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An Undateable responds: Ariana discusses last week's column

Photograph: Bridget Burns

Last issue's Undateables column sparked quite an uproar among our readers— so much so, in fact, that we deemed it necessary to round up our favorite responses. A few of you also asked for our daters' reactions, so we reached out to them. Although Steve politely declined to comment, Ariana was happy to share her thoughts. So, as the culmination of this Undateables saga, here are her answers to some tough questions about the date.  

 

What did you think of Steve's responses in the magazine?

I actually felt like Hannah in an episode of Girls. I kept thinking, “This is exactly what would happen if Hannah did this experiment.” But really, I'm not perturbed he wasn’t attracted to me or enjoyed himself, though none of that was apparent during the date. But he is welcome think and feel however he wants. As corny as it sounds, what’s more important is that I really do like myself. I LOVE my body and my hair. I’m okay with being open and hopeful. With so much general negativity in the world towards women and the negativity that can come from the industry I work in, I can’t afford to let one person’s perception make me think less of myself. Honestly, I was more bothered at the way I was depicted [as] more naïve than I was about the whole situation. 

You mentioned that you didn't mean to give off such a positive impression of the date. Can you elaborate on that? Do you wish you had been a little meaner now?

It’s not that I would have been meaner or less positive. It was more that what I was trying to convey is that the experience left me feeling positive about my more personal triumph of going on a blind date (since even OK Cupid dates terrified me). I knew parts of what I said would be cut for space, but the edited statements left out that A) I didn’t necessarily think he was the guy for me as much as, B) I was just excited that the date wasn’t awful. Earlier in the day, a friend had asked me, “What if you get there and he is incredibly ugly?” And my response was, “As long as he can hold a conversation, I will consider it a success.” And that happened, so I felt positive. Did I necessarily care to see him again? No. In fact, when he got my number, I didn’t think too much about it. Yet I figured if I ever heard from him again, I would be open to meeting up once more.

Have you thought back on the actual date, and decided your impression of him was off?

 I mean, obviously my impression was way off. But here’s the thing: I am an actor. I study people and gauge the atmosphere. I am always looking ten steps ahead psychologically, and so I can tell when people are not feeling me at all. I don’t know why, but Steve was clearly putting off a very different energy than what he was internally processing. He was attentive and engaging. He asked me questions and steered a lot of the conversation by asking my opinion on things. And he definitely had no problem sharing his opinions. (He spent at least 10 minutes trashing Shakespeare after I said how I loved Shakespeare.) And there was even a moment where he commented on my green eyes in the light, and I thought, “Oh, that’s kind of sweet.” But there were red flags. I was very aware that every time I would ask him a question about himself, he would give short answers or evade the questions altogether, and instead he would ask me to elaborate on something I had said before. Also, on the way to the train (which he went out of his way to walk me to), he made a joke a couple of times about how we should make a deal to trash each other in the interview. And when we finally got to the train and I asked him if he actually wanted to, he said, “What – oh, no. I mean, I had a good time. Did you not have a good time?” Now that I’ve read his comments, I’m guessing he was hoping that I might actually trash him so he could feel better when he told the truth.

What have you thought of the responses on Twitter and Facebook? Any favorites?

At first, I was steering clear of all the social media, but a friend had told me that I should at least read the comments on the website. Then he also sent me the link to the follow up article. I was blown away at the amount of people who responded. While I loved almost all of the ones I read (especially any of them that dealt with Steve’s manhood), I have two favorites:

1) I really appreciated the email from Theresa. What a lovely person. Thank you!

2) I really loved what “Lizzie J” posted on the comments section of the piece. She said “The annoying thing is that this example of a date perpetuates the ongoing miscommunication in dating and between men and women. He thinks he is being polite by walking her to the train and taking her number, when he has no intention of using it. She is aware that he might not call but is hoping that he might, because he took her number. Why can't he just tell her that he is not interested in a polite way, instead of being a soft cock and taking the easy way out? Not only is it misleading but also fosters irritation in women…” I completely agree with this. The truth is, I don’t feel “undateable.” But I am not compatible with modern dating. It seems to foster dishonesty, whether for the desire to impress or be superficially polite. I prefer straightforwardness, which is why I normally date guys I’m friends with first because the honesty is already there. Steve wasn’t doing me any favors by getting my number or by trying to pretend he enjoyed our date. If at any point he had just said, “I will be honest and say that I am not attracted to you, and that’s going to affect my ability to enjoy this date, so can we just have our free drink and chat a bit,” I would have said, “Sure. That’s cool.” But instead, he was his version of polite, so we talked for three hours. As a wise man once said, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Has anyone reached out to you, friends or romantically, because of this?

 My friends are wonderful. Most of them knew I wasn’t going to pay Steve much mind, and instead of acknowledging him, said things like, “You look so great in the picture” or “I’m so proud of you for being brave enough to do this.” The best was that my theatre history professor sent me a lovely email congratulating me on “a great photo” and said he hoped a lot of “gentleman callers” would be knocking on my door. Romantically, no one has contacted me specifically because of the article. I’ve been more open to dating new people though, partially because of this. I’ve been chatting a bit with a guy from online that I like so far. But acting comes first, and between being in a show, signing with an agent and submitting for auditions, my romantic life has taken a backseat. But I’ll always be open and hopeful.

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