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The alarm on her phone went off at six in the morning. She rolled over to turn off her alarm. As she held her phone in her hand, she scrolled through the notifications on her lock screen. Nothing appeared unusual. She saw just a few missed texts from her parents and a couple of news updates as she continued to scroll through the notifications. But, then, at the very bottom, she saw a notification that was unlike the others. It read, “It’s a match! Message Robert now?” She unlocked the screen to view his profile to see if there was something there for a conversation. Starting the conversation or making the first move doesn’t always have to lean on the guy but, if she is going to start the conversation, she doesn’t like to be bland by simply saying some form of hello.
While this seems easy enough, there are flaws in this. Most of the profiles are generic and all the profiles, the ladies are not excluded from this phenomenon, have the-same-biographies. Everyone enjoys eating pizza, hiking, and having a good time—whatever that means.
The problem with the generic profile isn’t necessarily the content itself. Actually, it is when these people are asked about these activities or to give more details and the person asked can almost never give you specific details in their answers. Conversations tend to be more like this:
Guy messages girl, “Hey where do you like hiking?”
Girl’s response to guy, “Oh, this place you’ve never heard of.”
They either don’t want to give away their secrets or they lied on their profiles because they thought that was what other potential dates through the dating world wanted to hear. Therefore, conversations often tend to be superficial because let’s face it, two people at the end of the day only really connect on those swiping applications because they find each other attractive. End of connection. There is usually no substance to the conversation and this is why most people either choose to not meet up and be long time pen pals or meet once—maybe twice—have relations, and never call the other one again.
The notification popped up on her phone. She unlocked her phone to read his profile. To her surprise, it wasn’t like everyone else’s standard profile. Not only did he have different activities he enjoyed engaging in, different hobbies but he was actually employed! He did not have the classic, self-titled entrepreneur or manager. He listed his occupation as a lead contractor.
She looked through his photos one last time before sending a message. He had a photo where he was leaning against a shovel he held propped up in front of a construction project. She sent him a message, her specialty dad jokes, because his profile happened to mention how he also enjoyed a good dad joke.
“How do you put a tomato back together?” she messaged him.
“I’m not sure, how?” he responded.
“With tomato paste! I know that’s really bad, but it’s a classic one for me. I’m Ronnie.”
He responded with a laughing emoji. “You are right, that was bad. I’m Robert. Don’t call me Robbie. If you must, I go by Rob.”
“Nice to 'meet' you Robert. Did you know, the shovel was a groundbreaking invention?”
They began engaging in conversation. The conversation wasn’t deep but it was causal and easy. It wasn’t very long before they exchanged social media profiles. Doing this isn’t as superficial as you’d think. It’s usually to factor out the possibility of being cat-fished or falling for a robot. But yes, it is also just what technology makes this generation do; it gave them another platform to judge how the other projects themselves without the fluff of a dating site.
On his Instagram, she found out that even though he did have a day job his passion was being an electronic music DJ. This chivalrous guy he projected on the dating application could have been who he was or it could have been a front. It was still possible for this guy to be respectful, even if on his social media he had multiple images of females rumps in bikini bottoms with his head happily next to them. She continued the conversation anyways as it was still going well. Despite these new to her, not so desirable traits, he still remained charming even if it was behind his keyboard.
‘This wasn’t going to be for the long-term, if, for any amount of time,’ was all she could think while she carried on the conversation.
They didn’t talk for long before he asked to meet up with her. Two days of text conversations. He asked her to meet him at a bar in Hollywood the following evening. Even though his profiles projected him to a type of guy she didn’t see herself dating, conversation was going well enough that at the very least, the conversation should be able to hold up in person. She agreed with the thought of ‘Let’s see how this goes.’
He did not tell her the name of the bar; he only sent her the Hollywood address located directly on Hollywood Blvd. She could have looked up the exact location, but she only looked into the area. She checked to see it wasn’t an apartment and if she knew the area or not. It was not an apartment building, and she knew the area relatively well. She agreed to meet up with Rob at his suggested place.
The next evening she got ready, typed in the address into her car service application. The car dropped her off in front of a bright, colorful dive looking bar on Hollywood Blvd. She thanked the driver for her ride, got out and looked up. There were alternating colorful flags with outlines of mullets on them across the entire exterior of the bar. The bright red neon sign read “Copper Mullet.”
