I don’t do online dating. I wish I did, but I just don’t. I would rather ruin a relationship with someone I know in real life, you know? I’m into making places I frequent real awkward for myself.
But last spring I thought to myself, “Hey! I’m a catch! And I’ve got to end things with this Needham Outback Steakhouse waiter once and for all.” So I downloaded Tinder and found myself talking to someone. I’ll call him Stew.
We talk for about a week, and I really, really like Stew. Stew is cute, but not so cute that I can’t trick him into ruining his life for me. Stew lives in Rhode Island. Stew is a chef. These things are central to Stew’s identity, and I’m giving out a lot of information on Stew right now. Sorry Stew.
At this point in my life, I like that Stew is a chef who lives in Rhode Island, because I want to date someone who’s nothing like me and geographically far away from me, and that’s because I’m a comic. The reasoning is twofold:
First, I’m out at shows or open mics almost every night of the week, and I don’t want the person I’m dating to feel like they’re competing with my need to try out dick jokes in bars. Second, I love the fact that he’s into cooking, and my favorite part about cooking is that cooking is not comedy. I don’t need to be taken any less seriously as a comic by becoming that girl who fucks another comic.
But on top of these two impossibly perfect things, I already feel like I know him. Even though this is my first interaction with online dating, I’m feeling bold, like Fergie when she left the Black Eyed Peas. I feel like I met the right person and I nailed it on the first try.
Then, Stew came to Boston.
He took me to this super nice, fixed menu restaurant, which already made me uncomfortable. I wore an old No Doubt T-shirt that I sometimes wear to bed after having sex. He acted like I’ve never seen a restaurant before and now have the unique privilege of experiencing it with a chef. At one point he picked up a crab shell and said, “This is a crab.”
I spent the remaining time wondering if it would be too cliche to hop out of the bathroom window.
Finally we left, and he mentioned feeling nauseous. Before I could react, he doubled over, and his clammy hands clutched me for support. That was the moment I looked to the camera like I’m in Parks and Recreation. I told him it’s okay to throw up, and he immediately said he can’t throw up outside. Dude’s clearly not from Boston. This city is your toilet.
We made it back to my apartment, and he immediately went into my bathroom and turned on both the shower and the sink to mask the sounds of what was about to occur. He proceeded to spend an entire episode of Game of Thrones in there, and that’s including the title sequence.
Eventually, Stew exited the bathroom to join me on the couch. We both sat there, pretending like we weren’t marinating in silence and the smell of a sophisticated dinner gone to waste.
In the next moment, as I denied his move for a kiss (no, really) and ushered him out of my front door, I realized how much I was projecting onto a total stranger. I knew him. I imagined what it would be like going back and forth between Rhode Island and Massachusetts once we embarked on our inevitable long distance relationship, and the late night grilled cheeses he’d make me like Nate made for Andy in The Devil Wears Prada. He took a literal shit on that notion, and I’m grateful he did. I saw what I wanted to see, and in turn, I spent a lot of time seeing what I didn’t want to see. That was a gross and fast way to learn that lesson.
So, thanks Stew. If you could now just leave me alone on Instagram, we’d be set.