*All names have been changed to protect the innocent.


The first time I ever went on a date, it was with a girl from Tinder. I was 19, fresh off my freshman year and spending the summer back home in New York. So innocent. So pure. So skinny. I remember seeing the notification that Eleanor had messaged me flash on my phone and immediately thought she was a bot. Usually these bots present themselves as very attractive women whose low standards are only matched by the low resolution of their photos and a very high interest in your routing number. Since she had instead complimented my alliterative bio, I took the plunge and messaged back. We spoke back and forth mainly in alliteration, then assonance, then consonance, then in French, then like normal people about Kurt Vonnegut, Soulja Boy’s descent from godhood and the trailer for the new SpongeBob movie. Our conclusions were as follows: The movie was a sham. The whole premise is that SpongeBob and his pals are finally adventuring above water. They already did this in “Pressure” (Episode 32, Season 2). SpongeBob and his posse were all popsicle stick puppets for the above-water scenes. The movie sold out by making them CGI. We would’ve paid good money for a feature-length, popsicle-stick, puppet movie. Anyhow, one thing led to another and I asked her on a low-key Tinder date.

I don’t drive so my dad offered to dress like a Secret Service agent and chauffeur me to and from the date. The main problem with this plan was that he drove a 2004 Honda Odyssey. The windows aren’t even tinted.  I ended up taking a train two stops over to meet her.  I still have the ticket stubs floating around my room.  

We wandered around town and saw the hipster version of Teddy Roosevelt and left a bunch of pennies heads up for people to find. I accidentally got over-caffeinated at a Starbucks, which has become a reoccurring theme in my love life. A lot of that relationship involved hooking up in cars, which fortunately did not become a reoccurring theme in my love life. One day I’ll properly delineate the difference between “going on dates with,” “dating” and “seeing” (and all other variations ad infinitum) someone. That day isn’t today. That was prelude to disarm the follow: We ended up going on dates for the rest of the summer.  


This was my first Tinder booty call. I marveled at how she mixed blueberry vodka with seltzer. My childlike fascination with basic mixed drinks would also become a recurring theme in my love life. I had been reading a lot of people’s last words and we talked about what we wanted ours to be. The word scrimshaw was said at some point.

I’ve suppressed the rest of our conversation due to what happened when we started hooking up. I had whiskey dick (really blueberry vodka and seltzer dick, but whatever) and she was very keen on that fact. She repeatedly let me know that I was having technical difficulties. My expression, not hers. I think I would fall in love with someone who referred to my impotency as technical difficulties.

Eventually I finished and she told me I really seem like I’m autistic, which was not very cool of her. My silence was punctuated by the still playing episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” Eventually we went back to the sex thing and she asked me what she could do to fix my poor performance. I was pretty bitter about the whole autism thing and asked her to make pterodactyl noises or recite the U.S. constitution. I have the subtle belief my life is a movie and I do things that would only be funny to a live studio audience. Once I broke up with a girl while wearing a Drake sweatshirt and smattered Drake lyrics throughout the conversation. I love Drake so much. Anyhow, digressions aside, she looked at me quizzically. I mumbled never mind and kept thrusting. I came; she left. I think to do mission work in Africa.

I asked Eleanor* if she thought I seemed autistic; she said I was cool and idiosyncratic. We drew Twitter participation trophies for one another on the back of index cards and sent them back and forth.

I was back in New York a little while ago and Jenni and I matched on Tinder, then she unmatched me. So at least I now know that this was a sufficiently traumatic experience for everyone involved.

Girl Who I Have Literally Zero Idea What Her Name Is

We went to a decent diner and I had an anxiety attack. I couldn’t make eye-contact for the majority of the date. That went over about as well as you would expect. I shook her hand and told her this was a very solid two out of 10 experience. On the bus ride home, Eleanor and I discussed whether my campers calling me their favorite gringo was a compliment or not.

Eleanor* pt. 2 (October 2016)

A couple months ago, I was visiting a friend from high school who goes to the same college as her and asked if she wanted to get a cup of joe. Eleanor* did me one better, and invited me to her literary society’s wine tour.

It was weird. The conversation didn’t flow like it should have even though we were both drunk. The pauses were punctuated by the wheels on the bus going round and round. We had both changed a lot but in a lot of the same ways, which is to say that we both became somewhat depressed leftists with an affinity for meme culture. The usual millennial liberal arts evolution.

Later that night, we went to a vegan dim sum joint and talked about how it’s often impossible to fully appreciate potato curries. Too often, potatoes are left bland despite being drenched in sauce. They just don’t absorb flavor as well as tofu, really unfortunate stuff. It felt like a sufficiently quirky conversation. I got what I came for.

All of our dates had ended on public transport; some things don’t change. I turned around to get one last glimpse of her and the bus blurred her form into the street lights. I surveyed the crowd of my fellow Greyhounders; there was a man resting his amputated leg on a CVS basket to keep himself steady. It’s impolite to stare so I did what’s natural: looked down at my phone and began swiping again.

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