This is a modern dating experiment. One girl. Five dating sites. Hundreds of chats. Thirty days. Thirty dates. Eighteen guys. (?) boyfriend. To start at the beginning, click here -- or jump right in at date four below.
Date 6/30: Tinder Lucas*
I wake up exhausted from the prior day's double-header of dates and sigh grudgingly at the thought of doing it all over again.
Dark circles under my eyes. Excessively large pores. Super excessive bloating from carbs and liquor. I better lock one of these guys down quick before this experiment wipes out my aesthetic value.
9a: Wake up, breakfast, etc.
10a: Check messages/reply - all sites (This step always includes a brief meditation period prior to delving in. And by meditation period, I mean several deep, measured breaths accompanied by a full body cringe or twelve.)
11a: Find SOMEONE on eHarms. A N Y O N E. (I like to think of this one as less desperation and more...opening myself up to new possibilities. The 5' 11" and over crowd has proven to be quite sparse on eHarmony and most of my suggested matches are distressingly pale. Our children would never stand a chance against the sun.)
11:45a: Update pics on JDate. (The only chosen people choosing me thus far are around 5' 4" and seem to speak solely in Hebrew characters - a joke that does, shockingly enough, get old. I mean, it's hard enough figuring out what guys are trying to say using the English alphabet.)
12p: Read Lucas chats/walk to Le Pain. (After that mutual friend gaffe on my first Tinder date, I've taken to reviewing all correspondence prior to each meet 'n' greet.)
3p: Recap, etc.
4p: Workout/or nap. (Let's be honest, we all know how this one ends. I am going to be so out of shape at the end of this month.)
6p: Refresh on Tinder Edward/Walk to Duplex.
9p: No Vacancy for A's birthday.
This is going to be the longest day ever.
The Scene: Le Pain Quotidien's outdoor patio. I'm about to enter into a coffee date with TINDER LUCAS.
I'm casually strolling up to the restaurant, jamming out to Des'ree on Spotify, when I spot him. Holy sh*t. This dude's hot. Those Tinder pics did him not one iota of justice.
Great, now I'm, like, nervous and stuff. And this stupid idiotic grin-smirk won't remove itself from my face. Please Lord, let me be cool.
TL stands as I stumble toward the two-top.
Of course he has an accent. I nod a little too eagerly. Seriously -- calm yourself, woman.
TL: (In an almost comically soothing tone/cadence) Wow, you're beautiful.
Is this real life right now?
Me: Ha. You're one to talk. Did you, like, hire that halo of light to follow you around all day?
TL: (Amused eyebrow raise. Piercing stare.) I don't like leaving things to chance.
Me: I totally know what you mean. Huge fan of making my own luck. You know, bare hands, dirt, knives, the whole frontier kind of thing.
Please stop talking.
TL: (Two amused eyebrows raised. Piercing stare has become almost penetrating.) I don't know too much about the frontier, but I do believe in creating your own future - and I'm not afraid to use my hands.
I'm sure you're not. I feel myself flushing. Everywhere. Where's that waitress? Can a girl get an iced tea up in here?
Me: So, how 'bout those Knicks?
(Yes, it is sometimes hard to have this much game.)
TL: (Laughs and suddenly seems to get a little shy.) So, uh, I know this is a little strange, but I feel like I should get this out right at the start. I haven't been completely honest with you.
Welp, that was quick. This is real life.
TL: My name isn't really Lucas.
That's...not what I was expecting.
Me: It's about to get really weird, isn't it.
TL: Ha it's not that weird, I promise. Well, it's a little weird. Basically, I just - well, not just - but earlier last year, I ended a really long relationship. And my ex's friends are still my friends on Facebook, and they can be pretty ruthless. So I didn't want them coming across my name on Tinder and having it get back to my ex. So, I created a fake profile and linked it to that. My real name is actually George.
Hesitantly detailed in that delicate European accent of his, this is, somehow, the most adorable story ever. We can get around to color-sorting flags a bit later on.
Turns out, TL is more than just a man of many names (and presumably stellar abs) - he's also a man of multiple occupations. The first of which is professional triathlete. (Swoon.) He generally doesn't drink due to training requirements, but thanks to a recent Achilles injury, he's down to hop off the wagon for our next date. (Yes, please!) The second through eighteenth or so of his occupations are of a more entrepreneurial nature. He's a little vague on the nitty-gritties, but I'm pretty sure they sound legitimate. And I'm one hundred percent sure he sounds passionate about them. Hearing so much passion.
The old me might have balked at the quiet demeanor and Euro-ish qualities, but this is a new Stacie. A new, open-minded, lookin'-a-little-deeper Stacie. And today I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and into a pair of perfectly toned arms. (You know, for, like, a super sincere, post-date hug.)
I think this is what they call a moment of growth?
* Not his real name.