Dating and Relationship Advice

I don’t remember the first time he brought up his dick, but he kept slipping it casually into the conversation.

We met through Coffee Meets Bagel. On my profile, I suggested we skip the small talk and go for a hike. This is Los Angeles, after all—home to Runyon Canyon, a famous hiking destination popular with off-leash Yorkies and Channing Tatum alike.

A hiking date in LA is less like agreeing to meet a stranger in the middle of Nowhere, Get-Murdered, USA, and more like strolling through Disney Land, but with more nature and stuff.

I suggested a popular spot close by. It features a grueling set of stone steps embedded into a steep hill, leading straight up to an amazing 360° view of the city.

My date was tall and wearing sunglasses. We hiked up the stairs, one step after another. The place was overrun with people, festive with music and laughter and sweat. There were families hiking together, runners taking the stone steps at a neat clip, and me—struggling for breath and trying not look down the steep incline behind me. What if I slipped and went tumbling down, taking out a child or two in the process?

We made it to the top and took the scenic way down via a winding dirt path. He took pictures of wildflowers with his phone. We marveled at the view and talked about the things you talk about on a first date: family, career, his dick.

At one point, he stopped me from heading into an overgrown part of the trail because a homeless man was taking a leak.

“If you see any man’s dick today, it should be mine,” he joked.

I laughed awkwardly.

He was eating sunflower seeds and offered me some. When I put the handful of seeds in my mouth, he made a lewd comment.

I laughed, awkwardly.

At the bottom of the hill, he wrapped me in a close embrace. We stood there for several moments. It felt nice.

I biked to meet him at a nearby salad bar. He tried to buy me a salad, but I settled for one of those colorful drinks with exotic, healthy-sounding ingredients. He was leaving town soon for a lengthy trip. He was quitting his stable job and striking out on his own.

A song came on in the salad bar and he started to sing along. For some reason, I was trying to explain to him that I was an introvert. That I wasn’t ready for a relationship, even if he was going out of town soon. That was fine. His ex was also an introvert, but she was amazing in bed.

“At least you’re a cheap date,” he said. “I tried to buy you a salad and all you wanted was a drink.”

As he ate his salad and I sipped my drink, laughing awkwardly, it was clear the date wasn’t going well.

I had wronged him by not being interested in his dick. He took it hard. And so he took his revenge, cutting me down to size.

He went on about how I did not look like my pictures because I was wearing glasses on this date and not in my pictures. He said that I was only attractive "enough". Apparently the only good thing about me was that I didn’t want a salad. That worked well for him since he was about to quit his cushy job and it would be nice not to have to buy salads for girls who wear glasses.

At least you’re easy, he seemed to be saying. You’re not expecting anything.

Outside the salad bar, we embraced again, this time much more briefly. I could smell that he had put on cologne. I rode my tiny folding bike home in the dark.

“It was a hiking date,” I would tell my friends. “Who expects to hookup on a hiking date?”

“I don’t know,” said one friend, “All those endorphins probably make you feel pretty happy.”

It was true. Taking a shower after getting home, I felt amazing.

The next day, he texted me a picture of flowers he had taken during our hike. The text read like a Hallmark card:

“Thank you for sharing a beautiful moment with me.”

I could tell he was putting this limp date behind him with a smiley face emoji. Sure, I hadn’t wanted to see his dick, but at least the sunset was pretty.

When you date in LA or anywhere else, there are the dicks who don’t even know they’re dicks, who think nothing of whipping it out, figuratively speaking. The ones who neg you in one breath and act like you might be soulmates in the next. He was an unsolicited dick pic in human form, wearing jeans and a button-down.

Me? I was a cipher. An awkward laugh. A sugary drink at a salad bar. The sound of his heartbeat when he pulled me close. Two tires flying down a dark street. Water rushing over my body. Someone who hates small talk and wears glasses when she rides her bike at night, because otherwise she can’t see.