by Andrea Laurion
I should have known the date was going to go badly from his drink order: a vodka with Pepsi. That’s the type of drink teenagers mix together because it’s all they can get their hands on, not something a grown man over the age of 25 should be drinking in public, no less.
Before we even met up, Vodka Pepsi texted me to see if we could change our meet-up location from Round Corner Cantina to Industry. Industry is not really my scene, but I thought maybe he was into beer and I said so when he ordered that disgusting combination.
“Oh no,” he said. “I hate beer. But I looked online at the drink menu for Round Corner, everything was made with tequila, and I really hate tequila.”
“Uh, they have a full bar,” I said, flummoxed at this rationale, as he took a big sip from his drink.
Since we met on Tinder, I went into this knowing very little about Vodka Pepsi, and for the next 45 minutes, I learned so much. I learned that he used to play football in high school. I learned that his only regret from going to the San Diego Comic Con was that he didn’t cosplay. I learned that he used to be engaged. I learned that he used to have a YouTube channel but he got into so many fights with people that he got banned from YouTube. It was like being hit with a tidal wave of personal information.
I don’t know what Vodka Pepsi learned about me, because he didn’t ask me a single question. I occasionally shoe-horned bits of my life around what he was saying, but he would bring the conversation back to himself again and again. It seemed the specifics of who I was as a person didn’t matter. I was a girl, I was breathing, and I was talking to him. That was apparently good enough. For some girls, shoe-horning themselves around a man’s life is good enough, but not for me. This would never work out.
He insisted on walking me to my car, despite the fact that it was directly across the street. He asked for my number and I demurred.
“Oh, just keep messaging me on Tinder,” I said.
Before I could unlock my car door, he mumbled, “How about a goodnight kiss,” and proceeded to put his lips on mine, his tongue barging into my mouth like a wet dog. The vile taste of vodka and Pepsi lingered even after I pulled away. As a goodbye gift, he left some drool on my chin.
It was a five minute drive from the bar to my house and in that time, Vodka Pepsi managed to send me a message that still creeps me out years later: “I hope the kiss was as good for you as it was for me.”
As with his drink order, he was the only one who liked it.