Kiss and Tell: “I thought my Tinder date was taking me to dinner. First, we threw melons off a bridge”
For Trisha, a 28-year-old HR manager, the evening was a bust
Welcome to Kiss and Tell, a series about the steamy, surprising and frequently absurd world of Toronto dating. Send your most memorable stories from the pursuit of love and lust in the city to [email protected].
—As told to Isabel Slone
When I matched with Daniel on Tinder, I was new to online dating. I was curious about the app and interested in seeing where it might lead. I wasn’t necessarily looking for anything serious, just hoping to meet some new people and have a bit of fun.
Daniel was tall, heavily inked and very cute. He was like a tatted-up boy next door. More importantly, he was getting his PhD in neuroscience. I’ve always kind of fetishized people with PhDs; I have a bad habit of assuming that they’re smarter and cooler than the average person. Our conversation flowed easily right away. I made a joke about him probably having a really big brain, and he responded well. It was clear that our senses of humour were aligned.
We didn’t message for very long before he asked me out. On the one hand, we didn’t know each other very well yet, but I appreciated that we didn’t have to do the whole pen pal thing. The chatting we had done was nice, plus he said he would pick me up and plan everything. So I thought, Why not?
I didn’t ask him any questions about what we were going to do. It was the dead of winter, so I assumed we would be inside somewhere having drinks or dinner. I wore jeans, a wool pea coat and a flimsy pair of boots—definitely an indoor outfit.
He arrived on time, but when his car rolled up, he didn’t get out to greet me. My first impression was that he looked exactly like his pictures. I took that as a good sign. But, when I opened the car door to step inside, I noticed out of the corner of my eye that his back seat was filled with eight to ten ripe melons.
I thought that was strange, of course. But I also thought he was cool, and I wanted him to think I was cool too. So I decided not to say anything about the melons. After all, I didn’t want to be rude or make him feel weird.
We introduced ourselves, and he told me that he had the evening all planned but wanted to keep it a surprise. The only details he would give me were that we were headed to the town of Elora and would be going to dinner. The drive there would be over an hour and a half. But he didn’t give off creepy murderer vibes, so I went along with it. I didn’t feel like I was about to get kidnapped or anything.
Since we hadn’t really talked much on the app, we went through all of the requisite personal questions during the drive. He was telling me all about his research, which I was fascinated by. Again, I’m a sucker for PhDs. I also just thought he was a funny guy; he was quick with the banter. I would poke fun at him here and there, and instead of getting defensive, he always had a witty response. By the time we’d gotten through all our basic personal info, we had reached the Elora Gorge.
As he parked, he told me that the plan was to go on a hike. I wasn’t dressed for the outdoors, so internally I started freaking out. I told him that I wasn’t really prepared to go on a hike. He assured me that it was an easy one and I would be fine.
That’s when he motioned to the melons in the back seat. He said we were going to take these cantaloupes up to the gorge and asked me to help him carry some. I gathered up four melons in my arms and asked what he was planning to do with them. He said, “Oh, you’ll see.” I wanted to seem chill, so I decided to just leave it at that.
In ten minutes, we reached a bridge over the gorge. He walked into the middle of the bridge and wordlessly threw a melon off of it. Then he looked at me and said, “Now it’s your turn.” We threw the cantaloupes off the bridge one by one and listened to the splat they made as they hit the water.
He seemed inexplicably thrilled to be throwing these melons into the gorge. I think he might have been going for a “rage room”–style activity, but in that moment it was not romantic at all. It didn’t feel like he was trying to flirt while he was doing it. He was just tossing melons. That was it.
Afterward, he looked at me and said, “See, that was kind of cool, right?” In my head, all I could think was, What the hell is happening? I continued to act as if everything were normal, but I think he could tell from the grimace on my face that I did not, in fact, think it was cool.
I finally drummed up the courage to ask him why he wanted to throw melons off a bridge. He said that it seemed like a fun and unique activity to do with a fun and unique person. Honestly, the flattery totally worked on me. I agreed to go out to dinner with him afterward.
We drove into Elora, which is a cute town, and went to a cozy bistro that had live music. Even though the date had been extremely bizarre up until that point, I wasn’t totally put off by it. I just thought he was a smart neuroscience student and was maybe conducting some sort of experiment.
As soon as he took off his jacket, I was blinded by his tattoos, and my attraction to him hijacked my brain. I only came to my senses again when he tried to order a salad for me. At that moment, I just thought: No, that’s enough. That was when my perception of this guy finally shifted—it wasn’t the melons; it was the salad.
I immediately looked at the server and said, “No, I will not be having that.” I ordered a burger instead. He just kind of chuckled. I didn’t bother asking him why he’d thought he could order on my behalf. At that point, I realized that I really did not want to be on this date anymore.
I didn’t want to tell him much about myself, so I started asking him a ton of questions and played it like I was incredibly interested in getting to know him. Every time he tried to ask me something, I would find a way to divert the conversation back to him. Meanwhile, I was just waiting until we could get the hell out of there.
The drive home was pretty quiet. We didn’t talk much, but it didn’t feel awkward. We were mostly listening to Tame Impala. At this point, I was happy to be sitting in silence. When he dropped me off, he seemed very confident that the date had gone well.
We had that brief moment of eye contact that happens before a kiss, but I went in for a platonic hug instead. As I got out of the car, I told him it was nice meeting him but that I actually didn’t want to see him again. It was the first bold thing I’d said all evening.
He handled it well. He didn’t try to put me down or make me feel guilty—he just accepted it, and we said goodbye. When I got home, I briefly chatted with my roommates and then went straight to my room and unmatched him on the app.
I replayed the date in my head a few times but then put it out of mind. It wasn’t until I went back to the gorge for a hike the next summer that I really remembered it. I took the same drive out and walked up to the same point on the bridge, and it all came back to me.
After that date, I didn’t revisit the apps for a while. I figured what was out there might be simply too weird for my tastes. It didn’t cure me of my thing for PhDs, however—it took a few more failed dates for me to finally kick that.