When I got back to Boston after the holidays, I was eager to get back into the dating world. Like I said in my Q&A last week, lately I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself. After taking lots of “me-time,” I finally feel ready for a real relationship. I just need to meet someone that I want to have a relationship with. With Boston still in the not-fun stages of lockdown, it’s basically out of the question to go out and meet someone the natural way. Which means most of my searching has been on the apps that I live to hate. This is how I met Anton.
Anton and I matched on Tinder. He looked very tall, has a good job, and is a bit older (I think 34 or 35). Overall , he seemed nice. We started talking and he got kind of flirty pretty quickly. Not in a sexual way, just in an overuse of emojis way. But when I found out he was Russian that somehow explained it. Maybe this is just my own experience with Russians/Eastern Europeans, but I feel like they’ve all been really into emojis. Like, sending me the kissy-face with the heart one right off that bat. Kind of weird, but not a deal-breaker.
I liked that he seemed very interested in me. He was eager to learn more about me, and he’s smart. So when he asked for my number I came *this* close to giving him my real one. But at the last minute, I decided to stick with the Google Voice one. When I sent to save his number, I realized apparently I’ve matched with too many guys with his name. I ended up having to clarify that he was “the Russian one.” And yes, I save numbers (most of the time). I’m bad with names and if I do end up going out with them, I need to remember who I need to look for.
We texted back and forth a bit, he kept up with the emojis, but overall no bright red flags. I thought it was funny because I asked what kind of music he liked. He said since he grew up during the 90s he was a big fan of bands like Nirvana. I’m always fascinated by people who grew up in other countries identifying their childhood with American bands. So I agreed to meet him for a date. Nothing crazy, just a coffee date. But, I hadn’t been on a date in awhile so I dressed pretty cute just because I felt like it. It was mostly for myself, though.
We met up at Haymarket, which isn’t too far from my place. Almost immediately, I knew he was not going to be the one for me. I don’t know why, I just had a feeling. I have very strong gut reactions that are usually pretty good at telling me if I’m going to have good chemistry with someone or not. And I was pretty positive I was not going to have it with him. I was right.
First of all, while Anton’s profile pictures were correct in depicting his height, as soon as we were able to take our masks off I realized that I had overlooked one of my biggest rules. Usually on dating apps, I take notice if a guy only has closed-lip smiles. It usually says something about their teeth and smile. I had forgotten to take that into account on Anton’s profile.
Listen, I understand not everyone likes the dentist. Maybe growing up he didn’t have access to a good one, but I feel like if you live in a city that’s known for its healthcare, you have a good job where you can definitely afford it, and are trying to meet someone, and you still haven’t done anything to just show a bit of an investment in yourself, it’s a bit of a warning. I mean, if you aren’t going to show that you’re willing to practice good hygiene and that you can take care of yourself on a part of you that people see nearly every day (at least pre-mask days), what else are you slacking on?
And to be clear, this wasn’t an, “Oh, he has coffee stains,” or “Could maybe use braces” issue. This was like, ‘needs braces and perhaps other orthodontic work, has probably never had a dental cleaning, and I’m questioning if he even brushes his teeth’ situation. Maybe that isn’t a deal-breaker to most people, but I take pride in the fact that my dentist compliments me every six months. Plus, my smile is one of the things I get the most compliments on. I’m not saying I need a guy to have Julia Roberts-level teeth, but a good smile is important to me.
But that wasn’t even the worst of it. We had agreed to get coffee, so I went there preparing to get coffee. It was about 11:00, so I’d already had breakfast. But then he told me he was hungry. Which, fine, go ahead and get something to eat. But we didn’t even get coffee yet. Instead, I’m walking around with him while he tries to decide what to get to eat. What he finally decided on, I don’t think I’ll ever understand.
Y’all. He went to one of the seafood booths. I like seafood, but not at 11 AM on a date. And he got, I kid you not, a whitefish sandwich with onions on an everything bagel .
I feel like if I made a list of foods you shouldn’t eat on a date, I would put all three of those things at the top. Fish. Onions. Everything bagel? I love a good everything bagel but not on a date! Who does that? I was probably more flabbergasted by his choice of food than I should be, but I was just very confused by this decision.
But then, because Anton decided to get food, we couldn’t just walk around. We had to wear masks inside the market but I figured once we got the coffee we could walk around the area outside and stay under the awnings. Since he wanted to eat, though, we had to go outside and sit in the rain. First he got all annoyed that the tables were wet. Like yes, that is usually what happens when it’s raining, things get wet.
I was able to pull my jacket down to sit at least. We wouldn’t have even needed to sit if he hadn’t thrown off the plans by getting food to eat there instead of just to go. I’d grabbed a pack of veggies to take home, but that was it I wasn’t planning on eating there because it had always just been coffee, and then I was sitting there watching him eat fish and onions at a wet table.
While he ate, we talked a bit more and it was extremely apparent that we have virtually nothing in common. I sat there staring into the distance begging myself to think of something to talk about on more than one occasion. During one of our silences, I decided to ask if he had any pets and if he liked animals. Specifically, dogs, and he said no! He said he used to be afraid of them but isn’t anymore, but that he doesn’t really like dogs or get why people love them! At that I should have just stood up and left because it’s just not going to work out with me and a dog-hater. Ever.
When he finally finished eating, he said he had to get home to go back to work but that he’d walk me back to my place. That wasn’t necessary but he insisted. So while we had more awkward forced conversation on the walk, I decided to pull a move my friend Jessica taught me. I lied about which building was mine. I walked him to another apartment building near mine and said it was mine. When I realized I wouldn’t be able to get into the building because I didn’t have a key, I *suddenly remembered* that I had a prescription to pick up at the drugstore around the corner. So I ran off to aimlessly wander the store while he called an Uber from outside my fake-apartment building.
He had given me a hug before we left and said we should hang out again and I gave one of those non-committal “sure” responses. But Anton never texted me. I unmatched him on Tinder. I think it’s a testament to how absolutely awful I am at hiding my feelings because that’s not the first time a guy has done that – ended the date with a tentative next date and then upon seeing and hearing my reaction to that possibility, never followed up. It’s kind of nice, though. I don’t have to turn them down and feel bad for rejecting them.
So that was the end of the story with The Russian. You know, I’ve always thought I was going to marry someone from another country because I like accents and foreign guys and all that, but the more experience I have with them the more I feel like maybe I really should stick with American boys. At least they probably wouldn’t eat fish and onion sandwiches on a first date.