Sushi Date (repost)

Repost from my old blog, May 2016.

I usually don’t like to make fun of people. Ok, yeah I do, but not publicly. But I learned a lesson about dating this past week and I think it’s an important story to share.

The Ask

To be honest, I was going through a dating funk the past few weeks that I’m really only now recovering from. I needed attention. Male attention. I wanted a boyfriend, dammit. I was a little desperate. Just a tad.

Which is why when this guy messaged me on OkCupid asking me really direct analytical questions about Legend of Korra, I responded by being diplomatic:

It’s hard to pick something to leave out. Every villain taught Korra something, and every story arc changed the world in a significant way.

Not sure why I responded that first time. The conversation wasn’t going anywhere. But I did.

His reply was an enormous essay that I didn’t fully read through. I didn’t respond. This was May 10th.

On May 13th he sent me a YouTube link I didn’t watch.

On May 18th I got this message:

I think the Spanish got to me. I was tired of bland cookie-cutter white guys with nothing to teach me.

Plus he seemed so confident, proposing a time and a place. “Might I suggest Sushi Akatora…” He sounded like a real gentleman. I’d just been saying how nice it would be to be taken out like a proper lady. So I accepted.

Wow. No one’s ever made a reservation for a first date with me before. Is that weird?

Nah it’s sweet. He wants to give me a good time. It’ll be fancy–especially if it’s in Manhattan Beach–but there’s nothing wrong with fancy.

When I text him, he sends a few more essays. The conversation kind of tapers when I remember why I didn’t continue the conversation that first time around.

I thought about cancelling. Nah, I should at least go out and have a good time. Maybe if he’s such a gentleman he’ll insist on paying? I’ll take a chance at free sushi. #worthit

I didn’t ask what his job is but if he’s going out of his way to pick an expensive sushi place near me, he must be comfortable spending money.

The Date

Friday was such a hectic day. Good hectic, but still hectic.

Four scheduled meetings and one impromptu meeting, all of which were very productive and informative.

My 3:00 PM doctor’s appointment turned into me hitting up two additional Kaiser locations for lab tests and new prescriptions after my appointment. It felt amazing to get all that taken care of before the weekend.

My gross hair needed to be washed and I could have waited until Saturday but I felt so on top of my game Friday that I went home after picking up my prescriptions, did a face mask, watched an episode of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and then finally showered and did my hair.

I have to say, I looked great.

A photo posted by yblehS (@speesbag) on May 25, 2016 at 10:50pm PDT


Such a babe, amirite?

Among all those meetings and appointments, though, my date became just another task to check off my to-do list. I felt good because I looked good but I wasn’t especially excited about the guy.

At 7:36 PM he texts me saying that he’s early so he’s going for a walk, and that the restaurant is on the corner of Rosecrans and Highland. Thanks for the heads up? I told him I’m heading out in a few. Finishing up my highlight because I might as well shine on the outside like I do on the inside.

I start driving there and get a couple hunger pangs. Perfect timing! I think.

As I’m continuing west on Rosecrans, guess what Google tells me. The restaurant is on the corner of Rosecrans and Highland. I’m not sure I would have believed Google if this guy hadn’t told me first though. I might still be out there in Manhattan Beach looking for the place. Thanks, guy. I might have starved!

I go in and we kind of hug and then shake hands. He’s very excitable, which isn’t a huge surprise. I don’t even remember what we talked about the first couple minutes.

I ask if he has anything in mind that he wants to order and he admits that he’s never really had sushi from a proper sushi restaurant. Just like, California rolls.


I try to read his face while he’s looking at the menu. Is it too expensive for him? Does he know what he wants?

He asks

So is all of this raw fish?

Well, yes sushi is raw fish. If you don’t raw fish, I guess you can get one of the cooked dishes.

What’s sushi versus like, sashimi

Well, sushi is raw fish on rice and sashimi is just raw fish by itself.

So yeah, he wasn’t kidding. Knows nothing about sushi. Which is fine. I didn’t know anything about sushi until I was well into high school. Not everyone has had the opportunities you’ve had, Shelby.

I asked him if he drinks and he said he drinks maybe a few times a year. I asked if he wanted to try sake and I’m honestly not sure if he gave me an answer. The sake list has the prefectures where each sake is made and I tell him about my stint as a craft beer bartender in Tokyo. I mention how Niigata is where the really good rice and sake come from.

We’ve now been sitting at this table for at least half an hour with just water in front of us. My stomach grumbles in complaint. I guess I should just order?

I order some unagi, yellowtail, and mackerel. I order the cheapest Niigata sake at $22 a bottle. We’re already over $40 probably.

The sushi arrives.

I have a confession to make. I never really learned how to use chopsticks.

Wow, really?

I teach him how to hold the chopsticks. It wasn’t a ploy to get me to hold his hand or anything, thankfully. Then I show him how to pick up the sushi without smushing it.

He liked the sushi. He made a face. And a noise. Kind of like the faces and noises I would make that my ex would shush me for. “Stop, we’re in public.” Kind of like that.

