Danny: The OG Tinderboy

I stepped off of the Orange Line and made my way to Tia’s, the light breeze around me just to the colder side of optimal but my ill-fitting button down was sufficient to insulate me. As I neared, the dull rumble of the college-aged bar activity slowly become discernible over the fleet of cars racing down Atlantic Ave.

On approach, I was suddenly overtaken by a distinct bout of deja vu of a bar crawl my friend had brought me on the previous summer which entailed paying $25 for a fluorescent tank top and then having the privilege of getting drunk during the daytime. I was still pissed about that — not even a hint of a discount on a single drink for the ridiculous ticket price.

In an instant I saw him, my ID still in awkward limbo as my focus had entirely left the bouncer in front of me.

Short. Quite short. Cute though. Not quite as cute as the mental picture I’d formed in my mind of him through the photos and long conversations (not that anyone really is), but nowhere near the need-to-excuse-myself-from-the-situation awkward panic of the tinder encounter gone awry.

I had said about one word before Danny began attacking my sleeves. Apparently he had decided that it would be better if my sleeves were in an alternate configuration and began to roll them up.

There’s always an awkward dynamic in any first tindermeeting because often times the individual you’re first laying eyes upon and speaking to is one you are almost intimately familiar through text-based or phone conversation. There’s always an awkward point made about it being “nice to meet you” with some air of sarcasm.

Slowly Danny pulled my by my sleeves over to his friends and the necessary introductions were made.

“He could have raped you!” my mom said upon learning about this part of the encounter. “He could have gotten all his friends together and taken advantage of you!”

“Mom, he’s 5 foot three on a good day and all his friends were girls and we met in a public place.”

“Oh… well still I don’t like this one bit.” Thus the new divergence of our ideologies on life and risk was manifest in our differing tinderopinions.

As it was that time of the evening I decided to order my first drink. In keeping with my social ineptitude, today was to be the day that I learned, for the third time, that even though I am a fan of drinking Scotch Whisky on the rocks that it’s not necessarily the best drink to have when you’re out with friends who don’t appreciate its finer qualities (i.e. most of the gays). I let Danny try it after telling him he had to remove the mint gum from his mouth to complete the experience.

“That’s gross.” Though to be fair he seemed to say that about a lot of things. It was apparently his sassy motto. And he wasn’t really wrong, but I liked the taste of the vile liquid.

Fast forward ten months: I was with several random girls at a party who were interrogating me to determine my eligibility to meet their gay friend. “How long has it been since the end of your last relationship,” they inquired. I was taken aback by the question, but by that point I had gained an appreciation for the importance of the answer. “18 months,” I replied. They glanced at each other and nodded in approval before whisking me off to meet their friend.

With Danny, however, such was the state of our mutual infatuation that I had failed to give proper consideration to the admission earlier that it had been scarcely two weeks since he had broken up with his boyfriend of eight months. He seemed to be into it and so was I so I continued the chase.

Danny made a classic attempt at putting his arm around his friend and me while we were talking. The effect was somewhat comical given his stature but I appreciated the gesture.

After finishing up a second drink (and Danny having a fair amount of it) we rolled out of Tia’s and made our way Ned Divines, the bar where they refuse to give free glasses of water and charges like $3 for a bottle. I informed Danny that I was terrible at dancing but we danced for a while and made out on the dance floor.

Leaving, we headed to Danny’s friend’s place in Brighton where we all ordered chinese food takeout, which was delicious. Danny and I had the privilege of sharing a quite comfortable yet tiny couch that evening. The problem, though, was that if you put two gay males who are sexually attracted to each other on a tiny couch in the dark late at night while drunk, there arises a certain temptation. Of course, if that couch happens to be literally in the middle of the common room of a two bedroom apartment and both gay males feel that it would probably be best not to do anything too adventurous that evening, the stage would be set for a very sexually frustrating night.

“You were driving me crazy last night.” Danny texted me later the next day.

Danny and I hung out several more times over the next two weeks. We continued talking obsessively. My housemates were overwhelmed with his gayness. He spent the night and we had sex. I was still bad at it back then but whatever.

