but i mean how SAD can you be when you have besties who will hike and look at leaves for caterpillar eggs with you?

I used to honor Valentine’s Day I was single by celebrating Singles Awareness Day – S.A.D. – with other single friends and doing all manner of funny, bonding, and wine-induced activities to commemorate and commiserate. This year I brought my staff treats, went on a walk, took a nap, attended Spanish class, and watched Youtube videos of The Voice auditions (I love crying to these on purpose to feel, I don’t know why) while half-heartedly scrolling my dating apps. Something about “matching” with someone on Valentine’s Day seems to invite bad luck, but my thumb went this way and that, and I ended up with a few matches. As anyone who has also had to deal with dating apps can tell you, a match means almost NOTHING. Most conversation is exactly this:

Him: Hey, how’s your week/end going?

Me: Good! Busy with xyz and looking forward to abcdef. How about you? I like your pic with your dog/traveling/hiking. 

Him: haha yeah. 

Me: (patiently waiting for engagement) (can’t stand the waiting but knows she shouldn’t text again so soon but then)

Me: Got any plans for the weekend? (This should be a clear indication that I’d like to be a part of them)

i feel like i am interesting enough to conversate with, right?

Him: Never replies again. Exits left, pursued by a bear (one can hope). 

If the conversation goes better than that, there might be a little banter about something Covid, weather, or job-related, maybe a few lines about “how long have you been in Hong Kong?” but the chats always seem to peter out. And it’s so. Freaking. BORING. So imagine how excited I was to match with a fellow American (what?! Here in Hong Kong?!) who pretty quickly struck up some fun conversation and suggested we move it to Whatsapp, and then quickly set up a date to meet. Like, the initiative, my friends. Could not have been cooler. 

All week we chatted – brief but fun messages just checking in, counting down until we met, and sending selfies even. I was so excited, but as the day drew nearer, of course, I panicked. What would we talk about? Do I ever talk about anything but work? What would I wear? What would he sound like? What do I sound like? What if it didn’t work out? What if it did?

Having all these thoughts while contemplating burning the entire contents of your wardrobe because nothing seems to fit you like it did when you were 29 is like, not a great place to be.

not joking! i truly wondered if it was my last single escalator ride!

When I finally got dressed, took a pic to send to a friend (Gotta be cute for those “she was last seen in . . . “ Dateline montages) and then walked to the subway to ride out, I couldn’t help having silly romantical thoughts like “what if this is the last time I ride an escalator as a single woman? What if this is my last first date? What if this is our story that we’re starting tonight?” 

By the time I’d gotten off the train to meet him, I was ten minutes late with a head full of hypothetical scenarios ranging from funny speeches about how we’d met at our wedding, to the words in my obituary upon the event of my death at the hands of the Tinder Strangler. 

I exited the stairwell and easily made eye contact with the only other white person there, standing with his mask hanging off his ear, in a “fancy” Hawaiian shirt, and a really cute smile. (“Phew. Not bad,” I thought.) 

We went for awkward air cheek kisses and a hug, and then he started guiding us to a sushi place, his “local,” and we were ushered to a nice booth in the back, away from the peasants. That was pretty classy. But then he waved the waiter over and ordered for both of us; I then had to correct and give my input. Bit weird, but I didn’t see any big red flags waving at that point. 

just a small part of this wild, beautiful city we live in that he apparently has no need to explore . . .

“So, you’re like, Mexican, right?” he kind of asked me after a few minutes.

“No . . . ?“ I responded slowly, unsure what was happening.

“Spanish? Portuguese? Another type of Latina?” he badgered on. I kept shaking my head no, wondering if he had just . . . never met another white girl with brown hair? Or was conducting a fetish-based investigation into my origins.

“But you said on your profile you speak Spanish, so . . . “ he capped off as if I were keeping some weird secret from him. 

“I learned it in school,” I replied.

This gave him a momentary pause. “Right, I guess. You just look so Mexican,” he laughed. 


