Brian, 28, 6’0, Patent lawyer, no kids, Cancer
He showed up ten minutes early to the bar. We met on Bumble a week before. His profile said that his pet peeve is “people who don’t follow politics.” He is dressed in a suit and tie. He probably just got off work, but something tells me he would still wear this on a Saturday evening. He’s biracial, light skinned, good teeth, looks like he works out. It’s hard to tell through the suit. But overall he looks good.
He doesn’t get up to hug me as I walk up to the bar, but he orders my favorite drink as soon as I sit down. He went back and studied our Bumble conversation. I’m impressed. We talk for a few minutes about what we did earlier today. Finally I ask, “So what made you want to be a lawyer?” He takes a sip from his drink and dips a chip into our lukewarm spinach dip. “The better question,” he informs me, “is what am I passionate about.” Up until this point he seemed like a normal person, so I play along. “Okay, so what are you passionate about?”
“Growing up in this area, I learned it’s so important to know your shit, you know?” I had no idea what he was talking about. “Like, there are so many political issues to get behind and everyone here has their thing, you know? So, for me, it’s small businesses. Capitalism has a ton of shortcomings, don’t get me wrong, but the American dream is still alive and well. I wanted to get into patent law because I wanted to help people build their dream.” He beamed. I wondered how many times he’d told that story on his Bumble dates. “So, anything else you wanna ask me?” He double dipped the chip.
Louie, 29, 5’10”, Server, no kids, Libra
Twenty minutes late. Smelled faintly of weed when he walked in. Couldn’t tell if he had just finished smoking or if he smokes so much that the smell is just in his clothes permanently. He’s been working at Founding Farmers near GW for the past two years. We met while I was getting lunch there. He’s white, with a runner’s body, and he has green eyes.
We’re having dinner at the Founding Farmers in Tysons. He said he knows a couple of the servers and can get us some free drinks. Once we’re seated, he immediately starts talking about weed. He’s 29. “It’s great how they decriminalized pot in Virginia, right? Now I don’t have to hide my plants. It’s my dream to be a grower. I want to move out to Colorado next year.” I wonder why I’m here on a date with a man who plans to move across the country next year.
“So, what’s your plan for becoming a grower once you get to Colorado? That’s a really hot business right now.” It’s becoming more difficult to pretend to be interested. “To be honest, I haven’t worked all that out yet,” he said between bites of crab and corn dip. “I’m just gonna move out there and figure it out as I go.” He asks “how much is that?” for every item I say I’m interested in on the menu. I thought you worked here, how do you not know that? By the end of the date, he confirmed that he did smoke right before he showed up here.
Blair, 25, 6’1”, Congressional intern, no kids, Aquarius
Has big dreams of being the first president to also serve on the Supreme Court. He’s interning for a senator in one of the New England states. Passionate about having healthy food in schools and forcing Amazon to pay taxes. He’s black, dark skinned, and has perfect teeth. He has to shave his beard for work but he has a nice five o’clock shadow.
We show up at the same time. We’re meeting for happy hour at HalfSmoke. He drinks 3 bourbons (neat) in the first hour, but he seems completely fine. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. He’s from New York City, and he seems to work it into every part of the conversation. Even the ones where it doesn’t make any sense. He said he left because it was so expensive and DC is “so cheap.” He got into politics after he moved down here, and he’s been hooked ever since.
“It seems like you’ve got a pretty busy and exciting life. Are you looking for a relationship?” He stops eating his mac and cheese bites and faces me. “I’m looking for whatever’s coming my way. I’m not pressed on anyone or anything, you feel me? If that’s what this turns into, cool. But I’m not chasing after anyone. Like you said, I’m busy, so I don’t have time for that.” He seems a little angry. I didn’t know I was hitting a sore spot.
“So how do you feel about gender roles, then? You said you don’t like chasing women. Would you consider yourself a feminist?” He rolls his eyes. “Feminists are always on some bullshit. They want equality, but they also want you to be chivalrous and pay for everything. At some point you gotta pick one. Do you want me to treat you good, or treat you like an equal? I’m not a feminist at all, and I don’t like women that are.” We split the bill.
