Date 15: eHarmony Andrew

eHarmony Andrew* suggests we start our second date by watching the Nebraska game at Q's Billiard Club. The only downside is the 9a kickoff time.

8:45 comes very early, but eHA swoops me up in all my yawning glory, smile on his face and black tea in hand.

eHA: Outside when you're ready.

Mirth n' cheer, caffeine and zero pressure. He gets me.

We claim a couple stools amongst fellow Cornhuskers, get our hands on a couple Bloody Mary's, and have ourselves a couple-a good ol' times watching UNL win. Somewhere in the middle of the cheering and nail-biting, a decently deep conversation transpires. Hopes, dreams, dangerously boring hobbies -- nothing's off the table.

Victory secured, we hop in eHA's Jeep for a sun-kissed ride into Malibu. His roadtrip-ready soundtrack spurs a musical gabfest and the promise of shared Spotify playlists. I feel like I'm getting little life gifts from every date -- and I really love gifts.

We make our way through the back roads to a rustic, Western-inspired restaurant called the Old Place that is 100 percent charming. Wine, apple crumble, a guitar player in the corner strumming serenades. At one point, a motorcyclist powers through the front door, pulls a harmonica out of his pocket, and joins the guitarist for a delicate duet.

Standout second date, eHA. Job well done.

Since I'm still working on that whole growth and self-improvement thing, I make note of everything about eHarmony Andrew that bothers me. He's a loud talker, an over-explainer, a bit stodgy...but then he stodgily buys a round for the impromptu musical duo, with such a zest for life, and it's just so...endearing. Really loving his love for everything. And his impeccable manners. Such a sucker for old-school etiquette.

Valerie June and Townes van Zandt take us back to my place in a pleasant groove. eHA walks me to my door like the gentleman he is, and I immediately fall into bed. Is it really only 4 'o clock?

*not his real name

Naughty by Nature

Coming up on the halfway point of this project, I find myself surprised and, admittedly, almost a bit disappointed by the wealth of nice, normal guys I've met online. Sure, it has required a serious time commitment and thousands of messages/swipes to suss out the ones I might actually connect with -- and there have been plenty of grammatical errors and insecurity-ridden pick-up lines along the way -- but, on the whole, most of the men I've matched with have seemed to be some variation on the average Joe.

Where are all the creepers, crazies, and pervs?? Where is all the hilarious fodder for my blog??

Fortunately, just as I'm about to let down that guard I've been white-knuckling since puberty, Tinder Phil* steps in to pick up the slack for misogynists everywhere.

TP and I have been chatting on Tinder for a few days - a fairly bland tête-à-tête bolstered by the fact that we have several friends in common. Apparently, TP decides our convo could use a little spice:

I gag with repulsion.

Me: Has that line ever actually worked for you? Just out of queasy curiosity...

TP: I don't know. I've never tried it before.

So happy I could be your first.

I immediately screenshot our convo and send it to one of our many mutual friends, subject line: YOU KNOW THIS MAN??

Turns out, TP is her manager. Classy. She fwds the email to her co-manager, who sends it back TP's way, indubitably warning of forthcoming Tinder-shame.

I awake the next morning to an email -- nice of him to go to all the trouble of tracking down my address:

Long story short. My buddy Jason* got on my tinder account last night when I was in the other room and wrote that spanking response to a bunch of girls. So not my style. I'm so sorry. We have friends in common and I would never write some sleazy response like that. I got really pissed at Jason. So sorry. Seriously, sorry.

Fine. Sure. Whatever. No big deal. Sort of hilarious. I reply in kind:

Oh man - I was definitely a bit taken aback. No worries - I appreciate the message. That's kind of hilarious and slightly tragic. Hopefully your buddy's line worked on one of the chicks.

I think we are done here. I am incorrect. Our mutual friend, who -- God bless her motherly soul -- loves the both of us, thinks that, despite this little misstep, TP and I might actually get along in real life. She asks TP if she should ask me if I would be interested in a set-up.

TP: No, that's ok. She sounds a little uptight for my taste. Regardless if it was a joke email from my buddy. I need nothing but fun girls in my life right now.


Uptight. Fun girls.

Please excuse me while I go on a syntax-driven feminist rage spiral. Because I'm uptight like that.

Sidenote: The word 'naughty' seems to be seeing a resurgence amongst a certain demographic of men. Remember the forty-year-old British NPR/BBC contributor I met via OkCupid? Judging from his photos, he wasn't really my type physically, but I'm a sucker for people who are good with their words. Unfortunately, he decided to pull one out from the bottom of the gross barrel just five texts into our first conversation:

BritInLA: What time are you thinking tomorrow?
Me: 4:30 or 5?
BritInLA: That should work...where are you thinking?
Me: Somewhere in Beverly Hills? (Yes, this is me being completely and totally selfish haha)


BritInLA: You're naughty...


What? Ew. Where did that even - How does that - never mind. Just please stop.*shudder*twitch*shudder* I'm suddenly busy forever. Xo UptightInBH

*not his real name

Date 14: Tinder James

Second date with Tinder James*! Notchy notch notch. Er - notchy notch. It took a lot of effort to get here.