We talked further. The ‘gift’ of the pandemic is that you can easily talk about your experiences, especially if you were both in Hong Kong. The benefit of the ex-pat journey is that you can easily talk about that for hours, adding in your funny little backpacking anecdotes. And so we did, and we got on. He wasn’t someone I immediately found attractive . . . it was a bit weird how different he appeared from his photos, but not in a shocking way, just in an “okay. Different.” 

besides the music at the festival, you could see THESE dudes and that alone was worth the price of admission.

We had two beers and then got to talking more about our day-to-day lives it became apparent he didn’t leave his neighborhood that often and hadn’t explored much of HK, despite having lived here for well over a decade. Then I asked him if he was attending the big music festival here in HK the next weekend that has been canceled for four years because of protests and then Covid.

“Ah,” he started, “I don’t really listen to music.” 

*Record scratch*

How now, brown cow? You don’t listen to music?

He recognized it was a bit strange, but he simply doesn’t listen to any music. Now. I live my life like it’s a casual musical at all times. I have a soundtrack to every mood, chore, walk, place, and person that I interact with. I sing and play guitar and karaoke and have a really hard time understanding what one would use to drown out the voices in one’s head if not for music so needless to say, I found this to be a bit of a hurdle to undercome. 

Determined to give this first date the benefit of a doubt, I pressed on and asked him about his hobbies in general. Which consisted of golf. Mostly indoors, sometimes outdoors with his buddies. Okay. A bit of a sportswoman myself, I can understand dedicating a lot of time to play. Was he any good? 

Not really, he said. 


Well, then. I was getting up the next morning to camp out and spend the next two days on a beach. Did he like camping?

Ew, he said. No.



Plants? Gardening? Animals?

Not really. 

If I put up a captcha right now, could you prove you are not a robot? How many traffic lights are on this date?

At this point, my mouth was hanging so wide open I had to stuff two California rolls in at once just to give myself a polite moment to chew and process. The conversation moved on to something else, and then out of nowhere, the song “Friday” by Rebecca Black came on the speakers, and I interrupted our already stilted conversation to sing along and ask him if the lyrics didn’t just take him back in time.

who doesn’t want to hike up and around and see moments like this??

“To what?” he asked.

Friends – the man has never had Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. No plans to engage with social media ever. He vaguely understood the idea of a meme but has never really seen or sent one.

This means he cannot understand me in my second language, which is Meme. And we were already barely understanding each other in English.

The date ended classy enough – he paid while I was in the bathroom, and as so I offered to buy us a drink at a neighborhood bar that had darts, thinking that might give us something more to talk about (it did not). We parted with a cheek kiss and I walked back to my apartment to debrief every single second with my sister and friends and then post something about it on Instagram, because I crowdsource my life to the masses, like a normal person.*

Whenever I post dating stuff, people are always quick to come out with an opinion or a funny story, which I love, because we’re almost all of us looking for love and happy endings, right? What was funny to me about this particular situation were the many people who confessed not being really attracted to their current partners the first few times they met them, but then grew to love them, and said I should consider a second date. Lots of people thought it shouldn’t matter if we had nothing in common. Lots of people thought I could just teach him to love music and nature and hiking and camping and animals and basically operate as a normal human being. But I don’t want a project – I want a boyfriend. And I don’t think someone who is 46 is about to suddenly change their lifelong likes and dislikes.

just me being the amazing seventh wheel that i always am.

I’m about to turn 39 and can provide a lot as a partner in this life. I want to learn things from someone else and teach them about my own interests as well but there has to be a mutual starting ground and . . . I mean the things we had in common were limited to both being from America, which we now currently love from a liberal distance, and wishing there was better Mexican food in Hong Kong. While this is a start . . . it’s not a great one.

it’s giving “she’ll just date herself for a while now”

Apparently, he agreed, as well, because despite what I humbly submit was a GORGEOUS “thank you and would love to do a casual coffee sometime if you’re keen” text, he left me on read! 

I mean, I was gonna say no, but why did you? I’m freaking awesome!

Lols. just kidding sort of. 

That’s three recent strikes in the dating world, so I think I’ll take a break for now but. Feel free to send all the good vibes. I’m too cuddly to sleep alone forever.

*my tongue is in cheek here.