Kiss and Tell: “My Hinge date started ignoring me. It turned out he was buying concert tickets”
Kai, a 21-year-old office coordinator, was not impressed when her date left abruptly so he could go “pre-game”
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 Chiara Greco
When I matched with Neil on Hinge, I was looking to get into a relationship. I was taking my matches seriously and scouting out guys who were doing the same. Neil was attractive—tall, with nerdy glasses and long, shaggy hair. He was also really into art and culture, so I knew right off the bat that we’d have a lot in common. He seemed to be looking for something long-term, which was promising.
Neil messaged me first, and from there the conversation flowed easily. It didn’t feel like a chore talking to him, which can be the case on dating apps. We ended up messaging back and forth for a little over a month. Neil told me he was a teaching assistant at an art college in Toronto, which I thought was pretty cool. We also discussed our favourite films, music we liked, concerts we wanted to go to.
Our chats were light-hearted, but we also spoke about our past dating experiences and what we wanted out of a partner. I felt like we had built a bond. So, when he said he wanted to meet in person, I agreed immediately. It was a no-brainer.
Neil planned a whole day for us. I appreciated that he seemed to be putting in a lot of effort. We were going to meet up at a restaurant on Queen Street West during the day. From there, he said he’d show me around, since I live way in the west end and don’t get downtown often. I wasn’t nervous for our date. I was eager to finally see what he was like in person and hopeful that this could be the beginning of a relationship.
When I walked into the restaurant, he was already drinking a beer. He had a red flannel shirt on and gave off this really artsy vibe. He just seemed like a normal, down-to-earth guy.
When I got to our table, he stood up to give me a hug, and then we both sat down. I think I was expecting things to feel comfortable right away, but the conversation was super awkward at first. We didn’t really talk and were just looking at our menus. I think it was hard to connect our intimate text conversations to this new situation.
When the waiter came by, Neil ordered appetizers for both of us to share. I found that annoying—I didn’t like the fact that he ordered for me, but I let it slide. Once the food came, the conversation picked up, and it felt like we were slowly getting back to the rapport we had over text. He seemed genuinely interested in me, asking questions about what I liked and trying to get to know me better.
He talked about himself a lot too, boasting about his art classes and all the art knowledge he had. Some of the things he said were verging on being a bit snobby. I liked him, though, so I didn’t think too much of it.
We also talked a lot about going to see live shows, specifically musicals, plays and concerts. We both liked live music, and Neil talked a lot about bands he wanted to take me to see. We kind of unofficially planned to go see a live performance as our next date. Then we paid the bill and went to browse a few stores on Queen.
We walked around for maybe about an hour before Neil took me over to Trinity Bellwoods to sit for a bit before heading to get dessert. But, as soon as we found a bench, his whole demeanour changed. He started acting super dodgy and kept pulling out his phone, which was buzzing non-stop with messages. I kept trying to talk to him, but he was ignoring me. He was texting feverishly and kept turning away from me so that I couldn’t get a good look at what he was doing.
I was getting annoyed, so I asked him what was going on. He responded kind of dismissively, saying, “I’m just trying to get concert tickets.” I instantly felt bad. I thought, Aw, he’s already buying tickets for our next date. So I continued talking, even though he wasn’t interested in anything but his phone.
Then, as I was mid-sentence, he abruptly stood up. He cut me off by saying, “I need to leave now. I got Lorde tickets for tonight. I’ve got to go pre-game and get ready.” He was so flustered. He told me where I could catch a bus home and then just left.
I was beyond shocked. It felt like my brain was short-circuiting. Neil hadn’t even given me a chance to respond or process what was happening. He just disappeared. At first I thought it was a joke. We’d spent almost a month talking only for the date to be cut short in the weirdest possible way. I was upset, of course—being left in the middle of a date is not something you usually think will happen. It was as if Lorde had stolen him from me.
I remember thinking that I could go home and just be sad—which was what I wanted to do—or I could continue on with the date by myself. I decided not to sulk. So I bought some ice cream, still in total shock. But, honestly, I had a better time alone than I’d had with Neil. At least when you’re alone you can’t be ditched.
The next day, I decided to check in on Neil. I wanted to see how he was doing since I hadn’t heard from him since our date ended. I asked him how the concert was, and he just responded by saying, “You’re really nice, and I liked you, but I’m just not feeling a connection anymore.” Essentially, he was over me. I felt like I’d wasted so much time and energy getting to know him. We never spoke again after that.
Despite how terrible it was to be bailed on face-to-face, the experience did teach me how to make the best of bad situations. After all, I don’t think you can really prepare for your date to leave you for Lorde.