Walter, 45, 6’4”, VP of private company, 2 sons and 1 daughter, Scorpio
We meet at Masseria, a super expensive Italian place in Northeast DC. We met on Seeking Arrangement – don’t judge me. He’s attractive. He’s very tall, in good shape, and he’s well put together. It’s hard to tell what his race is. He told me he’s “multicultural.”
He’s married, but he said he’s separated. I’m not sure if that means he’s getting a divorce or not, but he doesn’t seem to want to talk about it. His eyes are a very piercing blue, and it’s hard to look away from him. He won’t tell me the name of the company he works for, but he’s buying lots of food and is ordering wine by the bottle, so clearly he’s trying to take my mind off the details.
“So, what exactly are you looking for?” I ask between sips of wine. He dips his bread in his own little plate of olive oil and looks through me. “Dinner twice a month. Never on weekends – those are for the wife and kids, but I’m planning on divorcing her soon. I have an apartment in Northwest DC that you’ll have access to. $2500 a month. I have other stipulations but you must agree to the basics first.” He chugs his wine glass. I instantly feel uncomfortable. Why do I have to agree before I hear all the stipulations? Is he really getting a divorce? Is Walter even his real name?
I express my discomfort and say that I have questions about his marital status and his place of employment. He stops a random server and whispers something in his ear. I’m escorted out of the restaurant. I start to believe that his name isn’t really Walter.
Nico, 31, 5’9”, Federal government employee, 1 daughter, Taurus
We meet at Kith/Kin at the Wharf. It’s packed and he didn’t get a reservation, so the wait is 40 minutes. We put our names on the list and decide to sit outside and look at the boats while we wait. He’s Puerto Rican, fair skinned, is slim but doesn’t look like he works out, and has curly black hair.
He tells me he had his daughter in high school. She lived in California with her mom, but she’s just moved to DC to live with him while she goes to high school. He makes it very clear that he’s looking for a wife and a stepmom for his daughter. My younger sister is the same age as his daughter, so I’m not sure how I feel. He spends a lot of time showing me pictures of her and suggesting things that the three of us could do together. I’m uncomfortable.
When we finally sit down to eat, he tells me to get whatever I want. I order the gumbo and he orders the jerk chicken and the oxtails. “For my daughter,” he says. The rest of the date goes fine. We have a few things in common, and we get along fine. He pays for everything. As he’s walking me back to my car he tells me that his daughter would really like me and he wants me to meet her. This is our first date. I block his number once I get in the car.
James, 29, 5’11”, self-employed, pregnant ex-girlfriend, Gemini
We meet at Georgia Brown’s in Northwest DC. He shows up ten minutes late, but he looks really good. Tall enough, dark skinned, full beard, with nice teeth. He’s dressed nicely.
The date is going well but he’s on his phone a lot. Something seemed off when he stopped texting on one phone to pick up a call that came in on his other phone. He has two phones. Is he a drug dealer? He says he’s “between jobs” right now because he “got into some mess” last year. He also gets up in the middle of the date to go get something from his car. He doesn’t return for 15 minutes, and he seems a little on edge when he gets back.
“So, it said on your OkCupid profile that you have kids.” He paused. “I don’t know if I have a kid yet. My ex is pregnant, and we were still hooking up for a few months after we broke things off. She don’t know if it’s mine or her current boyfriend’s, but for right now she’s telling him it’s his.” He said this so casually I almost thought nothing of it. I can’t tell if he wants the kid to be his or not.
I ask him why he has two cellphones. I try to be playful about it. He takes a sip of his Long Island iced tea and laughs. “I’m a businessman,” he tells me. “I have a lotta different hustles. I’m an entrepreneur.” I ask him what kind of business he does. He ignores me and takes a picture of his food before he eats it. He pays for everything in cash.
I rested. Brian and Louie texted me. I texted one of them back. Blair and I blocked each other. “Walter” has deleted his profile, so I can’t contact him. I unblocked Nico and got 17 texts from him. I ignored them all. James FaceTimed me and answered his other phone in the middle of the call.
I decided I’ll just be single.