J: The coffee crawl that wasn’t

Context: This guy asked me out on a date literally his second message to me. This was on my college campus; he was a graduate student, I was an undergrad. For some unknown reason, I said yes. We agreed to meet at Starbucks and go on a “coffee crawl” of various coffee shops in our college town.

First of all, let’s address something. Tinder in DC is infinitely better than Tinder in college. Back in the olden days (says the girl who has been ‘graduated’ for all of three months) you had umpteen mutual connections with every guy, you knew what frat they were in, and your friends would inevitably figure out that it was a Tinder date and stalk you to the restaurant to watch the hilarity ensue. Not that I let this stop me, oh no no no. I love the embarrassment. I live by the motto “Fuck it dog, life’s a risk.”

This is what led me to accept a date with a man I will call “Gaptooth.” I say man because he was old as shit (like 24) and Gaptooth because he had a mammoth-scale gap between his front teeth. Ladies, be warned, if a guy doesn’t show his teeth in his pictures he is probably hiding something, i.e. said gap, or maybe a nice set of Grillz. Actually, the latter could be kind of nice. Moving on…

My roommate at the time walked me to Starbucks to meet Gappy because she also wanted coffee. I was happy because this meant that if he was weird, I could just scratch my nose twice and she would feign a heart attack so I could get out of the date. It was that simple! Except there was one fatal flaw in my plan – I forgot to tell her the signal!

So there I am, scratching away at my nose like a kid in a poison ivy field, and roomie is so immersed in her pumpkin spice latte (no comment) that she doesn’t notice my pleading eyes and the GAP in these damn teeth! By this point, it is too late. Gapster has bought me coffee (black, like my soul) and told me his plan for the next coffee shop.

By the time we make the 0.1 mile walk to the next coffee shop, I have taken exactly two sips of my coffee. Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea. While I’m pondering running to the ABC store to buy some Kahlua or Bailey’s to make this whole thing more bearable, Gap suggests we take a walk. Fine, maybe if we walk by my apartment I can say I forgot to turn off my iron (haha, like I own an iron) and just run inside and never emerge. I will live there as a hermit forever. Or at least until this dude graduates.

No such luck. He has very specific plans for this walk. Sort of a walking tour of his life, if you will. We pass the following landmarks:
– The field where he does Tai Chi every morning (red flag)
– The bar where he and his ‘cohort’ (what he calls his group of friends – BRIGHT FIRE TRUCK RED FLAG) play trivia every Tuesday, which coincidentally is a bar that I was told freshman year to never go to because the people there are weird (red flag)
– His apartment, located approximately 2 miles from campus and about 1 mile from anyone who actually attends the school (flags, red flags everywhere)

I need to go. This is bad. I pass my friend “Oblivious Asshole” on the sidewalk and send him the clearest telepathic message I can muster to do something, anything, to get me out of this situation. My ‘friend’ says “HI! Great day for a walk, isn’t it?!” and keeps on going. Well you, sir, are no longer part of my ‘cohort’ (vomit).

Finally, I hatch a plan. I thank him for showing me such awe-inspiring, meaningful landmarks (wow, your team got 4th in trivia once? How impressive!) and insist that I must show him some of mine. Not wanting him to know where I live, the apartment is off-limits. However, the business building is swipe-access only, and I know that my speed can be an asset. We walk back up to campus, and I pull out all the stops to distract him.

“SQUIRREL!” I yell and point at a tree in the distance. He turns his head. This is my chance. I sprint over to the business school, swipe my card, dart inside, and head immediately to the girls’ bathroom to hide for cover for 20 minutes until I’m sure the coast is clear.

My phone starts vibrating with texts:
“Where did you go?”
“I don’t see any squirrels”
“Hello? Are you in that building? The door is locked, can you let me in?”

Nice try, Gappy. I won this round. Have a nice life with your cohort.

XOXO,
J

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