The Girl's Guide to DC
Issue 54: DC Dating Disasters
Welcome back to The Girl’s Guide to DC! If you missed last week’s issue, find it here.
I want this newsletter to be about you, the ladies of DC, so send me healthy lunch recipes and baby registry tips by replying to this email.
What They Don’t Tell You
I asked you to send in your weirdest dating stories via this anonymous form, and you DELIVERED! I have so many responses from girls and guys that I will be featuring them in future newsletters.
This week, it’s the ladies’ turn. These stories really run the gamut — and I feel like some of them could have only happened in DC.
If you didn’t get a chance to turn in your story, no sweat! Submit it here.
He’s just looking for feetback… “Back in 2019, I met a guy from Hinge for a lunch date in West End. While I arrived at the restaurant several minutes early, he was running late. Although he was communicative regarding his ETA, it was definitely embarrassing sitting alone at the table for what ended up being about 30 minutes.
He was apologetic once he finally arrived, and when the waiter came to take our orders, the guy insisted that I order a glass of wine. I was 20 at the time, so I declined, but the guy kept insisting until I felt like I had no choice but to remind him I wasn't quite 21 yet... very awkward in front of the waiter.
The rest of the date felt so forced, and I wasn't enjoying our conversation, so I was taken aback when he tried to kiss me before I left to head home. He asked when I was free for a second date, and I told him I was very busy studying for finals for the next week, hoping he'd take the hint that I wasn't interested in seeing him again.
To my surprise, the following week I kept receiving pictures of his bare feet. One picture was just his bare feet propped up on the couch and another was of his feet resting on a bench of what looked like a sauna with the caption "this is so relaxing."
I absolutely hate doing this, but I ended up ghosting him because I had no idea how to even respond. Maybe that wasn't the right way to go about it, but I'd love to hear how other girls would have responded to feet pics from a guy they had a miserable date with!”
When girls say they like buff guys, they don’t always mean a history buff… “He took me to We the Pizza and talked about the Civil War for a good 30 minutes straight. I was silent the whole time except for a few head nods.”
Date with a treehugger… “I once went on a date with a guy who had brought along his laptop and started showing me 300 photos he’d taken of trees. (This was before smart phones became ubiquitous.) He explained in great detail the different camera lenses he used for each shot. He was praising the way a particular lens captured the sunlight through the leaves when he noticed my facial expression. He said, “But that probably doesn’t interest you.” I have to give him credit for a modicum of self-awareness there. But after that I told him about my dream of working for a certain government body and he said he believes it is the anti-Christ from the book of Revelation. So, yeah, no second date.”
The age-old debate: networking or date… “Once, I thought I was meeting someone for a professional, networking coffee. I later discovered through mutual friends that this guy was under the impression we were on a date. Our coffee was in the Longworth Basement Dunkin and lasted less than 30 minutes. For obvious reasons, I did not share this point of view with him.”
A sticky situation… “This guy I worked with invited me over to his condo to grill with his roommates. They had a pool on the top of their building. I excuse myself to use his bathroom to change. I walk in. I flip on the light. I look down. OMG. Please no. PLEASE NO. There, sitting on the floor next to his toilet... is a turd. This nearly 30-year-old man has a turd just lying on his bathroom floor. Immediately I feel shame. Not for me, but for him. What do I do? WTF? Just going to pretend I didn't see THIS TURD ON YOUR FLOOR. I change. I rejoin the party. Does he know? Does he know I know? He is very drunk. He goes to use his bathroom. His roommates leave and tell me they'll meet us at the pool. O no.. We're alone. He comes back. He comes up to me. He's clearly trying to make a move. He gets closer. What's that smell? OMG. I look down. He has stepped in the poop. It's smeared on his foot. He's trying to kiss me. OMG. I make an excuse. We join the party on the roof. I Irish goodbye and never meet up with him again.”
Hope you’re cool with a short engagement… “The guy and I went on a date because he was a friend of a friend. Found out through the date that we were both of a certain religion. Found out he was in a cult sect of that religion and that he would want to marry me very quickly. As in like a month. Sufficed to say, we parted ways.”
Apparently interns don’t pay for dates… “DO I HAVE A STORY FOR YOU!! So, I matched with this man on Hinge back in January, and I wasn't by any means enamored with him, but he asked me to drinks pretty quickly and I was like "Oh, what the hell."
So we meet at Duke’s Grocery near Foggy Bottom. He was pretty much on time, but he didn't really look like his photos. BUT, I was determined to give it a chance.
WELL, first red flag is this grown-ass man ordered a Pinot Grigio, which is just kind of an odd order for a twenty-something guy. Then he started talking – which was the second red flag because he could talk about ABSOLUTELY NOTHING forever.
Most of what he said made absolutely no sense. He said corgis and golden retrievers are basically the same kind of dog. Also, there was a period of like 15 minutes where he just asked me if I had been places and I said yes or no.
Then, I had to explain to him what I did for work, which I REALLY do not think is that complicated, and he still had no concept of my job. For reference, I run communications for a non-profit. He asked me if I had to go to “the radio station” every day and I was like… what? And he kept calling communications “niche,” which it is… simply not.
THEN, he lets it slip that unlike it said on his profile, he is NOT an analyst at DHS, but an INTERN at age 26. So that was great.
So at this point, I am like DONE but I keep trying to hint like “I need to get home to let my dog out,” and he just kept sitting there. Mind you, he barely touched his stupid glass of wine.
