The Cookie Monster :: Victoria Bar

Baking is a lot like dating. Although each recipe has the same fundamental ingredients, the slightest variation can change the flavor of the entire batch. Some people like cakey cookies, some like crispy. Some like confident, charismatic men while others prefer shy and nerdy. Variety makes the world interesting! The inherent purpose of dating is to have your own personal buffet where you can stuff your mouth with all of the flavors to figure out which one is worth all of the calories and heartache.

But how many varieties of cookies can there really be? After awhile, you already know the flavor profiles of chocolate chip, shortbread, and peanut butter cookies. Sure, the ingredients might be higher quality or in different ratios, but the basic concept still becomes boring. Maybe I’m a slave to novelty who gets drunk off of power, but I like creating my own recipes – and the same applies to men. Cherry-picking qualities to create the perfect man has long been a favorite past-time of girl talk. Most of it is fantasy, so imagine my salivation when I matched with someone who fulfilled every. single. category.

I matched with the Cookie Monster and he was instantly charming and messaged me a witty remark about one of my photos. We soon discovered that we are both from the same town in the Midwest. Instant connection! We bantered for a couple hours before he started hinting at a date. I immediately accepted and was genuinely excited!

The Bro Pros aka My Recipe for the Perfect Man
Great communicator and engaging in conversation
Witty, sarcastic, and punny
Heart-melting smile!
Great career and very passionate about his work
Modern, effortless sense of style

I started my search for the perfect date bar. I still haven’t been to Secret Society, but they were hosting a swing dance meetup the night of our date. I discovered a spot called Victoria Bar and, upon further investigation, realized it is owned by the same people who own Dig a Pony, etc! How did I not know about this opening? I’ve been waiting over a year for their new sports bar Century to open in SE! Someone on their advertising team needs to reevaluate his skill set.

I proposed the spot and he suggested 7:30 on Thursday. Not ideal as I typically hit the gym after work and am exhausted, but do you know how many times you live in this life? Once.

Immediately after setting up the date, he got weird. He went from being friendly and chatty to incessantly texting me to ask how my day was going… multiple times per day. I’m all for communication if there’s something interesting to be discussed, but small talk about the workday is not my thing. He also started saying some pretty cringey comments. We were discussing how awful Tinder for women and he said, “Girls just assume everyone is going to say something sleazy. The furthest I’ve gone is saying ‘Would you like to bake cookies and make out?’ But they usually laugh because who doesn’t like cookies? lol”

…. well that is weird thing to say to someone. I barely acknowledged it and said “Haha, yeah, dating is a mess and I’m not much of a cookie person.” He decided to REPEAT himself and say, “Haha well I would use that line on you but it just seems unoriginal now! I shall change the corny Tinder-esque pick up line to ‘Hey, want to grab beers and make out?’ Just for you!”

I ignored the awkwardness of an assumed make out and started negotiating schedules. We landed on Thursday and he said, “Sounds good, but how about beers and kisses right now, though? BAMMMMM SURPRISES!”

I’m not even exaggerating about the number of M’s or the apparent caps lock malfunction. I realized I need to to put this weird behavior to rest and replied with a dry, “I don’t like surprises.” His response? “Just kisses then…… :(“

What?! I’m more confused by the use of a frowny face than the complete lack of social awareness. While I am bold and blunt in some situations, I am far too considerate in others. This was the latter. I had already agreed to a date and cancelling is the absolute worst thing you can do. I had to give this dream cookie a chance, right?! You cant throw out a perfectly good cookie because it has a burnt spot!

Thursday came and I was dreading it. Work was impossibly slow which put me in a groggy mood. I even forgot my wine water bottle at home and didn’t have time to retrieve it, so I had to stop by Fred Meyer to buy a classic 4-pack of mini airline bottles.

Victoria Bar is tucked away on N Albina. The interior looked stunning on their website. It boasts gorgeous tiling behind the bar and parlor features like a telephone booth and rotary phones. The vibe is definitely date-worthy, albeit a little overwrought. It may have been new and exciting in 2011, but in 2016, it feels like a safe bet.

The Bar Pros
Cozy “parlour” atmosphere
Flattering dark lighting
Friendly and attentive bar staff!
Plenty of neighborhood parking
Decent patio, despite the pouring rain
3 Unisex bathrooms! So progressive!

We had planned to meet at 7:30 and he texted to confirm TWICE earlier in the day. Around 7:30, he texted, “Hey, running late, might be there in 10.” Okay, fine, I continued crafting my epic pre-date Snap story. At 7:41, he texted, “Lol 2 accidents, might be later.” Okkkaayyy… maybe someone should have had foresight for Portland rush hour traffic! He ended up arriving at 7:50, a full 20 minutes late. Pretty rude in my book.

