It took me a long time to meet up with this date, but he was flatteringly persistent even after I bailed on him last minute once, wiped out from attending an emotional wedding ceremony that made me think too hard about aging, and loneliness, and the price of tent rentals. Most people don’t even follow through on your first meet up—canceling is the kiss of death. But he still wanted to meet, so I suggested somewhere near him since I felt guilty about doing that canceling.
I asked that it be close to the train station, because I’d injured my leg at the gym. In retrospect, it was probably a bad sign that he didn’t offer to come to me.
It was actually on the day of this date that I decided to write about my experiences with my dating resolution. Knowing I’d have a new story to tell made me hobble a little faster towards an unremarkable bar in South Park Slope chosen by my date, the most Basic Man in Brooklyn. But whatever else I can say about this guy (and I WILL), he was sharp enough to be suspicious. After telling him I write blogs for a living, he asked alertly, “Blog about what? Dating?”
“Uh, no,” I said, which is strictly true. Sometimes I write about dating, but I am not an underpaid Carrie Bradshaw. I am an underpaid regular blogger.
“Good. I was worried I was being observed,” he replied.
“We’re all being observed on dates,” I said, while furiously considering the moral implications of the conversation. Had I promised, at least implicitly, that whatever happened on this date was off limits for public consumption? Ultimately, I decided that yes, he’d asked if he was being observed for the purposes of blogging, and I said no, so I can’t share our date story. Disappointed, I sipped my glass of wine and tried to make the most of my date without the enticement of exposing myself on the Internet.
Then this happened:
For a little more context, I left after a glass of wine and a glass of water and a trip to the bathroom, certain that I would not see this man again. Perhaps looking for reassurance, my date messaged me as I headed home to essentially ask why we didn’t smash. Politely, I deferred and said I did consider him attractive, but it didn’t seem like he was particularly interested in me and our chemistry wasn’t right.
You can read his response above.
Before you read the following paragraph, please know that I am as comfortable with my face as a woman raised in our society can be and I don’t need pity or reassurance. I only want to point out one thing:
Sometimes a stranger can hone in on an insecurity with the precision of surgeon.
The scar on my lip is minimal. Some people notice it and some people don’t, and since I’ve had it since I was hit in the face by a golf ball as a 6-year-old, I don’t think about it much or really even see it in the mirror. But there have been times in my life (particularly my high-strung teens) when the fact that the part of my face I want hot people to kiss is disfigured was something I took as a sign. I’m not perfect, I’ll never be perfect, and also everyone thinks I have a zit on my mouth.
Reading that message, I regressed to that kid who had to walk into a classroom of first graders with 14 stitches on her face, trying to be brave against a wave of immaturity. His follow up, which implied I was some sort of Scarlet Mary hell-bent on infecting every plaid-wearing IT guy in New York made me borderline hysterical for a second. Will I now be wondering if every person I meet is wondering about my lip, forever? Maybe.
Clearly, this is not a man who is relaxed enough to have sex with. Can you imagine how hard he’d hit the ceiling if he saw an ingrown hair on my bikini line? He probably won’t touch a woman’s clit without duct-taping five layers of dental dams over his hand in the shape of a crab claw. But, still, for a second someone I completely don’t care about reminded me of a deep fear I have about myself as it is expressed on my fucking face. And that’s as amazing as it is awful.
Also, this date was late.