Dating can be fun. As a woman, first dates usually mean some free drinks, interesting conversation and, if there’s a connection, maybe a steamy makeout sesh outside my apartment complex. And the way dating apps work today, it’s easier than ever to find people to take you out.
Men are literally a swipe away.
One of the great things about Tinder, Hinge and some of the other apps, is they include user location in the profile. So, when I’m out with my friends on U Street, I know if the cute guy I’m exchanging messages with is close by.
Of course, getting around DC tends to be a pain in the butt. Even on a good day, Metro can screw you over for no reason, buses can blow past your stop and roadwork can lead to traffic for miles. Even if someone on a dating app is just a neighborhood away, getting there might require an epic adventure on public transit (or a shockingly expensive Uber bill).
It’s common for my friends to hear me complain about traffic and transit in the DMV. If I can avoid it, I try not to make plans out in the suburbs and usually make my “across-the-river” friends come into the city to meet me.
But sometimes, you’ve got to make an exception.
I was recently set up with a guy who lived in Arlington who knew I was a DC gal through and through. Despite being primed with this knowledge from our mutual friend, he asked me to meet him for drinks Thursday at a fusion restaurant in Ballston. He suggested we meet at 6:30 after work.
I agreed even though that meant getting from 14th and U (Yellow/Green Lines) to Ballston (Orange/Silver) at peak rush hour. Even worse, my station had ongoing repair work, so I had the option to either walk three-quarters of a mile to the farther entrance and transfer at L’Enfant Plaza or take DC Circulator down to McPherson Square and hop on the Metro there to get into Arlington.
Since it felt like a straight shot, I opted to bus it down 14th Street.
I texted my date at 6:15 to let him know traffic was awful and I was going to be a few minutes late. The bus inched towards Thomas Circle and I started to get increasingly anxious and sweaty. I hate being late.
At 6:30, we were just getting to my Metro station. I flew off the bus, sprinted down the escalator, threw my card at the turnstile, and saw that the Silver Line wasn’t running and the next Orange Line train wasn’t even arriving for 11 minutes. Ugh.
I messaged my date again, apologizing profusely.
When I finally, finally, made my way to the agreed-upon spot and pushed through the restaurant doors at 7:15 pm, happy hour was long over and my date was sitting alone at a high-top table with a mostly empty, warm beer looking annoyed.
To be honest, I don’t even remember what we talked about.
I was so stressed and sticky and flustered, I chugged my glass of wine, stumbled through polite small talk, and tried not to think about the return trip home. I’m sure I was miserable company.
By 8, we were both so over it, he paid the bill, let me call myself an Uber, and waved goodbye without even mentioning a second date.
Commuter Crush is published every Friday, just in time for your unintentional weekend hookups (or while you’re recovering from your debaucherous Thursday night). If you have an interesting story to share, let us know via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag us with #commutercrush.
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