Not So Great Expectations

I’ve previously made fun of the lamely named dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, but to be fair, not one guy I’ve met on there has told me he wants me to “get drunk and make bad choices,” as my most recent – and final – date from happn did within 15 minutes of meeting.



CMB’s biggest weakness is its low volume of users, as well as the homogeneity of the users (read: they’re almost all Asian – remember I said it should be called Sake Meets Ramen). That being said, it seemed that after months of little to no activity, I was finally starting to meet some higher quality men.

Sam and I texted sporadically through the app before exchanging numbers. He told me he was in the process of relocating to LA from San Francisco, and it took several weeks for us to coordinate our schedules to actually meet up. He suggested meeting at 10 pm on a Thursday, which he claimed his friends had advised him to do to avoid traffic. I declined, telling him that sounded more like a booty call than a first date.

Certain female friends and acquaintances have told me I need to “take it easy” and “soften up” in my communications with men. One such friend criticized my response to Sam as too harsh, and advised that I should have said something like “10 pm on Thursday doesn’t work for me,” without calling out the blatant booty nature of the invitation.

Sam, however, was undisturbed by my forthrightness. He denied having any booty intentions, and eventually we scheduled to have drinks on a Sunday evening.

Before I met Sam, I had zero expectations, for several reasons:

  1. It had taken so long for us to make a date that any initial enthusiasm had waned.
  2. His suggestion of meeting at 10 pm made me skeptical of his intentions.
  3. He hadn’t shown a ton of personality in his texts and didn’t seem witty. Wit is HUGE to me – a man with no wit might as well have no penis either, as wit is nearly as fundamental a piece of equipment.

Nevertheless, I decided Sam was worth meeting. My hope was that he’d be better in person than over text. I’d met plenty of guys who seemed witty as hell over text then were dull as dirt in person. Sam had a good job as a consultant for a top firm, an MBA from UCLA and he was into photography, so he had an artistic side along with professional success in the corporate world. That sounded like the possible foundation for a Full-Package Man to me.

In addition to having zero expectations about Sam’s personality, or lack thereof, I didn’t expect him to be super attractive. He looked okay in his photos, a skinny Indian guy with a buzz cut, doing silly things like posing next to a statue in the identical posture. His photos showed more personality than his texts, though he was wearing the same shirt in so many of them that it appeared he’d gone on a dating profile photo shoot, probably after a recent breakup.

The good thing about having no expectations is that Sam pleasantly surprised me in manners, personality and even looks.

He was already at the restaurant when I arrived and said he’d reserved a table. I’d expected to sit at the bar, order a drink and see if cocktails progressed into dinner … if we liked each other. He asked immediately if I was hungry.

In person, Sam was smart, talkative and funny. He was also cuter than I thought from his pics. I was glad I’d persevered through the weeks it took to make a date happen.

Finding one good guy among the shit heap is what keeps us online daters going, right?

As my hero Aziz Ansari says in Modern Love (yes, I’m still quoting that book), we should give people a chance to find out who they are instead of moving on to the next swipe, even when it’s difficult to coordinate schedules or they make an initial faux pas. We’re so distracted by the seemingly endless choices online that we’re often more focused on a theoretical possibility that could be around the corner than the actual possibility in front of us.

Meeting Sam confirmed all of this to be true.

There was one possible red flag: he mentioned not having a car. Sam was less than a year out of a divorce and had moved to LA to live with two buddies with whom he was creating a tech startup, the nature of which sounded amorphous. He said his roommates had told him not to get a car, there wasn’t parking for it at their building, and his work paid to get a rental car whenever he needed one. Between that, Uber and his roommates’ two cars, I didn’t need to worry that he’d ever be without a vehicle if necessary.

Not having a car is on my five basic deal breakers list, which goes:

  1. No job
  2. No car
  3. No place
  4. No manners
  5. No brains

Sam seemed slightly offended that I had a reaction to his lack of a vehicle.

“You don’t have to worry about that,” he said with confidence. “For our second date I’ll pick you up in a red convertible.”

It’s important to follow my own dating rules, but also important to be flexible and not get so caught up in having a rigid policy that I lose sight of a possible nugget of gold in the shit heap. If Sam had access to a car whenever he wanted one, what was the difference in practice between that and owning his own car, other than not having to pay insurance?

Not to mention that he was already talking about a second date – surely that was a good sign.

Yes, I remember my own words – Believing NOTHING They Say on a First Date – but we were having craft cocktails with frothed egg white on top, wood-fire pizza baked in a brick oven and chicken cooked under a brick served with braised scallions, so it was easy to believe what he said, or to want to believe it enough that it felt virtually the same as believing.

Dinner flew by – it was delicious, well lubricated and filled with so much witty banter my cheeks hurt from laughing. Sam also mentioned repeatedly how great meeting on a Sunday night was – no traffic. He’d Uber’ed from Mid City to Santa Monica and arrived in record time.

