Following suite to the “To Pay or Not to Pay” debate, we bring to you The DutchBag, submitted by the very charming and talented Canadian writer Sandra Cigana. (Follow her on Instagram here in the anticipation of her own blog launch!)
Tinder, Tinder, Tinder, you addictive and instantly gratifying beast. I curse you, yet, for some reason, refuse to delete you. That being said, in a mere few months of attempting to tame the beast, I have enough material to keep my (mostly married or committed) friends roaring with laughter / smiling with looks of “when are you going to get yourself together or settle down so we can have baby showers and bond over nipple creams?!”
Let me take a minute to make you feel sorry for me and put this into context at the same time. I was in a committed relationship with a handsome, sexy, dreamy Frenchman for nearly five years. We had a house, a mortgage, a cat named Dave. Life was good, Utopian bliss really.. Then I got sick, sicker than most, – life-altering but not life threatening,- and it all fell apart. Simply put, he couldn’t handle it (“emotionally handicapped” is the term coined by my therapist), went home to France for the holidays, came back and rented a flat to “give me time to find a place” or vice-versa. Basically, the man I saw myself building a life with, having a family with, walking hand-in-hand with our almost-greying hair with, shook the foundations of what men, trust, commitment and relationships mean to me. Oh, he got the house, I got the cat.
But enough about that and back to the juicy parts. Those usually come once you realize that Peter Pans, i.e. men of a certain age who cannot, or will not, grow up, are a well-dodged bullet and in no way marriage material. When you come to accept this, you go on Tinder. This is where the real fun begins – that is, if you define fun as perusing stereotypical profiles of dudes bearing their chests in bad selfies and telling you how much the gym changed their outlook on life. OK, maybe I’m being unfair, some do seem cool and won’t give you the “he’s going to murder me in my sleep or steal my shit and bail” vibe. In any case, I strongly suggest it for people ready to be back in the game; it can boost your confidence for a nanosecond, and, who knows, maybe Prince Charming will swipe right. But be forewarned: there are deceptive people on the Internet (shocker), and you may end up with a date that makes you question whether you are living real life, or if this is all some Woody Allen movie you were cast in without auditioning.
Enter the “DutchBag” as I’ve named him. I apologize in advance, as I name everything and everyone, including my kitchen utensils, just so I can keep them straight. (In case you haven’t noticed yet, I’m a bit, how do you say it.. easily distracted and focus-disabled sometimes.) Anyway, Dutchy was about a decade my senior, had a normal-to-nice-looking set of photos, and we matched! Eureka! My days of dinner-for-one-wine-for-two were over! We chatted for a bit and agreed to meet a few days later at a nice wine bar of his choice, conveniently located near me. That evening, I arrived 15 minutes late, by which time I’m pretty sure he was about two glasses of wine in. He was also about two decades past the expiration date of those Tinder photos. As he got up, my stomach dropped further, as I saw his fresh-out-of-the-box Vans, plaid shirt (one nacho away from losing a button), tucked into skinny black jeans, reserved but for band members and those residing in Williamsburg. I searched for Exit signs, fire escapes, a tumbler of whisky – no dice. I was trapped and had to accept the consequences of my swiping.
We sat at the bar and chatted about work, mine being in video game production his being in something really important and well-paid. Finally, the barman asked if I was ready to order. “At least I’ll get a nice glass of wine out of it,” I naively thought, “something that beats the one in my fridge keeping my bottle of mustard company”. Wrong! Before I had a chance to open my mouth, Dutchy announced “She’ll have what I’m having”, followed by an uncle-like pat on the knee and a creepy wink. (Hey, Woody Allen, couldn’t you have cast a better-looking DB?) I received my wine, accompanied by a sympathetic look from the hot bearded barman. The rest of the date was just as awkward: we spoke a lot about religion (his being Jewish, mine being cats), I learned that he likes California and is jealous of his younger brother who struck gold by marrying rich, and that his fancy car will never stand up to what said brother was driving. I think at some point I may have been having visions of being in bed alone with a good book and the hot bearded barman sleeping next to me, but can’t confirm this, seeing as I chose to block out most of what was happening.
The end of the date finally came (thank you, Cat Gods) and so did the bill. I reached inside my bag in a “I’m totally cool paying my part but totally expect you to, seeing as you aren’t who you said you were and I have no idea what the two glasses of wine you ordered for me were” gesture. Wrong again! Dutchy pulled out his iPhone, popped up the calculator app and split the bill straight down the middle. Apparently we were going Dutch, which, in principal, I’m totally down with, but somehow, in this case, felt very, very wrong, like I’d been had. Oh, he also asked if he could have my copy of the bill for his expenses. At this point, bearded barman came to my rescue and informed him: “we’ve had some trouble with our machine this week, best to keep your copy in case something gets overcharged”, making me want to marry him and have his (authentic Mile End) hipster babies.
Later in the car, while questioning whether Woody Allen would be paying me for this role, I realized that Dutchy had out-drank me by three very expensive glasses of wine before I had even gotten there. At first this made me mad, then it made me laugh to the point of tears. (I’ve been through too much in my life to hold on to useless anger.) Then I flipped over the bill to see a sexy, scrawled “This guy is a dick, call me so we can grab a coffee. My treat, promise!” message from bearded barman in the back, which made me smile.
I had fun with hot bearded barman: he paid, was a gentleman, we reminisced about the DutchBag, shared other fun products of our single adventures, and kept in touch. See, my friends, things aren’t so bad after all – in fact, they really can work out. I made a cool new friend and all it cost me was about 70 bucks of overpriced wine and a couple of hours of mind-numbing conversation with someone I’ll never see again. Not so bad after all.
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