Our first date occurred on a Friday night. We texted all weekend and made theoretical plans to hang out again the following week.

TJ: If you're not to (sic) busy this week would you want to get together again?
Me: Yeah, that would be fun

I don't hear from him again for another week. 

TJ: Hey, sorry I had a crazy week and yesterday I had a housewarming party. How are you?

Thanks for all that extra information?

Me: No worries! I'm good - just heading back from the fair ☺
TJ: Cool. What do you have going on tonight?
Me: I'm actually heading to a concert in a bit. What about you?
TJ: Cool. I'm grilling at a friend's. Was going to see if you wanted to join. What's the rest of your week looking like?

Ah, now the over-explanations make sense. Nothing like a last minute cuddle request. 

Me: Beginning of the week's a bit of a disaster, but it clears up around Thursday.
TJ: Sounds good.

Sounds good? What does that even mean.

I don't hear from TJ again until Wednesday night, at which point we solidify plans for Thursday night. Another round of cocktails, this time at Blind Barber. TJ's lack of effort is really entertaining. And by entertaining, I mean I would have disappeared about seven text messages ago if it weren't for this experiment.

Night of, I'm running about nine minutes behind, and he's already calling to find out where I am. I thought under-ten was still in the safe zone? He's standing outside the bar waiting for me when I arrive. We grab a table inside, and appraise our surroundings. Meh. Ho-kay, conversation it is. The conversation proves to be equally meh - TJ still speaks at a shockingly quiet decibel and hears nothing. Just as I'm about to give up on the whole thing, he dishes out a nugget of sarcasm/personality.  This guy's definitely more of a closer than an opening act. And close he does.

One second we're walking me to my car and the next we're making out on the street. The kid's good. He then grabs my hand and walks me toward...his car? What are we going to do - go to his place? Make out in the car again? His tiny BMW convertible hardly seems conducive to that sort of activity. Instead of actually using my words, I just trail along complacently, keeping my anxious thoughts to myself. 

Perched on the edge of the passenger's seat, sans seatbelt, I'm clearly waiting for quiet little mystery man to reveal our plan. Don't worry, I'm just a mere follower on this road to paradise?

TJ: Are you coming to my place with me?

Sardonic discomfort plasters itself all over my face.

Me: Uhhm. Maybe? I uh - um, I need to read the street sign.

RKL@SJX$FKD. Can someone please point me in the way of my comfort zone?

He drives us over to where my car is parked to check the rules and regulations. No parking between 4a and 7a. There is an actual, outward sigh of relief from my side of the vehicle. It's so nice when the city of LA takes the lead on your life decisions. 

Me: (halfheartedly) Damn Los Angeles. 
TJ: I can drive you back before 4.

It's currently 1am. Yeah, I'm just gonna go ahead and say no to the whole South Bay quickie on a Thursday night situation. But thank you so much for your kindness and generosity.

Fast-forward twenty minutes, and I'm exiting the miniature vehicle with mussed-up buttons and a slow-forming knee bruise. Really should have gotten this kind of thing out of my system in high school, when I was at least half an inch shorter and guys were driving, like, their parents' minivans and stuff. 

*not his real name

Date 11: Match Nathan

My second date with Match Nathan. Our first was a meh dinner/drinks session, but thanks to my pesky rules, I had no choice but to say yes to tonight - dinner at Baco Mercat followed by a one-man show at Mark Taper Forum. 

A pre-date Gchat from me to one of my closest friends:

Match Nathan is picking me up in an hour. I’m worried I’m going to seem unexcited/jerkish - especially given how nice he is. I can feel myself doing the thing where I get bratty and over someone, so I’m sort of thinking I might make myself a little pre-date cocktail to tone down my inner a-hole haha.

F. I'm out of vodka. 60 minutes to make a liquor run, consume said liquor, and get myself gussied up for this date. Absolutely necessarily in that order. 

Match Nathan had both texted and emailed his excitement earlier that day. Multiple times. I replied to the first two, but found I was short on deep breaths for the rest of them. It's not totally his fault - my anxiety is at an all-time high trying to juggle the whole scheduling multiple dates a day thing, and slogging my way through 18,000 cheese-laden conversations with virtual strangers every hour. And I'm PMS-ing. 

Be nice. Just be nice. Just be f*cking nice.

He's late. Not only is he late, but he fails to give any updates until this text message: 

MN: Downstairs in 1 min...

Is that an order? I slowly lace up my shoes, freshen up my lipgloss, grab my bag, and head toward the door. He calls. I give my phone the death stare down before answering. "Hi, I'll be right out." I exit the building to find him frantically plodding toward me. "We're going to be late. I couldn't figure out what was taking you so long.


This is not going to go well.

On our previous date, when discussing downtown, I explained that as much as I love certain aspects of that part of the city, I find it confusing to navigate. So the first thing he asks me to do on this navigate. That better be some extra dry humor. The second thing he asks me to do on this date is to use my "fancy phone" to let Baco Mercat know we're running late. 

This was a terrible idea.

