Blue sparkling eyes.
That’s the only reason I swiped right on this guy. In person, his eyes are rather disappointing, more of a pale sky blue rather than a bright Cookie Monster blue.
Not that I’m into Cookie Monster or anything. I was always more of a Peppa Pig kid.
I run my hands through my hair, examining his other facial features as he looks down at the menu.
Thin lips. Clean shaven. Dirty blonde hair. He’s not half bad.
He looks up from the menu as if he can tell what I’m thinking. I look away, trying to cover up
the fact that I was drooling over him not even a few seconds ago.
But before I can get too embarrassed, the waitress swings by.
“Are you ready to order?” she chirps.
My eyes widened. I hadn’t even glanced at the menu yet.
“I’ll have the salad with the chicken on the side,” I hastily say. The waitress nods.
Score. Every restaurant has a chicken salad.
“I’ll have the same thing,” he pipes up from across me.
“Great, I’ll have them out in ten. Ranch is good for you folks?”
I let out a “Yes,” just as he says, “No, thank you. I’ll have a vinaigrette instead, if that’s okay.”
Vinaigrette? Pish posh. I like to bask in the irony of fatty, unhealthy salad dressings, but whatever, I guess.
“So,” he says.
“So,” I repeat.
“I’m sure you’ve read my dating profile.”
My turn to chuckle. “Nah, I just skimmed through it.”
I had, in fact, not skimmed through it.
D & R — Dated and Rated — was the newest fad in Toronto, and I obviously had to try the newest up-and-coming dating app.
And, of course, I obsessed over every detail before actually going on a date. The internet is a
scary place, and I could be meeting a serial killer for all I know.
He looked at me as if he didn’t believe me.
“Well, I guess I’ll introduce myself then,” he clears his throat. “I’m Brandon, 24 years old, and I
have two sisters,” he pauses for a moment to stare.
I stare back. He’s waiting for me to call his bluff. I distinctly remember his profile had said “proud only child,” following a string of emojis I wish I could erase from my memory. I raise an eyebrow to act surprised. I wasn’t that easy.
“Cool, I have a sister as well,” I nod.
“Right, so I know what it’s like to be in a house of women, and I love fishing and playing
football in my free time. What about you?”
The fishing part I knew because his profile featured a picture of him holding up a fish with a
flashy smile. But football? I mean, I guess I should’ve been able to tell from his broad shoulders.
“Nice,” I say, trying really hard not to steal a glance at his biceps. “I’m a dentist, so when I’m not pulling out people’s teeth, I’m either playing with my dogs or going for drinks with my friends.”
“Yeah, I saw your pictures. You look great in your scrubs,” he winks at me. I blush even though I don’t mean to.
“Here are your salads,” the waitress comes by to drop off our plates.
“Yum,” I force a smile.
He picks up his fork to eat.
“And what do you do for work?” I ask.
“I’m a software engineer,” he smiles.
Ugh, I can’t think of anything more boring.
“Not really, but I’ve grown to like it,” he says mid-chew. “It’s not as bad as I thought it was going
“What do you mean by that?”
“Well, I’d say the industry is pretty cutthroat, but I’ve worked hard to get where I am now.”
“Right. Dentistry can be the same way, but I hope to open up a practice one day.”
“So you’ll be at the top of the food chain?”
“No, I want to abolish the hierarchy.”
“I’m pretty sure you’d only be reinforcing it.”
“Not in my practice, I wouldn’t.”
“Great, a woman with values,” he smiles. “Anyway…” he stops short. “…why don’t you have any reviews on your profile?”
I smirk. “Why don’t you?”
“I asked you first.”
I let out a sigh. “Well, I just joined the app, and this is the first date I’ve been on, so I guess you
can be my first review.”
“Maybe,” he replies.
“Well, I told you I’m a software engineer, so I hacked into their system and removed all the bad
reviews from my exes,” he winks.
“Riiight, and why would they leave you a bad review anyway?”
“I spend way too much time on work, I have baggage from my childhood, and I’m annoying.”
I laugh, stunned at his bluntness.
“Hey, at least I’m self-aware. Half of the reviews on those dating profiles are fake.”
“Really, and how do you know that?”
“Have you read them? They’re absolutely ridiculous. ‘Great communicator. Kind heart,’” he
throws up air quotes. “Like, am I reading your dating profile or resume?”
“Ha! Well, that’s what this is, isn’t it? A glorified resume?”
“Well, yes and no. At least you get to choose what references you put down when applying for a job. This app’s interface makes it so that even if you text someone, you can post a scathing
review about their messaging etiquette.”
“Or if they’re being a creep.”
“I mean, I suppose, but it’s completely abolished what dating used to be like.”
“You mean when we had no way of seeing what people’s exes thought of them?”
“Yeah — when there was enough privacy so that you’d have to wait for your partner to confide in you about their past relationships — the good and the bad,” he motions with his hands as he talks. “That way, they could actually tell you their side first, not the other way around.”
“I don’t know if I agree. I mean, aren’t you a software engineer? You’d be the first to realize that
things are going to evolve to become more technology-reliant, not less.”
“Of course, but this way, we’re just objects awaiting our next amazon review, not souls seeking love.”
“There isn’t enough time for that anymore — to waste countless hours meeting and dating people. Now, you can read about someone’s entire life and what their past partners think of them in a few seconds to test your compatibility,” I point out. “It’s not like how social media used to be, they can’t just post what they want. Now your exes tell the other side, perhaps the more important side.”
“You know what, I agree with you. It is more convenient. Eventually, we’ll just have an
algorithm to choose a partner for us based on our traits, isn’t that even better? Such a time
saver!” he cackles.
“Better than having to waste my time on dates like these,” I roll my eyes.
“Well, I guess we agree on something then.”
“I guess we do,” I smugly reply as I poke at my salad. “Why did you sign up for this app
anyway, if you think it’s stupid?”
“The reason everyone signs up for a dating app.”
“For a hookup?”
He laughs. “No, to find love, of course.”
“Good luck finding that with the attitude you have.”
He acts shocked. “Me?” he asks incredulously.
“Yes you, you’re too closed-minded,”
“Well, I’m here, aren’t I? And it’s more of the opposite, I would say. If you’re not even willing to
be challenged on your beliefs, then how open-minded can you be?”
“Well, I never said that. I liked our conversation, but you, on the other hand…” Before I can finish my sentence, our waitress comes to check on us.
“How is the food?” she asks. Brandon and I look down at our plates. We both had barely touched the food.
“We’ll get these packed and have the bill, please,” I tell her. She nods and takes off. I get up to start putting my jacket on. He does the same and pulls out his wallet to pay.
“No, please, let’s split it,” I insist.
“No worries, I got this,” he flashes me a toothy grin.
I smile in return as I grab my purse.
“Leaving me so soon?” he asks.
“No, we’re getting out of here and getting some actual food. I can only be so open-minded about