By Alexander Claud
There are different kinds of panic. When you’re a kid, it’s when your mom is pulling up the driveway after work and you realize you forgot to pull the chicken out of the freezer to be ready for dinner. When you’re in college, it's realizing, at midnight, that you have a 5 page paper due at 8 a.m. and you’re already 3 vodka Red Bull's deep on a Tuesday. As a 20 something gay man, I recently went through a whole different kind of panic, while attempting to find love in West Hollywood: I got asked ON A SECOND DATE.
Not only that, but it was a date, TO MEET HIS FRIENDS.
*LOUDER GAY GASP WITH A CHOKING COUGH ON THE END*
Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I don’t find myself desirable, it’s just that I’m the guy who studied communications in college, which some people would view as the major you choose when are not sure what else will get you through those 4 years. This man is a doctor. This man is the type that Ali Wong, the comedian, would tell you to trap. So you can completely understand why I feel the need to come across as the Harry Potter among the Draco Malfoys.
Frequently, while dating in gay culture, people are just looking for the gay handshake (*cough* sex on the first date and then never talking again *cough*), so being asked on a second date was quite a pleasant surprise. However, finding out I’m meeting his friends just caused this sense of terror, as if Pennywise just bit my arm off in a street drain. I immediately think “How much of myself am I supposed to be?!”
Regular readers don’t know me yet, because I’m the new guy. My friends would describe me as dopey, silly, but aggressive. I have the lightheartedness of Karen, the intensity of Regina, and the total insecurity of Gretchen. Leading up to this date, my head is filled with spinning thoughts.
"What percentage of Alex do I give off?”
“What will get me another date with this total catch of a man and not get me banished to the dark lands of ‘rejected by friends’ limbo?”
"Do I tell them I’m obsessed with trashy reality television?”
“Do I tell them my favorite pastime is playing dodgeball like a grown ass middle schooler?”
“Do I tell them that I already know each of their names and birthdays because I’m a child of the internet and have already done all my research Facebook stalking?!”
What’s a homo to do?!
I did what and non-self respecting human would do: I got tipsy before the date even began and hoped for the best. I jumped out of the Lyft and walked into the restaurant. Suddenly I realized that this is not just a meet the friends dinner, that this is a BIRTHDAY DINNER.
*GAY GASPS SO HARD YOU PASS OUT AND COME BACK TO LIFE 3 MINS LATER AND GAY GASP AGAIN*
These are the types of moments when you just wanna go crawl into a little corner and hope no one notices. But you know what? No. I was not going to do that. I was going to make it through this date, not embarrass myself, and hopefully come out the other end with a man who is still interested in me.
As date begins, I shake hands with strangers whom I hope will like me in an hour. I fidget with the chopsticks that I barely know how to use. I stare at a dim sum menu I don’t know how to order from. I just sit and wait to see how this date goes.
To be honest, despite all my fears, it could have been way worse.
I know I mostly interacted with my date's friends rather than with my date (he was playing host).
I think I was supposed to do in this situation? PLEASE, someone tell me because I still don’t know how I was supposed to interact.
All in all, I think I was pretty charming. At the same time, I’m one to think my own sense of humor is a blast and a half, and others just chuckle to be polite. It is very likely the friends just found me as the joke, rather than being the one telling the joke. I will say, that the $4.99 bottle of Trader Joe’s rosé really did the trick in keeping me calm. Whether it was the wisest choice, I guess I’ll find out if I get asked on a 3rd date.
I wake up the next day in a rosé fog. That feeling you get when you’re not sure if you made a fool of yourself the night before. I remember showing off my favorite gif that I planned on dressing up as for Halloween this year. I remember somehow being able to talk business with the birthday boys’ boyfriend. I remember sending a text saying "ARE YOU REALLY INTERESTED IN MEEEEE?!”
So yeah, maybe it didn’t go as well as I really wanted it to, and maybe I walked away a bit embarrassed from the whole situation, but I definitely learned some lessons.
Here are 3 of the them:
1) Don’t’ take dating SO SERIOUSLY! If the man doesn’t like you, then obviously something is wrong with him and you should never change yourself because you’re the best person on earth. OKAY HUNNY YOU’RE NUMBER ONE.
2) Order what you want to order at the restaurant. Sometimes, even if it’s fancy, you really don’t want to eat things that look like brains.
3) Sometimes all the things that cause you crippling self doubt and make you feel like a total weirdo are the exact reasons the person asked you out in the first place. Don’t think to change yourself for others approval, because sometimes it’s the changing yourself that makes them not approve.
P.S. If you were wondering, we don’t have a 3rd date set just yet, but we still text and he still sends me the embarrassed faced emoji on the regular. I think things will probably be good. Whatever that means.
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram, if you want to be weirded out. @foralexsake