The third thing he asks me to do on this date is to explain why I didn't reply to his "funny GIF". Because it wasn't "funny"? I focus all my attention on the scenery. Self-meditation is a thing, right? 

At the restaurant, MN takes it upon himself to order for me -- without taking it upon himself to ask me what I'd like first. I take it upon myself to call our server back over and revise said order, adding another Tito's soda to the tab while I'm at it. Dinner is a rushed affair, aside from a five minute disagreement between MN and our server over the correct pronunciation of 'feta'. I watch in fascination, unable to eat, all the while wishing I had made this cocktail a double. 

Post-dins, we scurry over to Mark Taper, get our hands on a couple drinks and a container of gummy bears at the cart outside -- er, I get one hand on mine, as MN yanks the other toward the theater's doors. As we reach the entrance, we run smack into a very dear friend of his. Of course. Hi, sir. Lovely to meet you. No, this is not what you think. No need to remember my name. Can we go inside now, please.

With barely a word, I run to the ladies' room. All attempts at breathing into a paper towel are futile. It was worth a shot. MN is hopping impatiently - but an enamored impatience! - on his toes upon my return.

We walk toward the front. He does have lovely seats.

MN: Oh nice - we have the whole row to ourselves.

Um. For what, exactly? And if we have so much room, why are you leaning your very broad self halfway into my seat?

MN: Make sure you turn your phone off.

Thank you. Am I a child?

The show - Humor Abuse - is delightful. My left obliques get a stellar workout, thanks to my aggressive lean-out. (Sorry, Sheryl Sandberg.) Regardless, I have never been so happy to see a curtain close in my life. Thank God. Now let's get out of this freezing cold, into your car, and back to Beverly Hills.

MN: I want to go check out this fountain over here.

I can sort of understand how he is unable to read the emotions undoubtedly plastered across my face - but this shiver is not subtle. There's not so much of a want as there is a need where your jacket is concerned, but that's cool - don't even offer. Let's check out this stupid fountain that looks like every other stupid fountain that was ever invented. And then let's get lost on the way back to your car because you decide to "try a new way". And you should probably yell at the parking attendant while you're at it, too. Because this is all his fault.  

Now, there are a lot of ways this night could end. 


What? No. No. There is only one way this night can end. As soon as possible and with me alone in my own bed.

What's that? That's not how it ends?

MN: Want to go grab a drink?

I take full responsibility for this part. I didn't know what to do. I panicked. I had already revealed that my tomorrow was empty. What's my excuse? I'm having a terrible time, despite the fact that you're a nice guy who planned what should have been a delightful evening? I can't say that. So instead, I say yes. Yes, I would love to continue on this four and a half hour (so far) nightmare of a ride. 

He points us toward The Varnish, taking the scenic route down Skid Row, because he's sure a girl like me hasn't seen a thing like that. 

This is so romantic.

I love The Varnish. It is so hard for me to have a terrible time at The Varnish. Let's just say, my plan to stick to one drink goes right out the window when I realize he's settling in for the long haul. I kick back three immediately. Maybe if I get alcohol poisoning, I can finally go home?

At one point, he asks me to tell him about some of my most awkward dates.

I decide it best not to lead with the one we're currently on.

When we finally leave, I do a veritable sprint to the car. He catches up, jogging over to my side of the vehicle. I think he's opening my door; he thinks he's going in for a kiss.

It's not a stellar combination.

MN: I'm sorry. I -

Me: No, it's totally fine. I uh - 

I turn, open the door, and strap myself in.

There is complete silence and zero eye contact for the entire drive home.


But he really is such a nice guy?

*Not his real name

Date 10: eHarmony Andrew

My first eHarmony date! FINALLY.

Having successfully typed our way through the gauntlet that is eHarmony's Guided Communication, eHarmony Andrew and I decide to switch over to regular old email, where we lay out details for a Monday night date.

I have a 7:00pm basketball game on Monday evening. I'm thinking we meet at or near the venue around 9? Sound like a plan?

- A

p.s. When I entered your info into my phone, I accidentally dialed you, assuming my frantic "end call" flailing didn't save me in time. Sorry about that.

Huge fan of the over-honesty.

We meet at Frolic Room in Hollywood, with the intention of continuing on to Bardot for School Night. Spoiler Alert: We never make it to Bardot.

I first walk in the door to find a tall, corn-fed guy sitting somewhat awkwardly amidst the dinge in his lawyer uniform. Adorable. Apparently a few of the bar's finest had him pegged as a limo driver, so I get to play celebrity client. Totally one of my favorite games?

My initial fears of stilted conversation are immediately vanquished by our impressive list of commonalities: We're both from Nebraska/can chat Pelini, Osborne, and the option for at least a solid few hours. eHarmony Andrew is a former Navy man. My grandpa is a former Navy man. eHarmony Andrew's sister used to model in NY/lived in the East Village, but now lives in Beverly Hills/owns a pastry shop. I used to model in NY/lived in the East Village, but now live in Beverly Hills/consume so many pastries. eHarmony Andrew is a lawyer. I still have an LSAT book on my shelf.