The vibe inside was just what you would expect from a place that had that name. It was as if a hipster trailer park was trying to be a sports bar. There were large television screens any place in the bar there wasn’t already a neon domestic beer sign that played whatever sports game was on. Their specialty drinks were served in red solo cups. She looked around and saw written on a side black chalkboard read the drink specials like two for one jello shots and even house jungle juice. The only glass that could be located in the entire bar were the mirrors and that was even not clear with how smudged they were. And they lacked snacks. They only had peanuts nuts. Once being inside, this bar could not even have been considered to be a dive bar because even though it was dirty like a dive bar, it had Hollywood drink prices for literally anything enjoyable. No, this was more of a hipster bro’s paradise. Just to clarify, in her mind a dive bar would have been an acceptable first date place.
She continued to look around but didn’t see anyone that looked like his photos in the bar. She called him to see where he was. “Hey, I’m here, where are you?”
“I’m the guy in the blue button down at the bar.”
She thought ‘at least he was dressed for a date.’ She found him and walked up to him. She stuck out her hand to introduce herself. “Hello, Robert. I’m Ronnie.” He didn’t get up from his stool. Robert was a pale, medium length blonde-haired, green-eyed male. He wasn’t overly unique looking that your average everyday Joe. He appeared to workout regularly. He was not toned, but he also was not overweight. His height was just south of six feet, when he stood.
He looked around, smiled and stuck out his hand to greet her. “Hi Ronnie.” He pointed to the seat next to him, “Here, have a seat.” While she sat he continued, “What are you drinking, Ronnie?”
“I think a pilsner sounds refreshing. It’s kind of hot out this evening.”
They both ordered a beer. Beers there were served in frosted plastic cups with beer logos on them that were not affiliated with any beers they served. Despite the grimy location, the conversation was still going well as they covered some of the first date basic topics.
One drink. turned into two and the conversation was still going strong without any awkward lulls. Rob subtly slipped into the conversation that he lived nearby but continued on with his story.
“I was watching a documentary on Buster Keaton in my apartment around the corner the other day. It was really informative! I had no idea there were other popular silent film stars!”
He knew she adored Buster Keaton because this was a topic they had discussed in their text conversations prior to meeting that evening. They got close to finishing their beers when he suggested they continued the date but at a new location.
“Hey listen, this is going well, wouldn’t you say?” She didn’t want to agree, but he was correct, despite his taste in first date place. He continued, “So I live around the corner. Did you want to go back to my place, have another drink, watch some Netflix and chill?”
She was unaware this phrase was, at the time, the hip code for going back to someone’s place and putting on the soundtrack of a Netflix show or movie to have sex to. It was not a new term, but one she took for face value. She thought about the documentary he spent the last 15 minutes describing and selfishly, she would suggest they watched the silent film star documentary.
Despite her better judgement, she went against her gut feeling. “Yes! That sounds absolutely great!” she said as his eyes lit up. Rob, now really excited, called for the bartender to close out his tab. He didn’t grab her tab or even offer to pay for her beers. She grabbed her tab and began to hear her gut louder and began to really second guess going back to continue this date. The bartender watched her reach for her card. He cringed.
“Oh, sorry girl. This is cash only,” he pointed to the sign above the register.
“Oh, oops. I’m sorry. Is there an ATM local?” she asked, not having enough cash on her to cover her tab. Robert interrupted them.
“I’ll cover her tab, too,” he said smugly as if he was saving the day. But she wasn’t above free beverages. Heck, even if it was late, if he was willing to pay without her having to use a shady ATM in Hollywood then, she was not going to turn that down!
Looking back, this encounter must have been the quickest interaction for Rob to get a girl back to his place. He paid both tabs. They leave the bar and head up the hill towards his apartment building. He forgot to mention his apartment is two blocks up a hill that battled hill elevations in San Francisco. They reached the side street where he lived and walked up to his apartment. His apartment building was a four complex unit; smaller apartment building she’s seen or had been used to overall but this place had the charm of old Hollywood. They walked inside.
His apartment unit itself was two stories. Once you walk in the front door, on the first floor, to your right was a door that lead to the garage. Continuing counterclockwise, there was an open doorway to a bathroom, and on your left was a staircase that took you to the rest of the apartment. We followed the staircase upstairs. At the top of the stairs, to the left of the staircase were a few more bedrooms. Directly in front of staircase was the living room with a sectional sofa, a bookcase covered with all kinds of video games, an Ikea coffee table, and a huge television that took up the majority of the wall. To the right of the staircase were two closed doors and the kitchen.
He forgot to mention he had housemates. Ronnie and Robert reached the top of the stairs to be greeted by a kitchen full of men. His housemates looked like a group of politically correct stereotypes of fraternity boys whom were a couple years post college but they still partied as if they were being initiated into the brotherhood for the first time.
