The City UnHinged: Jake

I’m newly single, living, working and breathing in a city that is roughly 4000 times the size of my little school nestled in cornfields of Indiana. Instead of spending the first semester of my Junior year at DePauw University, I’m living in the greatest city in the world. 

New York City. 

And I have absolutely no idea how to make friends. Or how to meet locals, or guys that aren’t, well, absolute assholes. It’s not like I’m looking for a relationship or anything, I’m genuinely just trying to meet guys. To meet new people, to make friends. To meet guys as friends. And after listening to an episode of Call Her Daddy, a podcast that you’ve either probably listened to or heard about, I had an idea. Probably not my best idea, but an idea that would generate a few laughs between me and my girlfriends. 

I downloaded dating apps. Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge, just to see what I could find. 

Needless to say, guys aren’t on these apps for the same reason I am, and after my first unpleasant Tinder date, I deleted it. It was an incredibly awkward experience. Uncomfortably awkward. I’m not interested in a one night stand with some random stranger I met on an app in New York City, especially a stranger that had “Super Liked” me. Flattering, yes, but I can’t even begin to comprehend the amount diseased men roaming the island of Manhattan “Super Liking” girls. 

But I decided to redownload the apps. The guys who have their information out there for all the women within a twenty mile radius to see are ridiculous. Half of them of them are mindlessly working on Wall Street, following daddy and the money, and the other half are artists who despise pop culture and anything and everything the general public enjoys. 

I needed to meet them. To write about them. While I’m here, I am expected to complete a project on the topic of toxic masculinity, so I thought that it would be important, necessary even, for me to ask the guys on these apps their thoughts on the subject.  A crucial question to ask, yet potentially a total turn off for the sleazy guys who thought they were gonna get lucky. It was a double edged sword that cut them down either way. 

I wish I could say that these experiences are fiction, that guys aren’t actually like this, but Twitter is right. It’s always right. 

Men are trash. 

***

The first date I went on was with Jake. I met him on Hinge, and he asked me for my Snapchat immediately. Then, he promptly unmatched with me on the app. From what I remember about his profile, he’s twenty-two and working on Wall Street, as “a good Jewish boy should.” His words, not mine. After two weeks of exchanging selfies and meaningless conversation, he invited me to his apartment via snap, with a picture captioned, “Got the view, now all I need is you.”

Please, dear reader, do not roll your eyes out of your head.

Against my better judgement, I went to check out the view. He lived in Midtown, just west of Time Square and close to the garment district. A thirty minute subway ride away from my room in Brooklyn. I waited for him in a dimly lit lobby with gold trim and hazy lights. The elevator bell dinged three times before I saw his short stature glide to the front desk where he greeted the security guard by name and took me upstairs. He had brown hair that was thin and long, which flattered his face and was fashionable whenever Justin Bieber’s song “Baby” was topping the charts. When we entered the elevator, he hit a floor labeled PH. But, no, it was not the penthouse. I wish I knew why it was labeled that. It was disappointing to say the least.

“My roommate and his girlfriend are here, but we don’t have to hang out with them if you don’t want to,” he told me as we walked down the hallway to his apartment. I told him I didn’t mind, but I guess he chose not to hear me. We walked in and before I could even greet his roommate, he pulled me into his bedroom and shut the door. 

“Here,” he said handing me his dab pen. He got on his bed, so I went around, kicked off my shoes, and got on the opposite end, far away as possible from him. 

“So this is my view, nice right?” he said smiling, gesturing to the window.

“Uh, yeah,” I agreed. I couldn’t really see it since the curtains were closed, but I didn’t feel like pointing that out to him.

“Yup. Been living here since I started working at the firm.”

“Oh, okay, cool. So, what do you do?” I asked.

“Boring stuff. Studying for the LSATs and working as a paralegal.”

“Oh so you want to be a lawyer? What kind?”

“Taxes, that’s where all the money's at,” he said stretching his arm around me, smiling.

“Well that’s boring!”

“And? It’s not like there’s a lot of money in writing. You’re gonna wanna marry someone like me,” he smirked, trying to pull me closer to him.

“Uh, alright,” I nodded, avoiding my gaze and grimace. Then I ripped his pen intentionally harder than usual so it would force me to cough.

“Could you get me some water,” I weezed, trying to get him off me in the nicest way possible. When he came back, he got back on the bed and returned his arm around my awkwardly stiff body.

“Let me hit that,” he said gesturing to his pen. 

“Okay.”

I started to ask him about his past relationships, which weren’t interesting enough to remember, but I do remember him calling his ex a bitch. He politely asked me about mine and I made up a previous relationship that never happened which I used as a segue.

“He tried to tell me how to dress. Like fuck that. What a clear example of toxic masculinity,” I said looking at him, hoping for some kind of a response but I got nothing but glazed over eyes. “or what do you think?”

“Mhm,” he nodded, losing his lips as he thought. After a pause, he said, “Uh, I really like your nails. Been thinking about getting mine done like that.”

“Um, thanks,” I awkwardly laughed. Disappointing answer, but told me enough to know how he felt about the subject. Also made me think that maybe he had no idea what I was talking about, which alarmed me more. Especially since I was in his bed. In his apartment. Miles away from Brooklyn where I live. “Maybe we should watch some TV?”

“That’s what it’s here for,” he laughed, “The Office or Parks and Rec?”

The age-old question. 

“Parks. Unpopular opinion, but I think it’s funnier,” I said.

“My kind of woman.” And somehow, my body stiffened even more.

We sat there for fifteen minutes in silence watching an episode we had both probably watched a hundred times. Then out of the corner of my eye, I saw this man, this boy, sit up, lean forward and came in between me and Leslie Knope for a kiss I didn’t know how to stop. 

I tried three times to pull away until finally said, “Yo dude, maybe you should get to know me a little bit before I make out with you in your bed.”

“Well. I guess you are really into Parks and Rec then.”

We watched the rest of the episode, and I noticed he placed his dab pen on his black gym shorts, making me think that if I went to grab it I would be way too close to grabbing a part of his body I had absolutely no intention of feeling.

“I’m kinda hungry,” I told him, trying to escape his room on the PH floor and still get a free meal out of this disaster of an experience, “Do you want to get tacos?”

“Sure.”

When we left, I found out that he voted for Trump and planned on voting for him again, and he whipped out a weighted, black American Express card to pay for two, eight dollar tacos. He walked me to the subway station and we said our goodbyes. When I got back to my room I already had a snap from him. 

“Hope you find what you’re looking for”

And, thankfully, I haven’t heard from him since.