So you think you can date?


Recently I agreed to meet a woman from a dating web site for coffee. We agreed that on a Sunday afternoon we’d meet up somewhere in the city. The coffee never happened. Clumsiness and shallowness prevailed.

I decided to go out drinking the night before with a friend I hadn't seen in months. We ended up at a local bar that hosts an occasional 80s Dance Night party populated by people too young to have experience the cocaine and shitty Reagan economy of that dark decade.

The drinks flowed.

It was there, in a state of wobbly drunkenness, that I saw the lovely women I was supposed to meet the next day. She danced with a female friend in the giant group of attractive people.

I explained this awkward situation to my friend. We went back an forth over whether it would be a good idea to say anything.

He suggested I suck it up and go out there and dance. I’ve seen myself dance. I knew this would do me no favors.I had a few move drinks. Somewhere in one of those drinks is where the Wizard hid my courage.

So I danced.

Three minutes of dancing and I wandered away.

As I dozed off on my friend’s couch that night, I sent the woman a self-depreciating message saying that I would totally understand if my moves were a total turnoff and if she wanted to cancel the coffee date.

Sunday, around brunch time, I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. It was a message from her that read:

“Hmm, you’re right, maybe it’s better if we don’t? Probably if we don’t have club-dancey chemistry, we don’t have the more important kinds of chemistry either! I wish you the best of luck though, and have a good Sunday!”

I couldn’t stop laughing. My feelings weren't hurt. I was dumbfounded.This wasn’t a woman who danced professionally. She wasn’t a cast member from “Step Up 3D.” She danced like every average white girl at an 80s dance party with moves that say “I vaguely remember this video,” and, “Hey, do you remember crimped hair? Wasn’t that CRAAAAZY?”

My friends wondered why I was laughing. I explained.

My friend Kenny remarked, “This is something that would only happen to you.” I wish I could disagree.

I tell you this for several reasons:

I’m used to these sort of things happening. I’m totally not bitter about it.

I’m a fucking adult.

I can accept that there are perfectly good reasons why two adults might not connect.

I can accept that someone might not find me attractive. I’ve showered with myself for more than 34 years. I see it every day. I get it.

You can think that I’m negative because I have a tendency to think critically about stupid things like this experience.

You can hate the fact that we just aren’t compatible and have absolutely nothing interesting to say to one another.

I get it.

But don’t be stupid.

Dancing isn’t a reason to cancel a coffee date. I’m bad at dancing. I know I’m bad at dancing. My skill is writing. My skill is telling jokes. I can’t approach a woman and say, “Hey, want to talk about active v. passive sentence structure?”

And if dancing is that important to you, well, then grow up.