Thursday, April 17, 2014

Date Night Court case No. 38742: The People vs. Man from Tinder

Editor's note: This is post is the an idea borne out of a fun night with my good girlfriends Erin and Julie. I think you'll get the gist of it as we go along. To submit dates for Date Night Court, please email me.

All rise! Court is now in session. I'm Judge Katie, and today we will be reviewing case No. 38742: The People vs. Man from Tinder.

THE PLAINTIFF: Gabby*, totally normal D.C. girl who works at a nonprofit.

THE DEFENDANT: A man she swiped yes to on Tinder.


April 11, 2014

Gabby swiped yes to a good-looking guy on Tinder. It turned out he lived in Reston, but they were the same age and he seemed nice, so she accepted his invitation for a date anyway.

Despite living in Reston, which, for D.C. traffic purposes, may as well be the Seventh Circle of Hell, Tinder Man flat-out REFUSED to meet Gabby somewhere in the middle. Instead, he opted to have her truck all the way out to Reston Town Center (and pay all the requisite tolls).

A man who has just had a date completely inconvenience herself on his behalf brings the utmost decorum and manners to their meeting, right? Not Tinder Man -- he was 15 minutes late.

It became apparent very quickly that Tinder Man had suggested the bar as a meeting point for his own comfort, because he knew every single other patron in the joint. The bar was his regular watering hole, and he spent the entirety of the date glad-handing friends and well-wishers who descended upon their table to say hi. It wasn't an environment conducive to the sort of conversations one needs to engage in on a first date by anyone's standards.

Gabby and Tinder Man got drinks and went to an outdoor patio to chat. He asked her what she did for a living -- a reasonable question, of course -- which she answered and returned.

And that's when Gabby -- again, a mild-mannered nonprofit worker -- learned she was on a date with a male stripper (of the "I heard it was your birthday; did somebody order this special package?" variety).

Tinder Man barely gave Gabby any time to digest this informational tidbit before he whipped out his cell phone and began texting away. "I'm seeing if my friend [Random Female] is around," he said, as if it were the most natural thing in the entire world to invite a random female friend along on a first date.

Now get this shit -- the girl actually SHOWED UP. Ladies of the world, if your male friend is on a date and texts you to come along? You thank him and tell him you appreciate the offer but he should probably focus on the woman sitting across from him. YOU SAY NO, GOT IT?!!?

If that weren't bad enough, this random female friend wasn't the only person Tinder Man texted. It was as if he'd beamed a "Questionable Acquaintance" beacon into the sky, because within minutes SEVEN of Tinder Man's associates had descended upon the date. And these guys were not your typical suburban soccer mom/football dad Restonites; these guys were ROUGH -- some of them were missing teeth!

So now it's Gabby, Tinder Man, some random female friend and seven Reston reprobates sitting around a table. It would be an exhausting social minefield for anyone to navigate that many new folks in unfamiliar territory, but Tinder Man kept vacating the premises to go outside for cigarettes, so it was an even WORSE scene for poor Gabby.

At that point, Gabby had had enough and told Tinder Man she had plans to meet up with a friend back in the safe harbor that is Arlington. Apparently believing that this evening had gone well, Tinder Man attempted a mid-bar make-out session, which Gabby deftly avoided. She politely said goodbye to the myriad date interlopers and had nearly made her escape when one final cruel joke of the universe was uttered:

"You should walk her to her car," Tinder Man's random female friend suggested.

Tinder Man did as he was told, accompanying Gabby to her car and peppering her with questions about when she'd be free again (a quarter past NEVER) and telling her how pretty she smelled (Creep Factor: 101). He tried to make out with her AGAIN at the car (seriously, buddy, what part of that did you think went well??!?!?), which again she deftly avoided.

Sadly, she did not avoid smelling like his cheap cologne, cigarette smoke and shame on her drive back to civilization.

THE VERDICT: In the case of The People vs. Tinder Man, I pronounce the defendant:


of being a GIGANTIC TOOL. I sentence you to the deletion of your Tinder account and the forfeiture of your cell phone (so you can't text anyone to join you on a date ever again). You are hereby also required to buy chaps with the ass in them and as much Nicorette as it takes to kick the fucking disgusting smoking habit.

