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This is my Bumble dating horror story

This is my Bumble dating horror story

We met on Bumble, another swipe-right app that creates a “hive” of connections. The woman makes the very first budge within 24 hours, otherwise the match vanishes forever.

I’d developed what I believed to be a very discerning online dating strategy. I seldom swipe right and infrequently match, but when I do I’m certain I’ve stung him.

I was visiting the Bay Area when we matched. (Fellows in Northern California are much more interesting.) I was already back in L.A. when I heard from him, however he wasn’t in Northern California at the time but rather in St. Louis, where he’d unexpectedly flown to support a hometown friend whose dear mother had died.

Sweet. He lives in Marin, was raised in the Midwest, and works in finance. Solid.

After texting a bit, he noted that he chooses communicating by phone. Texting is for teenage ladies. And he should know, because he has two daughters in college. Which is why he understands women so well, he said. The phone is more individual. He asked for my number. Chivalry is still alive, he said.

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles.

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles.

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles.

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles.

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles (Jessica Q. Chen and Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles (Jessica Q. Chen and Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles (Jessica Q. Chen and Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles (Jessica Q. Chen and Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles.

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles.

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles (Jessica Q. Chen and Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)

A look at women style designers in Los Angeles (Jessica Q. Chen and Claire Hannah Collins / Los Angeles Times)

Or wait, did he text that?

We chatted a bit for a few weeks. L.A. must be a hard place for single women, he said. It’s so superficial. Guys seem to care only about how women look and women about fellows with money.

Finding me “a fascinating, beautiful woman,” he suggested to fly to L.A. under the pretense of an significant business tour. But truly, he said, the excursion would be all about eventually meeting me.

We spoke the night before our date. The plan was to meet at Four p.m. in Venice at Gjelina. He was landing at LAX early in the morning for a meeting in El Segundo. Afterward, we’d have the entire evening together before his 9:50 flight back to San Francisco.

At Two p.m. I received a text: He’d been “called” to an unexpected meeting downtown. Our date would now be “around Five:30.” “I’ll call you in 20 minutes.” Ruh-roh. Crimson flag.

At that point, I was in Mid-Wilshire, halfway inbetween Venice and downtown in 93-degree fever. I was sweating through my date-wear: off-white silk lace camisole, black pants, low high-heeled slippers. Not too sexy, not too professional. My freshly blow-dried hair was damp and losing volume, quickly.

I was super annoyed. All I dreamed to do was go home, rip my clothes off, turn on the AC and climb into cotton jammies. I’d rather be alone watching election coverage than be out on a date anyway. This could be a deal-breaker.

But he’d flown all the way to L.A. to see me, so I thought I’d be open and extend myself by suggesting to meet downtown. I’d be on the Ten in late afternoon traffic either way. What’s the difference?

About 15 degrees.

He texted back at about Trio:30 to say, “I’ll get to Venice.” Right. I took a minute and replied, “I imagine you’ll be closer to 6.” His next two texts: “No stress.” “I’ll call you soon.”

I determined to drive toward Venice. I’d be early, but at least it’s cooler there. I’d already canceled our dinner reservation — there was no way I’d be able to thrust it back. It was Gjelina after all. No substitutions.

Next text, Five:50 p.m. He had another unexpected stop in Century City. Sure. By the time he gets to Venice, we’d have time for only a drink and quick bite before bolting for LAX.

I wished to be home. But traffic to the Valley would be a nightmare. It had cooled off, so I wandered down the street to Wabi-Sabi. I sat down at the bar, the restaurant’s folding doors flung broad open. I felt the beach breeze and could almost smell the ocean air.

I ordered a glass of sparkling rosé,. I determined I’d wait till 7:15 p.m. If I didn’t hear from him by then, I’d head home.

7:07: “We’ve an unexpected dinner — I’ll call as soon as I’m out. So sorry for all this.”

Sorry at 7 o’clock for not demonstrating up to a Four p.m. date?

He — who “hates” texting — texted to say he’s sorry.

Shocking. Rude. Deal-breaker, certainly.

I hadn’t eaten in hours. I was starving. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I committed to staying in Venice. Alone. At a bar. Which in almost my entire adult life in L.A., I’d never done before. I ordered some snacks and $85 later I walked to my car, but not before stopping at Salt &, Straw for a $7.50 dual scoop ice fluid cone.

9:15: On the 405, my phone rang. It was him, very likely just about to board the plane at LAX. I let it go to voice mail. “Hi, Julie. It’s ___. Give me a call back when you get a chance.”

Truly, that’s it? Not even a “Please”? So much for chivalry. I deleted the message.

9:50: I was home in my cotton, watching MSNBC, wondering: Does the dude feel guilty? Is he embarrassed, ashamed? Does he even realize how badly he blew it? I determined to send a scathing text while he festered in-flight.

The following night he left another voicemail. “It’s __. There was something going on personally yesterday. I want to explain.”

I didn’t call back. His Bumble profile’s since disappeared. Forever.

Julie Buckner is a communications consultant and wields a yoga studio. She lives in the San Fernando Valley with her two teenage sons.

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