By: Penny Wylder

I take a deep breath and study myself in the mirror behind the bar. Okay, so he’s 30 minutes late already. That’s not necessarily a deal-breaker. The MTA has been a shitshow lately. Maybe his train got stuck. Maybe he got held up at work. Maybe…

Maybe he’s not like every other asshole you’ve been out with this week?

I sigh and pull out my phone to scroll through his profile again.

“Rich, aka Dick,” I read, scrolling through his photos. There’s the obligatory bathroom mirror selfie, complete with chiseled abs (albeit a really bad choice since you can see the tile mold on the wall behind him from this angle), one of him and some friends, who all have the same buzz cut, so it’s honestly pretty hard to tell which one is even him, and then the usual headshot. In that one, he’s holding a pint of beer and grinning slyly at the camera, like he wants to fuck it.

The profile itself isn’t exactly a winner. Gym, tan, and pay for someone else to do my laundry, it reads, with a little winking face.

So, okay, maybe I only swiped right because of that grin. Sue me. This new app has been bringing in the same undateable guys as all the others I’ve tried—despite the fact that at least four of my coworkers raved about how different this one was, how the guys were such high quality. I figured if I had to go on another bad date, at least it could be with a hottie.

But now karma’s being a bitch, and it looks like I’m about to get stood up. Again.

I slide my drink across the bar and sigh at my reflection as the bartender refills my glass. I look smoking hot tonight. All that effort for nothing.

I review my recent candidates. There was the programmer last month who told me in great detail about how he “games the game.” In this case, what he meant was he hacked the codes behind the app and programmed it to send him pictures of only the most popular chicks. I guess I should be flattered that I was included, but I was mostly creeped out by his obsession with algorithms and finding the hottest (mathematically proven, of course) girlfriend. “It’s why I always end up dating chicks way out of my league,” he explained with a wink. Then he proceeded to show me photos of his most recent ex.

“She is very hot,” I agreed, silently adding, and how on earth did she decide to sleep with you?

After that date, there was the professional body-builder who spent most of the date trying to sell me into his protein-smoothie pyramid scheme. Did I mention said date was a happy hour for his protein-smoothie business? Then came the insurance salesman who got a little too detailed talking about life insurance schemes—Double Indemnity red flags, much?

There was the finance bro who bought me one drink, then invited me back to his place… And when I declined, he complained so loudly about the expense of the drink he’d bought me that I frog-marched him to the nearest ATM, took out cash, and threw a twenty in his face. I mean, first of all, do I look like a hooker? And second of all, if I were a hooker, I would cost a lot more than one crappy martini at a Wall Street after-work bar.

Which brings me here. Tonight. Waiting on yet another guy who will…


I look up to find the bartender returning my card. “What’s wrong, was it declined?” Shit. I paid this one off last month. It definitely still has room on the balance.

“No, miss. It’s just that the gentleman on the far end has covered your tab.”

I glance down the bar to find Mr. Shirtless Bathroom Selfie himself lifting a glass in my direction.

Okay, so maybe he’s not the worst. There could still be hope.

I pick up my drink and head down the bar to meet him. “Rich?”

He leans in for the cheek kiss/one-armed hug and I awkwardly shuffle my drink to avoid spilling it down his shirt front. “It’s Dick, actually. Rich was my dad’s name.”

Probably should have stuck with it anyway, I think unfairly, as I take the bar stool beside him. “Dick. I’m Clove.” Not like I have room to talk anyway.

“Also a family name?” He stays standing beside me, leaning against the counter. His knee brushes mine, in a not entirely unpleasant way. At least, at first.

“Nope, one and only.” I lift my glass in a mocking toast.

He taps his to mine, eyes sharp and zeroed in on me. “Oh, I can see that.”

“Should we get a table or…?”

He shrugs and leans on the back of my stool. He’s so up in my personal space that if I try to lean backward, I’ll land in the lap of the woman beside me. It’s hard to even lift my drink to take another sip because his chest is pressed against my whole right side. I switch hands and lean on the bar instead, trying to put some breathing room between us. His knee, meanwhile, is nearly crushing my leg.

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