Court adjourned.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent of this tragic, tragic date.

Again, if you'd like to submit your bad date story to Date Night Court, please email me at!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Human Experiment No. 1: Kay and Noah


This may be my finest Photoshop work ever.

A few weeks ago, I wrote this post, where I asked those of you who wouldn't mind me setting you up to email me. And boy, did you respond!

...well, half of you did. The female half, that is.

Yes, shocker of the century -- a bunch of beautiful, intelligent, have-their-shit-together, completely eligible D.C. women emailed me for setups.


Guys -- GUYS! HEY! I'm here, and I've got some seriously fabulous women at my fingertips. And I'm not just saying that -- most of these girls aren't in my friend circle so it's not a she's-my-friend-so-I-know-she's-wonderful situation. I have a binder full of objectively awesome women -- R even looked at their pictures and vetted them! -- so come on down!

Anyway, if the mountain won't come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain, or whatever. I've been gradually reaching out to a couple of dudes I know and figuring out who I could match them with. Admittedly, it's kind of slow going.

So, again, guys -- I need you! Hit me up if you want to meet some really cool gals.

NOW, the moment you've all been waiting for: the actual date.

Editor's note: Once I started making matches and, for lack of a better way to say it, shit got real, people started to have anxiety about me using their names for this. So, as a matter of policy, I decided to change all names across the board, whether or not it was requested.

THE GAL: I'd actually become acquainted with Kay a few years ago through a mutual friend. She's got the kind of personality I imagine most guys would call their "dream girl": bubbly, optimistic, energetic, totally laid back. Nothing seems to bother her. She's a beautiful gal of Asian descent who plays soccer, so she's got a pretty bangin' body, too. In her initial email to me asking me to set her up, she included a photo I could send to potential suitors. It was her eating a gigantic cheeseburger. Goddamn, I love this girl.

THE GUY: I met Noah when he briefly dated a friend of mine. He's a big-shot lawyer, and a beer drinking guy's guy with a dirty sense of humor.

REASON FOR THE MATCH: I put Noah and Kay together because they're both social butterflies with about a million friends each. They're work-hard-play-hard types, and they're both moderately skittish when it comes to relationships/commitment. I figured their senses of humor and laid-back attitudes made this pairing pretty much a lock.

CAVEATS: Kay lives way in the Virginia suburbs, which is not ideal for Noah's D.C.-or-bust lifestyle. Also, they both keep themselves so busy I wasn't sure if their schedules would ultimately align at all.

So, the way I do this is I make short introductions over email and then I let them figure the rest out. After I introduced Kay and Noah this way, they continued emailing each other jokes and inappropriate memes for a while, so much so that Noah emailed me to say he liked what was happening and that so far, I'd gotten it right.

THE DATE: Kay and Noah squeezed each other into their busy schedules on a Thursday night at Carpool, a pool/skeeball/various other games kind of bar in Ballston. Kay had been there before and Noah hadn't, so she said she got there first and sort of directed the beginning of the evening, suggesting they sit and talk for a while.

It started off a bit awkward, with both Kay and Noah later telling me the other one seemed reserved/nervous at first. They talked for a while, then got food and played pool. Noah says Kay hustled him by telling him she sucked then winning two out of three games; Kay swears on her life she really does suck at pool and that winning was a freak accident.

Kay was a bit thrown off because Noah came off way more serious in person than what she expected based on his goofy emails, but it turns out there was a reason for that: Noah's dog got put down earlier that day. He told me he was kind of a wreck over it but didn't want to cancel the date because they're both so busy he worried they'd never be able to get their schedules to realign. He said he felt like he was "off his game," but that Kay "seemed nice, very cute, lots of energy and busy, kind of like me."

THE RESULT: Overall, they said they got along well and that it was a decent-to-good date. Kay said she'd go out with Noah again if he asked, and once she learned about his dog (I told her), a lot of his in-person non-goofiness made sense and she was even more down for a second meeting. Noah also said he'd be down to hang out with Kay again, but it was just a matter of figuring out where to fit it into their busy schedules.