I walked into Victoria and found him seated at the bar. Surprisingly, his Tinder photos were spot on. He was a gentleman and thanked me for meeting him. The conversation started off pretty well! He paid for my beer and he ordered a rum and coke. We talked about our jobs and growing up in the same city. The conversation itself was great, but there was something about his aura. He seemed so high energy and kept jumping from topic to topic without giving me a chance to respond. His voice would crescendo into booming tones and his hand gestures were wild. After a long day at work, I struggled to keep up with his high energy.

While we were obviously on different wavelengths, I also was a little put off by how fake he seemed. At one point, he asked how many Tinder dates I typically go on in a week. I played it off and gave a non-answer because that is absolutely none of his business! I didn’t even ask his number, but he offered it anyway, “Yeah, if I try, I go on a minimum of 3 per week so HA I have you beat!” That’s great, bro, congrats on winning this nonexistent competition.

He ordered another round for himself and I passed. His childish demeanor was enough to put me off of his recipe permanently. The real kicker was when he revealed that he just ended a 3 year relationship a month ago. The amount of men looking for rebounds in Portland is truly astounding.

While he was finishing his drink, the bartender must have asked me 4 separate times if I wanted another. Each time, I replied, “No, I’m good for the night,” which is the polite way of saying, “Please stop interrupting our conversation to ask me.” Even if I wanted another, they didn’t have a single porter or stout! I ordered the Velvet ESB and it was pretty delicious. Definitely recommend.

The Bar Cons
Hide your valuables because this is NoPo, bitch
OVERLY friendly bar staff. Please stop talking to me.
No dark beers, seriously?!
Unimaginative concept, basically a bigger Dig a Pony
Name is pretty easily confused with Victory Bar in SE

When the evening was wrapping up, he slammed his palm on the bar and announced, “You have two options. You can go home and never speak to me again… or… we can go back to my place and watch a movie.” Without missing a beat, I said, “Well, I do have to work tomorrow so I should be heading home.” Instead of understanding that no means no, he pressed on, “Are you sure? We can go to yours!” “No, I need to go to bed. It is already pretty late for me.”

He decided to take this opportunity to play the nice guy card and said, “If I was one of the other douchey guys you go on dates with, I would say, ‘You’re going home? I’ll just have to follow you.'”

I didn’t even offer a pity laugh. I was annoyed. “So you’re going to stalk me?” “No! Not me! That’s what they would say!” I’m still unsure who he was referring to, but clearly he has no idea who I go on dates with and I was offended that he automatically thought he was better.

I said, “Okay, you ready?” which is the universal cue to GTFO. He walked me to my car and I dodged whatever “make out session” he had expected and escaped with a quick hug. As soon as I got in my car, he texted me, “Hey, had fun tonight! Let me know when you want to watch a movie!” I replied with an honest, “Thanks for the drink!” and nothing else.

The Bro Cons
Complete lack of interpersonal awareness despite a constant need for communication
Disgustingly smudged glasses from 2009
Admitted his family is Jewish but he doesn’t practice
Lives in St. Johns and works in Hillsboro! Basically a foreigner.
Told stories of how he would pour chemicals into the air system in his HS for “revenge”…. ?

I woke up the next morning with 10 new text messages from him. They ranged from “Thanks again for meeting up!” to “When are you free?” to “Still waiting for this burger.” I don’t even know what the last one means.

I’m still conflicted on how to proceed. Typically I would send an honest but gentle message explaining that I enjoyed reminiscing about our hometown, but ultimately I didn’t feel a lasting connection. My coworkers said this would be the absolute worst idea and I shouldn’t open the line of communication. “Don’t feed the troll!” they advised. Ghosting used to be second nature to me, but as I’ve gained dating experience, I’ve realized how heartless it is.

Needless to say, there won’t be a second date. I think he was a good person with bad social skills and I’m not a compassionate enough person to handle that. I don’t claim that my social skills are perfect, but I know how to read a situation and not make strangers feel incredibly fucking uncomfortable.

A logical conclusion would be a resolution to be less picky, but I can’t be. I’m barely picky. Just take a look at my date with the 9021Br0 or Blake Anderson. I knew nothing about these men and it still turned out to be a complete waste of time. Maybe there isn’t a happy medium. Maybe you’ve just gotta keep tasting cookies until you find the right recipe. The one that’s tasty enough to eat every day but unique enough so you never get bored (and loves you despite the 50lbs you’ve gained due to binge eating cookies the last 10 years).

I’d like to say that this date was the moment my cookie dream of the “perfect man” crumbled, but I’m not naive. I know that successful relationships aren’t based on check lists or formulas. If anything, they’re total accidents. Maybe you accidentally use cumin instead of cinnamon in the recipe. Maybe you’re out of lemon peel and you only have pears in the fridge. Maybe you forgot to buy vanilla extract and instead use Jack Daniels. On a whim (or out of drunken desperation), you mix it all together and end up with the most delicious savory pear shortbread in the world!

The Bro: 5/10. Totally average.His ambition and Jewishness were a total wash due to his lack of social grace.
The Bar: 8/10. Would definitely visit again if someone else was driving.


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