‘Toronto in love’ is a brand spankin’ new series where anonymous writers share their highs, lows & hilariously horrifying tales of dating in the 6ix.
I wouldn’t call myself a big believer in fate. I’m not one to obsess over the prospect of serendipity but after several years of the monotony of my singleton status I find myself wondering, fantasizing even, that perhaps there is a bigger plan and maybe everything is predetermined.
But then I check myself. I return to my pragmatic and realistic self, accepting that the things that happen to me are not a result of anything but my own choices, my own actions and decisions.
So when a slightly flakey colleague told me she wanted to set me up on a date with a guy who admittedly sounded like just my type, I was more than skeptical. When I came across the same guy’s Tinder profile while tirelessly swiping left one mundane Wednesday night, I found myself thinking holy shit maybe everything does happen for a reason. Maybe not.
I wish I could say that after years (almost a decade) of one-off dating experiences, hopeful hook-ups, multiple months of anxiety-ridden dates and countless one night stands that I have learned a thing or two.
But alas, you can always learn more.
So I said yes, because I was curious, interested and why the fuck not?
He was a doctor – a Jewish doctor. Two things I do not typically care about but sure, they sound good on paper and would make my father happy.
We went for drinks and had a good time. I was relaxed, he was charming, smart, cute, nice and I felt like he was the person I had constantly been rejecting in my head but actually was right for me. Admittedly, he was a little full of himself but let’s be honest, what slightly above average height, cute Jewish doctor isn’t? He won me over by choosing a cute bar and dancing like nobody was watching. Except I was. And as I watched I thought to myself through a drunken haze, holy shit who is this guy?
We went back to his place and hooked up and it was fun. Not the best I’d ever had, but surprising and intense and all the things you want the first time to be but never is.
He told me to stay the night, but dammit I was not blessed with 20/20 vision. I wear contacts – monthlies, because the cost of dailies is a fucking crime, and they are the bane of my existence when I have spontaneous sleepovers.
“I wear contacts. Do you have a case or something? Just get me two cups with water that works too.”
‘I actually have a contact case around here somewhere,” he said. “Let me find it.”
This mystery contact case appeared out of nowhere and eye prayers were answered.
I woke up confused. Semi-frantically searching for my clothes, silently cursing myself for not being able to hold out. Fuck his apartment was nice – this guy is an adult and a tasteful one at that. As I crept silently into the bathroom, I looked around the converted loft filled with adult things I would likely be unable to afford for another decade or more, I thought, I could get used to this.
Snapping back to reality, I hastily got dressed in what was a fairly obvious walk of shame outfit, feebly attempted to fix my face, grabbed the contact case and bounced. In the very grey light of day, I hailed a cab, as any respectable woman would.
Back in the comfort of my own home, in a full sweatsuit and a full-on hangover, I scraped myself off the couch to venture into the real world and shop for my best friend’s bachelorette party. As per usual, I had left the pertinent details (aka penis shaped straws, faux diamond tiara and bridal sash) to the last minute. Trudging up to the bathroom, I splashed water on my puffy, hungover, crusty make-up ridden face and put in my contacts. My eyes began to sting.
If you’re a lense wearer, you’ll understand contacts are mysterious and eyes are a VERY sensitive part of the body, so I was not unaccustomed to feeling agitated. I looked in the mirror, trying to determine if I’d have to crack open a new pair or if I could salvage what was in my eyes.
I could not believe what I saw.
I actually couldn’t believe I could see at all.
My left pupil was so dilated that there was no white visible. My eyes were swollen. And I was quickly realizing this wasn’t normal. I frantically picked up the phone and punched in my grandmother’s phone number – unchanged for the last 20 years. Stay with me here, yes we’re close, but she’s also a doctor and my consistent source of free medical advice and high-level diagnoses – no appointment necessary.
She calmly advised I flush my eyes with water, but after 15 minutes of the same googly-eyed face staring back at me from my toothpaste stained bathroom mirror, she conformed my worst fears. I would have to haul ass to the nearest emergency room.
On my way to the ER, I called my date. Yes – this is the worst thing you can do after a potential one night stand. Typically, you wait the appropriate 2-3 days before you tell your friends this guy is a huge asshole and never texted you or followed up. Fuck that, I was dying and my date might know why.
After waiting less than an hour (which made me more nervous because you only get seen quickly if you are on death’s row) I saw a doctor, with my sister by my side. As I gripped her hand, I heard the doctor say that my eye would in all likelihood not ever go back to normal. I would have a forever dilated pupil that was unsettling to look at and no one would ever love me again. My sister, newly engaged, cried for my future spinster life. I cried because in less than 24 hours I had gone from blissful to morose.
Baffled by the on-call resident’s belittling attitude toward my “purely cosmetic” concerns, I thought well this fuck certainly has no clue what it’s like to be single in your late 20s. Shaken and tormented, I prepared to leave and go home to my lonesome life.
As I walked towards elevators, I felt my phone vibrate. Looking down, I saw six missed calls from my date.
“What.” I answered. I seriously gave zero fucks.
“I called my friend, there was cocaine in the contact case.”
The next few hours were a blur. I determined that my eye would not remain permanently dilated, but that this was an effect of cocaine.
I could tell you this hellish experience changed me, shook me to my core. I could tell you that I never sleep with guys on the first date, I don’t go home with people who I know full-well are wrong for me, I always second guess putting foreign objects in my eyes and believe Tinder is more than location-based matching. But that would be a lie.
I still make questionable choices, I sleep with the wrong people more than the right ones, I still shamelessly swipe my Wednesday nights away and my overwhelming pragmatism continues to trump (every so slightly) my curiosity about fated encounters..
What I can tell you is that after my near-tragic optical nightmare, I switched to dailies.