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My Tinder Bender: Date #1 -- The Fish Eater

I've never online dated before but a little app called Tinder came along and piqued my interest. It's like a game of "hot or not" meets Grindr for straight people. This could be fun. Plus, I'm 34 years old. I might only have a few good looking years left. I might as well play this game to the max. So let's do this.
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I recently noticed I'm single. I know this might sound like an obvious trait to notice about myself, but it's honestly never been the centre of my attention. I have a shitload of awesome friends and three functioning vibrators, so I don't really stress over finding "the one." Plus, I see the word "single" as synonymous with "freedom." Who doesn't love freedom?

Then a little app called Tinder comes along. I've never online dated before. But mix it up with a little social media via my iphone, and consider me addicted. It's like a game of "hot or not" meets Grindr for straight people. This could be fun. Plus, I'm 34 years old. I might only have a few good looking years left. I might as well play this game to the max.

So let's do this.

I open the app and start shopping for dudes. Within minutes, I score my first online date ever. He's blonde, 35, and has a picture with Andre Bargnani in his profile pic. Deluxe! We agree to meet on Saturday.

I'm not a "dresser-upper." Is that a word? In my world it is. But since I'm going out with a dude who made reservations at a restaurant, I decide I shouldn't wear my hoody. The only time I hear the word "reservation" is when I have one in my section at work.

Oh, and is it crazy that my first Tinder date is taking me out for a fancy dinner? I thought this was a trashy app to hook up with someone? I'm already confused. I throw on a purple halter dress, which is wrinkled because it was in the suitcase I haven't unpacked from my trip to New York.

After any given holiday, I take about two weeks to unpack. If I ever say, "I practically live out of a suitcase," it's not because my career as a comedian is on fire. It's because I'm too lazy to unpack. Also, I'm 34 and don't own an iron. Never have. (The marrying type, right?) So I pretty much always look like a skid, even if I'm wearing a dress. I decide to wear heels. I do own a pair. I bought them by accident, thinking I needed them for a bridal party when I didn't. I never returned them, because I find returning things more embarrassing than public flatulence.

He messages me early in the day.

Do you want me to pick you up, or do you want to meet at the restaurant?

What kind of classy prom night moves is this guy pulling? He clearly doesn't know I'm used to guys with such bad credit, they can't afford to pull a Bixi bike off the rack. I tell him I'll meet him at the restaurant. It's a gorgeous day. I'm tempted to day drink before the date, but since this is my first online date EVER, but I decide to stay sober just in case he's a rapist and/or murderer. (I saw the made for T.V. movie about Ted Bundy when I was a teenager. Mark Harmon seemed soooooooo cool in Summer School, didn't he...)

I take a cab because there's no chance I know how to walk in heels. I'm not sure I walk properly in flats. He's sitting on the patio when I walk up. Good choice. Us Torontonians are obsessed with patios, aren't we?

I'm excited to see he looks just like his profile pic (minus Andre Bargnani beside him). I sit down, and immediately start babbling how this is my first online date EVER! Clearly, by his embarrassed face, this is not his first.

He tells me this is his favourite Italian restaurant in the city. I tell him this is the first date I've had that wasn't at a Firkin.* He already has a beer in front of him. I order a glass of red wine. (This is as close to looking classy as I get.)

"Do you mind if I order some appetizers for the table?" he asks.

Go for it. I'm used to an appetizer being my dinner. That can shave $5 off the bill. He orders jumbo prawns, octopus and...(wait, let me Google it, so I spell it correctly) Carpaccio! I'm not even a big eater. I'll be lucky to have room for my entrée after all this stuff. Plus, if this restaurant was in NOW magazine, it would have a $$$$ rating. I might have to sell merch to pay my half of the bill.

When it comes time to order entrees, I order lobster gnocchi. Holy fack! If someone told me dating would bring me closer to lobster gnocchi, I'd be doing it all the time. He orders the fish of the day. You know that thing on the menu that just says "market price?" Yikes.

