I met D. on OkCupid. Although we weren’t “geographically compatible” (he lived in Santa Monica and I lived in Hollywood), we agreed to a first date at a halfway point — the Hudson in WeHo.
In the dim lighting, he looked like a taller, beefier Joseph Gordon-Levitt, which was fine by me. Our chitchat covered the usual first-date topics: He moved to Santa Monica from the East Coast. I came to L.A. from the Midwest for a job that paid to relocate me.
Over our first two drinks, he made some odd comments. He said he thought that people in Santa Monica are “more civilized and educated” than those in WeHo, because they make more money. This struck me as strange, but I ignored my gut.
By our third vodka soda, our conversation turned to dating and relationships. He said that most of his guy friends were married or had girlfriends. However, they left their significant others once a week to play pool with him.
“Don’t their wives want to play?”
“Nah. Girls aren’t into playing pool,” he laughed. “That’s a guy thing.”
“Well, I love playing pool … and I’m a girl.”
“Really?” He seemed dumbfounded.
“In fact,” I added, “if you want to play pool after this, we can walk to Barney’s Beanery,” which was located just a few blocks away.
“Sure, let’s do it.”
We stumbled to Barney’s. When we sat down at the bar, I offered to get the first round of drinks. D. headed to the bathroom, and I handed my debit card to the server.
“Nachos!” I declared.
Our server returned, and he ordered the nachos.
“OK. Do you want to put them on the tab?” (She was referring to the card I used to buy our drinks.) I kept quiet because I’d hoped he’d put the nachos on his tab.
“What?” D. was confused.
“Do you want to put them on the tab?” She repeated.
He grew defensive. “What are you talking about?”
“The tab. You need to put the nachos on a card,” she explained calmly.
“I don’t understand,” he said, raising his voice.
“I need a card to place your nachos order.” She was getting frustrated.
“Why are you talking to me like this? I don’t like your tone!” He talked to her like he was scolding a 6-year-old.
“Sir, if you could just put the nachos …”
He became enraged. “I don’t deserve this. I will not be treated like this by a server.” He took out his phone and hovered his index finger over the keypad. “Do I need to call 911?”
What was happening?! I thought, as I watched this scene go from zero to Frank Costanza in seconds.
Was he trying to get out of paying? Did he really not understand how bar orders work?
Visibly upset, our server stormed off.
Over the next awkward minute, I decided to fix this situation and excused myself to use the restroom. I found our server and apologized. “I’m so sorry! I’m not sure what just happened...”
“You’re fine,” she said to me, “I just can’t wait on you guys anymore tonight.”
I checked my phone to find a hostile text from him: I can’t believe you sided with her. Go home with her!
I texted back: I was trying to defuse the situation. I could tell she was upset … in my opinion, you kind of lashed out on her. I’m not taking sides; just being fair.
I slid my phone back into my purse. Suddenly, the fact that I’d went on another bad L.A. date hit. Tears welled up in my eyes. Where are the good guys in L.A.? I was so frustrated that I started — mortifyingly enough — crying at the bar. A grandfatherly man sat down on the barstool next to me and asked if I was OK. I told him the story, while wiping tears away.
Then, the nachos came out.
I couldn’t even eat one, much less the whole plate. I was too upset. The server stopped by and asked how the nachos were. Before I could respond, the older guy insisted, “I’ll get these and her drinks.”
I thanked him and offered him the nachos. “Honestly, I’m not hungry anymore.”
Minutes later, an alluring 30-something guy sat down on the other side of me, saw my swollen eyes from crying and asked if I was alright. I shared my story and ended up chatting with him at Barney’s for another hour.
When I finally checked my phone, there were 13 new scathing texts from D., including:
I felt threatened. And then, her hand jesters — yes, that’s how he spelled it — made me feel she could strike me.
Apparently, you don’t see that it upset me. What is this? Female biorhythms?
I like you. I don’t think this should ruin our evening.
I ended up bringing the attractive guy at the bar home with me because he had driven up from Long Beach and needed a place to crash. And, well, he was damn cute.
The following morning, I awoke to two final texts from D.:
Text No. 1: Morning. I’m sad things didn’t go well at Barney’s. I was really feeling your vibe.
Text No. 2: I spoke to my neighbor about it, and his first reaction was probably cocaine.
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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