Why you should care
Because life’s too short to be snookered by not-so-smooth operators.
I’m standing at the doorway wondering where the heck his lumbersexual beard and the bird tattoo on his biceps are.
I am in awe, but in a bad way, like when you take a bite out of a Chipotle steak burrito only to realize they got your order wrong and gave you a vegetarian burrito. He ushers me in and locks the door behind me, and I am realizing I got catfished.
Sure, there were a ton of red flags, I get that. Jupiter was in the wrong house, and I was in a silent neighborhood that I’ve never been to before. Also once I arrived at my destination, I got a text that said, “I see you, my boy.”
But, being young and carefree, I ignored all that and pressed on with this date. I only talked to this guy on the gay dating app Grindr for about two days, but he seemed friendly, and he supposedly had a beard and tattoo.
So here I am, in his hallway, trying to be polite and making some small talk with him. All he’s doing is checking me up and down. Maybe it’s because I was born in Reno, but I am terrible at telling someone that I’m not interested in them in person. In my mind, I am trying to make sense of this clusterfuck of a situation, while he brings me a glass of wine and invites me to chat on his bed. I sit there, clothed and rigid, and he sits next to me, unclothed and erect in a different kind of way.
At this point, I know only two things: first is that he definitely wants to boink, second is that I definitely do not.
We talk for like not even two minutes when he places his hands on my thighs. What the heck? I think. His hands felt just like sandpaper. Why don’t people moisturize? That was the dealbreaker for me. At this point, I know only two things: first, he definitely wants to boink, second is that I definitely do not want to boink and I need to make a great escape.
My initial tactic: induce boredom. I tactfully direct the conversation to the topic of how statisticians use the normal distribution to make inferences. When he leans in for a kiss, I begin spewing facts about the environmental consequences of bright building lights. But he just keeps getting closer. In the midst of all this, he keeps making strange comments, like mentioning how I’m an only child and that I make my parents proud.
This exchange finally culminates with him asking, “Don’t you want to make your parents proud and make love with me?” He makes a wet, spongy sound with his mouth afterward. I tell him I need to go to the bathroom.
Just like a horror movie, my objective is clearly to get the fuck out of there. Literally. Figuratively. I scan my surroundings a la Metal Gear Solid-style and try to find a potential escape. The building door was beyond a long hallway, and the door had like three locks, which would hinder a swift escape. The bathroom had windows, but it had a goddamn child screen. What the hell, man, he doesn’t even have kids! I couldn’t even find a fire alarm that I could easily set off to evacuate the whole building, which I may or may not have done before.
That’s when I notice something rustling in the corner of the bathroom. It’s a giant orange tabby cat, and he is purring softly.
Quick note: I had just read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, and I may have been very inspired by the manipulative Amy Dunne. The way that she would do anything, including injuring herself, to achieve her goal was strangely inspiring to me, which is a trait I would also attribute to me being born in Reno. That, and also because I was a little tipsy, I hatched a stupid, yet genius plan, based mostly on my damn allergies and that damn cat.
Sure, there were many other reasonable ways to get out of a situation like this, like just telling the dude I wasn’t interested, but I wanted to be Amazing Amy for just one moment. So … I took a deep breath, and grabbed the friendly kitty and held it to my face.
First, there was the smell of cat food, and then after two minutes I was itchy. I was itchy all over. I looked in the mirror and saw a red-eyed, snotty man with irritated skin. Not my cutest look, but I smiled, and whispered to myself, “I am the cool girl.”
And with that, I walked confidently back to the man and he jolted. In normal circumstances, I would’ve felt offended that he thought I looked like a monster, but I was proud. I stifled my smile and said I had eaten something I was allergic to.
“Are you OK? Do you need something, only child?” he asked.
I told him that I should go home and get some Benadryl, and he sighed and conceded. As we walked down his hallway, I sneezed about 10 times. The big orange kitty walks up to us and looks up to me. I look deep in its green eyes. “Thank you,” I say to the cat.
“Who are you saying ’thank you’ to?” the man asks. I ignore him and when we get to his door, he unlocks it, and I am free.
As the night air cools my inflamed face, I walk home, feeling full of pride that my ingeniously dumbass plan had worked. I log into Grindr again to block this catfish, but I realize I had missed a notification: A guy wants me to meet him at the creek behind the library for a rendezvous.
I wonder what dumbass who gave himself an allergic reaction 10 minutes ago to leave a stranger would want to attempt another hookup? But with that Reno blood raging in me, I turn around, and head over to the creek and the answer is beyond clear: me.