The 6 Best Ways To Meet People (Don't Work As Advertised)
I moved to New York City from Washington, D.C., recently with a backpack and a dream. The dream was to move to New York City and, ideally, stop living out of a fucking backpack. I know some people up here, so I didn't arrive friendless. However, I also broke up with my girlfriend to move here. It took me a month and a half to settle in somewhere and become a rent-paying adult, but I'm settled in with at least three backpacks worth of stuff now. As a result, I've decided to get back in the dating game, because I don't want to die alone.
Hey, you want to hear a fun story? I drank an entire bottle of wine one night and cried over gay Harry Potter fan-fiction, so the chances of me dying alone are very real, especially since writing that sentence made me want to throw myself in front of a train.
Alcoholism is my favorite kind of magic.
Anyway! Not dying alone. Meeting someone new is hard, especially in a city full of a million people all trying their hardest to ignore each other. To make things easier on myself, instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I relied on a few familiar tricks. Here's how it went:
Going To A Bar
Bars are a great place to meet people. Alcohol will give you the courage to chat with a stranger, because you are hot shit and can do no wrong. I know women can be scary to hit on in groups, so I went to a bar alone and looked sad, hoping that that was the way to reel in emotionally healthy potential suitors. Instead, the man next to me offered to buy me a shot of tequila.
As a 21-year-old white girl, it's physically impossible for me to say no to a shot of tequila,
often to my own detriment.
So, I took the shot, and then another, and then a Tecate, and then a shot, before I realized that the man who was buying all of this, whom I'd been conversing with for the better part of an hour, was a drug dealer. For someone that doesn't really do drugs, I've dated a fair amount of drug dealers in my very young day, so I don't know why I didn't catch on sooner when people were interrupting our conversation every five minutes and a very obvious deal was going down before me.
"Oh, shit! You're a drug dealer," I said to drinks guy.
"Phew! I was afraid you were a cop for a second!"
Weirdly, he did not look enthused by me blurting out his illegal trade loudly at a bar. But I'm pretty, so he kept buying me shots. Then he asked if I wanted to go to a diner around the corner for food. As a fucking living human being, I love food, especially when I'm drunk at 3 a.m. Of course I want to go around the corner to get food.
At the diner, I learned he was 33 years old and his name was Long. Also, the server would barely talk to us and left us alone very blatantly, as though she was frightened. As a drunk person, I decided eating free cake and home fries was more important than my general safety.
Then Long walked me home. Or, more accurately, he walked me to the bodega near my house and then I made him walk away before I went to my house because motherfuckers don't need to know where I live. I don't care if you bought me cake or the whole fucking moon, you don't need to know my apartment building.
I woke up the next morning, disoriented as all hell and with a taste like alcoholic dirt in my mouth, to three text messages from Long about the tikka masala date I don't remember making with him.
Going To A Gay Bar
"Token queer friend" has never been a stereotype that I've dealt with, because, like most queer people who have the opportunity, I'd rather surround myself with other queer people. My best friend here is gay, and when we go out, we mostly go to gay bars. Shockingly, gay bars mostly cater to gay men, so I don't really get a whole lot of action there, but at least no one hits on me in a gross way.
One night, my best friend gallantly took me to Cubbyhole, the only lesbian bar I've ever fucking seen in my life. On the one hand, Cubbyhole is cool as fuck and I want to live, breathe, and die there. On the other hand, I work in the service industry, so my weekend is actually Monday through Tuesday or Wednesday. By this I mean that the Cubbyhole wasn't packed, nor was it full of women I wanted to show my vagina to.
But you're always there, aren't you, drinks?
In fact, the only person who talked to me was a woman who would probably be friends with my mom, both age and humor-wise.
I don't see myself having a Friday or Saturday night off ever, so unless I meet someone on the next Tuesday I'm there (which, trust me, I'll be there), I don't see the Cubbyhole working out for me.
OK, so the whole "strangers at a bar" thing wasn't working out. I guess I'll try Tinder?
I've had Tinder for a few years and never once have I felt like it was anything other than a fun game to play while I wait for my train. However, one night, I was "lonely" and "craving human touch after weeks of masturbating with my own tears," so I decided to try Tinder for real.
Because since when has anything tinder-related ever ended in disaster?
Lo and behold, there was Drew.
Drew was cute, lived close-ish to me, and was down to meet that night. Drew said he was subletting and new to the city, so why didn't I come over and just chill at his place for a drink?
That is pretty much a universal invitation to fuck, even without it being Tinder. However, I'm a lonely idiot and went anyway. He had instructed me to text him when I was outside and he'd come get me, which didn't strike me as weird until he popped out of an alleyway next to the apartment and invited me upstairs.
After making small talk for long enough to send my friends his address, full name, and Tinder profile in case I was about to get murdered, I politely put my phone down and inquired about why the fuck his living situation included an alley entrance.
Turns out, Drew was subletting in the Airbnb sense and was definitely not supposed to have anyone in this apartment. Also, fun fact -- there were two other living, breathing humans with functioning senses also living in the apartment, so he snuck me up through the alley. I suddenly felt very 17 again, in the grossest way possible, especially when he licked my mouth. Like, my closed mouth.
He was telling me about how he just started working for BlackBerry and suddenly he was licking my mouth.
Gently excusing myself, I left through the alleyway and walked home.
