Let me get right to the point on this one: If someone starts a date by bragging about how they usually arrive early because they walk twice as fast as Google Maps thinks they should, then just leave. Because, honestly, what kind of person starts a date like that? Well I’ll tell you who. The same kind who eats an entire cheese plate and then lies down on a picnic bench at a beer garden.
True story. But I”m hardly surprised because this was a Tinder date. And I’ve tried my hand on that site enough times to understand that it’s a real crapshoot. Sometimes you hit the dating lottery and meet an architect who knows how to play the cello; other times you have dinner with someone who wants to have a conversation about everything that’s wrong with cereal. You just never know.
But at least in Holland everyone is tall and ridiculously good-looking. Those two things, put together with the city’s great bar and restaurant scene, made me think that I should give dating in Amsterdam a try. And I’m glad I did because otherwise I wouldn’t have known that I shouldn’t use the word “Europeans” to describe people who live in Europe.
“The Dutch hate that,” my date said. “We don’t want to be lumped in with the Germans.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“No one does,” he added matter-of-factly. “They’re boring.”
I disagree with that statement entirely and I have a collection of stories from last Saturday night involving a bottle of tequila and several balloons to prove it. But even if it were true, I’d have a hard time accepting it from a man who was, at the time, propped up on one elbow and peering over a tabletop because he ate too many snacks.
All of this, while rude and annoying, might not have been worth writing about if not for the main event. Because for this guy, spitting out a meatball when it was too hot and repeatedly asking me how much money I make was just a warm-up. What he really seemed to want to do on this date was review, in detail, his list of every woman who as ever wronged them in his entire life. He was 45. So it took a while.
Listen up singles: I have some advice for you. First dates are not a place to vent your frustrations about how complicated the opposite sex is. Nor are they an appropriate venue for comparing and contrasting every person you slept with in the past decade. And they definitely do not draw the right audience for your story about “that bitch in L.A.” who was supposed to pick you up at LAX but never did and, as a result, immigration officials detained you for several hours and made you pay a boatload of fines to enter the United States. Through Detroit. (If you think that story isn’t adding up, then you’re not the only one.)
All of this madness took just a little over an hour. And even though I usually adhere to a strict a two-drink minimum on dates, in this particular case, I made an exception and cut it short after one. He was midway through a story about a stolen suitcase in Miami and I just didn’t care to learn how it wasn’t his fault, but some girl from Fort Lauderdale’s. So I looked at my wrist, yawned a lazy cat yawn and drawled, “Well look at the time! I have to run!” This despite not even wearing a watch.
I handed him €20, gave him an awkward half-hug and took off down the sidewalk. He caught up with me a block later on his bike and offered me a ride home on his handlebars. I declined, of course. I didn’t want to spend any more time with him and also, I already did that in Israel and it’s way less fun than you’d imagine. So I waved to him as I darted across the street and yelled, “Nice meeting you – good night!” just as a tram zoomed by.
And then I kept walking. Twice as fast.