In the end, I'm giving myself an A+ for this one. As long as they can continue to squeeze each other in every once in a while, I think Kay and Noah could have a lot of fun together. And if nothing else, I think they'll be friends who totally make out sometimes. Aw yeah, I said it.

If you'd like to see who I'd put you with, email me at!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

If you can't find someone to date, be better or lower your standards

Meet Amal Alamuddin.

Model? Actress? Nope -- this babe's a brainiac out to change the world. According to her biography, Alamuddin, 36, is a lawyer, specializing in international law. She is a graduate of the New York University School of Law and Oxford. She's fluent in French and Arabic, too. She's a co-author of a book titled "The Law and Practice of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon," among other things.

And she is never going out with you.

No -- a woman with her credentials bagged perpetual bachelor George Clooney. She can make George Clooney -- one of the most famous (and famously sexy) and wealthy men in the entire world who could have literally any woman on the planet -- commit. So don't waste your time messaging her on OkCupid or hitting on her at a bar. If you're reading this blog, she's not going out with you.

Think about it. What could you -- any of you -- offer Amal Alamuddin that she can't get from someone else? She's fucking GEORGE CLOONEY. She's not interested.

So what is one to do if you've been hopelessly pursuing people of her caliber with no return on investment? The answer is simple: Be better, or lower your standards.

There's really no two ways to go about it. To date better people, you yourself have to be a better person, and there are absolutely no exceptions to this rule.

And to be clear, I'm not talking about your idiosyncrasies. I'm talking about fundamental flaws that get in the way of relationships.

Taking stock of myself, I can tell you the following things:

  1. I graduated from a top 5 journalism school
  2. I am paid a king's ransom at my job
  3. I'm eloquent and witty (sometimes I even do standup comedy!)
  4. Up until R moved in with me, I lived roommate-less in a two-story apartment
  5. I'm fairly social and have a large circle of friends
  6. I have extraordinarily pretty hair but am otherwise average looks-wise
  7. I could do a better job of staying in shape

I think this is a fairly reasonable, honest assessment of myself. I realize the last two items on the list limit me considerably in terms of who would be willing to go out with me. But with the rest of the stuff, I have my shit together. At the end of the day, I'm a catch. And ultimately, I ended up with a similar catch -- R is cute, funny, gainfully employed, college educated, lived with a roommate when I met him (which I'm cool with -- this is D.C., after all), and he's got this totally amazing and luxurious beard. I love it (and him).

But I can't tell you how many times I got messages from guys who couldn't form basic sentences, who didn't have college degrees, who were grossly overweight, who lived with their parents, who were boring, who were so socially awkward it was uncomfortable... the list goes on and on. What made them think that I would deign to go out with them? Frankly, it's a little insulting.

And this post is not just about loser guys who only go after the hot girls -- this swings both ways, ladies. If you're not up to snuff, that cute, 6-foot-2 guy who served in the Peace Corps in Botswana and now works as a lawyer at a big-time D.C. firm will never give you the time of day.

This is not to say you should "settle," necessarily. There's no reason to be with someone who abuses you in some manner just because you'd rather have a boyfriend than be alone. You do have the right, no matter who you are, to demand to be treated with love and respect.

But, as for the rest, it's all about having reasonable expectations for yourself and for your potential mate. If you don't have a master's degree, how can you expect that of your date? If you never go to the gym, why are you pursuing someone with washboard abs?

Is what I'm saying harsh? You bet it is. But if you're confounded at the lack of responses you've gotten in the dating world, maybe -- just maybe -- you need to take a good, long look in the mirror and figure out where your deficiencies lie. Are you fat? As someone once said to me, the solution is just a treadmill away. Bad skin? Buy some Proactiv. Live with your parents? Move out, because you're a fucking adult now and that's what adults do.

If you're not willing to do those things, well, don't expect to get someone who is. I don't care that you're nice -- a lot of people are nice. If you want a date, you have to be more than that.

There's one more thing I should mention that I left off that self-assessment list earlier: #8 is that I've struggled with crippling insecurity and anxiety issues throughout most of my adult life. They've torpedoed a lot of the relationships -- budding or established -- that I've had.

