It was a Thursday afternoon when Brandon and Diana matched on Bumble. He’d taken to using Bumble because his Tinder experience was usually less than successful. It was a mindless swipe, one that he didn’t really remember making, but the match seemed like a promising one nonetheless. Diana was quite pretty, but her pictures masterfully concealed her figure. An important detail, he always considered himself more of a body guy after all.
“Hey, how’s it going?”
He reflected on all the bios he’d seen that read “don’t send me a “hey”, be creative” and all the “hey”s he’s sent to no response. But whatever. Brandon looked over her bio before responding and noticed that it was brief but phrased in a way that glowed with warmth and earnestness.
“No complaints. How’s your week been?”
And so out of mundane beginnings came a surprisingly pleasant and entertaining conversation. They shared a similar sense of humor. Diana demonstrated a silliness that Brandon was usually reluctant to share with new people so quickly. They teased each other, spent a good two hours stacking jokes on top of one another. Each one was a hit, never losing steam. Though the conversation didn’t have much substance, it was fun and organic. He felt comfortable and before the conversation’s end he asked her out on a date.
“So there’s this exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum I’ve been meaning to check out this Sunday, care to come with?”
That was lie of course. He liked museums but he didn’t keep up with them like that, they’re just free and make for interesting first dates. She said yes. She dropped her number and explained to him that she loves museums and was meaning to check some out anyway given she’s only in town for one semester.
“Semester’s almost up” he thought to himself, “commitment free”.
Brandon is an attractive guy; tall, in good shape, good job, own place. His standards were high though, probably high enough to be more appropriate for taller guys, in better shape, with better jobs, and nicer places. He then thought again of her appearance. Despite great conversation, the fact that he couldn’t really tell what she looked like was burning a hole in the back of his head.
He wanted some ass. No shame in that. So began the delicate dance of not getting in too deep to avoid any real feelings while not seeming like your intentions are completely sex driven. What a balance. Brandon never really understood whether or not this dance was a form of manipulation. How much time do you have to spend, how long do you have to talk, how transparent do you have to be, to get exactly what you want and not hurt anyone’s feelings? Experience taught him well that unless two people are on the same page from the start, there’s really no way out of this dance guilt free. “But what else could her intentions be?” he reasoned, “she’s only here for 20 more days.”
Sunday came. She was late but apologized. On her way there she seemed oddly insistent about him giving her very specific directions but hey, whatever. They continued to talk consistently over the next few days, all the way up until she arrived. Brandon found himself truly looking forward to seeing her.
She was pretty.
But she was still wearing clothing that didn’t reveal too much about her figure. A big sweater under a bigger coat. They greeted each other with a hug. “I hope you found the place okay” he joked. “I know I’m sorry, I’m directionally challenged” she laughed. Her nervousness was palpable, but he was unsurprised given this was a first date through a dating app. He’d heard enough horror stories from his homegirls to know that nervousness was well placed. After enough jokes and enough art he hoped she’d loosen up and have a good time and that’s exactly what happened. The exhibit exceeded expectations and he greatly enjoyed her company. She was every bit as witty and funny as she’d been through text. They decided to get lunch after.
At the restaurant things were a little more intimate and her nervousness returned slightly. She avoided eye contact and couldn’t stop fidgeting. She took 15 minutes to decide what she wanted to eat. He offered to help her decide between her two or three dishes but she was overwhelmed by the entire menu. The conversation got more personal and they shared some stories about goals and aspirations, about school and shitty roommates, about parents and siblings. They’d long finished their food, and she offered to split the bill, which he appreciated. As the conversation flowed she became more and more attractive. Before they’d left the restaurant he’d invited her on a second date.
By the end of that night they’d followed each other on Instagram and Snapchat. Over the next three days they’d talked from beginning to end and throughout the many conversations Brandon came to understand one thing; he wasn’t gonna get any ass. He wasn’t quite sure how he knew but he felt it. Regardless, he was still looking forward to their second date. It was a comedy show, though of course they were both funnier than any of the acts. She sat close to him, lightly played with his hand throughout. She looked good, smelled good too, though her clothes were still no less baggy. But maybe he was wrong, maybe the seemingly nervous and conservative exterior was only skin deep.
It was late on a weeknight. 11pm. He offered to call her an uber home but she surprised him and asked
“Actually, can I come over for a bit?”
Brandon’s eyebrows rose, not out of excitement but surprise. He obliged. After a long and very snuggly uber ride she stepped into his apartment and he felt her nervousness return. She did not make herself comfortable. Diana denied any offers for refreshments. She kept her shoes on and maintained a distance between them that she hadn’t over the course of the entire night. He respected the hints from her body language and they had a pleasant night just chatting and playing cards. Come 1am he told her he’s tired and should be getting to bed so he’ll call her an uber. She responds with an unexpected smugness
“Well, my roommate will be mad if I come home this late, can I stay over?”
“Sure” he responded without much hesitation, “do you want something to sleep in?”
“Do you want the bed or the couch?”
“Ohhhh so you want to sleep separately?” she asked jokingly.
