With three days left in my subscription, I decided to take one more stab at online dating. And to be honest, I had no idea that out of all the crazies, all the socially awkward weirdos, all of the Jesus freaks and stingy bastards, the one good one out of the fifty bad ones I had met, would be the worst decision of all.
I formulated a short, semi-witty e-mail that revolved around an altercation I had had with a former Harvard football player a year previous. I gave him my name, told him I was bad at online dating e-mails, and sent it off, hoping my pictures and extremely long bio would be enough to interest him into e-mailing me back. Why I cared, I have no idea.
“Writing a book, huh?” he wrote back after having read my profile. “What kind of book?”
“It’s about dating athletes,” I said. “I unfortunately have a knack for finding them. Maybe they find me. Who knows?”
I didn’t hear back from him. And for some reason I still can’t figure out, I began to panic.
“Don’t get me wrong, I don’t just date athletes. I’ve given many asshole bankers equal opportunity, so as long as you aren’t a professional athlete or a banker, you’re already widening my dating horizons.”
I tried to be funny and nonchalant, when in reality I was basically screaming “I’M MORE THAN A JERSEY CHASER PLEASE E-MAIL ME BACK!”
“Ha, oh well, talk about a match made in hell. I played football at Harvard and I work for a hedge fund."
And so the story goes – we flirt back and forth via e-mail, and proceed to adding each other on Facebook. We plan a date, I pick out an outfit, and I end up giving Match.com one last shot to prove worth my $40.
I woke up on a Sunday morning and could feel an arm slung around my waist. One eye fluttered open, and an unfamiliar room came into my very blurry vision. Within a minute, the room started to spin.
“I’m going to puke,” I thought to myself.
I had a vague memory of the night before. Of meeting Christian at the Standard Hotel Beer Garden, and I kind of almost remember eating a burger.
“I’m going to puke,” the thought of the burger made my stomach churn. I could feel that my underwear was still on, which meant I didn’t have sex. If I was too drunk to remember where I was, I wouldn’t have been sober enough (nor would I have cared enough) to put my underwear back on. Way to go, Stef. It’s like CSI: Slutsville. Use the clues to solve the drunken location and whether or not you got banged.
“You okay?” I heard his voice by the back of my neck.
“I think I’m dying,” I said honestly.
“Do you want some water?”
“Yes,” I didn’t move, I didn’t even turn my head. I was terrified any sudden muscle contractions would cause the gag reflex. I continued to lay on my side, breathing through my nose.
He got up and walked across the room into the kitchen. He was naked. I put my hand to my face and the waves of nausea were met with waves of embarrassment.
Pieces of the evening that I hadn’t completely blacked out through were now playing through my head. I was trying to slow them down, since the constant bright colors and flashes were making me even more sick.
I could remember leaving the Standard Hotel and falling on the cobblestone outside. I remember making out on the street, and shoving my face with a burger and cole slaw (I'm a classy bitch with a solid appetite). Taking a moment to stop the dry heaving. Okay, so, burger. Then I don’t remember where we went after that. But I remember making out in the cab.
“Oh God,” I said, thinking of the cab ride.
“You alright?” he walked back in to the room and toward my side of the bed. He handed me a glass.
“Did we have sex in the cab?” I asked, looking up at him, squinting as if he were radiating a bright light.
“Ha, no,” he shook his head. “Almost, though.”
“Oh awesome,” I said sarcastically. Not that I hadn’t done it before. I just remember all the times – one..two…four – that I’ve done it.
He crawled over me and back into bed. He was holding me, spooning me, and I was a bit confused. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with him right now. If he was across the room, he wasn’t far enough. Why are you hugging me? I’m not about this right now dude. Get a clue. I’m going to vomit. I hate you.
“I’m so sorry,” I said.
“For being too drunk and extremely embarrassing.”
“You were a lot of fun,” he said. “Don’t apologize. It was awesome.”
The weight of his arm on the side of my stomach was too much.
“I’ll be right back,” I said quickly, pushing myself up off the bed and moving toward the bathroom door.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Nope,” I threw my hand up. “Gonna puke.”
No use in hiding it. Not like he wouldn’t hear it, considering the bathroom was four feet from his bed.
I was an insanely huge disaster that morning. I puked twice. I felt like shit. I was naked and smelled like stale beer. I had apparently hit my head several times in the bars on his bedpost the night before and probably should have considered getting checked out. My eye makeup was now sitting comfortably on my cheek.
