If you are here strictly for food/drink, I suggest you read just the parts in bold. If you want to know about my dating horror stories with food sprinkled in, read all of it. It’s pretty hilarious.
I was a member of OK Cupid for 6 days. On the sixth day, something happened that was so horrifying, I immediately deleted my account and concluded, once and for all, that Internet/online/app-based dating is not for me. It works great for plenty of people, but given that I’ve enjoyed a very active presence on the internet for over 14 years and have a somewhat unique name, it’s not my best option.
But before that happened, let’s talk about the lone date I went on with a guy I met from OK Cupid (who has very little to do with the reason I deleted OK Cupid; isn’t that fun?).
The afternoon of our date, he texted me to confirm plans. We traded suggestions for a bit until he finally said “I picked a place and I’m going to keep it a surprise because you seem to just like saying no.” Uh, okay – I’d declined his suggestion of a tequila bar because I don’t drink a lot of tequila, and our date was slated to begin around 6pm which is a recipe for overindulgence, then suggested another place that he declined, and then demurred when he suggested a place I’d previously visited and disliked greatly. Apparently, that means I just like saying no. K.
In order for it to remain a surprise, as his office is a few avenues from mine, he walked over to my block and “picked me up” then guided me on the subway to our destination – which turned out to be 151, a divey cocktail bar with a cool vibe. (At the time – November – it was fairly newly switched to the cocktail format; though this bar has been around for a very long time, it’s gone through many iterations is my understanding.) I am the kind of person who goes to bars alone and sits at the bar, befriends the bartender and occasionally makes friends with other people sitting there as well. I am, in case you had no idea, a friendly person. When we got there, there were people scattered around and I suggested we sit at the corner along the bar, basically sitting kitty corner from each other.
Conversation was fairly normal; it flowed easily though I found it frustrating that he repeatedly tried to convince me of things even after I explained my stance. For example, he was obsessed with a television show called The Knick. At first, I was open to it and asked him to “sell me” on it – give me reasons I should watch it. He told me nothing about the plot, and just said it was really good. Repeatedly. Now, my BFF loves this show as well – we’ve discussed it – and while the show itself may be wonderful on all levels, I don’t care for medical shows. The closest I’ve come is Scrubs, which is barely medical in nature (how many procedures did they show over the entire 9 seasons?). I cannot stand the sight of blood (disappointing my Asian parents further with my choice not to become a doctor), and I cover my eyes at particularly graphic scenes in movies that depict surgeries or violence that I can’t immediately dismiss as very fake. I also don’t watch hour long shows with any frequency (I have two major exceptions: Agents of Shield/Carter and SVU). Basically, The Knick is the very opposite of what I like in my TV shows.
In addition to that, he really, really wanted me to try his drink. Actually, I believe he wanted me to order a different drink from what I did (a version of the French 75, one of my all time favorite cocktails), but I declined politely. So he ordered what he wanted me to drink, and then insisted I try a sip. I can be very stubborn, it’s true – and sometimes the more you press me, the more I will resist. Such was the case – something about his approach really put me off, and I declined repeatedly. Maybe it was how he told me I would like it – and it was a cocktail I have had previously and sure, when made properly is really good, but it’s not what I felt like drinking (it was a whiskey drink, and I am generally in the mood for gin).
Am I painting the picture clearly? He was very pushy and insistent that he knew my preferences better than I did. Also, we began drinking at roughly 6:15 pm. Initially, I drank normally, but began nursing my cocktails because they were strong and I hadn’t eaten since lunch.
151 is a very cool bar. It has the dive feel, but offers delicious, properly-mixed cocktails. I am a huge fan of cocktails and really enjoyed the atmosphere there. The bartender was friendly and gracious, and engaged in conversation when he wasn’t busy. I had a lot of questions; they had wine on tap, which I’d previously only seen at a handful of places. They also pre-mixed certain cocktails – mine was one such cocktail – so they had batches ready to go when someone ordered it, which I found interesting. I also thoroughly enjoyed the music, which was a very laidback, relaxing mix of classic rock and jazz. I found myself enamored of the place and asking the bartender a lot of questions about the past iterations of the bar, about the music (playlist available on Spotify), about the wine on tap and about the batch cocktails.