The sake came and the server poured it into our glasses for us. He’d never had sake either, and said he drinks maybe once or twice in a year.

That’s cool, I guess. He wasn’t like, “I don’t drink.” I wouldn’t have ordered alcohol if he said he didn’t drink. He would have said it, he’s already pretty talkative.

I told him sake is just rice wine so it’s not super strong.

Oh so am I supposed to sniff it and swirl it in my mouth?

No, it’s ok. You don’t need to do that.

When he tried it he said it was much milder than he expected. He thought it would be more like vodka. But I already told him it was rice wine and not hard liquor. I thought he probably just didn’t know much about alcohol so I explained that beer is 5%, wine is 14-15%, and hard liquor is usually around 40%. I really couldn’t read him at that point.

We talked about Hamilton and Japan and honestly I’m not sure what else. I noticed that I wasn’t doing much talking. Now, I talk a lot. I talk a LOT. On dates I’ll usually get two-thirds of the way through and realize I don’t even know where my date is from, or what they studied in school, or where they work.

I’m not sure what this guy does for work because I still managed to talk a lot, but there were definitely moments when I thought, Wow, he really talks a lot. Sometimes that can be refreshing, right? If I knew what he was talking about.

“…he’s engaging in a purely self-indulgent activity, and he’s not alone. When people “geek out” about things, this is the core of what they’re doing — allowing themselves to be infatuated with their own interest in a subject to the point where demonstration of value or import goes completely out the window.”

— Erik Dietrich, Please Stop “Geeking Out”

So I continued trying to enjoy myself and not having to try to enjoy the food (it was really good sushi) and eventually I asked for the check. He picked it up and I reached for my wallet.

Now, I knew it would be a lot. We got a $22 bottle of sake, a ~$15 special, and probably six or seven ~$8 sushi plates. This place isn’t Something’s Fishy during half-off weekday sushi. This place is less than a mile from the ocean sitting on prime real estate in Manhattan Beach, it’s going to be expensive.

I was comfortable with the expense because I agreed to go to this place when he asked me. Coming here was his idea.

So, I was planning to pay, but can I borrow $20?

What? No, let’s go dutch.

Wait, what? This guy asks me on an expensive sushi date and he only brought cash?

Ok, Shelby, not everyone has good credit like you do, they can’t just put a one-off expensive meal on a card. Not everyone has room in their budget for expensive dinners.

Then why did he ask me??? Why did he pick this place???

He resists going dutch and I have to play the “I get Amazon points” card and to make it simpler I just take his cash and put it all on my card.

And then he feels bad that we paid equal amounts so he gives me an extra $10? I was like, no it’s fine. He insists. I’m like, whatever we’re fine. He insists. So I take it. An extra $10.

What is my life right now?

I can deal with broke guys. I don’t need all the fancy meals and fine wine and shit. I love those things but if I have a really meaningful relationship with somebody, I’m happy to live without the bells and whistles.

What I can’t deal with are broke guys who have expensive taste, or end up in expensive situations. I end up paying for everything. Not doing that shit again, thankyouverymuch.

(God, I’m so done with dating.)

On the way out I say “Oishikatta desu! Gochisousama desu!” to the chefs and enjoy their happy surprised faces and grateful responses. Definitely enjoyed the restaurant.

I should have just gone home at that point. My car was right there. I guess I didn’t want to be rude? Plus it was nice out and I wanted to walk around Manhattan Beach. I looked awesome and felt great and I wanted to enjoy going out for once.

We looked for ice cream places and walked for a while and nothing was open. I did have fun talking to him during this part of the conversation, so that’s probably why I dragged it out.

We get back to where I parked and he starts geeking out again and I’m very proud of myself for how gracefully I managed to interrupt him and say goodbye. I gave him a hug and walked around my car to the driver’s side.


He looked nervous, like he was convincing himself to do something. I was opening my car door at this point.

Speculating a bit, I think he was going to ask if he could kiss me. Before he had the chance, I smiled and waved and said, “Night!” and got in my car.

And let out a huge sigh once the door was closed.

It was after 10, maybe close to 11 when I drove away. I called Becca hoping she’d answer and listen to my story. I had to tell someone asap.

She answered, thank god. I told her all about the weirdest date I’d ever been on.

The Texts

After I got home from the date I deleted our initial text conversation. I’d already decided I didn’t want to go out with this guy again. I thought about what I’d say if he asked about a second date and decided that the vast difference in life experience is already a huge dealbreaker for me.

Plus he seemed so nervous! I’ve been in a relationship where I had to coddle the guy, hold his hand all the time, always make sure he was ok. He’d freak out over every little thing. It was draining and a waste of my time. I was bending over backwards for him but getting nothing in return for my emotional labor.

I wish relationships didn’t end up being so transactional but they are. I’ve been taken advantage of enough times in my short 25 years. It’s time to focus on my needs.

After a long, hectic day full of productivity and breakthroughs and one of the weirdest dates I’ve ever been on, I went to sleep.