I’ll be honest: I hate driving. I know most people hate driving in traffic, and it’s an unhappy fact of life in LA, but I am not a fan of driving long distances even without traffic, much less in it. So it’s much better when I date guys who like to drive, which fortunately many do. Sam seemed to have a major fear of LA traffic instilled in him by his roommates and his time at UCLA. Maybe his initial suggestion of meeting at 10 pm really had been traffic and not booty motivated? After such a fabulous first date, I could give him the benefit of the doubt.

Dinner was followed by a stroll around the neighborhood and a little making out in the alley behind the restaurant. We weren’t literally up against the dumpster, but we were close enough that it felt dirty in both a good and bad way. Sam made a comment about it being like back in college. Had he really not made out with anyone in a similar situation since college? For once I kept quiet.

So did Sam pick me up in that red convertible and drive me up the coast for a romantic day of brunch and beaches for date number two?

Could he really be that elusive nugget of gold in the shit heap of single men I’d been sifting through for far too long?

He texted me during the week and asked if we were still on for meeting Thursday. Only we hadn’t made plans for Thursday; I had an appointment. Again, we had trouble coordinating our schedules, and he said he was busy all weekend.

Friday night he texted me at 11:15: How are you?

Then: How is Friday night treating you?

Soon he told me he was watching some HBO before bed, and the show was “very sexy.”

Then: Have you ever fooled around on Skype or facetime?

Jesus. Ugh.

He then enticed me further by telling me that one of the girls on the show he was watching had a nice ass, and that made him think of me. Awww.

Then he justified the Skype sex request: It’s fun . . . and no need to drive.

I responded, Seems a little premature when you haven’t IRL yet.

Then I added: I can just see it now: “Why do I need to Uber over when we can just have Skype sex?”

He wrote: I think it’s even more exciting that way

Then: Taking one step at a time

Well that made no sense.

Not following, I wrote.

He clarified: First we Skype sex.. Then next time IRL

#opposite, I typed.

Hmm. His ability to find words had disappeared with his manners. So he was now in violation of deal breakers numbers two, four and five.

Besides, I wrote, who says we’re having sex that fast?

No one is, he said. Hadn’t he just said it?

I’ve seen a lot of guys not make an effort, but this is new. And surprising, I added, revealing I’d actually thought he had gold nugget potential.

Surprisingly fun . . . if you try, he retorted, his wit suddenly revived along with his desire to be lazy and creepy at once.

Are you being serious??? I asked. We were at triple question mark status now.


His lame one-word responses and disgusting, ill-timed request made me shut it down.

Sorry to disappoint you, Sam, but that’s something you do with your girlfriend. Or maybe some other girl, but we’re not there yet.

I was still treating him like a respectful, intelligent adult, even though he’d just proven himself to be neither.

I understand (grinning happy face emoji), he responded.

Double Jesus.

It will be better if we take time to get to know each other, I wrote.

What was I thinking? The conversation was over and so was he.


I think there’s a video chat service you can pay for by the minute. Try that, I typed, wishing I’d just said that and left out the part about getting to know each other.

Lol.. You are funny

You’re so eloquent this evening, I wrote. Then: Good chat. Thx for checking in.

And that was the last of Sam.

He was no nugget of gold. He wasn’t even fool’s gold. He was just more shit in the heap.

I felt like Sisyphus, only instead of dragging a boulder up a mountain, I was dragging a giant pile of poop.


This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. NOOOO wow this is such a let down. The first bit about having no expectations and being pleasantly surprised was something out of a romantic comedy!! So frustrating, ugh.

  2. “Sam was less than a year out of a divorce.”

    That actually may have been red flag #1. Anecdotally, it seems many guys who are fresh off the divorce boat are NOT yet relationship material. I think it’s safer to wait until they’ve had at least a couple of years of distance from the ol’ marital bed.

  3. I have to DISagree 100% with your friend re: your response to an invitation to a 10pm first date. I think you were spot on. He’s already in violation of dealbreakers #4 and #5.
    Interesting that in the dating world we also seem to be in a world of suspended disbelief. The real world: if it looks like a douche and walks like a douche… It is a douche. in a shit heap.
    Re: divorced men. Sometimes the marriage has been over in reality so long before they formally get separated and/or divorced. I think it must be taken on a case by case basis.

    1. Of course everything in life must be taken case by case, but I think that many men, even if their marriages were “over” before they were actually over, are relishing their freedom in the first year or two after divorce, and they aren’t quite ready to get back into something serious. Dating, sex, fun, sure. But serious, lasting relationships? Maybe not.

      So if you actually WANT something serious, it might be safer to focus on someone who is a bit more removed from all of that (not that it’s easy to find any kind of “someone”).

  4. In addition to being Sadder, yet Wiser, I’m also Elder and Wiser, as I’m among the 12.4% of the elder population. Seems to me that “Gettin’ to know you. Gettin’ to know all about you. Gettin’ to like you,
    Gettin’ to hope you like me.” has been flushed down the toilet along with the lid being nailed down resulting in excrement being dumped everywhere. Life has so much more to offer than a skype quickie. Sex is great, especially with someone you know, you like and who knows you and likes you and with whom you enjoy the banquet life offers. I was so pleased that Sam seemed so promising. Keep looking, girl, there has to be someone out there.

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