… and this is where everything went to sh!t. Initially, Paul joined the conversation when I spoke with the bartender. Our conversations were intermittent at best – he WAS working, afterall – but they were all focused on the bar and other bars in the area. Remember, I write about food and occasionally drink… but apparently Paul either didn’t remember this or did not give a f*. Because after a few such conversations with Eli (the bartender), Paul sat back from the bar and crossed his arms over his chest. Eli wandered away, and I noticed this very closed-off, upset body language. I asked, “What’s wrong?”
Paul gave me a very angry look and said flatly, “You’re talking to the bartender an awful lot.”
I almost laughed in his face and expressed my disbelief, “Um, are you kidding me? I was asking questions about the bar.”
This is when he yelled– I kid you not, he raised his voice at me! on a first date!- “So you’re not going to see him again???”
This time I DID laugh in his face. “Well, actually, I probably will, since I really like this bar… thanks for introducing me.”
He looked so angry, and unfortunately/fortunately, my personality is such that in a situation that could be misconstrued like this, I do try to mollify the other person. I mean, he felt I was ignoring him to talk to the bartender, and we WERE on a date. It’s fair to call me out on that behavior. And some people are insecure. After I calmed Paul down a bit, I said, “I’m really hungry and can’t keep drinking without eating. I’m getting pretty tipsy.” Paul was drinking faster than I was – he was well into his second, and I was halfway into mine – and he said, “Okay.” But then he ordered another drink! so I finished mine while he drank a third.
Maybe it’s me, but I tend to think more than two cocktails on a first date is a bad idea. I can hold my alcohol easily, and will split a bottle of wine, but that’s about the most I’ll have on a first date in general. There’s no hard and fast rule, really, but a general guideline to myself – especially if I’m feeling tipsy. Also, for other people… if you can’t hold your alcohol, don’t drink so much on a first date!! You’re still trying to put the best version of yourself forward, and getting sloppy is rarely a good idea.
All that said, after he finally finished his third cocktail and it was 8 or 9pm by this point, we left to get food. Most people ask me why I didn’t just leave, but I do like to give people a fair chance – even though he YELLED AT ME FOR TALKING TO THE BARTENDER – and I really wanted to eat before I got on the subway to go home. We wandered around looking for a place before finally settling on 100 Montaditos, which I knew friends of mine had visited and enjoyed, and I’d wanted to try for a while.
100 Montaditos is a cute small sandwich place. “Montadito” is basically a small roll that various toppings are put on, they charge something ridiculously cheap for one. You’re meant to order a bunch and mix and match – I picked five, a good range to try the various kinds offered. While I don’t remember what my order was, I do recall that our server was super friendly, and that I thoroughly enjoyed my sandwiches (though by the 5th one I decided it was too much bread for me and ate just the fillings). They also came with a handful of potato chips in the center, which is totally a great little add-on for mini sandwiches. I could probably do with just 3 next time.
Paul ordered 3 of the special ones, but I didn’t bother taking a photograph of them. It’s not like he waited for me to take a pic, either, though I mentioned wanting to since I hadn’t been there previously.
We also ordered, to share, an order of these amazing cheese and serrano ham (!!) crumbled on top. Except Paul doesn’t seem to understand what “sharing” means and ate a good 3/4 of these. I didn’t say anything, but honestly, that’s a cardinal sin for me. If he’d said “I don’t want to share, can you order your own?” I’d respect him more than what happened, which was him eating most of it and me trying to snag a couple of fries here and there before he ate all of them. Although it is true I love sharing food so I can try more things, that just earns you more points than being a fry hog. By the way – that plate of awesome fries was $3.
Unfortunately, this isn’t where the story ends. There was a TV at 100 Montaditos, and we were facing it. Paul, who’d whined about me ignoring him to talk to the bartender at the last place, proceeded to ignore me to watch the Knicks game. While this was in early November – ie, before the Knicks genuinely had no chance of going anywhere this season – if you wanted to watch the game, don’t ask me on a date for that night. I don’t go on dates when there’s a game on that I want to watch, unless my date also wants to watch the game and understands that I really do mean ‘watch the game’ when I say that. I endured this for a bit before finally telling him that it wasn’t cool, which he kind of acknowledged but didn’t do anything about.
Oh, did I mention that a pitcher of sangria was ordered… and he proceeded to drink probably 3/4 of that as well? I had a glass, but I nursed it. I mean, really — first date, 3 strong cocktails and 3/4 of a pitcher of sangria. Where in anyone’s brain does that register as a good idea?
