My Tinder profile offers a warning: “I sometimes blog about my terrible dates. Swipe at your own risk.” And then I share a link to this site just so that everyone understands exactly what they’re getting into.
The fact that men continue to ask me out anyway all but proves that no one reads Tinder profiles in the first place.
Of course, every now and then, I’m the one responsible for my terrible dates. And in an effort to be fair, I blog about those mishaps too. Such was the case last week in Hong Kong when I had plans to meet a guy for dinner near the apartment I was renting.
“It’s probably easier to meet and take a taxi together,” he wrote. “Drivers get confused trying to find the place.”
I declined, as I’ve never been one to do things the easy way and it’s important that my dates realize that right away. Besides, what could be difficult about finding a restaurant in the age of Google Maps? If taxi drivers were the issue, I reasoned, then I would just take them out of the equation. I’d walk. Problem solved.
That plan would have gone just fine if only I hadn’t stepped in melted ice cream along the way.
I’m kidding. That didn’t really happen. It just felt like I did.
Turns out, it was actually much worse!
The short answer to all your questions is, “I don’t know.”
I don’t know how it happened.
I don’t know what I cut my foot on.
I don’t know how I didn’t notice that I was bleeding profusely until I was two steps into a seafood restaurant owned by a famous Chinese actress.
I just don’t know. And by now, I think we should all just accept that explanation at face value. Because it’s easier that way.
Here. A palate cleanser:
Since I’m not completely without tact, I warned my date about this little development. “I just cut my foot,” I texted as I waited on the corner. “I might need you to get me some napkins.”
“OK sure,” he replied. “I read your blog. I expected something.”
This was the first sign that I was meeting a Tinder anomaly. Not only did he read my profile, but he also browsed the blog. Not content to leave it at that, he also had the nerve to show up looking better than his pictures and wearing a perfectly tailored European suit and a pair of designer eyeglasses. I say this without exaggeration: I could not have picked a more attractive, better-dressed man to bleed on if I tried.
“Nova?” he asked, as he stepped out of a taxi. It was a totally unnecessary question seeing as how no one else on the sidewalk was in need of medical attention at the time. “Nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too,” I agreed as I air-kissed his right cheek and then bungled my way through the left.
“Ah, I’m French,” he said as he craned his neck. “We kiss twice.” I nodded. As though he was the one who had explaining to do. Then, as an American, I returned his greeting by raising my bare foot at a 45-degree angle and watching it drip blood onto the sidewalk. As casually as possible, I added, “I need some antiseptic.”
“This is worse than I expected!” he admitted. “There’s a pharmacy up the road. You wait here. I’ll be back in five minutes.” He said all this while walking backwards with both hands raised, as one often does when he feels his life is in danger.
“See you in a few!” I waved. I tried to sound breezy about it even though I put the chances of him coming back at about 50 percent. For the record, I 100 percent would not have blamed him if he left.
To pass the time, I texted photos of my injury to my friends. When no one responded, I added my sister-in-law to the mix.
“You’re absurd!” she replied. I happen to agree with her, but I was still expecting more. Another exclamation point, at least. Maybe some CAPS. An emoji or two. I mean, am I really such a hot mess that a picture of my maimed foot ceases to produce even a basic level of shock and concern?
Luckily, the good people of Hong Kong were much more impressed. Most of them just gaped as they passed me on the sidewalk, but there were a few stand-out good samaritans, including a taxi driver who circled the block to give me an entire box of tissues and an English man who offered to carry me wherever I wanted to go. I waved both of them away with the confidence of a woman who had not been waiting ten minutes for a companion she met on a mobile app to return with a bottle of rubbing alcohol.
I was just about to give up hope and hail my own cab back home, when my date reappeared with a bag of antibacterial products and several feet of gauze.
“Here’s what we’re going to do,” he said, clapping his hands together on the sidewalk. “We’re going to go to the restaurant. We’re both going to wash our hands. Then we’ll get the table and I’ll help you bandage your foot.”
“Oh, that’s OK,” I said. “I can manage on my own.”
He raised his eyebrows. “It looks like a two man job.”
“Yeah, but at the table?” I asked.
“Well you’re not going to like the bathroom,” he warned.
This guy was right about everything.
My date obviously had impeccable manners. And yet, I swear, the first question he asked as he cut strips of surgical tape at our patio booth, was: “When are you leaving?”
“Thursday,” I answered.
“Ah,” he sighed. “There’s a typhoon coming that day.”
“Naturally,” I said. And then I shrugged.
And that’s how I know I’m (finally) making progress on this trip. Because I brushed off the possibility of a typhoon while letting a stranger help me bandage my foot at a dinner table. Perhaps more importantly, I did that without even knowing what a typhoon really is. I mean, I figured it’s a lot like a cyclone, and since I already outran one of those in a 4×4 that was being held together by a tree trunk, I felt I earned the right to be unconcerned.
If that’s what passes for personal growth, I’ll take it.
In the end, the storm took a left, the airline found my reservation after their website told me it didn’t exist and I got to Bali without issue. My foot patched itself up in short order and now I have a full first aid kit in my suitcase for the next time I decide to meet someone for fried rice and prawns the hard way. It goes without saying that I would have happily gone on a second date with this French gentleman if only a third week in Hong Kong had also been on the agenda. Sadly, it was not. But it’s a small world and something tells me that I haven’t seen the last of him. As we all know, I’ve traveled further for far, far less.
But, if that follow-up meeting never materializes, there won’t be any hard feelings. My Tinder profile covers that point too: Just passing through.
Not gracefully either.
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