Although I am currently confined to my New York City apartment basically 23 out of 24 hours a day, courtesy of the coronavirus, I have not run out of ideas for living out Hallmark movie moments in Real Life. (At least not yet!) Of course, it’s a bit more difficult since I can’t actually go anywhere to do activities these days, but if needed, I can literally transform this whole blog into a version of Hallmark’s Bad Date Chronicles.
That movie was by far the closest to Real Life that I’ve seen. Not the part about the unethical employers forcing employees to go on dates and then cruelly sabotaging them. But a woman writing a blog about bad dates and having a fabulous friend and co-worker who is always in her corner for support? That part rang super-true.
I am a single woman living in New York City, and I could write a whole book about bad dates. So while sheltering in place, when my best options are walking 6 feet apart from my date (which I’m too paranoid to do) or chatting over Zoom (which I might do if I get stir-crazy enough), I’ve decided to share some Real Life bad date stories in the spirit of Hallmark’s Bad Date Chronicles. (If only I knew a male reporter to provide his version of dating in New York City, the Bad Date Chronicles would be complete!) Here’s my first gem:
A Common New York Tale
Although this story is mine, some version has occurred to almost every one of my single girlfriends who are active in the dating world. It’s frankly appalling; in the age of online dating, it never ceases to shock me how all manners are lost on the internet.
In this all-too-common scenario, email and text chatter begin quite normally:
What neighborhood do you live in? If both are in Manhattan, the conversation proceeds swiftly. If one is located in Brooklyn or New Jersey, that is cause for reflection, as it will be a long commute for a first date.
What do you do for a living? If they have some type of job and are not an axe murderer or convicted felon, conversation continues.
What do you do with your free time? Hobbies are compared and contrasted: travel; stay active with running, biking, or hiking; spend time with family and friends; and the list goes on. If they seem compatible, or at least acceptable, the conversation continues.
At some point, the question is raised about meeting in person for a date. Meeting in Real Life, after all, is the whole point of dating. (In the online dating world, however, you might be surprised to learn how often these exchanges result in nothing more than a nonstop pen pal!)
Now although this is a story about a date that never actually happened, this is where my story begins—when we both agreed that meeting in person sounded like a great idea. I was excited, because not only did this man live in my neighborhood, which was awfully convenient, but he also suggested a terrific first date spot: a neighborhood bar that had a lot of character and was known as a romantic hole-in-the-wall. He was a photographer who was well-traveled and had a professional website. Our email conversation had been lovely, and I was really looking forward to meeting him in person.
As we were working to confirm the details of our date later that week, a new email arrived from him in my inbox. It had an attachment, and our conversation up to that point had been so easy and natural that I clicked on the attachment without a second thought. I was horrified to discover that it was an inappropriate photo and quickly worked to close it. Paranoid, I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one else has seen the photo. I had opened the email at work and was fearful I’d be fired for having something like that on my computer!
Once I calmed down from the shock and fury of receiving that photo, I composed a reply along the lines of: Clearly we are not looking for the same thing. Please do not contact me ever again.
Needless to say, I never met that man in Real Life, and the New York dating stories continue. Who knows? Depending on how long our quarantine lasts, you may get to hear a few more of my Bad Date Chronicles. But I’m not giving up on the idea that my Hallmark guy is out there, he’s just practicing social distancing at the moment.