Writing about dating in February is so cliche. I fought the good fight with myself about skipping this altogether. I came up with tons of reasons why the idea should float away like Frodo into the West. Or a Modest Mouse song. “I kinda wrote a blog about dating in DC. Why would someone want to read another one?” I bemoaned. “Aren’t there enough blogs about dating?”, I said. “Hasn’t every newspaper in America written articles about the downfall of modern dating?” I justified. “Is DC really so different than other major cities?” I questioned. And the answer came back a resounding YES. So here we are. There are two things you should keep in mind when reading this blog. One: There are roughly 60,000 men between the ages of 21-39 living in DC and 106,898 women in the same age range. And two: we probably have the highest concentration of spies since the existence of East Berlin.
None of the major players of the Bartlet Administration were really relationship experts. Well, besides the Bartlets . Leo got divorced, Sam slept with a prostitute on accident, Toby was in love with his ex-wife, CJ and Danny made the kids of Dawson’s Creek look like they had their s#@t together and Donna dated a Republican who was investigating the White House and a guy who leaked White House info out of spite. So it not like I thought they would have some magical answer to the riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; that is dating in Washington, DC. But I thought they would at least mention some key points besides “don’t accidentally sleep with a call girl.”
Turns out there were a lot of things Aaron Sorkin forgot to tell me about dating in Washington, DC.
Ghost or Spy
In any other part of the country, if a guy disappeared for three weeks after a date you would write him off as ghosting. In DC, he might then showed up claiming, “There was no internet and no cell service and I can’t tell you where I was!” Why? Because he could work for any number of super secret agencies and legitimately was somewhere they don’t have Internet. Or where they turn off the Internet. Or where we don’t admit we actually send people. But that is just the tip of the iceberg! Other problems include not being to talk about work, limited international travel options and the working late-or-we-are-all going to die conundrum. Oh, you don’t know that one? It goes something like this.
Twentysomething in a nondescript subbasement picks up his landline. Cellphones have to be checked at the door.
Spy: Hi, its me. I have to work late.
Girlfriend: Like, how late? Are you going to stay there all night?
Spy: Too early to say. I’m waiting on some stuff. . .from some people. . . about a thing in a place.
Girlfriend: Is like a regular I need to work late or a start buying canned goods and pack a go bag work late?
Spy: What do you mean pack a go bag? It should always be packed! Ready to go!
Girlfriend: Sooo. . .
Spy: I’ll be home by 10.
On the other hand, you could make out at Rumors, date and marry some boring bureaucrat only to find out 45 years later all those trips to Bucks County to look at soil samples were really to the Middle East to look at minerals of a different kind. I mean, allegedly.
Date or one-on-one networking?
So you meet someone at a social function, let’s say a young professionals who like bacon reception. You strike up a conversation about what you both do, I mean this is DC after all. It’s the first questions after “what is your name?” You laugh, you flirt, you exchange cards, you realize you have been on numerous group emails together. As he leaves, he says “your emails is just your name at gmail, right?” You assume he will ghost and you will have to awkwardly run into him a mutual friends inevitable going away happy hour.
Alas, three days later you get an email asking if you want to “go out for drinks” you fire off an email from your iPhone that reads “Yes! Fat fingers, small keyboard please excuse typos.” Suddenly you are out to drinks causally talking about work when it hit you: Is this a date or networking? You met at a networking reception, so it could be networking. But he emailed your gmail so it could be a date. You are at a bar which could be a date but let’s face it DC is fully of lushes so it could still be networking. He buys your beer but it is happy hour so it only cost him $2.50. To top it all off, you don’t want to get it wrong. The last thing you want is to try and kiss someone only to find out it was a networking thing. Oy.
It is completely acceptable for your boyfriend to send you a Google calendar invite in September that dictates you will spend the evening binging on House of Cards.
Featured image via ShutterStock