1. I’ve already been crushing on him for months when he finally asks me to hang out. I’m still young and bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and probably a little too naive to realize that, when someone spends the entirety of a first date explaining the cultural significance of Neutral Milk Hotel, they probably aren’t The One.
2. We match on Tinder and decide to meet up for drinks in an hour instead of dealing with the awkward messaging part. Within moments of getting our drinks, he tells me about his tech start-up and how, once he sells it, he’ll never have to work again. “I’m talking millions,” he says, gulping down his gin and tonic. He asks me what I want to do with my life, but before I can answer, he says, “You know, I like being an entrepreneur, but it’s always been my dream to make electronic music.” It’s only once we’ve left the bar that I realize he still has no idea what I do, while I have an oddly specific vision of his 10-year strategy for EDM relevancy.
3. My friends finally convince me to go out with a guy I’ve met in passing a few times, even though he’s clearly more interested than I am. He’s never rude, exactly, but every time I try to start a conversation, he cuts me off to say, “You know, you’re really cute.” It’s somewhat flattering at first, and then it becomes even more boring than listening to someone talk about their hypothetical music career for two straight hours.
4. He invites me to a soccer game and even though I don’t watch a lot of sports, I figure I’ll give it a shot. Sure, he’s a little awkward, but he seems genuine and kind. This perception changes slightly when we get to the stadium and run into his friends. “I’m gonna go talk to them for a bit,” he tells me, and I don’t see him again until the very end, when he drunkenly finds me in the stands and asks, “Well, that was a good game, wasn’t it?”
5. The first date goes great. Really, it does. On the second date, though, he goes on a long-winded rant about a movie I’ve never heard of. When he registers my confusion, his face grows red. “Wait, you are the one who likes that movie, right?”
6. When I tell him I’m a writer, he says, “You know, I’m pretty creative, too.” He spends the rest of the night on his phone, pulling up videos of his self-composed piano solos and eagerly watching for my reactions, and I don’t know what else to do but keep smiling. The next day he sends me the first chapters of a novel he’s writing, and when I mention my own, he seems surprised. “Oh yeah,” he says. “I forgot you write.”
7. We don’t make it to the first date, because as soon as I give him my number, he spends the first three hours of conversation texting me about the merits of anime. If I’m being totally honest, I’ll never be quite sure which of us dodged that bullet.
8. “Where do you work?” I ask him. “Do you enjoy it? What’s your dream job? Where did you go to school?” He answers each question and waits patiently for the next, and I try to figure out the politest way to interject with my own stories so the conversation feels less one-sided. Eventually I give up on the idea that he has any interest in what I have to say and instead ask him the question that’s been on my mind all night: “Wait, your university is the one in the news for all the rape allegations, isn’t it? What are your thoughts on that?” Later he tells me I’m too invasive, and I never hear from him again.
9. On our first and only date, I learn a lot about his ex-girlfriend. Neither of us learn much else.