Date Location: Salute Brick Oven Bistro – Montclair, NJ
Location Review: 4.0 Stars – Although the menu is essentially all in Italian, the food is BOMB and it’s BYOB so you can get as drunk as you want for as little as you want.
Date Duration: 7 hours
I had kept the same Hinge profile since I got the app. My photos had not changed too much and I liked my answers to some of their conversation starters. Over the course of 8 months I started to notice patterns on what people would “Like” to open the conversation with me. 2 photos in particular get more play but there’s a video of a comedy performance I have that rarely gets noticed. This is what Jared “Liked” to start the conversation.
The conversation just worked with him and in less than a day we exchanged numbers. We texted up the ass and I just didn’t care because he was so fucking funny and we had the same sense of humor. HOW.
I also drunk texted him. A lot. The first weekend we were texting, I was in DC visiting a friend. I won’t lie, I normally go pretty hard when I go out. DC was another form. It had been several months since I had blacked out and I did not remember ANY of what I said to Jared.
He apparently thought it was cute and then let me drunk text him again when I went home for July 4th. ..and again when I went to party on the 5th. (I drink a lot during the summer. COME AT ME)
For the first time, in a long time, I was fully excited to meet someone. I knew the basics of who he was but even over text he could make me smile.
He lived near Montclair (a VERY bougie place in NJ) so I met him over there for dinner. As I was staring and waving at a dog that walked by, Jared appeared. He was a lanky lanky white boy. But he had the biggest smile. Alright, I can and have done worse.
I was so excited that he brought white wine. I don’t know if it was chance or that he remembered I liked it but it worked in his favor. Right off the bat, we got along. It took us over a half hour to order food because we just wouldn’t shut the fuck up. (The food was BOMB btw. Got those meatballs with the fontina cheese in it and some kind of breaded chicken with rosemary. So good!)
We also killed the bottle of wine pretty quickly. OOPS. (By we I mean me. Damage was done.) When we finished at the restaurant he asked if I wanted to see the rest of downtown Montclair. On the way, we passed a bar that my co-worker recommended and we stopped in front of it. He was talking all about it and showing me the fun things and I felt him touch me a little more. Nothing crazy. Just a hand briefly on my back or my arm. So I thought to myself, FUCK IT IMMA TOUCH HIM. So I touched his arm and leaned into him a bit. Then we kissed. (In front of an abandoned church and garbage can.) Then it turned into a light make out and when we stopped and looked at each other, he had the dorkiest smile on his face. It was adorable.
He took my hand and we walked around a little bit (may have made out on another street corner) and we finally decided that standing on a corner and talking was kind of awk. We sat on a half wall and kept talking and making out for the next 2 hours.
During this time, he told me how nervous he was to meet me. So nervous that he went to Kohl’s on his lunch break to get a new outfit for the date. He also said that for the first time since high school, he had butterflies. SO. SWEET. To top it off, when we started talking, he had a few other conversations with girls going but he stopped answering because I was the only one he really wanted to talk to.
Around 10-something he walked me to my car where we made out slammed up against the trunk of my hatchback. For 2 hours. During this time, there was a tiny Asian lady in her car 2 spots from mine and we had no idea she was there until she pulled out of the garage. OOPS. We were going at it pretty hard to the point I had several hickeys on my neck and he indirectly asked me to come back to his place. I declined, but we continued on making out like teenagers.
I drove him back to where he parked and we made out for the entire Shawn Mendes album. My brother was staying at my apartment so things were cut short when he decided to call me at 1am and see if I was dead. THANKS BRO.
I drove home so happy for once. As a general life note, during this time I had been having some trouble with my physical and mental health. I was tired of being miserable so I joined a gym by my work and signed up for talkspace. (If you are in a bind at all because of insurance, cost, time, etc. I really encourage you to check out talkspace. It’s super easy to use and they work quickly to find you a therapist.) When this self care started I told myself that unless I already had a conversation going, I wouldn’t pursue anything. At the time, the only person I was speaking to was Jared and he completely surpassed any and all expectations. Date #2 was underway.
Elijah and I worked together several years ago and I kind of always thought there was something between us but I figured I was wrong. Plus, even if there was something, I was seriously dating someone at the time and our company was not about its employees getting together.
This year, he was in NYC and we had possibly the best date I had ever been on. He was so nice, I was so comfortable with him, and it ended it a solid ass kiss. Only thing was that he lived far away.
Despite the distance between us, Elijah still messaged me pretty consistently after our date and would get pretty flirty. I asked what he was up to one day and he said he had the day off and was on the beach. I responded with something along the lines of, “Oh, living the dream!” He countered with, “Not quite, the dream is to have you next to me.” WOAH. Damn. Alright.
About a month or so after his visit, I met up with my old boss (who happened to be best friends with Elijah when we all worked together.) We were catching up when he started with,
“So I heard you had a visitor…”
“Yeah, Elijah was in the city last month and we caught up. It was nice.”
“Oh I am sure he treated you sooooo nicely.”
“Yeah? I guess? …WHAT DO YOU KNOW?”
I gave the quick and dirty of what happened and then my boss said, “I don’t know if I should be telling you this but he has had the biggest crush on you. He would ask me all the time if he could just take you out on a date and I had to keep telling him no since you worked for me. I told him that y’all can hang out and be friends then after graduation he could do whatever.”
O.M.G. Wow. Holy shit. This blew my fucking mind. Like yes, I kinda always thought he had a crush on me but I also looked very different then, really didn’t give a fuck since I already had a boyfriend, and made no effort since said boyfriend lived far away. I was literally at my grossest and Elijah was that into me.