All six of them looked at the two of them as they reached the final step. Their eyes were like elevators. They all had the same boyish grins on their faces while they deviously looked at the girl Robert brought home, up and down.
Rob walked into the kitchen where he was greeted with high fives from his housemates as they exchanged hellos. She oddly still didn’t catch the hint. Even at this point. He grabbed them a couple of beers to enjoy on the roof while he introduced her to his housemates.
“Hey guys, this is Ronnie,” he said as he opened the fridge and leaned in to grab two beers from the back. He continued with his torso inside of the fridge yelling behind him at his housemates, “She’s pretty cool.” He pulled his torso out of the fridge. “Ronnie, these are the guys I live with!” he said, with such excitement as he pointed to every other guy in the room.
Rob took a look around at the crowded kitchen adjacent to the living room without an inch of privacy and suggested a different place to enjoy the beers. They walked through one of the closed doors located to the right of the staircase. The door they went through lead to yet another staircase. She was working off those beers from the Copper Mullet and future drinks that evening with all of the stairs and hills they were walking. This staircase though, lead to the rooftop of his apartment building. The views from his roof were breathtaking. His roof overlooked all of Hollywood Blvd and you could see the glow of the Downtown Los Angeles skyline in the far, clouded distance. The night wasn’t clear so that was as far as they could see from Robert’s roof. They exchanged in some basic flirting while they enjoyed their third beer.
“Do you smoke?” he asked her as he reached for his carton of cigarettes from his pocket.
“Cigs? No. Those give me a headache.”
“Ha,” he said as an unlit cigarette rest on his bottom lip. He continued “Well, what about weed?” He stops his thought to light his cigarette. He cuffed one hand around the end of the cigarette to protect the wind from blowing out the flame on his lighter. He took a puff from his cigarette. As he’s held his inhaled smoke, he continued his thought. “I can go grab my pipe after this cigarette.”
“The devil’s lettuce?” she asked jokingly. “I indulge sometimes.” She paused to think About continuing this date. She isn’t in a pause for very long before she thinks, ‘what the heck’ and said, “Sure.”
“Alright. After this,” he stopped in the middle of his sentence to take a drag from his cigarette. Upon his exhale, he lifted the smelly thing in the air in one hand and raised his beer in the other hand. With his hands still raised he finished his idea, “Let’s go downstairs. We’ll smoke and we can watch that documentary.” Her face lit up! She didn’t even have to suggest watching it!
“Yes! That sounds great!” They finish their drinks smiling in silence. They head downstairs but his roommates moved from the kitchen to watching something on the large screen in the living room.
He looked at her and shrugged. “I have a TV in my room.” He opened up the second door to the right of the stairs and gestured for her to go first.
‘Convenient,’ she thought sarcastically as he guided her into his room.
Inside his room, every wall including the ceiling was painted matte black. His furniture was black with more black accents. Directly next to the door on their left was a futon folded like a couch with a coffee table placed in front of the futon like an ottoman. A black plaid throw blanket draped over the back of the futon. A black pillow propped up on the furthest arm. Across from the futon was his black dresser with a fish tank that sat on top of it. This fish tank radiated a faint blue light, giving the room a much needed pop of color. To his credit though, his room did not smell like fish. Above the fish tank, hung a large television from his wall. There was a black side table on the opposing side of the throw pillow that separated the bed and the futon. It was there his bong sat so proudly on display. His bed was one of those Ikea platform beds. It was black of course. His sheets though, were gray and hidden under a black down comforter. His bedroom looked like a creepy bachelor pad packed into in a single room. It even had a disco ball above the coffee table. He was a DJ, after all.
She isn’t one to judge so she picked a seat on the futon while he rolled a joint for them to accompany the documentary they were about to watch. Rob started telling her about the documentary again.
“So this documentary doesn’t just tell about his silent film days but also about how he wasn’t able to transition into talkies!” There is excitement in his voice but not for the reason she was thinking it was for. He was excited because the idea behind Netflix and chill meant to watch something that you had already seen so you did not have to actually watch the program.
“Oh, I’m excited! That’s the reason he wasn’t as big as Chaplin! I’m positive of it!” she said with such force as if she’s debated this topic before. “But stop telling me about it! Isn’t the point to watch it and learn?” she said with a smirk.
