I’m in my office after hours, having a drink while I complete my due diligence, which is a final visit to Maya’s OKCupid profile. I want to know as much about her going into this as I possibly can, because this will make the conversation more automatic and less nerve-wracking.
Right now, I am very nervous.
My palms are sweaty, my knees are weak, and my arms are heavy. If I show up to this date with vomit on my sweater, this woman might confuse me for Eminem’s character in Eight Mile.
So I decide not to eat anything before I go. Just to be safe.
I take another sip of the bourbon I keep in my desk for emergencies, and ruminate on the peculiarity that I have been living in New York City for nearly a year, and have had an OkCupid profile for the entirety of that time. While being single.
Yet this is going to be my first ever OkCupid date.
I used to tell myself that it’s because I didn’t need online dating, or was too lazy or busy to pursue women using the service.
But the fact is that I do not like first dates. I am horrified of putting myself out there, for one thing. I’m also not great with first impressions.
I wonder if it is too late to cancel. I could tell her there was an emergency at work and I would have to stay late. But I decide against it.
I’m trying to put myself out there more often. So I messaged Maya and entered a discussion about how awesome David Sedaris is, which led to a discussion re: how hesitant we’ve both been to meet people from the site. Which led to a mutual pledge to overcome it. TOGETHER.
I close my browser, toss back the rest of my drink, and head for The Tippler, a wannabe speakeasy in Chelsea that Maya digs.
I arrive early, and have another drink while I wait. The Tippler is famous for its cocktails, but I stick with Maker’s Mark. I don’t need it to taste good. I need it to work.
I realize it may be a bad idea to continue guzzling liquor on an empty stomach, but counter my hesitancy by asking “What’s the worst that could happen?” All of my answers have to do with me being too nervous and making a fool of myself. (SOMETHING THAT NEVER HAPPENS WHEN I’M DRINKING!)
I toss back the remnants of my neat bourbon double four minutes before Maya is slated to stroll into The Tippler.
When it hits 10 minutes past our agreed-upon rendezvous time, I realize I’ve been checking my phone obsessively for a text, when I should really be using this opportunity to squeeze in one more view of Maya’s profile.
At the 20-minute mark I text her.
At the 30-minute mark I order another drink to temper my panic. She hasn’t responded.
At 40 minutes I am drunk enough to chuckle at the prospect that I am going to get “blown off” on a first date—but not the good kind of “blown off.”
I send one more text message at the 60-minute mark. I pay my tab and bounce. The Tippler is an OK joint, but not one you want to drink at alone, especially if you have to be fiscally responsible. Or if you have just been stood up on your first date in, like, six months or so.
Turns out I was wrong re: the worst that could happen.
The worst that could happen is you schedule a date and said date never even shows her face, sending you into a self-esteem chasm you never fathomed possible, not to mention the fact you wore a button-up that you’re going to have to pay to get dry cleaned because apparently you’re not coming out of this night with a girlfriend who is willing to iron your clothing.
After all this time alone, I end up alone even when I actively attempt not to be.
But I’m optimistic. I’ll put myself out there again, and soon, and I’ll keep doing it. Because the worst thing that can happen is I end up alone.
And there are worse things than being alone.