After my last relationship ended, I had a come-to-Jesus moment with myself and thought, if you don't get this shit under control, you're never going to find someone. So I found a counselor and spent several months having weekly sessions where I worked out my issues.

I'm a better person for it. And now I have R.

So, I implore you. Figure out what you're doing wrong. Ask your friends, maybe. And whatever it is, start working toward fixing it.

Either that, or stop chasing brainiac beauty queens and aim for something a little more within your reach.

Because Amal Alamuddin is never going to return your calls.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Advice: Ending things during casual dating

Anonymous asks:
Which is worse - having a person you've gone out with a few times abruptly cut off all contact with you, or having them very obviously lie about why they don't want to see you again?
Date Me, D.C. says:

Hands down, abruptly cutting off all contact.

I totally just made this meme. This is copyright ME.
Seriously, how hard is it to let someone know you don't see it going anywhere? To me, it doesn't matter the reason -- lie or not -- and I think most people would agree. After multiple dates, most people just want some sort of closure.

Note: It doesn't have to be some big breakup. If you're not to the point of exclusivity, you don't need to make a production out of it. Send an email, send a text, make a quick phone call. Five minutes and you're done. I'll write a whole post about this later; this topic merits one.

Point is, let people know they won't be seeing you again. It's kinder than the disappearing act.

Remember, you can ask questions anonymously by clicking here or by emailing me at

Friday, April 11, 2014

Fire eHarmony: "Four Must-Ask First Date Questions"

These are four questions that eHarmony thinks it's a good idea to ask on a first date. Specifically, they're four questions that Dr. Seth Meyers, "licensed clinical psychologist and TV guest expert" (read: semi-attractive guy with dubious credentials we can throw on air when we need to seem like we've done our journalism homework) thinks you should ask.

And I say they're good questions... if you NEVER WANT TO SEE THAT PERSON AGAIN.

As always, italics are eHarmony's; bold is mine.

What questions should you ask someone on a first date? 

I'll field this: Normal ones. Article over. Nothing to see here.

The four questions below provide a nice springboard, designed to motivate further conversation without making your date feel interviewed or cross-examined. 

Keep this sentence in mind because it's about to get hilarious.

Ask these questions and you can potentially get gobs of good information to mentally feast on later!

Um, phrasing? I'm uncomfortable!

1. What kind of relationship are you looking for?

Ideally, any man or woman to whom you’d pose this question would be able to give you a fleshed-out and specific, clear response. 

There are a lot of things that happen in an ideal world, but over here in the REAL world, you've just made everyone poop themselves.  

Unfortunately, this type of question is so direct that it can actually throw someone off for a second. 

Ya think!?

After all, people are more accustomed to psychological games during dating than direct honesty.

What eHarmony thinks dating is.
When you ask the question, give your date a few prompts to ensure that you get the most honest answer. “Are you looking for something casual, or an exclusive relationship? Some people just want a hookup, while others are gunning for marriage. Where do you fall in the spectrum?” 

"And while we're at it, PUT A BABY IN ME!"

I promise you: The more you learn to ask this question of your dates early in the dating process, the more successful your relationships will be. It really is that simple!

Dr. Seth Meyers must have skipped the day in psychology school where they discussed trust issues because he is letting everybody down.

2. How often do you like to talk to or see someone when you start dating them? Are you a slow starter or do you like to dive right in?

Few people employ this question early in dating, and a lot of relationships end because the couple doesn’t draw sufficient boundaries early. What usually happens? Person A meets Person B, and Persons A and B start talking every day and seeing each other – and sleeping together, thankyouverymuch – at least a few days per week. Simply put: No! If you find someone you like and you want it to work, the smartest strategy to protect the future of that relationship is to start the relationship slowly. To make sure things start slowly, try saying this:

“I like you, and I like seeing you and talking to you. But to make sure we don’t jump in too fast or force things, let’s start slowly by seeing each other once or twice per week in the beginning. Is that okay? I like you enough that I don’t want to rush this. Trust me: It’s actually a sign that I like you.”

"Also, PUT A BABY IN ME!" Seriously, these recommended passages make you sound like a PSYCHOPATH.

3. Are you more of a go-out person or more of a homebody?

Shouldn't the eleventy million questions you answered in eHarmony's marathon email sessions have covered this one already?

