call and saying “I think the reason was this”, before texting me a picture of his bar bill from the Banter Room – $627.58. SIX HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! There were the 3 gins I’d had and the Thai beef salad… it was definitely his bill. I wasn’t sure whether to be impressed or horrified. Either way, I was glad I hadn’t stuck around any longer, I could have been in hospital with alcohol poisoning.
Around the same time, I also got a text from Denver Banker saying he was making his way towards the beach he knew I was at… oh god. I half thought about lying and saying I wasn’t there but if I did that and he turned up it would just be awkward. So instead I told my friends my date from last night was turning up to which they replied “which one is this? The drunk or the Trump supporter?” Those were stark terms, not wrong, just stark. And turn up he did. In full on American flag swimming shorts. Like stars and stripes all in your face.
It was a perfect “Jesus fucking Christ” end to what had been a “holy mother of God” weekend of dates. A snorer, a drunk and a Trump supporter. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere…