Florence, our intrepid correspondent from the front lines of dating continues the story of Bus Boy…is this true love, or a disaster waiting to happen? Read on for all the deets…
The next day I float into work on a cloud. Will people even recognize me now that someone is nearly in love with me? Aren’t my cheeks rosier, hair silkier, eyes brighter or something? I rehash the details of the date to my friends and they agree, it was a good date. Though I can’t exactly recall if I said anything stupid, I figure I didn’t and wait by my phone for him to text me. Except he doesn’t text me. Not that day, not the next day, and not the day after that.
“He’s probably not into you,” my friend says. She’s my brutally honest friend and it’s good to have a friend like that, but I don’t want brutal honesty so I call up another friend.
“He’s probably really bad at dating since he was in a relationship for so long. You should text him,” says my other, more optimistic friend. I take her advice because it’s 2016 and a woman doesn’t need to wait around for a guy to text her.
I compose a text that says something like: “Sunday night was fun, want to get a drink Friday.”
He responds, “I agree. My family is here then, but how about Sunday?”
Score. Then we text for a bit. He makes a joke that he feels oppressed because men don’t have the opportunity to carry children but women do. His hips shouldn’t be discriminated against, or something? I guess it’s a tiny bit funny but it’s also not anything I would effort out via text message. Besides, I’m pretty tired of men making men-should-have-the-same-opportunities-as-women jokes. Get a little more clever, you know?
That weekend I’m in a weird part of Brooklyn having breakfast with my friend (the brutally honest one) when I look out the window and see Bus Boy, pacing back and forth outside Gristedes. I’ve been bedridden for the last two days due to strep throat and I look wan, defeated, perhaps even thin, but I wonder if I should go say hello. Fate put us on the same bus once, perhaps fate has put us on the same Brooklyn corner as well.
“That’s him,” I say and my friend cranes her head.
“Yeah. Should I text him?”
“And say what?”
“Um. I see you?”
“Oh, right.” Left to my own texting devices I would never get a second date. We decide on something less creepy, like, “Doing a little Gristedes shopping?” Then we watch him look at his phone, put it back in his pocket, then eye a poster at the sidewalk sale.
“That’s a bad sign,” she says.
“He looked at his phone and didn’t respond.”
“Maybe he was checking his email. He probably didn’t even see my text.”
She shakes her head. There are two types of people in the dating pool. The hopelessly delusional and the fearlessly honest. I am the former, which is why it’s crucial to have a friend who is the latter.
“Just go say hi to him,” she says. “I want to get a look at him up close.”
After debating the pros and cons of saying hey for fifteen minutes, we pay our bill and as we approach him I start to feel a little queasy.
“Fancy seeing you here,” I say, but my volume control isn’t quite right so it comes out sort of as a shout.
He turns around and looks completely confused. Not exactly horrified, but certainly taken aback.
“What? This is crazy. What are you doing here?”
“We’re apartment sitting,” I say. “What are you doing here?” Because I know he lives nowhere near here.
“Top secret,” he says and I introduce my friend and we sort of chuckle and I wait for him to say what he’s doing here but apparently it really is top secret.
“You guys should get a poster. I got this for $7,” he says. It’s a really ugly poster.
“Nah, we gotta get back to the apartment but I thought I’d say hello.”
“Such a weird coincidence,” he says. “Still on for tomorrow?” And the sky opens for a huge ray of sunshine, then the pigeons turn to doves and fly into the light.
“Sure,” I say and wave dorkily as we part ways.
My friend says, “I didn’t like him. He seemed sketchy.”
“Nonsense,” I say, and check my bank account to see if I can buy a new outfit for tomorrow. I can’t, but luckily all my outfits are new to him anyway.
Sunday comes and I wake up like I usually do on Sundays: scared because tomorrow is Monday, a little hung over because yesterday was Saturday, and sweating because the season has changed and we don’t have air conditioning.
“Brunch?” I text him, because it wasn’t established if I was going to text him or if he was going to text me, but it’s noon and I’m hungry. Five minutes pass, fifteen minutes pass, three hours pass.
“HE COULDN’T EVEN COME UP WITH A CREATIVE EXCUSE TO BLOW ME OFF,” I yell, while on the phone with my brutally honest friend. Seamless has just arrived and I’m palliating my sorrow with a plate of drunken noodles.
“I can’t believe it,” she says, even though she’s been predicting all along that he’s not that into me. It’s so great to have a brutally honest friend that doesn’t say, “I told you so.”
“If he’d sent the ghost emoji it would have been funny. I would’ve gotten the picture. Or if he just said, ‘Hey, I’m not really into you,’ I would’ve been like, ‘No problem! I think I’m smarter and funnier than you!’ REALLY ANY OTHER WAY HE COULD’VE HANDLED THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER.”
I delete Bus Boy’s number and only wallow for a day or two before devoting my energies to creating an app that blows people off for you. Here’s how it works: After an unsavory date, you select why you didn’t like the person and the categories range from shallow to important, i.e. “They were ugly,” to “They were rude” all the way up to “They tried to steal my jewelry then spit on a homeless person.” You can also select the “Meh” category, which is when you’re too lazy to even reflect on why the person doesn’t interest you. Then, based on the reasons you selected, an algorithm concocts a message for you that’s short, to the point, and undoubtedly closes the door on any potential dates thereafter, in three degrees of severity, which you also choose: sweet, cordial, or brutal. You enter the person’s number and the app sends the message for you, no brainpower required. A “Cordial” from Bus Boy might’ve read: “Hey, I’m feeling meh about seeing you again, and don’t think we should go on another date. Best of luck reinstating your Tinder! Peace fingers, robot head, dove with olive branch.”