“You should date somebody from Twitter,” my flattie JC told me one night at the pub. This was a couple of years back, when meeting people from t’internet was still something of a novelty and you didn’t tell your mother when you were doing it.
“Don’t be an idiot,” I said and waved my beer dismissively. The truth was I had already considered this and had reasonable-sized crushes on more than a few of my followers. Plus my Twitter network was relatively small, highly interactive and privy to a lot of details regarding my personal life. It’d save a lot of the legwork involved in getting to know somebody on a first date.
“No, seriously,” JC continued, “I bet that if you tweeted on a Saturday night and said you wanted somebody to take you out, you’d have at least 5 offers in the first hour.”
I didn’t know whether he was right or wrong, but the likelihood of me actually doing this was roughly equal to using my beer money to sponsor an African child. I had met enough people online to know that some of them were fun and could become your new BFFs, but others were fun and then later proved to have a very tenuous grip on reality. In the beginning, it’s almost impossible to tell which category the stranger sitting on your couch chopping weed will fall into.
So I put aside the idea of Twitter dating for the meantime, but then after a depressingly dry season, I began to consider it more seriously. I mean, if I was on Twitter and I wasn’t a freak, then surely most of the other people who were on Twitter weren’t freaks either? Maybe I should be more open minded?
Later that week, I was on the bus after 6 or 7 cocktails and recklessly decided to ask out someone from Twitter. I looked through my list of followers and finally settled on a guy who had flirted with me a little in the past.
“Want to grab a beer sometime?” I DMed him.
“Sure!” he replied.
I arranged to meet him for drinks after work the following Wednesday. Then I texted my friend Keira and said, “I just asked out a guy from Twitter.”
Keira wrote back, “Two words: Mister Burns.”
Mister Burns was a philosophy student I had met a couple of years earlier through RSVP.com and, after seeing his reasonably attractive profile picture, agreed to meet in real life for coffee. But when he showed up on the day, he looked a bit like Gollum and was wearing a matching block coloured tracksuit. He smelled vaguely of urine. “I have to go,” I said, not even bothering to formulate an excuse, then climbed straight back into my car and drove away.
I wasn’t so worried about meeting this Twitter guy though. I’d seen a few photos of him and he looked okay. I was confident about the date, but when Wednesday arrived, I found myself feeling nervous. “What if he’s ugly?” I asked the girls at work. “Or what if he’s fat? Oh my god, what have I done?”
Fortunately, he wasn’t fat. In fact, he was pretty cute. We smashed some beers and had great conversations and I thought, yes, this is going so well, snaps for me.
I agreed to meet him for a coffee the following weekend, and I was genuinely looking forward to it. But in the harsh light of day, he was nowhere near as attractive. In fact, he kind of looked a bit like my brother, which was cause for immediate disqualification. It was too late to back out though, so I sat down, ordered a coffee and began mentally scraping together a list of possible excuses to leave early. He seemed nervous in a sober setting and spoke at great length about his cats.
This date was very borderline: bad enough that I knew I wouldn’t see him again, but not quite bad enough to leave after only half an hour. But then he solved my dilemma by shifting the balance.
We were discussing his vegetarianism, and I inquired about his iron levels. “Do you get sick a lot?” I asked. “I went off red meat for a while last year and just seemed to come down with cold after cold.”
“Well it’s different for women,” he said, “As they have a tendency to….you know…”
Here he made a violent flowing gesture with both hands and whispered, “Bleed.”
I picked up my bag and left him with the bill.
After I ignored him for a few days, he messaged me.
Him: “Was that initial drink supposed to be a date or a networking thing?”
Me: “A networking thing. Why do you ask?”
Him: “Oh I’m embarrassed… Not that I had assumed one way or the other, but yeah… Shit, I’m an ass.”
Me: “It’s okay, everybody makes mistakes.”
He unfollowed me on Twitter not long after.