This is a modern dating experiment. One girl. Five dating sites. Hundreds of chats. Thirty days. Thirty dates. Eighteen guys. (?) boyfriend. To start at the beginning, clickhere -- or jump right in at date thirty below.
Date 30/30: Tinder Oliver* (!!!)
Tinder Oliver invites me out to an Oktoberfest celebration in Newport with his friends for the afternoon, but my group is having a pumpkin-carving shindig in Laurel Canyon.
TO's name has come up in girl gossip seshes along the way, but today it begins its trickling descent to the full crew.
Crew: Corliss - you got a guy?? (Laughter. Heyyyyys.)
Me: (Shoulder shrug) Maybe. I don't know...you know. It's just like, fun. He's, like, really kind. Whatever. We shall seeee. Besides, I'm probably, like, not even going to see him until, like, Wednesday.
(TO and I already have a date on the books to see Tame Impala play downtown that night. Because nothing that has happened so far has been anything we can control?)
TO: Come downtown for dinner tonight.
Or tonight. Ok, so technically I was supposed to go on another Match date tonight and teeecchhnically I'm not supposed to break any of my dates unless there's a really, really, really good reason - but dinner with TO counts, right? (My conscience shrugs impotently in fine-sure-whatever-you-say agreement.)
TO's buddy Morgan joins in for dinner as well, and we all gather at Tinder Oliver's around 7. I arrive last and walk into a bit of pre-din drama. Apparently, the boys originally met through TO's ex. Apparently, Morgan had invited TO's ex to dinner, not knowing TO had invited me. Apparently, TO's ex was not stoked on the situation. Specifically, me.
Awkward. Especially considering I was previously unaware of her existence? Like, three minutes ago previous.
Me: She should come.
It's halting. But it's genuine.
TO: Eh, I don't think that's a good idea. I know you'd be fine; I just don't know about her. Give me one second - I should just go handle this real quick. I'm sorry.
TO takes the phone into the other room, leaving Morgan and I to chat it out.
Morgan: You're handling this well.
I sort of feel like this whole situation should faze me more than it does. Unfortunately, I was never really blessed with the jealousy gene. Also, I'm still friends(ish) with basically everyone I've ever dated**. (Just friends(ish).) Can't fit a lot of judgment in this tiny room!
A few minutes later, TO returns to the kitchen, and we head out to Izakaya for a delightful little dinner full of so much proper etiquette.
[Sidebar: Once upon a time, I held my fork with a firmly clenched fist. My parents told me to eat like a lady. I told them I didn't want to be a lady. They enrolled me in etiquette classes. Always the consummate brown-noser where strangers were concerned, I quickly acquired delicate handholds, proper posture, and an affinity for all things Emily Post. Forever. Great for my parents; less great for my dating life. Calling all Patrick Batemans - quick snare in aisle three! Thankfully, TO seems to supplement his decorum with sanity. Yay, growing up!]
Mid-meal, Morgan brings up a woman from Tinder Oliver's past. TO seems less than thrilled to follow him down that road. There's a moment of befuddling silence. Turns out, several years back, TO shacked up with a married woman and her kids for a solid length of time. (I'm assuming that marital status had a few qualifiers.) He hadn't planned on sharing that little nugget with me this early on. So many reveals, all in one night! Again, I'm sort of feeling like this whole situation should faze me more than it does. Mistakes. Learning. Moving forward?
After dinner, we move forward back at his place.
...not that far forward. Just, like, I get to wear his softest t-shirt.
TO: It's been awhile since I've been with a new partner.
I hate the word partner.
Holy sh*t, THE THIRTY DATES ARE OVER.
The next morning, I wake up completely and totally unsure of how I feel about everything. Now that the experiment's over, reality's starting to sink in. This is real. Like, real real. Shudder. Gulp. Shudder. I also wake up to text messages from a few of this experiment's loose ends. I guess I have some tying up to do this week...
*not his real name
**And by dated I mean, went to dinner with one to six times (and you know, like, planned our future weddings/named our future children and all that stuff)