As much as I dislike drinking, I have to admit that alcohol sometimes serves as a far better social lubricant than weed. Time and time again, I’ve learned that dates do not get better when you introduce weed into the mix, but part of me still sees an unnecessary weed session as a litmus test for dates. I’m holding out for the possibility that one day I’ll meet a girl who doesn’t run out of my apartment screaming because she got too high. Despite this shaky argument for weed’s functionality on dates, I continue to believe in my thesis: date plus weed equals bad. Of course, I wouldn’t be bringing up this simple truth if I hadn’t recently breached its teachings.
As a single person in New York who doesn’t like bars, it’s to my advantage to use the many online services that promise to find me good company hassle-free. Most recently, I tried Tinder, an iPhone app that turned me into a ruthless judge of appearance. I never had much success with any other dating service, so I decided to dedicate a solid ten minutes to Tinder a couple of times a day. With my thumb as my gavel, I breezed through countless profile photos, piling the attractive on the right and the unattractive on the left, ambivalent to the girls’ names or interests. After these sessions, it became hard to look at actual people around me and not begin sorting them into piles. Although Tinder temporarily made me into a superficial monster, it managed to start a conversation that led to a date.
This was only the second time I had embarked on a date with someone I met online, so it still felt a little weird to me. I met up with my date (let’s call her Claire) at an event she was working at a bar. I showed up late as hell and underdressed—as I typically do—but she was really cool about it. We had a drink and chatted about ourselves. Quickly, I realized I can’t go more than 30 seconds without saying something about weed. Claire said she didn’t really smoke that much, but she was open to weed and did smoke occasionally. After a few minutes, she had to close up the event. I went out for a cigarette. In the courtyard, a friendly British man started making conversation. It naturally turned to marijuana, and he brought up the show High Maintenance. As I excitedly told him I made a cameo on the show, Claire returned. We had a couple more laughs with the British man before he split. Claire and I were sitting next to each other on a bench. There was a brief lull, and in that moment I put my hands in my jacket pocket, because I was ready to say something banal like, “It sure is cold.” Instead, my fingers felt the plastic wrapping of two mighty powerful pot cookies that I had in my pocket. I knew it was a bad idea, but in that moment I wanted something to get me out of this awkward pause. “I have a really awesome pot cookie. Do you want to split it?” These were G’s bangers, so I knew a whole one would lobotomize me and turn her into a raving lunatic. Claire thought about it for a moment and then said, “Fuck it, let’s do it!” This made me like her a lot more.
Right as we were finishing the crumbs, someone came and told us that the event was over and everyone had to leave. We hopped out onto the street, and Claire led us to another bar on the block. She sat down, and I grabbed us some drinks. As soon as I sat down, Claire started telling me how great she felt. “I hardly ever smoke or eat edibles, but I’ve gotta say, I feel fantastic! I’m really having fun.” I was relieved, having thought until then that it was only a matter of time before I saw that look of paranoia on her face. On the contrary, she was doing great like me. Being a little more used to them, the cookie had only mildly affected me. Our conversation started to get more comfortable, and there was a lot more genuine laughter. Things were progressing, so naturally I had to go and fuck them up. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Perhaps, I attributed our good vibe entirely to the cookie and thought more would make it better. Or maybe I had a subconscious desire to sabotage a date that was going well. For whatever ill-conceived reason, I filled the next momentary silence by reaching into my pocket and pulling out the second cookie.
The first cookie quickly hit Claire, so I wasn’t surprised when she started acting a little funny a few minutes after we split the second edible. I was telling her some silly anecdote when I noticed she kept looking away. Pointing to the floor, she said, “I can’t handle this right now. You’re sweater… it’s just like the tiles.” I looked down and sure enough, the triangular beige and brown tiles on the floor looked similar to the hideous argyle sweater I had chosen to wear. Claire could not handle this. I took off the sweater and pulled on my jacket, continuing my story to prevent another awkward moment. When I stopped talking, Claire stared blankly back at me and then said, “Can we switch seats? I think I would feel better if I were sitting over there.” Uh-oh.
As soon as someone who has eaten too many edibles starts doing things to try to fix the situation, they’ve admitted to themselves that something is wrong. This was now happening to Claire, and I knew things would only get worse. We switched seats, but she continued to get more and more stoned until she was quietly staring into space. I started to feel uncomfortable and tried to end the date. “Hey, we can go catch you a cab or something, if you just want to part ways and go home? Might be best to sleep it off.” She insisted we remain in the bar for a few more minutes. I drank the melted ice in my glass and tried to think of something to say.
A girl walked into the bar, saw Claire, gave her an exuberant greeting, and sat down with us. She introduced herself to me and made friendly chit-chat, which I cringed at. I knew what was happening here. We all knew. This was not a coincidental run-in with a friend. More insidiously, this was Claire’s lifeline. This was the person that Claire had texted at some point to come and rescue her from what had turned into a nightmare date. I desperately looked for a good excuse to leave but felt like it would be rude to just dip out right as her friend got there. Finally, there was an awkard silence between all three of us. Claire was silently wigging out, I was itching to leave, and Claire’s friend was scrambling for a way to put me out of my misery. Finally, she figured it out. “Hey, so I need to talk to Claire about something kind of personal, so…” I was halfway out of my seat before she finished her sentence. I said goodbye to Claire, then turned to her friend and said, “Thank you.” Puzzled, she asked, “What are you thanking me for?” Not wanting to say out loud that she had not only bailed out Claire but me as well, I said, “Nothing! Bye!” Then I rolled out of the spot.