This one is huge, folks, so we have to spend a little more time on this issue. 

One of the biggest reasons new relationships fail has to do with socializing – because one person usually likes to socialize more than the other. Whichever you are – homebody, social butterfly, someone in between – know what you are, don’t be afraid to be honest about it, and understand that there must be enough of a similar social style between the two of you for a relationship to work.

Here’s an example of a problem that frequently develops when one member of the couple is more social, and the other is more of a homebody:

Mr. Social loves to watch the game at the bar with his buddies or his girlfriend, and he loves house parties and occasions to meet new people and bump into old friends. Ms. Homebody, however, prefers to chill out at home: cook, garden, or snuggle under blankets to guilty-pleasure TV. After a while: He starts to resent her, gets anxious and restless, and starts acting out. His version of acting out includes losing his temper or going out with his buddies without her, which causes an even greater divide between the couple, frequently leading to the end of the relationship.

Jesus, that's not a social style mismatch -- that's just being an asshole!

Here’s the correct way to handle a relationship in which two people vary in how social they are:

Mr. Social wishes his girlfriend, Ms. Homebody, would go out with him more socially, but he accepts that she isn’t – and is never going to be – very social, and he doesn’t stay home to appease her or force her to go out with him. Similarly, in a healthy relationship, Ms. Homebody would love it if her boyfriend liked to nest at home more, but she knows that’s not who he is, so she finds ways to fulfill herself emotionally at home when he’s out and about.

This advice just got way off track. There's no way you can gauge this even if you DID ask that question because people are always going to bridge the divide a little bit at the beginning of a relationship, e.g. Ms. Homebody's going to go out a bunch more and Mr. Social's going to be happy as a clam staying in. Asking the question on a first date will solve NOTHING.

You are my LEAST FAVORITE Seth Meyers, Dr. Seth Meyers!

4. What’s your dream job?

Aaaaaand it just became a job interview. I feel interviewed and cross-examined. Fail, Dr. Seth Meyers, fail.

Asking this question is a great way to get a sense of the spirit that lies deep inside the person you’re dating. Sure, he may be a teacher or stock broker, but is that what he does for money, or is that his true passion? Most men and women, sadly, aren’t working in a career that reflects their significant interests and passions – everyone’s too busy paying the bills to have that luxury. 


Remember, working at a job that isn’t your passion isn’t anything to fault. The point in asking the question is to pull out the little boy or girl inside and get a quick flash of their essence. 

If your date is stashing a small child inside him/herself, call the cops.

For example, I recently asked a rather shy friend this question, and she shocked me when said she’d be an actress. I pressed on. “Comedy or drama?” “Drama,” she answered as if she’d been planning this answer her entire life. Well, I never would have guessed it, but asking the question gave me a great window into a sort of hidden part of her personality. 

*The part of her personality that will carve your name in her thigh and kill your dog when you don't return her calls after five minutes.

Sometimes you can get some really interesting information from your date if you ask this question.

The questions I present here are a few great conversation starters, and will hopefully give you a better sense of who your date is. If you choose to use them, space them out throughout the date as opposed to firing them off like cannon balls. 

I'm definitely getting a sense of balls from this.

Stay relaxed, let the conversation flow, and enjoy that moment in your life!

eHarmony should have ponied up for the other Seth Meyers. I bet he'd give better dating advice!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Advice: Relationship timelines

Anonymous asks: 
Hey Katie! So glad you're back to blogging; I like the new angle. So here's my question... Tons of friends around me in new (less than 6-10 month long) relationships are already talking about weddings and babies. I'm approaching 3.5 years with my beau. Is there some expiration clock that I should be aware of? If you aren't engaged within a certain time period, is that a tell-tale sign of some sort?
Date Me, D.C. says:

Sounds to me that with your friends, infatuation is doing a lot of the talking. It can be so easy to get way, WAY ahead of yourself in a new relationship. Case in point: I've mentally planned my weddings and named my future children with all of my ex-boyfriends, but you're not going to be seeing a Lucy Vandegrift or a Charlie Hilburg EVER coming out of my vagina. I can guarantee you that. But back in the thick of it, I got caught up in haze of hormones and chemicals firing on all cylinders in my brain. It happens!

My advice with your friends is simply this: Smile, nod and congratulate them on their happiness... and stand ready to be there for them when and if it falls apart.

As for your actual question, no, I don't think there's a specific time you should be engaged by OR ELSE. I think it's a matter of individual wants, needs and expectations.

Have you ever considered marriage with this guy? Are you feeling ready to make that kind of commitment? Do you even want to get married at all? Are you together because you see it going somewhere, or is it because you'd just rather not be alone?

If it's something you want and you haven't even talked about it, well... you have my permission to bring it up. You won't lose anything by communicating your desires.

If you don't want to get married, you should probably talk about that, too. Marriage or no marriage -- either way, it's something you guys need to be on the same page about.

And if the topic has been avoided because you guys are together just because you've been together so long and you'd rather stay in it than start over... that's something to seriously reconsider. Life is too damn short to let inertia make your decisions for you. It's a lesson I've had trouble absorbing, but I hope you can learn from my mistakes.

There is no one-size-fits-all answer for relationships. It's all about the two of you guys as a couple and what works for you. And for your friends, it's about the two of them as a couple and what works for them.

So, to reiterate my point, you haven't done anything wrong unless you're unhappy and you've avoided communicating what you really want.

Remember, you can ask questions anonymously by clicking here or by emailing me at

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Advice: May-December relationships

Neurotic Workaholic asks:
What's your opinion of May-December romances? When I was on, the majority of the guys who contacted me were significantly older. I am 32 and was looking for someone in his thirties, early forties, or late twenties. But most of the 30-something guys specified in their profiles that they were looking for women in their late teens and twenties. Most of them did not want to date women over the age of 30, even though the guys were in their 30s. Most of the guys who contacted me were in their late forties, fifties, sixties, and even seventies! So what do you think? Why do you think that guys (though I know not all guys are like this) go after significantly younger women? Do you think that May-December romances can work? 
P.S. I should add that I am not interested in dating significantly younger men; I teach college students, so I'm around guys in their late teens and early twenties every day. So anytime I see a guy in that age range, I automatically associate him with my students and thus am not interested in dating him.
Date Me, D.C. says: 

Yeah, I kind of don't know what to tell you. It's fucked up. Popular culture programs guys to believe that the younger the woman, the better. They think that 22-year-olds keep it light, airy and drama-free and don't want commitment, versus women in their 30s, who have a biological clock ticking -- nay, THUMPING -- in their ears and are nothing but baby-wanting pressure cookers. Or that it's nubile young sex goddesses versus haggard old harpies.

Neither of these things are true, of course. The 22-year-old women want boyfriends and babies just as much as the 32-year-old ones. And just because Honey Boo Boo's mom is 34 doesn't mean that all 34-year-olds look like that.

This is what happens your diet entirely consists of mainlining sausage gravy and Mountain Dew.
Most 34-year-olds do not look like this.

In fact, OkCupid did a couple of age-related studies and showed that "your average 25-year-old is roughly as good-looking as your average 35-year-old," with pictures for proof!

But men believe these myths, and therein lies why you're getting messages from Old Man Winter.

Personally, I'm WAY more awesome at 31 than I was at 21. I'm thinner, for starters, and I'm better at fixing my hair and makeup. I drink less and explore the world more. I'm more culturally aware and well-read. I have more money. I'm less awkward in social situations, and more likely to advocate for myself when I feel I've been treated unfairly.

But I digress.

My theory on dating is that your best matches are generally people you could have been in high school with, aka three years up or three years down. (In fact, R is actually a little bit younger than me; he'll be 30 this summer.) The idea behind this is that your cultural references are the same -- you can both wax poetic on having bought the Toadies' "Rubberneck" album with your first allowance money. Or, you know, whatever -- whatever the touchstones are for your generation. If you're in your 60s you'd be talking about where you were when Kennedy got shot. Whatever.

When you date way outside your age range, you ultimately bring such different experiences to the table that I really don't think it can work in the long term. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so don't write me emails about how your cousin's best friend's sister married a guy who was 48 and she was 25 and they're still madly in love. I get it -- it can happen sometimes. But for the most part, you're going to wake up one day and have run out of things to talk about.

