The non-date

It was a breezy, boring Thursday afternoon when Bea received a message from one of her Tinder matches – Mr.J. They started chatting and Mr.J reveals that he is only in the city for a week to visit his best friend. The first thing Mr.J said was: “here comes dat boi!!!!” Bea found that oddly funny, and appreciated that he enjoys memes too. Being incredibly intrigued by and attracted to Mr.J, Bea decided to take a risk and ask him out for a drink. They met later that evening.

At T=0, they meet with an awkward hug. He went for the European way of greeting people by a ‘kiss’ on the cheek whilst she tried to give him a hug. He remarked: “Well that was more awkward than expected.”

At T+5 minutes, they quickly realise that the bar was much fancier than they had thought; Bea felt guilty because she’d suggested it (she found the place online and had never been there before). Mr.J devices a plan and they escape the bar.

Now they’re on the street trying to decide where to go. Bea recalls that the night before she had discovered a cool bar with a friend and suggests going there; Mr.J said that he doesn’t mind, because it’s about exploring a new city and trying new things. They get on an uber and quickly arrive at the second bar.

At T+20 minutes, Bea confirms that he is definitely out of her league. Even from his profile picture on Whatsapp and Tinder it was obvious that he’s incredibly handsome, and he knows it. The fact that he had previously said he thinks she’s pretty hot provided some sort of consolation, but upon reflection was meant in the least meaningful way possible.

At T+30 minutes, Bea knew that nothing was gonna happen. Despite wanting to kiss him, or at least charm him, she knew that there was no chance of that happening.

At T+60 minutes, they have talked about flaws that they have discovered in TV shows and films in their respective fields  (she studied crime and forensic science for her masters, and he’s doing a PhD in physics). They talk about art, psychology, philosophy and more. Bea starts to feel that she is an inadequate conversational partner – he is so much more intelligent and knowledgeable than she is.

At T+100 minutes, she has tried to ask him her random questions that she usually ask on dates, because they’re just fun. He answers all of her questions and expresses himself in an incredibly analytical and reductionist manner – just like a physicist. They discuss paradoxes as well as introspective things such as what he is ‘about’ as a person. She also asked him what he thinks he’d get out of meeting her; that was a mistake. He tells her that at the very least he’d have interacted with someone new and as a consequence, learned something new that he previously had very limited knowledge of. He’d have learned something new about someone, and at the very least she’d be a dot on his graph of human experience. Bea continues to try to ask him questions that shouldn’t require such a technical, analytical, meta or right-or-wrong mentality, but continue to fail.

At T+120 minutes, Bea admits to herself that they are just fundamentally different people and that his reductionist, scientific way of seeing the world, although completely genuine, has made it almost impossible for her to communicate with him very effectively. They have both finished their drink, and Bea asks Mr.J if he wanted another drink or to go somewhere else. He answers saying: “Well, there’s always intrinsic value in variety.” When they were waiting for an uber, Bea asks him what his best first date was, and he says: “Well, it may be too crude for me to say on a date. I wouldn’t consider this to be a date, but it seems rude.” Bea told him she doesn’t mind. He shared his story.

At T+125 minutes, Bea suggests going to a live music lounge where she’d previously been for one of her friends’ gig – big mistake again – the music was too loud for them to have a good conversation.

At T+170 minutes, she had asked him one of her favourite questions: “What are your favourite ten things in the world? These can be feelings, memories, ideas, actual objects or people…anything.” To which Mr.J filled most of his list with appreciation of his privilege and ease in life, which is completely fine, but Bea felt they didn’t really seem like ‘favourite things’, and it wasn’t that interesting. Mr.J agreed that perhaps they weren’t things he loved the most. He asks Bea what she’d have on her list and she provided a very different answer, perhaps more trivial or silly in his opinion. They talk about their interpretations of love, and Mr.J discusses how he can clearly distinguish between the feelings of respect, love and lust for someone. Upon being asked what he would find attractive in a woman, he gives archetypes but did not expand much further than that. It was getting late and they decide to go for a walk.

Having found it increasingly difficult to reach out to him, and feeling like perhaps she has embarrassed herself by being a mediocre ‘date’, she suggests walking towards where he was staying with his friend (it made sense as she knew how to get home whereas he did not). At this point, Bea had honestly lost track of the point in time in which they were in their meeting. Obviously all of the previously stated time points are only approximations, but at that point Bea was overwhelmed by frustration and awkwardness.

Frustrated because she felt inadequate, and she didn’t know how she could be interesting to him (not saying that he perceived her to be interesting, but how she can try to be that). She didn’t understand why he spoke to her in the first place if he had no intentions in meeting necessarily, or in doing anything with her beyond what they did. Perhaps he thought it’d be impolite or mean to leave. Both of them agree that they don’t generally feel awkward or the need to fill silences, but never before has Bea ever felt so awkward walking alongside a ‘date’ in silence. She prides herself over the fact that she can just enjoy walking with someone in silence without stressing out about it, but in that moment, she was stressed out all right.

They discover that Mr.J was actually supposed to stay with another friend that night who lives in the same area as Bea does, so she offered to drop him off. They wait for the uber in silence. Bea always felt that it’s a shame to leave a date and never talk to someone again, but perhaps there is no need to. She was aware that she’d probably overthought and over-romanticised everything, but still it felt like an unresolved problem.

I’d apologise for the long post, but I’m not sorry. I hope this post has entertained you somehow though.

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