Unsurprisingly, eHarmony Andrew and I close down the dive bar. We then realize we're starving and head over to K24 for some late-night grub. Over a lovely spread of veggie burger and steak, he discloses that he did click on my blog for a second, but x-ed out of the screen immediately, because felt like he was spying on me - he understands that creative people need their freedom.

...Swoon. So cute. Except for the excessive hair-flipping going on over on that side of the table. Let's maybe not do quite so much of that.

eHA: I don't mean to be too direct, but I really enjoyed last night. I know we are both busy so I didn't want to wait too long to try to make plans again. Are you free this weekend? I was thinking dinner on Friday or the NU game on Saturday (SC has a much needed bye).

Love direct. Totally free.

Back at home, one of my besties and I engage in a little girl talk recap via email:

Bestie: How did dates two go? I don't think I can wait for the blogs. Will there be a date three for either of the date twos? Agh! xoxoxo

Me: Bahaha. Both dates were spectacular. Seriously. It's so confusing haha. The fair was basically the quintessential carnival experience - we held hands on the scary ride, made robots in the kids' craft section, he won me the biggest prize, we ate fried food, and got molested by snakes lol. And then he spent half of yesterday sending me links of John Krasinski acting like a marionette.

Arctic Monkeys was super fun. We ended up going to a dive bar after and having a very serious dart competition. And then made out like teenagers. We're doing dinner downtown Saturday (read: right by his apartment) and then this haunted house thing the following Friday.

Tonight was my first eHarmony date with a man who is also from NE. We were supposed to grab a drink and then go to School Night, but we ended up talking for five hours, never made it to Bardot, and went to K24 at 2am.

Tomorrow is date two with Match Nathan. I don't really think there's any chemistry - at least not on my end - but he's SO nice, so I figure it's worth another roll of the dice. He's picking me up at 5:30 and we're going downtown for dinner and then to a show at Mark Taper Forum.



*Not his real name

Date 9: Tinder Oliver

My second date with Tinder Oliver.  Our first had been a lovely evening of drinks at Chateau Marmont just four days prior. Four days in which I managed to go on five more dates with five other men. I have never been so tired of talking about myself. 

Despite my exhaustion, I am quite excited for the evening at hand -- an Arctic Monkeys concert at the Wiltern. TO knows I spent the afternoon at the fair, though he doesn't know it was a date. Somehow I felt like that might have been a bit of an overshare. 

TO: I hope you are eating weird fried things. Set time is 945. Want to meet for a drink beforehand? 830ish?

Perfect. I proceed to pass out on my newly acquired, enormous stuffed Nemo for an hour before pulling myself together. 

I'm strangely nervous as I tip-toe into the Beer Belly, meekly joining Tinder Oliver at the bar. He's got a great rapport going with the bartender, which I take as a good sign, personality-wise. We chat the fair, Breaking Bad, and music, with me stumbling over every third word and confusing half my facts. Pretty sure this experiment is destroying brain cells by the thousands. 

Seemingly unfazed by my flounder, Tinder Oliver gathers my splintered proclamations in one kindly swoop after another, adding his own intriguing insights to the heap.  How gentlemanly.  

We trek over to the Wiltern, grab a couple cocktails, and settle into our seats for a delightful show -- bras thrown onstage, half-naked streakers and the like. I take this time to showcase a few of my Taylor Swift-approved, shoulder-heavy dance moves. TO pretends to be amused, which I decide to take as another good sign.

Post-concert, we slip into a dive bar, where I insist upon a mini darts competition. TO warns against this move, as the game of darts just so happens to be his special secret talent.

TO:  Choosing a different form of competition will be much more fruitful, I assure you.


I throw some cash on the counter.

I lose. We keep playing until I lose less badly.

Our fellow patrons are a touch rough and tumble, but remarkably welcoming. One man requests a photo with me. Another attempts to hop in our game while Tinder Oliver is in the restroom. A third won't quit asking how tall I am. Seriously, won't quit. 

Irritated and tipsy-verging-on-tipped, I turn to him: 

Me: Do you know how tall you are?

He nods. 

Me: Then don't you think you could make an estimated guess?


In my head, I started with 'estimate it' but then switched to 'educated guess', and I ended up lost somewhere in the middle. Grool. Tinder Oliver gently cups my face in his hands, laughing while correcting me. Great. Now he thinks I'm an idiot.  

Five minutes later, he's making out with my face. Guess that dumb girl act really does work? Also, why do I get the distinct feeling that he feels like we're slumming it.

We continue this act out  by my car with a lovely little eighties style, hand-in-the-back-pocket makeout sesh next to the meter. Because everything I know about dating, I learned from a Calvin Klein ad. 

TO had taken the Metro there, so I give him a ride home. Downtown. When I live in Beverly Hills. I really have lost my mind. This is where things start to unravel, courtesy of my Spotify starred list. Any façade of cool I had manufactured vanished the second Jennifer Paige's voice came blasting out of my speakers. Followed by a who's who list of late nineties one (barely) hit wonders. 

TO: Seriously. WHO are these people?


As I pull up to his place, I secretly wonder if he's going to invite me in - not that I would accept if he did (Hi, Mom). Just, you know, curiosity. 