Point is, guys, seriously -- what do you have in common with someone 20 years your junior? I'll answer for you: Daddy issues. Go figure your shit out and then wade back into the dating pool.

Remember, you can ask questions anonymously by clicking here or by emailing me at

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

On true love and laundry

When I was 23 and fairly new to the D.C. area, I worked the night shift at one of the local newspapers. There was a large group of young folks employed there at the time, and we'd frequently go out to late night at various bars in the city after we'd punched our time cards for the evening. The group usually consisted of people in their 20s, but occasionally the middle-aged people we worked with would tell their wives they were going to be home late and try to relive their youths alongside us.

One of those nights -- and I don't remember the particular occasion we were celebrating or where specifically we went -- a male co-worker in his late 40s joined us.

This particular gentleman and I couldn't have been more different. As socially liberal as I was, he was outspokenly conservative. He was the patriarch of a household that revered traditional gender roles, with him bringing home the bacon and his wife raising and homeschooling his pack of children (he had five, I think? Six? I hard to say). He chain-smoked and had a Southern drawl.

For some reason, I very much liked him anyway. He was entertaining, to say the least.

Anyway, due to the aforementioned children and a hellish commute to his home in small-town Maryland, he NEVER joined us when we went out, save for that one time. And I guess he needed to make the most of it, because he got totally loaded. I ended up driving him back to his car, where he slept for a few hours before attempting to drive home.

In any case, for the 20 minutes he was strapped into my passenger seat, he peppered me with questions about why I wasn't married yet, because wasn't it time? (I'm telling you, he was really into the traditional gender roles thing.) He knew I'd been dating my boyfriend for a while -- it was Ex-BF v.1.0, whom I'd been with for three years -- and he thought we should just go ahead and take the plunge.

He gave me no time to respond before he began gushing about his own marriage and his wife, who, he said, was beautiful and showed him how much she loved him by taking care of their children and washing his underwear.

At that, I had to speak.

"Oh, HELL no. I am NEVER washing anybody's underwear."

"Just you wait," he said. "If you really love him, you'll wash his underwear."

I shook my head and chalked it up to us being brought up in different eras. I will never be that kind of girl, I thought to myself. I love my boyfriend, and I don't wash his underwear.

It wasn't too long after that, however, that things petered out with me and Ex-BF v.1.0 and we broke up. I met Ex-BF v.2.0 after that -- and lived with him -- and I didn't wash his underwear, either. And Ex-BF v.3.0? Nope, nary a thread of his went in my wash.

Fast-forward to a few months ago, when R moved in with me. The combining of our households required that I cleaned out one of my two bedroom closets to make way for his clothes. As you can imagine, downsizing from two closets to one means that neither one of us really has enough space for our things. Our clothes are everywhere.

So... I wish I could tell you about the first time I washed R's underwear. It'd make this a better blog post if I could re-create the moment of finding his boxer briefs mixed in to my laundry basket by mistake, and I was in the laundry room with them in my hand, looking at them, and it was this critical do-or-die moment and I made the choice to throw them in with my things and it was oh-so revolutionary.

But it didn't happen like that. I don't even remember it. I'm assuming I just picked up his boxers from the bathroom floor and I washed them, end of story. I washed a bunch of his other clothes, too. I still do.

And yet, I've never forgotten my conservative co-worker's words: "If you really love him, you'll wash his underwear." Every time I wash R's clothes, I think, "Hmm. He was right."

In all the years since my co-worker said that to me, I'd taken it at face-value that he meant if you're a woman you're just supposed to do the washing. But now that I'm eight years older and a veteran of multiple long-term relationships, I think there's more to it than that. I think it's more about being willing to do stuff you'd rather not do for the good of your partner, and you don't mind doing it.

It's not being a doormat, either -- if R were to ask me to do something hideously offending, like commit murder or listen to Nickelback, I'd stand my ground.

Rather, it's making sure I buy organic milk even though it's mind-bogglingly expensive because that's what R prefers. It's when R digs my car out of the snow and cleans off my windshield so I don't have to do it before I go to work, or when he feels like eating Raisin Bran for dinner but still takes time to cook me something. It's making sure I go to the gym regularly because I want to stay in shape and be attractive for him.

