The facts are these: my friend Iris*, objectively wonderful and attractive on many different levels, was asked on a date by a TinderDude - let’s call him Douche Canoe (D.C. for short). D.C. requested, after the usual back-and-forth, that Iris meet him at a local brewery on a Tuesday night. Here is what unfolded.
- 6:55 pm - Iris arrives at the brewery, which is packed with other young and hip and dreamy people, looks like someone’s living room, and — as is now required of all establishments by law — features some kind of inexplicable pop-up oyster situation. She stands there trying to make sense of the place and is eventually able to wedge herself into a spot at the bar.
- 6:58 - Iris texts D.C. to say I'm here, are you? It's so crowded. No response.
- 7:05 - She finally manages to flag down the bartender and orders some kind of lavender cocktail. She takes it to an empty spot at a table. It tastes like dish soap. There is no hope of getting back to the bar to reorder, as her spot has already been swallowed up.
- 7:06 - Iris texts D.C. let him know she has snagged a table. No response. She takes a sip of her drink and remembers that yes, it's still terrible. She scrolls through Instagram and keeps one eye on the door.
- 7:10 (ten minutes after the date should have started) - he finally texts that he's leaving work now. No apology, no ETA.
- 7:15 - Iris’ phone is running out of battery. A pizza guy appears and delivers pizza to the tablenext to her. (Is that the food situation here? You order out? She is starving).
- 7:20 - D.C. finally walks in! No apology, no explanation. She asks if he wants to order a drink, HE REVEALS THAT HE DOESN’T DRINK. Which is fine, except 1) He asked specifically to meet at a brewery and 2) Iris is now forced to awkwardly drink her cocktail across from him, while he consumes nothing. Also, her cocktail is gross.
- 7:21-7:30 - D.C. launches into a monologue-y tirade about his "dumb coworkers."
- 7:30 - He finally asks her a question! He asks about her job. And then cuts her off almost immediately when she begins to explain it. He informs her that he also matched on Tinder with someone who works at Iris’ place of employment! She was super hot, though, so he was too intimidated to message her. (Let that statement soak in for a minute. Feels good, no?)
- 7:33 - Iris, dumbfounded, graciously tries to recover and to steer the conversation back to her work as a chef, but is cut off again. D.C. mansplains how to "really" and "best" cook food. A.K.A how to do her job. In her field. In which she works. And he does not.
- 7:35 - Awkward silence.
- 7:36 - Iris, full of grace and optimism, manages to feebly ask if he's been to a cool new restaurant that is just down the street from where they are. D.C. informs her that he can't go back there because he was "banging a chick who worked there" and now it's over and awkward.Iris, rather than pour her lavender-dish-soap cocktail over his head, just mumbles some kind of "oh..."
- 7:37-7:40 - A continued monologue about "chicks he's banged."
- 7:41 - Awkward silence.
- 7:42 - Iris goes with that classic date-ending lie: she has an early work morning the next day, and therefore should get going. D.C. is unperturbed. He asks if she is walking to the train. Before she can stop herself and think of another lie, she admits that yes, she is.
- 7:43-7:50 - Iris has a nightmare out-of-body experience, watching herself walk alongside this dude to the train, him talking nonstop. She is silent. She has long stopped listening. Is this her life? Is this what love is?
- 7:50 - Unbearable hug at the entrance to the train. They go what Iris thinks with elation will be their separate ways forever.
- 7:51 - Iris waits on the platform, next train is in 10 minutes. Oh well. She reaches for her almost-dead phone when she realizes that D.C. is standing directly opposite her on the other platform. He waves. She glances, panicked, at the board, which confirms her fears: his train isn't due to arrive for TWELVE AGONIZING MINUTES.
-7:52-8:00 - They stand awkwardly across from each other. Thankfully, mercifully, there are two tracks between them, and it's too far to talk without shouting. Iris shrugs and commences staring at her phone, her life raft. She has basically no service or battery left, but she scrolls and scrolls like she’s never scrolled before. Nevertheless, every time she looks up, D.C. makes eye contact and then does what he apparently believes to be a funny bit about waiting for the train. It begins to dawn on Iris that he may be operating under the delusion that this date has gone well, and that she has been, and now continues to be charmed by him.
- 8:01 - Praise Jesus, the train arrives to deliver Iris to safety.
Now, listen up, my bros, my dudes, my very manly straight male readers out there in the world. Please consider this: a date like this is not, by any means, an unusual or infrequent experience for the straight and single women in your life. Additionally, this gentleman is not one of some strange breed of rare alien men. As unpleasant as it is to acknowledge, he is one of your own. These are dudes you know. This is your brother, your best friend, your coworker with
the sweet edibles hookup, the guy who proudly wears his I’m With Her and This Is What a Feminist Looks Like T-shirts. This might even be you.
You hopefully already have conversations with your straight male friends about that whole annoying “consent” thing that we nagging Feminazis are always running our pretty little mouths about, and about any overt misogyny they display in your presence. But please, we are begging you, for the love of humanity, call them out on shit like this too. If your buddy is recounting the details of a date, or some flirtatious online banter, or even some kind of actual
non-calculated social interaction with a woman he digs, ask him what she’s like. What she’s into. Where she’s from. Ask him for specifics. If it becomes clear that he has shown zero interest in ascertaining or retaining any of this information, let him know that this absence of basic conversational ability, nay, of humanity, was definitely noted by the woman in question. Push him to do better.
Oh and Douche Canoe, if you’re reading this: You’re on my list, bro. You’re on my list.
*Name has been changed to protect the innocent, because don't you think she's been through enough?
Top photo: Mad Men
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Hannah Matthews is a musician, photographer, artist, and sometimes-writer living in New England. She graduated from Boston University with a degree in musicology and a whole lot of feminist rage. She's been published in publications incluidng SELF magazine and Time Inc. You can usually find her in the woods with her dog, or in her kitchen baking a pie, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.