Tinder Nightmares: The Clinger

Blake and I first matched when I came home to Long Island the summer after my freshman year, and he was my first Tinder date ever. Considering he went to a good college, knew some of my coworkers, and had attended a prestigious all-boys high school, he seemed like he would be a pretty respectful guy. Still, you could never be too careful, so I was sure to meet with him in a public place during the day. We decided to meet at a local mall outlet that was equidistant from both our houses, and settled on getting lunch at Johnny Rockets.

My biggest fear was that I was going to get Catfished and that Blake would look completely different from his photos. But luckily, the selfies on his profile and his description of himself as “6 foot” in his bio were spot on.

“Hey,” Blake said, giving me a hug before we sat down at our table. His jet-black hair was longer than it had been in the picture, and the birth mark under his left eye was more prominent. But other than that, everything was the same.

“You look like your photo!” I said, laughing. “So do you,” Blake said, lightly tapping me on the shoulder. “You didn’t Catfish me. Nice, Sam. Nice.”

When the waitress came to take our order, Blake told her he just wanted a milkshake for now. I shot him a confused look, wondering why he wasn’t getting the chicken fingers he had been eyeing on the menu. “I’m usually too talkative to eat during first dates,” he admitted, shooting me a half smile. I stared at him in awe. “No way,” I said. “So am I.”

As we sipped on identical cookies ‘n crème shakes, I told Blake a story about how my mom basically gypped Best Buy out of a new computer at the very outlet we were at. “So she cut the line, right?” I said, in between sips. “And the manager had to come out and she started screaming at him about how Best Buy had held onto her computer for ten weeks. It basically caused a riot in the store… and they gave her a free laptop!”

As I told the story, Blake laughed along, his left cheek forming the slightest dimple. “My mom literally did the same thing at the Apple Store,” he said, giggling. “She got in this huge fight with an employee, and the manager had to come over and….”

Blake and I stayed in Johnny Rockets for almost two hours exchanging stories like these—ranging from Blake’s disaster experience in Beijing to my nightmare-like encounters with a coworker at my part-time job—before going our separate ways. When said goodbye and headed to my car, I let out a scream of excitement.

Immediately, I began texting my friend to tell her how well the date had gone. I gushed over how Blake had the same sense of humor as me and the same style of storytelling and how he was super cute. As I filled her in on each detail, I couldn’t stop smiling. Everything was going perfectly. Or at least it was until I got home.

“So much fun today” *kissy emoji* *heart emoji*

“When can I see you next???”

“Are you free tomorrow?”

I’m not sure what happened between the time we left the restaurant and the time I got home, but suddenly Blake was acting like the world was only days away from imploding and I was the last girl left on earth. I wasn’t too keen on his sudden desperation, but I liked his personality, so I agreed to go on another date a few days later at a local restaurant called Houston’s.

Little did I know that it was going to be a double date with his childhood best friend Nick and his girlfriend Jenny—both of whom were sixteen years old. I barely knew Blake, let alone the underaged randos he was bringing along, so most of the date was spent listening to them drone on and on about AP exams and One Direction music.

Later, Blake—who no longer felt so talkative after all—took it upon himself to order an entire party-of-five-sized appetizer of salmon strips for himself, and when the other couple went to grab some, he pawed their hands away. “It’s mine,” he said, as they moved back into their seats. “You can have some, though, Sam,” he said to me. I shook my head, and sent the other couple an apologetic look. “No, I’m good.”

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