And sometimes, it's washing his underwear -- and I couldn't be happier doing it for him.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Advice: Where to meet people if you're an introvert

Anonymous asks:
Where in DC does a low-key, introverted guy go to meet a low-key, introverted girl? Hate the bar scene (too many people), hate the dance club scene (too loud, too many people), can't stand H Street (too annoying).
Date Me, D.C. says:

So, I have a little brother. He's 23, almost 24, and painfully shy. He lives with my parents -- in their basement -- and sometimes bemoans not having a girlfriend.

When he embarks on this refrain, my mother has one canned response:

"Well, Joey," she'll say, "there's no girls in the basement."

A basement, where there are no girls.
Point being, you want a girlfriend? You ain't gonna get one by sitting around the house. I'm sorry for your luck that you were born an introvert, but going to some of the places you mentioned above is a necessary evil.

That said, while you can't change the hand you were dealt, you CAN change how you play it. Here are a couple of tips to fortify your social armor:

1. Don't bother with dance clubs. You're absolutely right, they're too loud, and that environment would be even more daunting for someone who has trouble opening up to people. You'd be miserable, and that's what you'd project to any woman you'd be trying to talk to. Would you want someone miserable hitting on you? I'm guessing no.

2. Find bars that are more conducive to conversation/have a lot of places to sit. Shaw's Tavern comes to mind (that's where R and I had our first date -- he's an introvert, too). There's no reason to pack yourself like a sardine into a place like Cafe Saint Ex on a Saturday night. Which brings me to my next point:

3. Don't bother with weekends. True, more people are out on Friday and Saturdays, which in theory would give you more opportunities to meet people. But you can also find people out and about during weeknight happy hours. It'll be less crowded and therefore less loud, allowing you to better engage in conversation. And there'll be less competition for the ladies, which also is a point in your corner.

Finally, remember this: We want you to talk to us. We want you to approach us. We're flattered by that. We enjoy it! And let's say the worst happens and the girl you approach says she has a boyfriend or is otherwise uninterested. Are you really any worse off? As I see it, you didn't have a girlfriend before and you don't have one now. You don't have anything to lose.

Also... online? You do have an OkCupid profile, right? Seems like that's the obvious answer for introverts... just go online, dude. Email me and I'll help you create your profile.

Remember, you can ask questions anonymously by clicking here or by emailing me at

Who pays for the first date, revisited

After reading through what I wrote again and all of the comments that I got, I feel this post needs an addendum:

Me telling you that the man pays for the first date is decidedly NOT about getting free meal after free meal. Use your brain: Do men only take women out on dates for the sole purpose of getting sex out of it and never calling again? In both cases, we can say yeah, those things happen, but they're the exceptions, not the rules.

The man picking up the check is a SOCIAL DANCE. I offer; you decline. It's the signal that I know what I'm supposed to do, and you know what you're supposed to do, and we're both going through this well-worn pageantry to show each other that we like each other.

Additionally, a few tips for guys:
  • Don't offer up or agree to a date idea that you're not willing to pay for. 
You don't want to pay for dinner? Fine. Don't take her to dinner. Meet her for coffee, late night drinks or happy hour. My first date with R was Saturday 3 p.m. beers at Shaw's Tavern. We did not even look at the food menu. I don't think anyone wants to invest in the time it takes for a dinner date nowadays, let alone the money.
  • If you didn't have a good time with her, by all means, split the check.
If she does her dance right and offers and you have no intention of seeing her again, break the social code. Trust me, she'll know what's up without you even having to say anything.

You don't want to do the social dance because you think women are bitches and money-grubbing whores out to steal all the cash in your wallet? Fine, don't do the dance, but I hope you like your Saturday nights filled with Chinese carryout, fedoras and loneliness. Men who either don't know the dance or refuse to do it are -- with very, very few exceptions -- socially awkward or awful in some other undeniable way. You need to get your head on straight, figure out what your flaws are and work on fixing them before you wade back into the dating pool.

And this is the last time I will ever write about this topic because this is what I feel like right now:

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog programming.