It was a Friday at 11am. I had just returned from a 2-week trip abroad and a 3-week hiatus from Tinder. I had no plans for the night and only a few guys on tap. Desperation kicked in.
For some inconceivable reason, I agreed to go out with 9021Bro after only a few short messages. Why do I keep doing this? Why have I let rom-coms condition me to believe humanity has more in common than meets the eye? Spoiler: we don’t. People are strange. That’s why they’re called strangers.
Men, let me give you a tip: plan the goddamn date. This schlub asked, “Do you want to go somewhere downtown?” Red Flag #1! WHY can’t Portland realize that the west side is complete garbage? My aforementioned desperation kicked in and I said, “Sure! Where?” And his response? “…I dunno… where do you wanna go?”
There’s nothing attractive about being indecisive. If you honestly can’t think of a bar… Google it! Ask a friend! Dust the cobwebs off of Foursquare and see what’s popular! Why am I suddenly forced to plan the logistics of this evening because you’re incapable of opening a search tab?
I asked my coworkers for a recommendation and they were shocked I hadn’t been to 10 Barrel. It was the first hot day of the year, so I was eager to go anywhere that had an outside patio or roof. We decided to meet at 6:30pm. I, naturally, arrived at 6:00pm to find parking and drink in my car.
6:25 – I sent the casual “Just parked! Let me know when you’re here!” text.
6:28 – He replied, “Ok, will do!”
6:30 – I stood outside the bar and noticed that it was really, really crowded. I went inside and added my name to the list. A 45 minute wait.
6:35 – I got a “Sorry, running late!” text. I was more than irritated.
6:40 – I spotted him walking toward the bar. He was wearing a white button down and jeans – an entirely unremarkable outfit. He was much cuter than expected. Think Justin Long, but with sharper features.
Maybe I’m a hugger, but I always have to instigate ‘hello’ hugs on dates. Do men think that is too forward? How else am I going to judge his choice of cologne? After a semi-awkward street hug, I explained that it was a 45 minute wait. He said, “Aw man, what are we gonna do?!” More indecisiveness. I suggested the obvious, “We should go across the street to Rogue and drink until they call.” He acted like that was the best idea in the entire world. I should note: he was also really afraid to cross the street without a crosswalk.
The Bro Pros
East coast, clean cut appearance.
Easy conversation flow, although not particularly interesting.
…. that’s about it
We grabbed a table at Rogue and he ordered a shitty IPA and I picked a funky coffee stout. The waiter asked, “Have you had that before?” “No… but I generally like coffee stouts.” “I’ll give you a sample. I don’t think you’ll like it.”
What?! I love my dark beers. Even if it was foul, my pride would force me to finish it. No drop left behind. I was baffled and slightly insulted. I tried not to make a big deal out of it. After all, it’s free beer!
While I waited for my mysterious poison beer, I talked to the Bro about the basics. Job: Finance. Major: Greek Language. Hobbies: “Portland stuff.”
The entire time he spoke, I was distracted by the absolutely horrific sound of his voice. I hadn’t noticed it at first, but the more he talked, the more his accent emerged. The closest comparison I can make is a southern California surfer. Every syllable was drawn out and his vocal fry was out of control. “Man,” “Dude,” and “Yeeeaaahhhhhh….” were heavily sprinkled throughout his diction. It was distracting. Our entire conversation was basically the above video, but instead of talking about waves, he was talking about finance and stocks.
The Bro Cons
He majored in Greek, was unemployed, and a “family friend” hired him in finance. (I’m not sure why I hate this so much, but I do.)
Went to Reed….
Why was he dressed like a waiter at Olive Garden?
Finally, my beer came. The waiter was right. It tasted horrible. He even admitted, “This brew was funky. Something went wrong.” Why were they serving it?!? So instead, I ordered a marionberry lager. A total 180 from the coffee stout, but hey, its SUMMER now. The waiter grimaced and says, “….I’ll bring you a sample. I’m skeptical about that one, too.”
In the meantime, 9021Bro kept pulling a tissue out of his pocket and dabbing his chin. I’ve only seen this behavior exhibited in the elderly when they can’t control their saliva. He must have noticed my puzzled look and explained, “So… this is embarrassing… but I cut myself shaving. That’s why I was late. I didn’t want to show up bleeding or with paper stuck to my face!” Okay, that’s a decent excuse. Kinda cute. Kinda sloppy. I’m still undecided.
My marionberry beer arrived… and it tasted like cough syrup. I swear I am usually the least picky person! If a waiter messes up my order, I’d rather eat it than cause a fuss and send it back. Apparently I am extremely expressive, because the waiter also noticed my disgusted look and said, “Yeah, we haven’t gotten good feedback on that one.” I went with a basic lager. As soon as it arrived, 10 Barrel called to let me know our table was ready. I was still pretty buzzed from the pregame wine, so I chugged the lager (he helped) and we were out the door.
The brewery was still extremely busy. It was a Friday night, after all. I expected that. The Bro, however, was flabbergasted. He kept looking around at all of the people and mumbling about the wait time. The hostess asked, “Is downstairs alright? The rooftop is an even longer wait.” The Bro said, “Actually… we want to sit upstairs right now,” and tried to negotiate with her. She gave me a pleading look and I said, “It’s fine! It’s going to be hot in the sun, anyway.” Maybe he was trying to be alpha, but he came off like a dick.
In an act of pure karma, we were seated at a communal table next to a toddler.
Our sexy Tinder date suddenly flashed forward 10 years and we were a young, exhausted couple trying to wrangle our unruly son in a casual dining establishment. This kid kept shoving napkins and menus onto my lap and the Bro was trying to ask him questions. It was weird. Never go to a daycare on a first date.
Otherwise, 10 Barrel was nice. We were on the main floor, so I didn’t get to peek at the rooftop, but the rustic industrial vibe was nice. Can a bar be both rustic AND industrial? Seems contradictory, but the cozy wooden beams and cold concrete floors prove it’s possible.
The Bar Pros
Extensive beer list. Enough to make me weigh my options.
Crowded. People like exclusivity.
The waiters were incredibly friendly!
Downtown but not sketchy-downtown.
The Bar Cons
Where do I put my car?!?!
Why are there toddlers at a brewery?I wish I had been given a choice re: communal vs. private
I forget what I ordered. I was at that sleepy point of being buzzed and my contacts were dry and all I wanted was a nap. Instead, 9021Bro was asking me about investment banking and LITERALLY OPENED THE STOCKS APP ON HIS PHONE TO SHOW ME.
I know a bunch of people who work at Fisher Investments up in Vancouver. I asked if he ever tried to work there/what he thought of the company. He laughed and said, “Oh, that’s not REAL finance.”
This is the point in the date where I mentally swiped left. Even after the grating voice and bloody chin… but this guy was paying more attention to his stocks than to me.
After 1 meager round, he got the hint. He grabbed my phone, shoved it toward me, and said, “Add me as a contact. Let’s do this again sometime.” He added his number and his unique first name. He texted himself from my phone so he had my number. I asked, “No last name?” and he said……
“There’s only one of me.” *wink*
Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. I immediately regretted this exchange of information and gave him 0 signals that a kiss was coming. I quickly side-hugged him and retreated to my car.
It was over just as quickly as it had begun.
He still has never texted me. But then again, I never texted him either. This is one of those rare situations where each party ghosts on the other and no one is hurt. Usually I’ll make some sort of contact! A text, a Facebook message, or a silly Snapchat. But if those go unanswered… I know when to gather my dignity and walk away.
This guy was just a chameleon. He totally had the finance aura, a surfer voice, and a nerdy historian education from REED. Portland really is America’s melting pot.
The Bro: 4/10. He paid, he was decent, but he was insufferable to be around.
The Bar: 8/10. I wish it had more ambiance and wasn’t on the west side.