Matt had the sarcastic charm that I typically giggle at in his J-Date profile. He had light hair, blue eyes, a smile with a child-like quality and was totally unapologetic about liking reality TV shows. He spoke my language so I gave it a whirl. After about two e-mails in one day, I handed over my digits and Matt called me later that evening:
Matt: “Hey, it’s Matt.”
Me: “Oh hi. How are you?”
Matt: “Good. Okay, I won’t waste either of our time by having a long phone conversation. Are you free this Thursday after work?”
Me: “Tee hee… Um, yep, I think so.”
Matt: “Okay want to meet at Flanagan’s* on 7th at like 6 – 6:30? I’ll text you when I’m on my way.”
I dug Matt’s style. It really is logical. Why waste time going back and forth online or on the phone before meeting in person and knowing if there is any chemistry or not? I added “not beating around the bush” to my mental list of Matt’s attributes.
On Thursday evening, I sat at the bar sipping a drink while waiting for my charming, blue-eyed dreamboat to walk into the bar and sweep me off my feet. Every few seconds, I would glance at the door waiting for him to walk in, quickly looking down at my phone again, to make sure I kept up my breezy appearance. And then a crouched dude with a comb-over in a grass green polo shirt and khakis who looked generally annoyed at life walked in. I couldn’t help but stare at him obviously. I was once again mystified by online profile photos. Sure, the images of Matt I had checked out could have translated into a confident and good-looking guy with a good vibe. But in this case, the real-life Matt was a bitter, hollowed version of his photographs. I suppose his face was the same, but angrier-looking, and surrounded by a lot less hair. We exchanged greetings and got a table toward the front of the bar.
I am not the world’s best conversationalist by any means, but I can certainly hold my own and keep things interesting with the general population, and I have never had a problem on dates. Without even thinking of any sort of meaning behind it, I asked Matt how work was. You know, since most of us spend a large portion of our lives earning our keep, and we had both just come from our offices, that topic just came naturally.
Matt: “Oh, I’m not talking about work. I was there all day, and now I’m not.”
Amused by the angry leprechaun, I asked him what he would like to talk about.
With a deadpan look on his face and the several dozen hairs he had left glistening with gel sweeping over his head, Matt said he wanted to discuss “our passions.” So I flipped the dialogue back in his court and asked him what he is passionate about.
Matt: “Reality TV shows!”
Again, I thought he was kidding, but his diatribe about people being crazy enough to go on television with their eccentricities proved that this was a topic he was certainly zealous about. He went on for a few minutes about some of his favorite shows and though I tried to chime in a few times, I couldn’t keep up.
The ongoing serious look on his face caused me to look elsewhere, and while I didn’t even notice that I kept glancing away from Matt, he declared that I had horrible eye contact, which just made me more paranoid. About 15 minutes into this date, I assumed that I was sitting with a gay guy who had an unhealthy obsession with “Survivor.” What’s worse is that I realized that I couldn’t even be friends with him because he seemed to not have a friendly bone in his body.
At some point, Matt decided to switch topics. Rest assured, he was still focused on being passionate about nothing and indirectly insulting me.
Matt: “So, you’re alone in a room that is 12 feet by 12 feet. You have an old ladder, no light source, a horse and a small window with bars over it. How do you find a meal?”
Ah yes, the ol’ psychological study performed by those who like to find strangers online, pretend they are looking for heterosexual companionship and truly know how to get to hold eye contact throughout a romantic conversation. Whatever my answer to Matt’s hypothetical situation was, he wasn’t satisfied with it and told me that a psychologist would say I am insecure, negative and basically sucked at life.
So, no, there certainly wasn’t a love connection with Matt. The only sign of human warmth he demonstrated during that evening was that he walked me to the train station. And that was only because his train would be stopping at the same station.
I often wonder if Matt ever found the masochist who is able to look him in the eye and discuss episodes of “The Real World” for hours. That is one lucky man.
*For the life of me, I can’t think of the name of the place. It’s a dive bar – that’s all you need to know anyway. Nosey-pants!