After taking what felt like a lifetime to complete my career at college, I graduated in the summer of ’11 and shortly after I moved to the great city of New York. I set my eyes at becoming the music equivalent Carrie Bradshaw but I didn’t have the gig to back it up.
I would begin an internship with a hip-hop magazine in September but I didn’t exactly have an income coming in. A friend of mine suggested I sign up for OkCupid to get into the dating pool in NYC, but I had a different kind of plan.
I decided I would use OkCupid and Craigslist (yes, even scary ol’ Craigslist) so I could have dinner three times a week without opening my wallet because let’s face it, there wasn’t anything in my wallet to begin with.
I created a profile, being quite honest about myself, mentioning I’m a writer, what kind of movies I like, how I’m kind of obsessed with dancing and tweeting at the same time, and outlining what kind of guys I’m into.
Every day I’d get messages from pretty decent dude. I decided that I couldn’t afford to limit myself to guys I actually wanted to date, I just had to go full throttle and just see who was willing to take me out. A meal is a meal!
On Craigslist, I would answer ads that seemed somewhat sane, like a guy who just wanted a “normal” girl to hang out with and “hopes it develops into something more.” Or I would create an ad about finding my future Ryan Gosling. The amount of men who think they’re Ryan Gosling in New York City is alarmingly high.
To find my victims, I would chitchat with each possible suitor and then hope they’d offer to take me out, which 9 out of 10 times they would. I would pick a restaurant I wanted to try out in the city and then it was on.
By October, I was scheduling three dates a week while on my lunch break at my internship. I was exhausted from keeping up with two sites, chatting up with guys I barely knew, trying to remember their interests and squeezing them into my schedule. How do serial daters do this? It was quickly turning into a full-time job with benefits of steak dinner and crème brulee desserts.
And the dates! The horror dates I had to indulge for the simple sake of a meal.
I went out with everything. One of my first dates was with a guy who had an extreme foot fetish who couldn’t get through the meal without mentioning something about my feet. The server asked if we wanted dessert and my date answered with “Yes, her toes.”
Then there was a guy who couldn’t speak a lick of English. He joked in a text before our meeting, “I hope we have a translater on our date.” I thought it was a joke, but I put my barely passing high school level of Spanish to good use that night.
Or the guy who proceeded to flirt with any woman who walked past us in front of me. I made sure on that date to order the most expensive dish on the menu. Even though I hate seafood, I got lobster and ordered dessert and it was the best meal of my life!
Then everything started to get out of hand. My schedule started to get sloppy. I planned to have dinner with one guy and drinks with another a couple of hours later. Date #1 wanted to continue hanging out and I found myself on a date with both guys. MAYDAY! MAYDAY! I tried to introduce both as “friends” but when they asked how we all know one another and it clicked that they both know me from OkCupid, they knew they were both on a date with the same girl.
After months of talking to close to 100 men and setting up over 60 dates, I finally decided to end my dates-for-meals plan. I eventually told my friends what I had been up to and majority of my girlfriends thought it was a brilliant idea whereas my guy friends thought I was the lowest of lowest.
A really close guy friend said he was disappointed in my recent escapades. He felt I was using men and explained to me that these men I went on dates with were probably expecting a relationship from me, yet I just wanted a meal and nothing more.
I explained that I didn’t see this as any different than a guy who buys a drinks for a girl at a bar in hopes of getting laid, to which he responded, “Both parties are satisfied at the end.” Pssh! Has he asked the girls he’s sleeping with if they’re 100% satisfied?
I began working at a swanky restaurant in the Upper East Side as a hostess. One of my managers and I were discussing our dating lives and I explained what I had done with my OkCupid/Craigslist dates. He was completely flabbergasted and expressed I was “too classy” for “this mess.”
He called me a low-rate prostitute and told each male server about my antics and made me watch their facial expression, just so I could feel bad about what I did. He made his point.
Looking back, I truly didn't see the harm in my actions. I met a wide variety of men and honed my acting and interviewing skills while chowing down on some awesome steak dinners. I figured out traits I do and do not like in men and a little about myself because I had to always talk about myself, three times a week. Plus I got kickass writing material for days.
I still have an OkCupid account (I do not use Craigslist anymore, although I do enjoy reading the “Missed Connection” section), but now I use solely to seek romance. (Maybe the slim pickings in my inbox these days are my karmic revenge.)