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When our plates come to the table, I softly request fresh ground pepper and chili flakes. (I don't care how classy your restaurant is. I have no interest in eating ANYTHING unless it's spicy. Sorry.) Because the Gnocchi looks so delish, I take a bite before my condiments arrive. I notice he's not touching his fish. It is, literally, a dead fish on a plate. No side of fries, people. This ain't fish n' chips. It's just Nemo on a plate. Our server comes over.

"The manager will be over to debone the fish after that table."

I look over at the other table. The manager looks like he's cutting up the customer's food for her. I guess that's the "deboning" experience. Ohhhhh... so that's why he's not eating yet, and I'm five dumplings in. I was starting to wonder if he was manorexic. The manager finally comes over, and debones the creepy fish. It's quite the process. Way more involved than me picking olives off a plate of nachos.

He orders his sixth Peroni. (I think I'm making him nervous.) I order another glass of red wine. Immediately, I get self-conscious that I should have ordered white wine, because white wine pairs better with lobster. He probably thinks I'm a moron. Oh for fack's sake! I do NOT fit in at this restaurant. I'm a fish out of water, just like his dinner.

When the dessert menu comes, I say "I don't have a sweet tooth. I have an alcoholic tooth."

He laughs, and orders his 11th Peroni. I decide to break my seal. (Well, I'm not sure I actually had to pee, but I wanted to check my phone. The bathroom seemed like a better place to do it.) I walk in the restaurant from the patio, and ask two random women where the bathroom is. They point, but give me the most disgusted look. As I head to the bathroom (personal phone booth), I realize those women took offense to my question because they assumed I thought they work here.

Can't I ask my fellow XX chromosomes where our special room is?

I return to the table(after checking Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), and it happens: the bill comes. Yikes. I'm all about paying my own way, going dutch, etc. But I'm scared. This bill could be half my rent. I do a powerful reach for my wallet. He shakes his head, and says:

"No, I got this."

OH SWEET BABY JESUS! THANK GOD! (Don't worry. I didn't say that out loud.) We walk out on to College street. I'm very confused as to whether we are still going to hang out or not. I've said 18 things for every one thing he's said. He's clearly more shy than I am, but most people are. He suggests going to another bar, in Yorkville. Perfect.

We hop in a cab, and I INSIST on paying the fare. That's right, gentlemen! Spend hundreds of dollars on me, and I give $10 back! I'm like a President's Choice bankcard.

As we pull up to Hemingway's, I feel the gnocchi kicking in. Carbo-loading and dates do not go together. I'm getting sleepy. Yikes. I'm now talking only three times as much as him, in contrast to my former ten times.

I order a pint of Coors Light. In the time I take to drink one, he drinks three. (When I tell my friend Jenna this, she says, "Wow. You thought it would have been the other way around.") I order another one, and the same thing happens. He drinks three beers for every one I have. At least he's opening up more. But I'm falling asleep. Thanks, Italian food.

I'm hitting the wall. I want sleep. He pays the bill again. Fack! Am I a free rider? I don't mean to be. Also, I haven't used that term since university. We leave the bar. Outside, we say awkward goodbyes. While it was a nice date, I know that we don't have that spark. (Probably because I slyly detected he's a Scorpio, and I'm a Sagittarius. I'm such a sleuth!) Plus, I feel like he wants a drop dead gorgeous, high-maintenance girl, and I'm definitely not that. I held in so many burps tonight. He has no idea...

We hug goodbye. It's still a gorgeous night. I decide to walk home, even though I'm in facking high heels. Oh well. I need the practice walking in these feminine foot props, especially since they make my ass look smaller. The good news is, I lost my online dating virginity tonight! (And I didn't end up dead in a ditch.) Plus I got free lobster gnocchi! I'd say that's a success right there.

Tomorrow, I hit a Blue Jays game with a 27-year-old from the Beaches. Stay tuned...

Keep calm and Tinder on,


*In case you're not from Toronto, the Firkin is a chain of British style pubs with a deluxe range of Potato Spuds on the menu.