Robin de Voh
there's never enough stories

Nanoprep 2021 Day 6: Not Picky Enough

By Robin de Voh on 2021-10-11

He crossed the street and his nerves were really starting to act up now. He didn't go on dates from online apps often, mostly because he was so nervous about the entire idea. A meat market where anything not perfect would get a rejection. And also because he was quite picky. But he also figured that if he didn't go out there and get a coffee or drink with anyone, it'd also be a useless effort.

So he'd responded enthusiastically when she asked him out for a coffee and a walk. She seemed nice, her profile said she was into backpacking -- so was he! -- and rock music -- him too! -- and she considered herself politically liberal -- also a plus! He'd ignored that last one once, and found out she was actually a little bit racist, so he made sure that he'd avoid people like that from now on.

Racism isn't a turn-on.

He walked up to the place they'd agreed to meet up at, and saw that she was sitting outside. She got up, they gave each other a hug. Even though they already knew each other's names, they still introduced each other. "Kyle," he said, and she responded with "Emily".

She then pointed at the front door.

"They're closed today," she said with a grin. "Good choice," she added.
"Aw crap, I didn't check that, I'm sorry, have you been waiting long?" he said, now even more nervous.
"Nah, I got here a few minutes ago. But do you know another place with good coffee?"

He thought for a second, and then remembered there was another coffee place not too far from there.

"Follow me," he said as he put on his own grin.
"Lead the way," she said, as they set off.

They talked about the basics, how her trip over had been, how far he'd had to come, but the walk was only 5 minutes so by the time they'd had to switch to more real topics, they arrived. They took a seat at one of the tables outside -- the sun was shining nicely -- and they discussed what kind of coffee they both liked.

She liked a cappuccino. He liked an espresso macchiato. She looked at him like he was crazy.

"That's really strong, is it?"
"Only if I ask them to make it a double," he said slyly.

She laughed. Then the server came by.

"What'll it be?"
"One cappuccino, please," he said, then looked at Emily and grinned. "And can I have a double espresso macchiato? With an extra shot?"

She looked shocked. The server less so, but did inform him that 3 shots is a lot. He said "Exactly." and sat back.

"You're crazy!" Emily said, laughing.
"I'm in a pretty stressful industry, so coffee's a common drug, it hardly touches me anymore," he said, realizing he might come off as boasting that he'd 'beaten' caffeine.
"Sometimes a regular tea already makes me unable to sleep," she said, signaling that he was fine.

The coffee arrived, and they talked about all kinds of things. Having that first conversation can be weird, you know each other a little, how you communicate, but you still don't know each other at all. So you talk about your favorite kind of movies, music, food, drinks, all of that. And you're just kinda hoping the conversation develops naturally, and it becomes less of an effort and more of a natural flow.

That seemed to be happening, and as the coffees were put in front of them, she asked a more deep question.

"What do you dislike the most about the world right now?"

He was taken aback at the question, it felt like it came out of nowhere. But he gave it some thought, and he really already knew what the answer was for him.

"All kinds of things, really. Hatred towards minorities, climate change, how social media is ruining society. All that kind of stuff worries me."
"Wait, do you believe in climate change?"

Not a question he got often, so he looked at her, to see if she was joking.

"Yeah, I do, it's basically scientific fact at this point."
"Well, that's just your opinion, last winter was really cold, so I still don't see any evidence for global warming."
"Wait, you don't believe in climate change?"
"No, I don't," she said, now noticeably cooler in tone than before. She took a sip of her cappuccino.

His thoughts raced, and he was confused. Okay, maybe there's liberals out there who don't believe in climate change, that's fine.

"Okay, so we disagree on that, what would you answer to that question yourself?" he tried, steering the conversation back on topic.
"Immigrants, really. They scare me, importing their weird cultures into our country and refusing to do things our way," she said as casually as if he'd asked what her favorite color was.

He realized something was very, very wrong. This was bringing back memories to another date he'd had where after a few hours of rather personal conversations, she eventually said "well, it's good you can't tell you're Jewish", and he'd known it was time to go.

That same alarm bell was ringing again, but this time there was a question he just had to ask beforehand.

"I'm sorry, I think something went wrong. Your profile said you're liberal?"
"Yeah, I am," she said, looking at him like he'd asked a dumb question.
"But most liberals don't really see things the way you do," he said.
"Ah, you seem to believe the internet definition of liberal. We're not all nature-loving, immigrant-supporting idiots, ok? Being a liberal means being able to say what you want, no matter what. Liberal, as in, liberty, freedom of speech."

He looked at her like he'd seen a ghost erupt from her face.

"That's... That's not just the internet definition. That's... That's the definition. Personal freedoms, yes, but also not quite a fan of hatred towards people just because they're from another place."

She laughed.

He decided.

He dropped the topic, and returned to more shallow things. His macchiato had gone cold so he downed it.

When she asked if he wanted another drink, he made up a meeting with a friend he needed to get to, and flagged down the server to pay for the drinks.

He wanted to pay so he wouldn't feel bad when not long after he'd tell her he wasn't interested in seeing her again. But when the server came back, Emily immediately put down her card and said "'"it's on me, the next one can be on you," with a smile.

He didn't understand. How, after that conversation, was she under the impression there'd be a second date? Screw the confusion, he thought to himself, and decided to just roll with it.

As they walked back to where they had initially met and their ways would split, she said "So, where are we going the next time?"
"Uhm, actually, nowhere, I think, that, maybe it's -- this was a good time -- but maybe we should just keep it to this once," he managed to get out.

He'd never been good at rejection.

"Oh," she said, taking a half step back and looking disappointed. "I see. Well, thanks for being honest," she said.
"No problem," he awkwardly said. "Have a good day," he added.
"You too," she said as she turned around and walked to her car.

He turned around too.


How does this keep happening?

He decided he needed to be more picky, not less.

Thankfully I've never been on a date this bad. But one of them came damn close. *shivers*