He doesn't. 

Note to self: Hold off on the Spotify shares until at least the third date.

*Not his real name

Date 8: OkCupid Taylor

Today is the day of my second date with OkCupid Taylor. It is also the day of my second date with Tinder Oliver*. It is also my third double-header of dates in a row. Something tells me I will be sleeping very hard tonight.

Tinder Taylor: Hey Stacie - how does 7 sound for tonight?

F. Tinder Taylor. How did I forget to put him in my calendar? This multiple dates a day thing is just too damn confusing.

Not wanting him to think I'm a flaky jerk, and somehow feeling like the truth won't really play out in my favor, I decide to blame my rain check request on family.

Me: Hi! Omg I'm so sorry. I ended up having to go up to SB for some family stuff. Sort of a long story. Can we do something this week instead?

A long story I have yet to invent. Being that I'm a terrible liar, I make a mental note to come up with something plausible many hours in advance of our eventual date -- and guiltily beseech Karma to be kind.

OkCupid Taylor's and my first date was a decently entertaining - though somewhat friendzone-y - dinner at Sugarfish. Today's activity is the LA County Fair. My inner six-year-old is beyond excited.

We're set to meet at the fairgrounds around noon, as we're coming from opposite directions. He lives in Sunset Beach, a logistical fact that stamps this dalliance with an inky expiration date, but alas, dally we shall.

I hit horrific traffic en route.

Me: I really underestimated this whole traffic situation. In the parking line thing.

I click to send, realizing with horror that the text is on its way to Tinder Taylor. I am officially the worst.

Me: Oops sorry. You're not my mother.

TT: Hah I was very confused!

Me: Haha this damn touchscreen is so sensitive.

TT: Ha true. Say hi to mom.

...Ha. Lies multiplied and crisis averted, I turn my attention to the date at hand. I'm slightly hungover and weirdly nervous -- not the most charming of combinations. Where's a Bloody Mary when you need one? Ahh glory be. There is a mini bottle of wine in the gift bag I stashed in my car after an event earlier in the week. Hello, small children in pigtails and Dora the Explorer backpacks, pay no attention to the drunkard kicking back a cabernet in the backseat of her car. Just keeping things classy over here.

OkC T and I are both a bit quiet and awkward at first -- on my end, it's mostly because I'm trying really hard not to breathe my mid-day alcoholism into his face -- but the day gradually transitions into one huge carnival of cute. We hold hands on the alarmingly squeaky ride, he wins me a giant stuffed Nemo, we split the trio of fried foods, I get hit on by the old man pirate character and sexually violated by a boa constrictor.

Once we've officially won at every adult event, we sneak into the kids' arts and crafts section to design and assemble cardboard robots, earning the adoration of the elderly volunteers. Our creations even have special little sound effect: A high-pitched "Eeee!" for my wide-eyed girl and a robotic "Mmmmrobot" for OkC T's accordion-armed boy. Living life one rom-com at a time.

I have to speed things along at the end to get back in time to meet Tinder Oliver for our date that evening, but I think we accomplished what we came for. OkCupid Taylor walks me to my car, and once again we stand there awkwardly close and silent-ish at the end of our date. Is he just never going to kiss me? I lean forward for a delicate little liplock. A goofy grin spreads across his face. Oh man, is this what it would have been like to date as a teenager? (I was too busy brown-nosing and, like, being involved, to find out for myself.)

We part ways and I speed home to change, nap, and repeat before the evening's Arctic Monkeys concert with Tinder Oliver.

*Not his real name

Date 7: Tinder Edward

Tinder Edward, 3:50p: Hey it’s Edward. So, I just bought a house today and I have been sent a million things that need to be done by tomorrow. Can we reschedule? Sat or tue?

God, I hate when that happens. I was slightly annoyed – 3:50p on the day of? Really? I’m trying to squeeze in 30 dates over here. I was also slightly relieved. I may or may not have been dying for a night off.  I take him down off the hook and switch the date to Saturday.  Saturday between my 1p coffee date and my friend’s 9p birthday party, to be exact.

He texts me a photo of his mangled leg that evening, stating that he should have skipped his soccer game and gone out with me. I thought you were busy with brand-new-house things? I am both confused and underwhelmed, and reply in kind:

Me, 11:36p: Ouch.

Two days later, we meet at 6p at Duplex on Third. Love a date within walking distance.

He’s a little rough around the edges, but attractive. Add one Australian accent to two Tito’s sodas, and drinks quickly turn into dinner. We do our very best to out-charm and over-friendly one another, but tragically remain a Bunsen burner short of any chemical reaction.

His next stop is a boys’ night at No Vacancy – the exact location of my girl’s shindig. I return from the restroom to catch him texting as much to one of his buddies. We make theoretical plans to bump into each other there.

Fast-forward to later in the evening when I think I see Tinder Edward across the room, but I’ve already spotted a starving artist in the corner with my name on it. (So refreshing to have a bit of real-world serendipity come into play!)

Don’t stop believing?

Date 6: Tinder Lucas

I wake up exhausted from the prior day’s double-header of dates and sigh grudgingly at the thought of doing it all over again.

