When I met A. I wondered if it was too good to be true. Meeting women in Los Angeles on dating apps has taught me a few things, the most important being that looks can be very deceiving. But five months ago I was naïve and desperately seeking to get over my latest heartbreak by any means necessary.
I was in my living room when I swiped right on her picture, a green-eyed, strawberry blond beauty with a soft spot for Kafka. I was drooling. I struck up a conversation, and we exchanged phone numbers. After a few days of chatting, we made plans to meet up Saturday night at La Cita Bar in downtown Los Angeles.
When I arrived the bar was empty. I was shocked to feel a flood of nerves. I wanted to be second to arrive and even waited until about 15 minutes after we were scheduled to meet to even leave my house. I was trying to avoid the awkward introductory contact for as long as possible. Do you hug? Shake hands? It can be very strange meeting someone for the first time. I ducked into the bathroom but immediately felt my phone buzz in my pocket to a text reading: "I'm here, where are you?"
I typed back, "Bathroom, I'll be out in a second!"
I emerged to see her sitting at the bar, smiling back at me. As I pulled up a bar stool, she asked what I wanted to drink.
"Whiskey. On the rocks." I grinned.
She ordered two and turned back to me saying, "Girl after my own heart."
Maybe this wouldn't be so bad.
We talked for about an hour, and the distance between us shrank with each passing minute. I felt myself relaxing. We paid our tab and headed to another bar, this time with music. Being able to keep up with me on the dance floor is a huge make-or-break for me, and this was my chance to test her. But upon arriving, she took me to a back table to sit. This is what was wrong with her. She can't dance.
Not too bad, all things considered.
"I have to tell you something," she said as she sipped her drink, looking me directly in the eye.
I braced myself. "Go ahead."
"I have a boyfriend."
"And I'm married."
"Are you kidding me?!?" I stood up to leave.
She begged me to sit and let her explain. I guess I'm also a sucker for a free drink. For the next 15 minutes, A. gave me a rundown of her torrid love life.
At 22 she had met and married a European tourist and promptly moved to the South of France. However, when things went south she came home and met her current boyfriend. They relocated to Silver Lake, where things stood poised to go directly downhill.
In the meantime, she was looking for girls to "get drunk and … enjoy this beautiful, crazy city we live in."
So there I was, the gay guinea pig for a seemingly confused polyamorous bombshell, veering further and further away from sobriety. Things were starting not to look as bad as they did when we started the conversation. I kissed her.
Against my better judgment, I saw her for several weeks. We'd meet up at night and carefully avoid any Eastside bars her boyfriend might wander into. On the nights he worked late she told him she was having a sleepover with a "good friend," and I'd drive up Hoover to her place in Silver Lake. A few times I even persuaded her to come down to West Adams — there was no way her man would end up there. I was seduced by the sneaking around and knowing all of the power in this relationship lay directly in my hands. I knew all of her secrets. I was the secret.
But the affair began to sour. It started when she started to diligently track my every movement. She called me a liar when I abandoned my phone at hair appointments in North Hollywood or hiked Runyon Canyon. This escalated to her telling me that she thought I was spending too much time with my friends and we didn't have enough time for "us."
She told me to quit my job so I could be "all hers, all the time."
The final straw came when she confronted me after I admitted to seeing other people.
Somehow, hearing that from the person you're dating but know is spending a significant amount time snuggled up with her boyfriend/husband (both?), just didn't sit right.
I sat back and pondered what to do next, and it occurred to me: Does anyone really ever venture into the world of swipes hoping to fish out a relationship? I wasn't.
I was just trying to numb the pain from a prior relationship with something casual.
So eventually, at a fateful dinner date at El Condor on Sunset Boulevard, I announced my decision that we needed to go our separate ways.
It took a series of messy text messages, but she eventually relented and we severed our ties.
We do, however, still like each other's Instagram photos. My favorites are the ones with the boyfriend.
L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.
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