After a bit of me sitting in silence while he shouted at the TV or responded to the game (I don’t watch basketball), I said “I have to go home. My train stops running soon.” (This was during a weekend that the F train – the nearest train to us that goes to my home – was undergoing construction or some weekend service interruption and ceased service at 10:30 or something really early.) Again, he acknowledged that I’d spoken, but he didn’t react. I said it again and he said “You can spend the night at my place. I’ll sleep on the couch.”
Really, this time, I laughed in his face. I’m not in my 20s, stupid or naive enough to believe that, and just… no. No, no, no. No! I said “no thank you, I have to go.” He grumbled a little. I asked for the check, and he went to the restroom… so I paid the check while he was in the bathroom (haha this seems to be my move, huh?). When he came out, he expressed surprise that I’d done so and I said “I have to GO, my train is about to stop running,” and he offered his bed to me again. In Brooklyn. No thank you!!! How do I make this clearer?!
We walked out and over to Delancey because I looked at the time and was certain my train wasn’t running anymore, and it’d started raining lightly. I said “thanks for the drinks!! Bye!” and hailed a cab, running and jumping into it before he could try to kiss me. He called out “are you sure you don’t want to come back with me?” and I ignored him. I swear people often think they’re on a different date than we actually are!! Or maybe this stuff works on other women, I have no idea. I don’t have the energy or time to waste on morons.
You think this is the end of it, right?
When I got home, he began texting me… pictures. Not even pictures of his junk, which almost would make sense in light of his completely delusional self. No, he texted me a picture of himself – a selfie, him holding the camera over him at an angle. Like… trying to be artsy? I would love to share it with you, but I think that’s a violation of privacy. It just… didn’t make sense. Literally, he texted just a selfie. I responded, stupidly, “I don’t know what I’m looking at.” Paul said, “It’s just a picture of me!” Umm, okay. Then he sent me a picture of his bare legs.
It was a picture of his bare leg lifted in the air, just hanging in the air. I guess they were muscular? but the caption with it was “Ridiculous!!!” and I just did not feel like asking “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU ARE YOU HIGH STOP SENDING ME PICTURES I DON’T CARE” so I didn’t respond.
The next morning he texted me, responding to a text I’d sent him prior to our date. He called me a hipster. Again, I didn’t respond because I had nothing to say.
And the day after that, he texted me again. I don’t believe in leaving people hanging or wondering what happened. I am very direct, very to the point. Don’t waste my time and I won’t waste yours. His text was simply “I guess you’re going quiet…”
I responded, “Hi Paul, I wouldn’t say I went quiet. Just don’t know what to say exactly. I don’t think you and I are a good fit. I wish you the best of luck in your search!”
Pretty direct, right?
His response demonstrated to me that I shouldn’t have bothered. “Haven’t really seen how we fit” – is that a sexual allusion? Is that… I don’t know what it is. I didn’t bother thinking about it much and moved on with my life, and refer to this incident as “the time that guy yelled at me on a first date” – a hilarious story that I occasionally retell while I’m at 151.
Oh yes, I’ve been back to 151 many times in the months since – thanks, Paul, for introducing me to 151! You left me with more than most of my bad dates ever do! – and the first time I went back, when I walked in, Eli saw me, said hi, and said “Guess that guy’s not getting a second date, huh?” EL OH EL NO.
(Which led to me meeting someone else at the bar and hanging out with him, which also makes a great story, but I’m not sure I should tell it. It’s nowhere near as funny as these… just bizarre.)
151 (located at 151 Rivington) is a great cocktail bar with a super cool atmosphere. The music isn’t too loud and the cocktails are properly mixed. The eye candy behind the bar doesn’t hurt matters, and it seems to rarely get too crowded to hang out. Saturday nights (and I think Friday nights as well) there’s a DJ “spinning” but earlier in the evening it’s great to hang at the bar and catch up with a friend.
100 Montaditos has a large selection of little sandwiches to make anyone happy. There’s a huge range of options, and I’ll definitely be back to check them out – though I did think at some point, there’s just too much bread for the amount of filling. Those cheese fries though? Next time, I’m getting my own. And sharing it with no one. YVO DOESN’T SHARE FOOD.