Dating, California-Style: This Summer's Near-Date Experience

We met on Bumble, the app where two people swipe right creating a “hive” of connection. The woman must make the first move within 24 hours, otherwise the match disappears forever.

I’d developed what I believed to be a highly discerning online dating strategy. I seldom swipe right and rarely match, but when I do I’m certain I’ve stung him.

I was visiting the Bay Area when we matched. (Men in Northern California are much more interesting than they are in L.A.). I was already back in L.A. when I heard from him, though he wasn’t in Northern California but rather St. Louis, where he’d unexpectedly flown to support a hometown friend whose dear mother had died.

Sweet. He lives in Marin, was raised in the Midwest and works in finance. Probably a Republican, but #nevertrump. Solid.

After texting a bit, he notes that he prefers communicating by phone. Texting is for teenage girls. And he should know, because he has two daughters in college. Which is why he understands women so well, he says. The phone is more personal. He asked for my number. Chivalry is still alive, he says.

 Or wait, did he text that?

We chatted off and on for a few weeks. L.A. must be a hard place for single women, he said. Superficial. Men seem to care most about women’s looks and women about men with money.

Finding me “a fascinating beautiful woman,” he offered to fly to L.A. under the pretense of an important business trip. But really the trip would be all about meeting me.

We spoke the night before our date. The plan was to meet at 4pm in Venice at Gjelina. He was landing at LAX early in the morning for a confidential meeting at a major toy manufacturer in El Segundo. Afterwards, we’d have the whole evening together before his 9:50 flight back to SFO.

At 2 I received a text: he’d been “called” to an unexpected meeting downtown. Our date would now be “around 5:30.” “I’ll call you in 20 minutes.” Ruh-roh. Red flag.

And at that point, I was in Mid-Wilshire, half way between Venice and DTLA in 93-degree heat. I was sweating through my date wear, off- white silk lace camisole, black pants, low heels. My freshly blow-dried hair was damp and losing volume.

I was annoyed. What I really wanted to do was go home, tear my clothes off and change into cotton jammies. I’d rather watch election coverage than be out on a date anyway. This could be a deal breaker.

But he’d flown all the way to LA to see me, so I thought I’d extend myself by offering to meet downtown. I’d be on the 10 in late afternoon traffic either way. What’s the difference? About 15 degrees.

He texts back, it’s now 3:30. “I’ll get to Venice.” Right. I took a minute and replied, “I imagine you’ll be closer to 6.” His next two texts: “No stress.” “I’ll call you soon.”

I decided to drive towards Venice. I’ll be early, but at least it’s not so hot. I’d already cancelled our dinner reservation – there was no way I’d be able to push it back. It was Gjelina after all. No substitutions.

Next text, 5:50pm. Another unexpected stop in Century City. Sure. By the time he gets to Venice, we’d have only an hour or so for a drink and quick bite before bolting for LAX.

All I wanted to do was be home. But it’s 6:45; traffic to the Valley would be a nightmare. It’d cooled off, so I wandered down the street to Wabi Sabi. I sat down at the bar, the restaurants’ folding Fleetwood doors wide open. I felt the ocean breeze and could almost smell the beach air.

I ordered a glass of sparkling rose. I’ll wait til 7:15. If I don’t hear from him, then I’ll head home.

7:07. “We’ve an unexpected dinner - I’ll call as soon as I’m out.  So sorry for all this.”

Sorry at 7 o’clock for not showing up to a 4pm date? He - who hates texting - texts to say he’s sorry. Really? Outrageous. Rude. Deal breaker, definitely.

I hadn’t eaten and I was starving. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I committed to staying in Venice for dinner. Alone. At a bar. Which in nearly my entire adult life in LA, I’d never done before. I ordered some snacks.

$80 later I walked to my car but not before stopping at Salt & Straw for a $7.50 double scoop ice cream cone.

9:15. On the 405, my phone rings. It was him, probably just about to board the plane at LAX. I let it go directly to voicemail. “Hi. It’s __ (I won’t use his name). Give me a call back when you get a chance.” Really, that’s it? Not even please? I deleted the message.

9:50. I’m home in my nighty, watching MSNBC wondering, does the dude feel guilty? Is he embarrassed, ashamed? He should be. I decided to send a scathing text while he was festering in-flight. I’ve never been treated so poorly by a man. He should wipe his online dating profiles clean, I suggested. It’s dangerous out here.

The night after the business trip he leaves another voicemail. “It’s __. There was something going on personally yesterday. I want to explain.”

I didn’t call back. His Bumble profile’s since disappeared. Forever.

Imagine this image instead with middle-aged folks.  
Imagine this image instead with middle-aged folks.  
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