Dark circles under my eyes. Excessively large pores. Super excessive bloating from carbs and liquor. I better lock one of these guys down quick before this experiment wipes out my aesthetic value.

Today’s schedule:

9a: Wake up, breakfast, etc.

10a: Check messages/reply – all sites (This step always includes a brief meditation period prior to delving in. And by meditation period, I mean several deep, measured breaths accompanied by a full body cringe or twelve.)

11a: Find ­SOMEONE on eHarms. A N Y O N E. (I like to think of this one as less desperation and more…opening myself up to new possibilities. The 5’ 11” and over crowd has proven to be quite sparse on eHarmony and most of my suggested matches are distressingly pale. Our children would never stand a chance against the sun.)

11:45a: Update pics on JDate. (The only chosen people choosing me thus far are around 5’ 4” and seem to speak solely in Hebrew characters – a joke that does, shockingly enough, get old. I mean, it’s hard enough figuring out what guys are trying to say using the English alphabet.)

12p: Read Lucas chats/walk to Le Pain. (After that mutual friend gaffe on my first Tinder date, I’ve taken to reviewing all correspondence prior to each meet ‘n’ greet.)

3p: Recap, etc.

4p: Workout/or nap. (Let’s be honest, we all know how this one ends. I am going to be so out of shape at the end of this month.)

6p: Refresh on Tinder Edward/Walk to Duplex.

9p: No Vacancy for A’s birthday.

This is going to be the longest day ever.

The Scene: Le Pain Quotidien’s outdoor patio. I’m about to enter into a coffee date with TINDER LUCAS*.

I’m casually strolling up to the restaurant, jamming out to something embarrassing on Spotify, when I spot him. Holy sh*t. You gotta be...kidding me. This dude’s hot. Those Tinder pics did him not one iota of justice.

Great, now I’m, like, nervous and stuff. And this stupid idiotic grin-smirk won’t remove itself from my face. Please Lord let me be cool.

TL stands as I stumble toward the two-top.

TL: Stacie?

Of course he has an accent. I nod a little too eagerly. Seriously -- calm yourself, woman.

TL: (In an almost comically soothing tone/cadence) Wow, you’re beautiful.

Is this real life right now?

Me: Ha. You’re one to talk. Did you, like, hire that halo of light to follow you around all day?

TL: (Amused eyebrow raise. Piercing stare.) I don’t like leaving things to chance.


Me: I totally know what you mean. Huge fan of making my own luck. You know, bare hands, dirt, knives, the whole frontier kind of thing.

Please stop talking.

TL: (Two amused eyebrows raised. Piercing stare has become almost penetrating.) I don’t know too much about the frontier, but I do believe in creating your own future – and I’m not afraid to use my hands.

I’m sure you’re not. I feel myself flushing. Everywhere. Where’s that waitress? Can a girl get an iced tea up in here?


Me: So, how ‘bout those Knicks?

(Yes, it is sometimes hard to have this much game.)

TL: (Laughs and suddenly seems to get a little shy.) So, uh, I know this is a little strange, but I feel like I should get this out right at the start. I haven’t been completely honest with you.

Welp, that was quick. This is real life.

TL: My name isn’t really Lucas.

That's...not what I was expecting.

Me: It’s about to get really weird, isn’t it.

TL: Ha it’s not that weird, I promise. Well, it’s a little weird. Basically, I just – well, not just – but earlier last year, I ended a really long relationship. And my ex’s friends are still my friends on Facebook, and they can be pretty ruthless. So I didn’t want them coming across my name on Tinder and having it get back to my ex. So, I created a fake profile and linked it to that. My real name is actually George.

Hesitantly detailed in that delicate European accent of his, this is, somehow, the most adorable story ever. We can get around to color-sorting flags a bit later on.

Turns out, TL is more than just a man of many names (and presumably stellar abs) – he’s also a man of multiple occupations. The first of which is professional triathlete. (Swoon.) He generally doesn’t drink due to training requirements, but thanks to a recent Achilles injury, he’s down to hop off the wagon for our next date. (Yes, please!) The second through eighteenth or so of his occupations are of a more entrepreneurial nature. He’s a little vague on the nitty-gritties, but I’m pretty sure they sound legitimate. And I’m one hundred percent sure he sounds passionate about them. Hearing so much passion.

The old me might have balked at the quiet demeanor and Euro-ish qualities, but this is a new Stacie. A new, open-minded, lookin’-a-little-deeper Stacie. And today I’m stepping out of my comfort zone and into a pair of perfectly toned arms. (You know, for, like, a super sincere, post-date hug.)

I think this is what they call a moment of growth?

* Not his real name.

Date 2: OkCupid Taylor

Some things you can never unsee. For me, most of those things have come courtesy of OkCupid. Smarmy pick-up lines, over-sexual innuendo, offensively poor grammar – you name the Creep tactic, I’ve shuddered tigerishly at it. And I’ve only been on this thing for a week. So when my eyes finally land on a normal, “Hi Stacie, How’s your day going?” I write back with almost gleeful abandon. Meaning, I babble nonsensically for about five lines too many.

Fortunately, OkCupid Taylor seems to take my nerdish excitement in stride, countering with all the typical get-to-know-you questions.

I try my best to scare him off, mentioning red flag modeling years, waxing poetic on the merits of green juice, and linking him to my blog.

Man, can nothing deter this guy? According to OkCupid founder, Christian Rudder, interactions that exceed four messages are likely headed straight to the friend zone, and OkC T and I are capping off at a hearty fourteen, but I’m willing to play through to see if we can prove him wrong. Dinner it is!

OkCupid Taylor offers to make the drive up from Sunset Beach for a mid-week meal at Sugarfish in Beverly Hills. I graciously accept. Being a girl definitely has its perks when it comes to the logistical side of dating.

With everyone presenting the best version of themselves online, I find myself unconsciously building these guys up in my head before we meet. Walking over to the restaurant, I realize I’ve got OkC T pegged as tall, witty, charming, sweet – and a perfect match in the chemistry department. But, you know, my expectations are totally, reasonably low.

He meets me outside, thankfully alleviating that whole, hi-I'm-here-to-meet-a-stranger-like-a-high-class-hooker hostess stand situation, and we cozy up to the bar for a plateful of sushi and a couple shots of sake.

OkC T is tall, witty, charming, and sweet – the chemistry is questionable. Maybe Rudder was onto something with his BFF metrics.

Conversation is easy and entertaining. OkC T works in the superfoods industry, but doesn't believe in superfoods. I proceed to make him tell me all about his company, attempting to discern the exact number of dates it will take for me to qualify for the friends and family discount. Because I definitely believe in superfoods. He does offer to send me the files for the complementary P90x workout regimen. I choose to not take that as a hint.

Post-dinner, OkC T insists on walking me home. This is where things start to get weird. I live close, but not that close. I just happen to be one of approximately three LA residents** who actually enjoy a pedestrian lifestyle. He pauses every few blocks thinking this is finally going to be the one we turn at.

Me: Oh no, just a little up this way still. You really don’t have to walk me the whole way.
OkC T: No, are you kidding? I’m having a great time. It’s such a nice night for a walk.

(Repeat six times.)

Finally outside my building, we chat awkwardly for a bit, with him standing just a touch too close. Are we just talking here, or are you working up the nerve to kiss me? He reaches for my hand. Uh, ok, we can do the whole romantical thing, I guess. Oh, nope. Nevermind. Going for the BlackBerry. Right.

OkC T: How does this thing even work?
Me: You just swipe up!

I demonstrate on the phone he’s now holding in his hand. The screen glows out with messages from Tinder Brandon, OkCupid Kevin, and eHarmony James. Welp.

We hug it out goodbye.

He walks back to his car. Alone.

Two dates in, two decent guys. Maybe this online dating thing isn’t so bad after all!

Then again, maybe it is.

Tone-Deaf on eHarmony

Me: (In a whining sigh.) Hi.

Boy BFF: Hey, what's up. Everything alright?

Me: (Still whining. Still sighing.) I don't want to do this anymore.

BBFF: What are we talking about here.


BBFF: Ahh, right. Yes. Hasn't it only been, like, three days?

Me: Five. It's been five. And today's eHarmony Day. And it's just so bright and shiny and smug and judgy. Like, I feel like it's just sitting there all ready to f*cking marry me off, like, tomorrow. WHAT IF I'M NOT READY, EHARMONY. WHAT IF I'M NOT READY.

BBFF: Ho-kay. I think we need to calm down here for a second. It's just a website.

Me: Is it ever really just a website?

BBFF suddenly realizes he has to go, citing a call on "the other line". Because apparently it's still 2001.

I take a deep breath, glare into my MacBook, and resign to get this last little sucker all set up.

Out of all the sites, eHarmony takes the most rigidly scientific approach to matchmaking. First there's the profile, which boxes you in with awkwardly earnest fill-in-the-blank action:

Next comes a series of questions, similar to those proffered on OkCupid, only slightly more political and definitely more pigeonhole-y: What do you think about America's insanely high medical costs, do you put more stock in science or faith, in which direction do you cut your PB&J's...

Maybe I will when I'm 30? Maybe I'm not old enough for this site.

When it comes to setting the parameters for your dream man, they stick pretty close to the basics. Smoking: No. Drinking: Few times a week. Ethnicity: White. Age:27-41. Children: None yet, but want kids. Religion: Any. Income: Important.Education: Important. Match Distance - uhhh. Thirty miles is the shortest distance they'll allow you to select?? Anything over seven in LA might as well be a long distance relationship. (Sidenote: There does appear to be a disproportionately large number of single men in Woodland Hills. Wink wink nudge nudge, ladies.)

Finally, I get to the actual talking-to-people part. Sort of. There is, thankfully, no chat option available on eHarmony - though you can "send a smile", which sort of looks like one of those stickers your first-grade teacher used to give you for meeting your reading goal. There is also no quick message option. eHarmony has devised a very controlled get-to-know-your-potential-stalkers process called Guided Communication:

Stage 1: Quick Questions

You pick five questions from their list of fifteen or so and send 'em over to your Prince(ss) Charming. In answering their selects, you can either choose from the pre-fab A-D or compose your own response. I tend toward the latter as most of their options are a little cut and dry for my taste.

Note: The above-pictured responses do not reflect the views of the author. I am always competitive.

One question I include in my batch is, "What is your opinion on your mate having opposite sex friendships?" First of all, the word mate makes me cringe. Second of all, I expect most men to quell their weirdly jealous side for at least the pre-first date formalities, but the replies I get range from, "It makes me uncomfortable" at worst to, "I'm comfortable with a few well-established opposite sex friendships" at best. How...generous and trusting of you.

Stage 2: Exchange 10 Make & Breaks

These are pretty straightforward. You pick your top 10 from each list and send 'em over to compare and contrast. Kind of interesting, but fairly predictable.

Stage 3: By now, you're probably starting to lose interest in this person you've never met and who means nothing to you yet, and you're probably considering dropping out of this lengthy, lengthy process.

But then you take a deep breath and proceed to Dig Deeper. In this stage, you exchange three open-ended questions with one another. You can create your own or select one of eH's, like, "Tell me about your closest friend. How long have you known them, and what do you like best about them?" (Sorry, Cindy, I caved and told them everything. Really hope our friendship can recover.)

Stage 4: Welcome to eHarmony Mail!

On the off chance you are both in any way, shape, or form still invested in this thing, you are now allowed to send a normal(?) message via their safe, anonymous email system. The funny thing is, as tedious as eHarms' regimented communication feels, I find myself creeped out by the guys who "request to skip straight to eH Mail". I mean, if we're here to play the game, we may as well play by the rules.

A stance solidified by this special little confabulation:


Nothing good ever comes of Googlaging people.

P.S. According to eHarmony, I like pale, Christian teachers who reside in the South Bay. Want to know your type? Find out here!

That Is So Not Ok, Cupid

OkCupid. Match's cheap little cousin. Free, actually, which means there are about zero barriers to entry. This should be interesting.

I get my profile set up pretty quickly, stealing/or reworking both answers and pictures from other sites:

The six things I could never do without: Wit, sarcasm, charm, favorable aesthetics, coconut water and music.
I'm really good at: Standardized tests. And Mad Libs.
What I'm doing with my life: My father asks me this very question every single day.
I spend a lot of time thinking about: You. And I mean that in the creepiest way possible.

The 'Staff Robot' forbids "full nudity, extreme close ups, pets, cars, baby photos, artwork, images you've added yourself to, etc." Welp. There goes my Instagram.

Fortunately, they've taken no clear position on unenthusiastic model shots from horrifically cheesy Bravo reality shows. (Bottom row, center.) Just trying to showcase my industrious nature?

Next up is the 'Questions' tab. According to co-founder, Christian Rudder, 50 percent of your OkCupid matches come from commonalities. They suss out said commonalities in this section via an optional series of make-or-breaks. These topics range from super basic (Do you believe in showering, can you perform simple math calculations, would you date a smoker, are you a homophobe) to super personal (Would you have an abortion, what's your greatest motivation in life, how long do your romantic relationships usually last, how open are you with your feelings....)

I decide to put that latter half on the back burner for the time being and head over to browse my matches. Like any shopping site worth its e-commerce salt, OkC allows you to filter your results by SO MANY THINGS. Though height is capped at 6'4", which feels a little awkward -- almost as awkward as the "used up" body type option. I decide to let that one lie.

According to OkC, 153, 812 users are online right now. Holy mother of Hades. I brace myself for an onslaught of potential suitors.


There are 17 potential suitors.

You try broadening your search settings. Jerks.

(And no, sexxxysaurus, I don't want to chat right now. On a little bit of a mission here. A mission that doesn't involve frosted tips/or Ray-Bans.)

Perhaps my inbox will yield some unexpected gems??

Unlike Tinder, you don't have to give a green light to someone before they are allowed to message you. This leaves you with a lot of sh*t to sort through.

I expect this to be a lot of creepy sh*t. It's more just sort of a lot of...weird. Cheesy pick-up lines, corny jokes, false bravado, intrusive questions...

If anything, it nails home the fact that hitting on girls is really, really hard for some guys -- usually because they're trying too hard. (I can say that because I'm always trying too hard.) It seems more productive to highlight a few I found decently charming, rather than to highlight the many misfires: 

I like this one because he could secretly be insulting me and I wouldn't even know it. (Just looking for a healthy relationship over here!)

Math puns always work. 76% of the time.

I think there is in Europe?

l will call out this misfire, because he brought kittens into it and that's just not ok:


Out of all of these men, I reply to two. The first is a 5' 10", forty-year-old who is not really my type (yay for hitting three of my rules!), but he did work for both NPR and the BBC, does have a British accent, and did call my profile adorable....

The second is this guy, whom we shall call OkCupid Owen:

A 6'2", thirty two-year-old volleyball player who lives in Santa Monica. He describes himself as a kind, considerate, competitive dude with a dry, sarcastic sense of humor.

Game on.

...Not that kind of game.