“My name is Craig, and I’m a flip-flopper.”
Man, that felt good. Now you try, John Kerry.
Yes, I’m a flip-flopper, but not of the political variety. I’m a flip-flopper of the dating kind. I tend to like someone, and then I don’t.
Sometimes it’s a physical roadblock (bad breath, bad kissing). Or our evening activities are incompatible (I need less Netflix, more basketball), or something she says detracts from her appeal (Your favorite bar is Rumors?). There are so many reasons people just “aren’t feeling it.”
In this episode of “Dated,” you’ll see me and another duo sort through the end of casual relationships.
In my case, Liz and I had gone out on three dates. The first one started at Bar Pilar and ended eight hours later after the credits rolled on “Boyhood.” On our second and third dates, there were no red flags. She was a great host when I met her friends and made me feel comfortable. She was pretty, smart and funny.
But by date three, after wrapping up our second Oscar-movie viewing (“Birdman”), I had gone cold on pursuing things further. When she texted me the following week about getting together, I responded that I was no longer interested. Later that day, she agreed to be interviewed about the experience, and I was honest: “I thought I was interested, but then I realized I wasn’t.”
The problem is, that’s really not a lot for someone to go on, especially when they seem to like you and you’re putting the kibosh on the possibility of things going further.
I was going to call her that evening to tell her it wasn’t working for me, but having received a text early in the day, I decided to respond with one. Was that a wrong move? Should I have called, or made sure it was delivered face-to-face?
There are so many variables in deciding the ‘“right way” to end things: The physical extent of the relationship (have you slept together or even kissed?), the nature of the pre-relationship (were you friends, set up by friends, or strangers?) and the possibility of a post-relationship (do they live far away or will you see them every night at the gym?).
No matter how humanely you try to deliver the message, the person on the receiving end of the breakup often wants — and sometimes demands — to know what went wrong.
With Liz, there was no doubt my ambiguity was frustrating, and she boldly spoke about it on camera mere hours after I sent her the text. She shared her thoughts on what’s wrong with a lot of men in D.C., and more specifically, me.
There is a lot wrong with me. I can be cold and confusing; I can be particular and ornery; I can be slobbish and lazy; I can be ignorant and self-absorbed. Sure. I’ve heard those things before. But Liz’s main issue was that I’m confused about wanting a relationship, and that I’m seeking something I’m not ready for. But she said that’s not D.C. — that’s me.
Maybe that very problem means I’m a byproduct of this city. I grew up not far away, in Gaithersburg, Md., and I’ve lived in the District for the past five years. Washington is the only place where I’ve dated, so aren’t I just dating like the average D.C. person?
Here, people seem to know what they want. They actually move here to pursue a specific job, not because it’s close to home. They want to create change. So is it that surprising that a lot of D.C.-based people, especially men who are working with a large pool of potential dates, are wont to change their minds quickly and without explanation? There’s no doubt it’s easier now more than ever to find someone new. And like my friend Alex says, after a quick connection, it’s easy to just move “on to the next one.”
Sorry, D.C. I’ve been really hard on you. I blamed you for filling yourself with people I don’t typically jibe with. For fostering a culture of self-righteousness and choosiness. Nonetheless, I am grateful that you also attract people of passion, people who love the outdoors and exercising, people who believe in causes and work hard to create change, and people who find beauty in love and companionship.
But so far, one of us has failed, and I’m still flip-flopping on which one.
This is the second video in a series, in which 30-year-old Craig Schattner tries to crack the code to dating in the District.