He laughed, “I guess you are right.” He finished rolling the joint. He turned on the TV, and began to search for the documentary. “Make yourself comfortable,” he said as he stood next to the hanging television. He stood for about two minutes in search of the program. “I sure hope they didn’t take the documentary off,” he said nervously. He turned around to see she hadn’t moved from the futon. He put his hand on his chest. “Well, it’s been a long day, for me at least.” He pointed to with his whole hand. His palm faced up as his bed was on display for her. “Did you want to lay down on the bed?” He turned back towards the television to continue looking for the documentary. “I’ll join you in a minute and we can cuddle?”
It was asked it innocently enough or maybe it was the three drinks settling in, but she didn’t think anything of these comments. She thought, ‘well, if we stay above the blankets there really isn’t a chance for anything fishy could happen.’ Besides, she did enjoy a good cuddle. She moved to the bed.
He clicked his cheek. “I can’t seem to find that documentary,” he said it in a tone as if he was being pesky. “Let’s put this one on, instead.”
It was a documentary they both had seen, but before she could answer he had already climbed into the bed. He sat up and lit the joint he rolled for them a few moments earlier. He took a hit. Then passed it to her.
“You know, I’ve already seen this,” she said with some sass.
He glared at her playfully. With his eyes squinted and a smirk across his mouth, he asked, “Do you have any other suggestions?”
“No, I can’t say I do. This is fine.” She laughed and took another hit before she passed the joint back. They sat there on the bed, upright and smoked the joint while the opening sequence to the nature documentary played. Once they finished the joint, they both laid down but, above the covers. He hadn’t tried any moves over a PG rating so she allowed him to be the big spoon in the cuddling that was promised. He held her with one hand around her stomach and the other hand was running through her hair. It wasn’t as romantic as you would think. His hand that was strumming her hair was clammy and dragged over her scalp like sludge.
There was a clear miscommunication about what they both thought was going to happen. Robbie thought by them cuddling in his bed, he was a green light or an everything and anything goes kind of situation. Within 30 seconds of Robbie being the big spoon, he took his hands from their positions and in the same swift moment, one hand was groping her chest, and the other was directly under her dress trying to get between her legs.
She was caught off guard. She was was not expecting that. As she thought ‘there was nothing to lead up to move; they didn’t even kiss,’ her body went into shock. She began to shake like she was freezing cold, trapped inside a walk-in freezer without a jacket.
He immediately jumped off of her like a cat, afraid of his own shadow. He looked down and he noticed even her jaw clattered as she laid there in shock. It all escalated too quickly without her realizing what was even actually happening.
He put it together, she had not the slightest idea of what the hip phrase Netflix and chill meant. About 30 seconds of silence passed when he saw she was still shaking out of the shock of the situation. He began to apologize profusely, not realizing she had no idea what he truly meant when he said Netflix and chill.
“I am so sorry! I thought you knew what that phrase meant. I would have never!” He threw his head in his hands. “I’m so sorry.”
She began to snap out of being in shock and she sat up to look for her phone. Her her movements staggered. Clearly she was not interested in engaging in the activities Robbie had set out for the evening.
“I’ll call you a car service to take you home.” He grabbed for his phone to call her a car.
“Thank you, but no thank you,” she responded as she thought she didn’t want him knowing exactly where she lived. She called a car. “It’s five minutes away. I think I will gather my things and go.”
He escorted her outside.
“I am not a bad guy. I wish that you don’t remember me as a bad guy.” He reached to put his hand around her shoulder. Her body began to shake again. It was rejecting him. He was petrified of how he was viewing her and kept repeating how sorry he was for his actions. He continued, “You’re still shaking! I am so sorry!”
The car pulled up on the other side of the driveway. Rob reached in to give her a hug goodbye and stuttered. He decided against it, remembering how she reacted to his arm around her a few minutes prior. He simply opened the car door for her.
“Have a nice night. I really wish that when you remember me, that you don’t remember a bad guy.” He waved goodbye and closed the car door.
The driver looked in the rear view mirror and jokingly said, “What was that about? Rough night?”
She laughed, “You have no idea, man.”
Rob had been pretty clear about his intentions from the beginning. She had heard of the term Netflix and chill, but thought it was a cool date idea where you order in takeout, watch Netflix, and just chill. She didn’t get the t-shirt or other merchandise phenomena until her date with Robert. She was not up to par on the social terms or what the kids were saying.
If you are reading this, “Robert,” she really was just in shock mainly because it hit her all at once how badly she had been living under a rock for at least six months before actually realizing the meaning behind that phrase. You truly are not remembered as a bad guy; maybe a horny one, but she remembers it as a funny story for the books.