So many things started making sense. It wasn’t just that we would get food all the time. It was how he looked at me from across the table. It was how he would always stop by when I was working to “see my boss”. It was how he would check on me after a rough night at work. It was how he would text me over holiday breaks just to see how I was doing. It was how he was so happy to have taken a photo with me at our year end dinner. I was right all along.
A part of me felt like I had missed an opportunity from way back when. What would that date have looked like? Would we have lasted awhile? Would either of us have moved after? But, as much as I wonder I know I wouldn’t have wanted it at the time. I was so in love with my boyfriend and clearly my boss wouldn’t have let it happen. But sometimes when it’s late, I had a bad day, and I’m alone, I go to bed thinking “I WAS FUCKING RIGHT. YOU GOT A MAN AT YOUR UGLIEST. YOU GO LAURA.” And I wake up with the biggest smile.
Date Location: Blind Tiger
Location Review: 4.0 Stars – Despite the fact that the happy hour drinks were cheap, the reviews online were great, and the atmosphere was cool AF; the service was terrible so I only got to have 1 of those cheap happy hour drinks
Date Duration: 4 hours
When I saw Sam on tinder, my first thought was, “Damnnnnnn. Imma do some dirty shit to this fucker”. He looked really cute (especially with his shirt off) and gave the vibe that he was a half decent person. Low and behold, he messaged me and we chatted away.
We had a lot in common. Not only did we like the same shows and music but, he was moving to a block from where I worked, grew up in a similar town, did Crossfit, was looking for a relationship, and had a similar family structure to mine since his oldest sister was gay. HOT DAMN.
I was excited to say the least. The past few dates I had been on weren’t great and it was refreshing to meet someone who shared similar values. After some research online, I picked a bar that was close to my train in case I hated him but once coming up into the city I forgot something very important. It was pride weekend and I just picked a spot in the neighborhood where all the festivities were happening.
After weaving through thousands of people (and apparently walking past Lady Gaga) I beat Sam to the bar. I waited and stared at every guy who walked by hoping he would be my date. Then I saw this shorter guy and though, “Ohh no”. It was Sam. And he looked way better in photos. FUCK. Alright, this may be fine, he wasn’t terrible looking. Then he opened his mouth to introduce himself and he sounded like a leprechaun who huffed helium. Shit.
Overall the date wasn’t terrible. I did have the best grilled cheese of my damn life. But I didn’t feel the connection. The conversation was choppy and there was never a moment where I thought, “Wow, I want to do this again.” Since I’m the worst, we ended up staying out for 4 hours. It wasn’t a bad time, definitely better than sitting on my couch by myself, but nothing to rave about.
He walked me to the train then again to the next train since one station was closed for Pride. It was nice of him and I kind of got the vibe that he was into me more than I was him. We hugged before parting ways and I could tell he had the best body under that t-shirt. DAMN IT WHY WAS HIS VOICE SO ANNOYING. We never spoke again. Back to the drawing board.
Date Location: No idea. Our original plan didn’t work out so we went somewhere around the corner
Location Review: 3.0 Stars – The playlist and vibe of the place was awesome but the food was weird. I got a salad and it was the full romaine leaves with cheese on it
Date Duration: 2 hours
Once a week Tinder will present you with four humans and you get a free super like to use. On occasion, I would take advantage but never had I received a like back.
That was until Darren. I was surprised to say the least. He was clearly more attractive than me, worked in IT so he was smarter, and he messaged me first. Interesting. Within a few messages he asked for my number, we made plans, and didn’t talk until that day. I can dig.
On the day of I texted to check in and see if we were still on. He said yes and we stuck to the plan. I met him at the bar and he looked just as good in person. (As a general note, I was getting over a sinus infection and my antibiotics temporarily left me deaf in one ear.) We walked through to find a spot but it was packed and small talk wasn’t working since I couldn’t hear jack shit. We went back outside, walked a few blocks, and settled on a new spot.
The place was kind of funky. Music was on point and their drink menu was cool. Only thing was that my date was a dick. He was a competitive ballroom dancer and was surprised I knew as much as I did and seemed slightly irked that I had this knowledge without also dancing competitively. My ex competed for years so I was familiar with every dance style, scoring, finding partners, popular competitions in the area, collegiate teams, Latin vs America Rhythm style, random ass ballroom things, and to top it off I danced socially in college. I knew my shit.
One part of knowing my shit is knowing the crowd ballroom dance attracts. You have your really weird people who wear fedoras casually, the technically trained assholes, people who only live and breathe ballroom, normal people, and then there’s this snooty subset that looks down on you no matter if you dance or not. This was Darren.
It wasn’t what he said. It’s how he said it. You could tell he thought he was hot shit. In addition to being a snooty dancer, he was also a snooty improv-er. Kill me.
What really did him in though was that he was no fun to be around in the least. He was tired (fair) but kept bringing it up. I offered to reschedule and he declined but instead bitched about how he was up until 5am that morning and is just so tired. He kept apologizing so I figured we would just do one round of drinks and leave. Fine. Oh no, he ordered food. WUT. If you’re trying to get home why are you ordering shit?
Then the check came. I grabbed my wallet, pulled the card out, started moving my hand to the opposite side of the table, and dropped the card. K. We’re splitting. Fine. But then at the last second he took my card out and said, “It’s easier if we just put it on mine. If it really means that much to you, you can Venmo me.”
Then he followed up with, “I just think that if you’re the person who asks for the date you should pay.” WHY DIDN’T YOU OPEN WITH THAT? Or even not say anything and just give me my card back? Bruh if you’re going to pay, don’t make me pull out my card, reach over, and almost knock over all the drinks. Just say, “I got this one” and leave it at that.
We left and he walked with me until he had to turn to get his train. He said we’d have a make up date since he was so tired. I kept his contact info for 3 days, didn’t hear anything, then blocked.