They got in bed. She took the time to have an honesty hour with him. She told him how different he was from other guys and how much she admired the way he carried himself and his maturity. She spoke of how he gave her butterflies. How she felt that he was out of her league and was nervous this was a all a big joke. Brandon didn’t feel the same way exactly, but he did think highly of her and returned compliments in kind. He was however, still convinced of her determination to not do anything so after the exchange he attempted to fall asleep. Diana appeared to have other plans however, and she proved to be a voracious cuddler, something Brandon did not particularly enjoy without something...more, like a kiss, at least. Never had a woman slept in his own bed that he hadn’t kissed beforehand. So he went for it, and she turned her head.
Though surprised, his expectations were exceeded thus far so he counted his losses and pulled away to get some sleep. But Diana insisted on cuddling, resulting in a restless, confusing, and somewhat frustrating night. She left early that morning and the day proceeded on as usual with lots of texts and snaps, but Brandon was still bothered by the night’s events. Eventually, citing what from his perspective was an unexpected and non-linear series of events, he asked her what she was looking for.
“I just need to understand where your head’s at so I can move at a pace that’s comfortable for you” he said, opting to forgo bruising his ego by braving what could be long and consistent stream of rejections in favor of acting cautiously and asking for her guidance.
“No no, I don’t want you to think I’m not down to do stuff. If you want to do stuff I’m down to do stuff.”
“What an odd way to phrase that” he thought. The phrasing eminitated indecisiveness and inexperience. “If you want to” , “down to do stuff”, it became clear that the experience wasn't there, but he dug a little further for confirmation. “I haven't kissed anyone since high school” she said. What was initially a waiting game was actually something much deeper. In this moment it clicked, he wasn’t going to get any ass because she didn't even know where to start.
“I'm not the one for this” he told himself.
But he couldn’t just say that and call it quits, that was information she didn't want to share, she was self conscious about it, it would be cruel to cut her off for such a shallow reason. So he smothered his response in all kinds of “I enjoy spending time with you”s and “I still want to hangout”s. So much so that his initial sentiment was lost all together. The way Diana responded made that all too clear.
“Great, will you take me to Zoo Lights tomorrow night?”
“Sure” he said reflexively.
He’d just agreed to a third date for reasons he didn’t fully understand. He hated Zoo Lights. He hated the zoo. He let her know this beforehand and yet the date was still obnoxious. She kept asking him if he was enjoying himself and poking fun at him for being a stick in the mud. She’d made him give her indepth directions again for some reason and called him a good boy when he gave them to her. “Good boy” he thought, unable to take it as anything but demeaning Brandon grew visibly upset throughout the evening. She kept on clinging to him and trying to hold his hand as he was barely able to hide his dissatisfaction.
Sensing his frustration, Diana invited herself over afterwards saying she wanted to watch a horror movie on Netflix. She knew he loved horror movies, but he questioned her proposal because she said she absolutely hated them on their first date. Nevertheless, she insisted.
But that too was obnoxious. As they scrolled through options she immediately expressed regret for her suggestion and refused to choose between options, reminiscent of her indecisiveness with the menu on their first date just over a week ago. Had it really just been a week? Diana groaned about the movie being too scary, she covered her face with unnecessary animation and hid under his throw blanket nudging him relentlessly in an attempt to break his focus on the movie. She repeated endlessly “oh nooo” and “I don’t like this” at the slightest sign of tension. She clung to him with reckless abandon and then once the movie ended...she asked to sleep over.
“I shouldn't say yes” he thought as he granted her request, “tomorrow I'll tell her that it’s best we keep things platonic.” She just was so nice, she didn’t deserve to get ghosted, so come morning time he planned to have an adult conversation about keeping it friendly. Those thoughts were muddled as it became clear her cuddling was on a different level tonight. Diana aggressively pushed her body against his, she pulled his arm around her body letting his hand rest dangerously close to her chest. She moved to face him and ran her fingers up and down his torso, breathing into his neck. It felt good, too good, and against his better judgement Brandon moved in to kiss her only for Diana to once more move her head out of the way.
She shook her head no and covered her mouth. “Whaaaaaaat the fuck is THIS?” he thought. She moved in to cuddle immediately after but he turned his back to her and fell asleep. She left the next morning wearing his hoodie. She snapped him.
“Sorry for curving you, regretting it rn.”
He didn't know how to respond...so he didn't. He needed time to think about it. It wasn't her fault, it was his, he should've known better. “Put yourself in her shoes” he said to himself. Slowly, her messages began to pile up.
“I don't appreciate this ghosting. I deserve a response.”
She was right. He was mature, he wasn't like those other guys. He just needed to find the words.
“You don't even have the decency to tell me you don't wanna talk to me anymore?”
She posted about it on Instagram. “Boys are stupid, boys don't text back, fuck boys.”
With each day that passed a better excuse was required. There began a search for excuses that weren't there, so he made up a lie that ended up being too untrue for him to tell.
But what about the truth?
“Well the truth is the semester's almost up...and I'm commitment free.”