So I crack and basically yelled at the waiter “Hey can we get the check” and I sit there for a second waiting for this man to pull out his wallet, which he fails to do. The waiter says the total and the guy is still sitting there like an idiot staring at me, so I pull out my credit card AND PAY THE ENTIRE BILL. Then this man has the audacity to act like he thought we were splitting it and THANKS ME FOR PAYING.
So yeah, then we leave the restaurant and I immediately FaceTimed my mom and ranted very loudly and very profanely about how this was the worst date of my life as I walked to the metro.”
Interview with AJ Swinson
Every week, I introduce you to a different woman who knows the ins and outs of DC so you can steal her
identity tips! This week, I want you to meet AJ Swinson, a DMV native who has some great advice on succeeding professionally, eating well in DC, and just making the most of the city! Connect with AJ on Instagram and Twitter.
Where do you live in and why do you love it?
I live in Maryland and was born and raised in Prince George’s County. I have always loved being in the DC area. I lived in Florida for the first year of the pandemic but could not wait to get back to the DMV! (Crazy, I know. I love it that much.)
The bad about DC is obvious. Between the partisanship and the self-aggrandizing, shallow nature of so many of the interactions here, it can be discouraging to people new to the area. But trust me, there are so many great people here as well as churches, restaurants, parks, and hangouts. This area is never boring, it’s very diverse, and you are in the civic center of the world, not just the United States. If you are passionate about making a difference and being part of the solution rather than just complaining about the problems, then DC is where you go to maximize the impact of the good you can do with your gifts and talents.
What does your life look like right now?
So I started a new job recently at the Conservative Partnership Institute in downtown DC. I help find communications talent to place in offices on Capitol Hill, and I really love it. I was previously a communications director on the Hill and miss being in the midst of the action, but I was willing to leave because I saw such a need for support and resources for communications staff. It’s a tough job that’s oftentimes thankless and the efforts are minimized or taken for granted, and I hope to change that and get more great people in these offices.
What's your favorite hangout spot in the DMV?
I loveee to eat. There are Michelin-starred restaurants and high-end posh bars to visit, but what makes me happy are little, comfy restaurants that serve home-cooked and simple meals with generous portions. I really enjoy hearty meals from places like Crab Boss in Clinton, Md. They serve the freshest and best-seasoned seafood.
As a DMV native, what advice would you give someone who's considering moving to DC?
First, if you are considering moving to DC, definitely save, because a lot of the entry-level jobs don’t pay well. Second, it can also be difficult to find new friends in between busy work schedules, so it’s important to join a solid church or faith community.
Another option that will also benefit your career is to become a fellow at one of the local foundations and think tanks or join a graduate program like Hillsdale in DC, which allows you to network and meet serious, smart, and wonderful people.
What’s the biggest lesson you've learned in your career?
I’ve learned a lot, and it's hard to narrow them down. One is to always seek to maintain a good reputation. This means being mindful of who you date and treating people the right way, as well as being good at your job. I have gotten my last three jobs through word of mouth, so reach out to people, be kind, and make your words and relationships count.
Also, don’t be sensitive or afraid to speak up for yourself. I have been through office coups, harassment scandals, and more. DC is not for the faint of heart. There are an unfortunate number of swamp creatures here who like power and, through their self-hatred, mistreat people that work for and with them. It’s never okay and never acceptable. Don’t allow disrespect.
Finally, be very organized and keep everything! I like to use an Excel sheet and Goodnotes on my iPad to keep track of contacts, meetings, and important events I've attended. I keep all the best press releases, pitches, and op-eds I have written to help inspire future work and use them as writing samples in the future.
How would you describe your style?
I grew up watching classic movies and reading Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines cover to cover. I’m never afraid to be overdressed anywhere when I remember that women used to go in full dress, hair and makeup to the grocery store not so long ago! Working in politics in DC was never my plan. I created fashion magazines for school projects and actually wanted to be in fashion public relations/media. Clearly, God had other plans, but Capitol Hill is a great backdrop for amazing style and fashion.
My style icons are Grace Kelly, Diahann Carroll, Lauren Bacall, and Sophia Loren. I love wearing fun colors and patterns and will always choose a dress over pants. I use Rent the Runway and Le Tote regularly to help me expand my look and find new pieces.
The Logan Ury Defender Has Logged On
In case you don’t know who Logan Ury is, she’s a dating coach, author and Director of Relationship Science at Hinge. The New York Times just published a profile of Ury — and online reaction was HARSH. Listen, I think it’s pretty hilarious that tech bros and girlbosses are paying her top dollar for dating seminars, but you cannot accuse this woman of peddling bunk. Modern dating is really confusing, and Ury’s main message is that marrying the right person is super important — important enough for you to break bad habits and devote significant time to dating.
Here are links to other things I’m reading this week:
7 Ways To Make Friends In A New City: Andrea Mew of Evie Magazine gives you a bunch of great options for meeting new friends. Definitely applicable in DC!
Here's the first look at Ryan Gosling as Ken in Greta Gerwig's Barbie: This was not on my 2022 bingo card. I’m still not sure if I think this movie will be funny or a disaster.
HOUSING AVAILABLE: Harvest Prude, Erin Kondak, and Erin’s Bernadoodle Bean (the world’s sweetest puppy) are looking for one or two girls to join their townhouse in Alexandria in September. Super safe and quiet neighborhood. Rent is competitive. Email email@example.com for more info. (Fun fact: I interviewed Harvest in the first issue of Girl’s Guide — read it here!).