L.A. Affairs: That time my Tinder date went from bad to ‘how much worse could this get?’
I have always been an optimist, almost to a fault. Being this optimistic in the dating world can put you in some regretful situations. You think, “How much worse could this possibly get?” This is a story of a young lady (me) getting an answer to that question.
We met on Tinder, talked for a day or two, and then we went out on a Sunday night. He was 27, handsome, funny, a bit more straightforward than I liked, but I overlooked it. I was nervous. He was the first person I chose to actually meet after using the app on and off for over a year. I was relieved he looked like his photo. We went to the hippest boba shop — Cha2O in Artesia — I have ever stepped into, ordered our drinks and sat outside. The conversation flowed.
The next Tuesday, he invites me to his house around noon, explaining that his roommate will be gone during the day.
I have a hard time locating the house, until I call him and he directs me to a mobile home park, and says he will meet me outside with a visitors permit so I can park. The “permit” is a torn-out piece of notebook paper with a number scrawled on it. He is also wearing pajamas. He explains that he had gone out earlier in the morning to run errands and decided to put his pajamas back on when he got home because they were more comfortable. I feel overdressed.
When we walk into the house I immediately realize that the “roommate” he was telling me about earlier, the one who would be at work all day, was his mother.
I should have left then and there. But I didn’t. Because I am a horrible optimist. I tell myself not to be so judgmental, times are hard for people in their 20s, more and more people have to live at home, it doesn’t make them bad people.
“Want to go get something to eat?” I say, and suggest the Korean BBQ place I spotted around the corner. We head on over, and as soon as we sit down at our table he tells me: “I don’t believe in tipping.”
“I just think it’s ridiculous, you are doing your job, why should I give up more of my money to you for doing your job?”
“Tips can really help, my mother used to be a waitress for a while,” I say. “Waiters don’t make much, it’s a kind thing to do.”
“If you need to make more money just go out and find another job, that’s not my problem.”
The conversation switches to what we want out of life. I want to travel, he thinks it’s a waste of money. Why would anyone pay money to go look at something they could just look up photos of online? he says. I find out he doesn’t enjoy amusement parks, doesn’t like wasting money, is a self-admitted homebody. I can’t figure out anything that gets this man excited at all.
At one point he feels the need to tell me, a Mexican woman, that sometimes Mexican food can get “too ethnic.” I stare at him in bewilderment, especially since he was a mixture of several shades of brown himself. (He told me he was part Indian and Middle Eastern, and some other “ethnic” stuff.)
How much worse can this get?
We start talking about careers and he says, “I recently quit my job.”
“What was it?”
“A video game tester, I didn’t like the drive.”
“Oh. Uh, isn’t that the job everyone wants?”
“What are you going to do next? What do you want to do?”
“I want to get into real estate.”
“Oh have you always liked that?”
“No, I just think it’s an unsinkable business, you know? People are always buying houses and land, it’s always in demand… I figure it requires the least amount of work. I can sell a house or two a year and be OK. How easy is that?”
Where are the cameras? This whole thing has to be a joke for a TV show or something, a YouTube video. I look around, just to make sure I am not being fooled. The restaurant is almost empty.
At this point, I am so bewildered by everything said and done, I don’t even know how to respond. I signal the waiter to bring us the check. I don’t want to know how much worse this can get. The bills arrives. It is $36. He looks at it.
“Um, yeah, I can’t really afford this right now.”
I look up from my food. Of course you can’t. That’s why you agreed to come out to eat with me.
“Can we split it?” I ask.
I see relief in his face.
I put down $23. I had a feeling he was not going to tip.
I am still an optimist, but, no longer to a fault.
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.