This is the second in a series of summer blog posts where the author takes us through the ups and downs of queer dating for the first time. You can find the first blog post here.

She’s chewing gum as she comes out the door.

I hate gum.

I once saw a video where they had identical twins sit next to one another, one chewing gum, one not. People rated them on various things like friendliness and likability. It was meant to show that people who chew gum seem more approachable. It has the opposite effect on me.

And here I was, my first Tinder date in what was shaping up to be a very long summer, and my date, in her overly casual clothes next to my skirt and black boots, was chewing gum.

I knew the moment she walked through the door that this would be our first – and last – date. We ate tacos and skimmed the list of topics queer social-justice-types are supposed to talk about: elections, non-profit work, Laverne Cox, et al.

There was nothing wrong with her. Save for the gum thing, our incompatible interpretations of a first date look, and the way she always seemed to keep two feet too much space between us, she wasn’t a particularly offensive person. Just wrong for me.

I often wonder if I qualify as a romantic.

I used to think I was, but a childhood of too much Disney will do that to a person. I like small gestures, sure, and I like flowers conceptually. But the excessively saccharine language of young love, to me, is an eye roll at best, a dry heave at worst. I no longer believe in fairytale romance and am happy to be with someone who gets me, whatever that means.

But perhaps there’s something to that Disney-fied childhood vision of romance.

I still put perhaps too much consideration on what I wear to a first date. I perfectly consider my lipstick color and earrings. I wear perfume. I look for some flicker of a spark even though I usually find gum wrappers and aluminum foil.

I don’t know that I’m even looking for in romance anymore. Perhaps a part of me feels it’s something I won’t find, or that I don’t know how to find it. Forgive me for sounding like a cynic — I don’t know any other way to sound.

All I know is that there is a girl who lives across the street, a girl among so many others who will not go on a second date, or even a first. And I wish her, and I wish them, all the best.