He was looking at me like he had never seen something so beautiful. I smelled like death and he still had his arm around me. He still wanted to kiss me. What the fuck was wrong with this guy? Like dude, I’m all into romance and shit but this is borderline weird. I’m seriously waiting for you to drop that you’re happy you lost your virginity to a brunette or something. I can't deal.
“Where are we?” I asked, finally realizing it would probably be beneficial to start trying to figure out how to get home.
“Forest Hills,” he laughed a little.
“Queens?” I asked, sounding disgusted. How the fuck did I end up in Queens? You couldn’t pay me enough to go to Queens sober, on a nice day, with the promise of money and a hot guy. This dude got me here on drinks alone? Had I been roofied? I mean, seriously?
“Yeah,” he said.
“God,” I shut my eyes. How the fuck was I going to get home from Queens? The idea of taking the subway back to Manhattan to get on the Long Island Railroad was about as much of an option as me getting naked again, slicking my body up with baby oil and sliding down to LIE. Not happening. Ever. (Though that kind of sounds fun).
“I’ll pay for a cab to take you home,” he said.
“No, it’s fine,” I felt bad that I was being so stand offish, but really, I was doing him a favor. There was a chance I might puke again at any moment. I’d rather it not be on him. I’m pretty sure he was waiting for a blowjob, too. He had no idea how not happening that was.
“You’re going to take the subway?” he asked.
“No, no, I’m definitely taking a cab,” I said, sitting up slowly. “I have no problem paying for it.”
“Here,” he said, standing up and pulling cash from his wallet.
“No,” I said, looking up at him. “I don’t like when people pay for things.”
“Just take it,” he said.
“I’m not a hooker, dude,” I said, and I was surprised how rude I sounded. “I don’t need your money.”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” he said sincerely.
I was trying really hard to push this guy away. I wasn’t sure why, either. Part of it had to do with my level of attraction to him. He reminded me of a watered down version of my ex laxer boyfriend. Same body, same facial structure, same coloring. But his teeth weren’t as straight. His eyes were a little bit too close together. His nose a little upturned. And his hair.
God, I am so shallow. It was the first thing I noticed about him when I saw him, the only thing I thought of when we were fooling around, and the only thing I could focus on as he stood in front of me. His horribly thinning hair. It was like, transparent or something. It was there, but I could see his scalp through it.
He sat down next to me as I put my head in my hands.
“Feel like shit, huh?” he asked sympathetically.
“Little bit,” I breathed.
“Do you want to brush your teeth? Maybe it’ll make you feel better?”
“What, are you saying you don’t want to kiss me right now?” I said, actually managing a smile and looking at him. We both laughed.
“Here,” he said as we stood in the bathroom together, both basically naked. “You can even have the new blue one I was saving for myself.”
“Do you buy a Costco box of toothbrushes for all your Match.com dates?” I asked.
“Yes, but normally I give them the girly colors. I hope you feel special.”
After calling a cab – the cheapest one was a Latino car service – I managed to pull my jeans on over my hips. I had to take deep breaths in between each tug.
“I have a favor and I know I shouldn’t be asking you since I basically have been the world’s worst date,” I said, breathing in deeply trying to calm the sick feeling I still had.
“What?” he asked, smiling.
“Can I borrow a,” I had to stop for a second. Swallow down the vomit. “A sweatshirt,” I finished. “I don’t think I can put a bra on right now.”
“You want to wear one of my sweatshirts?” he asked, and you’d swear I just agreed to give him five thousand dollars.
“If that’s okay?” I asked.
“Of course,” he said. He walked over to an open set of shelves by his door.
“Here,” he said, handing me what looked like a very worn in one with a big H on it. “This is my favorite football one.”
He watched me put it on then stood, smiling, almost admiring it on me.
“I can’t believe you’re wearing my sweatshirt,” he said in happy disbelief.
“Dude, it’s a sweatshirt, not an engagement ring. Nothing to be so stoked about.”
He put me in the Towncar, and the second he shut the door, I put my head between my knees.
“Do you know where you’re going?” I asked the guy.
“No,” he said simply. Dude totally didn’t speak English. Awesome.
After falling out of the car in my driveway, puking on the curb and crawling to the front door (and being entirely grateful my mother wasn’t home), I finally decided there was nothing left in my body to throw up. I also realized that I had absolutely no shame or dignity whatsoever.
I slept off the remnants of my hangover, took a much-needed shower and sat down on my couch with my laptop. I felt weathered. I felt like I was about to have to make a really big decision I wasn’t ready to make.