Grindr For Queer Women
Allegedly, you can meet women on Tinder, but I still hold that that is a fucking myth. Tinder is just so overwhelmed by dicks that I match with one woman for every 25 dudes I match, and I spend a lot of time doing the teeth-sucking thing and hitting the giant X. Also, at least half the women I come across are part of a couple looking for their unicorn, which, whatever, you do you, but that's just really not my path.
Here, allow me.
Many a time have I wished for a Grindr-like app for women. Grindr is everyone's favorite app to get their dick sucked by a dude immediately, if you're into that kind of thing. The Goddess of All Things Lesbian took time off from seducing young women into Hell to answer my prayers and create Her. Her is the queer women equivalent that recently came to the U.S. It's sort of like Instagram and Tinder had a gay lady baby, and in theory it's fantastic.
Profiles are mostly just pictures, though you can add text squares. You can't message someone unless you've mutually liked a photo on each other's profiles. In practice, Her is me spending hours going, "Shit, do I want to be you or do I want to fuck you?"
In a city of a trillion fucking people, you'd think that a fairly large percentage of them have to be gay, but you'd be wrong. The queer female community is unfairly smaller. Do you know how hard it is to find someone you're compatible with who doesn't have a mutual friend you've slept with?
As much fun as building an L Word lesbian sex web sounds, it also sounds terrible and full of wine-night tears, so I'm going to pass.
People You Know
Let's all take a collective shot for the number of times people have said, "It's a small world!" Even though I moved to a different city, 4 hours by car from where I used to live, I still run into people I know on a weirdly regular basis. My manager went to the same high school as I did. A girl from one of my lit classes served me coffee the other day.
And, on my way to meet Drew, I ran into a guy on the subway platform that I'd met a few times back in D.C. We'll call him David in the hopes that he doesn't read Cracked and won't recognize this story. David didn't know I'd moved here and I'd completely forgotten that he lived here, so we made plans to get drinks and talk about our mutual friends, i.e. the only thing we have in common.
I met David at a bar in Williamsburg, a part of Brooklyn that was new to me.
When you see this, you'll know you've found it.
It was pretty and super gentrified in a way where I was positive that I'd passed people I knew I'd never seen before. Is it humanly possible for that many white people to own cute jean jackets? The answer is yes, and the proof is Williamsburg.
Anyway, David had been drinking since 3 p.m. and we met at 6 at a bar and did what you do at a bar. I think we took a shot in honor of his dad at one point. He invited me back to his place, but I declined because I was meeting my friends later. So we paid for the tab, made vague plans to hang out soon, and went our separate ways.
On my way to meet friends, I was quietly pleased that drinks had gone so well and that the conversation was so good. Here, finally, was someone that I could maybe see myself hanging out with romantically.
I was almost to my friend's house when I got a text from David. Then I got two more texts from David.
OK! That's a little weird, because I mentioned that coke's OK, like, once while we were talking, but it's a sweet gesture, I guess. And thanks for including my friends.
Nope, still with my friends, which is why I didn't respond in the last 20 minutes. But that's OK; we're drunk. Lord knows I've sent some ugly drunk texts. Benefit of the doubt. I have no idea what casino you're talking about, though.
Aw, OK, that's a little much, but again, heart's probably in the right place, so I'm going to go back to my friends.
Two hours later ...
OK, so you're clearly super coked up, which is fine, live your life. But oh my god, stop. I don't know how many different ways I can say I'm out with my friends tonight.
I got a text from David the next day, letting me know I left my book and cigarettes at the bar and that he'd grabbed them for me. I was right in the fucking middle of the book, so either he's going to have to mail it to me or I'll have to get it from the library, because a second date is out of the question.
OK, so other people aren't working out for me right now. That's OK! It's a good time to take a look at my life and examine how I should stop meeting people while intoxicated, because oh boy am I mess.
I can fill my free time with learning a new skill, like painting. Or training to be an underwater welder. Or, shit, just getting another job. Or Netflix. There are a lot of ways to fill the void in my life left by the absence of romantic love.
Additionally, I live in a super high-tech world where replacing the touch of another human isn't hard and can be shipped right to your door from Amazon.
I've got this. I'm going to put on some fucking Jewel and collage in my journal and get myself off.
Just kidding! I moved into an apartment with four strangers. The one other girl is fucking lovely, one of the dudes is nice and is gone a lot, and the other two don't have steady jobs but damn do they love their acoustic guitars.
Have you ever tried to masturbate while someone plays Counting Crows in your apartment with paper-thin walls?
If not for Christmas, this song would've put me off December altogether a long time ago.
Or when they're writing a song where they rhyme "oh" with "oh"?
I want to throw a dinner party for everyone who believes LGBT people are going to hell. I have no idea what gets very close-minded religious people off, but I'm sure there's a WikiHow for it, and I will do all those things. Once everyone is raring to go and Jesus has turned wetness into wine and boners into a metaphor for something, I will lock them all in my bedroom and wait.
It might take a few hours, but at some point, one of my roommates will pick up his instrument -- it might be 4 p.m., it might be 9 a.m., who knows -- and start crooning. Then, back against my bedroom door, I will whisper to the empty air of my very small kitchen, "Welcome to Hell, bitches."
Dating in NYC can be tough, especially because you'll have to sell an organ to afford the average date night. See why Broadway is a huge ripoff in 6 Reasons NYC Is The Most Overrated Vacation Destination. Still can't find your soulmate using dating sites? Is it because you have an ultra-specific prisoner fetish? We've found the site for you in The 5 Most Ill-Advised Dating Sites On The Web.
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