In the morning, I woke up to this:

He sent it at 12:14 AM after I’d fallen asleep. It was around 8 AM when I read it so I didn’t respond, deciding to wait it out.

A few hours later, this:

I actually tried to follow the link so I could quickly dismiss it. Big mistake. Then the third part of his message arrived:

I held off responding to that.

Really? You’re sending me most-watched videos now? I already hate video links but I especially don’t like them when they’ve already blown up all over the internet and they weren’t that entertaining the first time I watched.

Also, “needless to say?” Then why say it?

It was especially annoying because he needlessly said it while I was writing this:

In retrospect, I was too diplomatic. It’s been a minute since I’ve had to outright reject someone. Should have kept it to a simple, “I don’t think we should see each other again.”

His response:

I actually felt really comfortable around you

Two things:

  1. I know, I’m very likeable and easy to talk to.
  2. I don’t care, I don’t want to see you again.

So my offer still stands.

So? I don’t want to see you again.

I think I’ll hold off on finding another person to date…

Wait, WHAT. That doesn’t even make sense. We literally just met. Once. I don’t even know your last name.

We’re definitely not dating. I’d already had another date scheduled for that night. Before even meeting this guy.

Once again, my response was too accomodating. His response:

Like obviously I’m not entitled to date you

What does that have to do with anything?

but I for sure know that I like you

I don’t care.

There’s more:

I’ll straight up admit that I’m attracted to you

Really? You mean you weren’t just messaging me because of my profile essays?

(something I don’t admit lightly and don’t like saying openly)

Oh, aren’t you special.

So I wanna hold off on other people

But why?

while the attraction’s still there (from MY end)

Damn, what’s the half-life on your attraction? Nevermind, I don’t want to know.

By the way, this is what entitlement sounds like.

Nothing I could say at this point would be able to undo the damage. So at 11:24 AM on Saturday, I sent this:

And ten minutes later he responded:

Why does he talk so damn much?

Wait, what? You’re clarifying your previous message? Just, stop. Ok?

Anything else? Whatever happens and whatever works.

I.e. “I like you so much that I’ll monopolize your time by any means necessary.” (The sad part is that I’ve actually written things like this before.)

That night, he sent:

An asterisk, really? Why are you telling me this?

The next day, he sent this:

He continued:

I’m not even reading anymore at this point.

It is now Monday:

I don’t follow the link this time. Why is he explaining his typo? I just. can’t even.

I still haven’t responded since Saturday morning.

On Tuesday he sent this:

I actually followed this link. It’s a tumblr post about psychiatric medication affecting body temperature and causing people to overheat in the summer? I didn’t read it but that’s the gist I got from skimming the first paragraph.

Yes, I did talk to him about my depression, bingeing, and ADHD. I’m an oversharer, ok? I’m not perfect here.

But does this guy not realize that I also live on the internet? And have access to information? And am under the care of several doctors and mental health professionals?

Dude, we’re not friends. We’re not dating. Your concern for me is intrusive and inappropriate. “Don’t mean to overstep” is basically saying “No offense but”–you’re still overstepping, you’re still offending.

Just, ugh. Stop.

He doesn’t stop:

What is this guy smoking???

Seriously, what in the world makes you think that my not responding for four days means I’m at all thinking about a second date?


I don’t understand.

second-second thought


Also, multiple asterisks??

Please just make it stop.

I hadn’t deleted the conversation at this point because around Sunday I knew that he’d keep sending me shit like this.

By this time I’d actually started writing this blog post. I couldn’t stay silent. It was just such a stubborn refusal to go away.

Sure, I could have just blocked him. But there’s a lesson here.

It’s not ok to rent space in a person’s life via text.

It’s not ok to continue trying to convince someone to go out with you when they already expressed that they don’t want to go out with you. Once is enough.

It’s not sweet or romantic to intrude on a person’s life when you have zero relationship with them.

Stop trying to convince me to go out with you!

Hail Mary

I wish I could say that’s where it ended. I feel like an infomercial: “But wait, there’s more!” Worst infomercial ever.

At 1:31am on Thursday he sent me this on Okcupid:


Wait a second, he wrote me a song? WHAT IS MY LIFE. JUST. WHAT.

All these years I wanted someone who loves me to write me a song and this whole time all I needed to do was find an obsessive creep?

Becca said it’s probably some cookie cutter song and he just changed the name. BUT STILL.

Just the amount of time he spent typing all this is astounding.

I laughed. A lot. Because I didn’t know what else to do.

Folks, DON’T DO THIS. It’s not romantic or sweet or cute. IT’S CREEPY.

If someone isn’t responding to you and you’re not going to get fired or fail a class or die because of their lack of response, LEAVE THEM THE FUCK ALONE.

Don’t send a melodramatic hail mary. Don’t do it.

If the person wanted to talk to you, they’d be talking to you. If they don’t want to talk to you, a hail mary isn’t going to change their mind.

They’re just not that into you. Have some self-respect and find someone who is into you who will treat you right.

Stop renting space in people’s lives.

Back the fuck off.

Chill the fuck out.

I am so done with dating.

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Software engineer, armchair novelist

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