One evening we were texting and he brought up his boyfriend and he told me he was crying. I wasn’t entirely sure how to handle it but I tried to assure him it would be alright.

From that point on his attitude towards me started to change. Slowly the texts became less frequent and his demeanor more sporadic.

Finally it came: “Sorry if I led you on.” What? What the fuck does that mean? I couldn’t grasp the statement even as it glowed from my iPhone.

That’s all he could give me.

I poured my soul out to him over iMessage later that evening. I told him about all the feelings I’d had for my boyfriend when we broke up and all that I’d struggled with during the breakup. But even as I articulated these sentiments I could sense something was amiss.

“I don’t really feel any of that.” Nothing. Flatline.

My failure to elicit empathy was baffling; it seemed he couldn’t grasp any of my sentiments. He was entirely and unflinchingly cold. It was as if he didn’t understand why he was acting, the spineless man who acts on impulse and reacts unflinchingly and unsympathetically.

Danny has since described himself to me as “emotionally detached.” I’d say that’s an accurate description. My experiences a year later with Aidan gave me a fresh perspective on empathy, to say the least, but I reserve any name calling for a future evaluation.

So we stopped talking. I had a bad week or two. But it was probably for the better.

I wish I could say this was the end, but it wasn’t. We spoke briefly several times over the intervening months, even made plans to get lunch and catch up in May but he stopped responding to my texts the day we were supposed to hang out. He mentioned he was now dating some guy.

As would happen by random chance there was a mutual tinderacquaintance, Jimmy, who Danny went on a few dates with. Let’s just say that Jimmy is not Danny’s biggest fan (I’ve since learned that there’s a trend with Danny being a dick to guys.) We had a few conversations about how wonderful Danny was.

Come September, the 12 month anniversary of our acquaintance, I was sitting in a Tapas restaurant in Dallas, TX with my friend having a second pitcher of Sangria with my best friend when my phone suddenly buzzed. Surprise! Danny had messaged me again. I wasn’t quite sure what had motivated the sudden contact, but I replied and he continued talking to me for quite a while.

I learned that Danny was still “happily” dating his boyfriend and also wanted to hang out and “platonically cuddle” (the sign of any healthy relationship is when you ask ex flings that you screwed over to come cuddle platonically). “You should come meet me at a bar some random evening again.”

Then the truth slipped out: “You randomly got like soooo hot” “You were cute before” “But now you’re so hot”

You aesthetic son of a bitch. But sometimes using other people sexually can be mutually beneficial. And I tend to throw caution to the wind.

As a bit of background, during the intervening time I had been observing a ketogenic diet and had lost about 35 pounds and begun working out, so I was definitely hotter in my humble opinion.

“Are you dating thirsty crazy pants yet” Jimmy asked. Always direct to the point.

So I went over and we cuddled “platonically” and watched the best date movie of all time, The Human Centipede. It is one thing we share: we’re both kinda fucked up.

He stopped responding again for two weeks and then announced to me that he had broken up with his boyfriend. I was surprised.

Because I can’t learn, I invited him over to cuddle that week. Time flew. We developed a strong tradition of regular attendance at Club Cafe in Boston. We developed a friendship of sorts; as much as he frustrated me with his hot and coldness, something prevented me from walking. I think I felt enough insulation emotionally to feel comfortable with the ambiguous nature of our relationship. He’s made out with me several times and we’ve slept together overnight but he’s never really reciprocated any sexual interest (interestingly he’s one of the few people I’ve been able to spoon with overnight — we have oddly compatible heights).

I’ve since moved to Seattle and he’s visited me here. We attended a bar several times and he alternated between cuddling overnight and sleeping on the couch. If I believe rumor around the grape vine, he was able to get coffee with another guy and hook up with him in the six hours I was at work on my last day — needless to say an impressive feat. Though we’re now quite distant I still keep in touch.

And so one of the weirder friendships I’ve ever maintained continues.

Thanks Tinder.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *