Fuck Dating is a recurring column written by an anonymous and fabulous 20 something
When it comes to dating prospects, not all places are created equal. Some cities of the world, in fact, attract hoards of completely undateable people. This can come in the form of brodawg overpopulation or, in the case of Chile’s Atacama desert, a disproportionate number of miners and prostitutes.
About a month into my work placement there, I began to notice that most of the eligible men from the area were either away at college far off in another city or merely rumored to actually exist (I once heard from a co-worker that she had spotted an attractive man walking around somewhere.)
The details of my only short-lived romance there are a bit vague in my mind because the experience was so dull that I would often forget I was even dating someone. Out of desperation, I jumped on the first pretty face I had seen in weeks.
He, apparently, did not experience the same lapses of memory, however, as evidenced by the oil painting he would later try to present to me.
We went on a few painfully long dates in which we would discuss absolutely nothing over a cup of instant coffee and then afterward he would sheepishly ask permission to kiss me EVERY SINGLE TIME.
This drug on for about two weeks (I know. Time just feels so much longer when you’re bored out of your mind) until I received a text message throwback from middle school that went something like this: “Hello beautiful princess schnookums muahmuahmuah!!” (This part of the text may have been exaggerated.) “Would you like to be my gringa girlfriend? xD” (This part is not exaggerated. That emoticon literally was there and he really did specify that I was a gringa.)
There are a lot of good reasons you should never try to have the “Where is this going?” conversation over text message. Most of us learn this around 7th grade after awkwardly passing that special someone a note asking, “Do you like me or like like me? Circle yes or no.” The “Can we be a couple now?” text message is the modern day equivalent of the “Do you like like me?” classroom note.
It’s difficult to express in the confines of a text that you’re just not looking for a commitment right now or that you’re just not looking for the same things out of life. This is why adults take the time to feel the situation out and then talk about the important topics in person.
To make things even more awkward, I had already exhausted the balance on my phone, a common problem for any phone user in Chile. So instead of carefully crafting some sort of explanation (“No thnx xD”) I just had to leave it. Days passed and by the end of the week, I had already forgotten about it.
Unfortunately, we knew each other through a mutual friend, so it was only a matter of time before we crossed paths and he was glaring at me from the other side of the room. While I was absentmindedly youtubing my nights away, he had apparently been stewing over what a heartless wench I was (and painting. More on that later.)
I may have a cold streak when it comes to dating but I do hate to hurt someone’s feelings. When we saw each other next, I made my best attempt to explain what had happened and gradually, he seemed to forgive me. I blissfully returned to Youtube and boxed wine, biding my time until I could move elsewhere. And he went back to crafting inappropriate surprises for me.
Several weeks later, we saw each other again and he made an offer even more uncomfortable than becoming a virtual text message couple: he had made an oil painting for me (of me?) that he wanted me to have. Nothing makes you feel like more of an asshole than realizing that you’ve been blowing off someone who apparently likes you enough to craft artwork in your name. Few things create as strong of an urge to flee either.
I told him thanks, I’d like to see it but that I couldn’t accept it. What else can you say in such a situation? How could you accept such a gift from someone you barely know?
He insisted several times, in between spurts of scorning me (not that I really noticed, given how incredibly quiet he was anyway.) In my standard style, I avoided seeing the painting until time ran out and my opportunity had come to move somewhere else. Around the same time, he loaded several uncomfortably nude sketches of women to Facebook. I can only imagine what he had in mind when he painted something for me.
Lesson learned: When life lands you in one of Earth’s most desolate corners, maybe now is a good time to give dating a break and fully commit your extra energy to Youtube and boxed wine.