Patience has never been my strong suit. I pay for overnight shipping because Amazon Prime’s two days is too long for me. If the train takes longer than five minutes to arrive, I jump in a cab. And I spiral if I don’t get a text back immediately. I also have zero talent for small talk. Most people were gifted with the social grace to talk about work and the weather with anyone, but I struggle to discuss anything besides my unwavering love for Lana Del Rey and intense family dynamics, all while probably asking others too many personal questions. For this reason, I have never been one to stay in the hey-what’s-up-not-much-you cycle on dating apps for long.
I firmly believe that the best conversations happen in person and that you truly don’t know if you have chemistry with someone until you are sitting across from them. Tinder brings people together, but it’s up to us to actually leave the house and see where things go.
Having just gotten out of a one-year relationship, I was a little out of practice with the whole online dating thing so I figured the best way to jump back in would be to go on a date right the fuck away.
I matched with Kat* on an uneventful Sunday while Liking and Noping my life away on the toilet (don’t lie, you do it, too). I didn’t waste time with an unremarkable “hey.” I messaged her, “You seem like so much fun! Would you want to have drinks Tuesday night?”
Kat wasn’t playing. “How’s 8:30 at Bar Veloce?” she responded. I love a woman who is unabashedly forward. I agreed and closed the app, smiling to myself while my cat stared up at me and meowed loudly.
This seemed almost too easy, and I began to run through what-ifs. There was no time to spend sussing her out over small talk — we had a date.
Tuesday came quicker than my Amazon packages, and as I doused myself in perfume and bronzer, the butterflies in my stomach multiplied. Maybe I should’ve talked to her just a little bit longer. Maybe small talk exists for a reason. Am I making a mistake? I overanalyzed and overanalyzed some more. I love to date and meet women, but after some time out of the dating scene, I feared I was all washed up.
It was too late to turn back now. I maniacally applied lip gloss in the back of an Uber, feeling the anxious excitement that only a first date can produce. I missed this feeling. And, sure enough, excitement soon took over. I had done it! I asked a woman out right away, just like I used to before I spent a year being monogamous, and quite frankly, boring. The possibilities felt endless.
Kat was waiting in the front of the bar, dressed in the sexiest suit I have ever seen. “I’m so happy to meet you!” I gushed, maybe a little too enthusiastically, eyeing her expensive watch.
“I’m happy to meet you, too. I’m glad we’re meeting for drinks. I’m much better in person,” she smirked. I was glad we were on the same page.
We settled onto bar stools, ordered a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, and right away, our conversation was incredible. I channeled my discomfort into energy, and whether we were talking about our conservative families, who the sexiest character on “Orange Is the New Black” is (Alex, duh), or sharing pictures of our cats (could we be any more lesbian?), everything we were saying was way more interesting, dynamic, and real than whatever prolonged chit chat we could’ve engaged in before meeting.
It wasn’t always seamless. There were those inevitable first-date silences when you’re both trying to think of the next witty and interesting question or comment, but overall, it was the best first date I’d ever been on. Because we didn’t spend hours or days or even weeks messaging back and forth, I didn’t have time to get overly anxious, and we didn’t have false preconceived notions about each other. We asked each other all of the getting-to-know-you questions in person, and that’s the way I like it.
Kat and I ordered another bottle of wine, and the conversation got easier and easier. (Shocking, I know.) I was already picturing us with a mansion on the beach in Southampton (kidding, sort of) when she broke my daydream to kiss me. We have another date tonight.
If I could offer anyone dating advice, it would be this: skip to the date. You can’t see someone’s facial expressions, read their body language, or hear the inflection in their voice over a message. You can’t gently brush their hand as they tell a hilarious story. And you certainly can’t get a goodnight kiss.