It was our first Tinder date and red flags were out. Why did I ignore them?

Monday, 29 May 2017, 11:04:59 AM. I have to do a better job at psychopath filtering before I agree to meet IRL.

I have terrible luck with women.

When I moved from New York to Los Angeles recently I hoped to turn that luck around in a city that is teeming with beautiful, intelligent, available women. I decided to give Tinder a try. After messages sent to aspiring models, actresses and comedians, agents’ assistants and non-industry normals, I managed to land a first date.

Most of our initial conversation was done over text. Talking and banter was easy, so we set a date for dinner in West Hollywood. Dinner went well. It was nice to see that our getting along via digital interface translated to getting along face-to-face, and that her face IRL looked like her pictures online. Afterward, she suggested going to her place to enjoy some wine on her rooftop.

Since I’m carless we had one option, and as soon as we got into her car we started making out. Unfortunately, it was to the tune of her phone chiming and lighting up. She ignored it. Then it rang again, and this time she answered.

I could hear sobbing squeals and babbling on the other end. I deciphered reprimands and desperate pleas for an explanation. All the while I was sitting shotgun, dumbfounded, doing a poor job of keeping myself together, laughing audibly into my sweater. During this time I heard red flag words such as “I love you.”

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My date hung up, and then the phone rang again. I knew it would.

Now visibly agitated, my date answered. I heard more muffled whines; my date conceded to something before hanging up. Before I could ask what was going on, we sped out of the garage and headed right back to the bar we had just left, stopping parallel to a curbside SUV. Why were we stopping? My date casually mentioned that we were “waving hello” to her ex.

Before I could suggest this might not be an ideal first date activity my window was down, I glanced to my right and ... there she was! 

“Who are you?” the ex asked.

I was … an innocent bystander? A hostage? A multi-hyphenate flanked between two crazies?

They were shouting back and forth over me – “Who is that that?” “My friend!” “Why is she in your car?” “I’m taking her home” – and then we peeled away.

My date was incredibly apologetic: “I could really use a drink after that.” Girl, same. “I can’t believe you’re still here,” she said. I couldn’t either, but the more I thought about it I realized everyone has a crazy ex and I was enjoying myself until a third party got involved. Maybe rooftop drinks would quell the situation.

The sound of wine being poured into a glass was music to my ears.

As we headed down the hall and to the rooftop, who did we run into but my date’s ex.

"What are you doing here?” she demanded of me.

What was I doing there, indeed. Clearly, I’d made a huge mistake. My date threw the question right back at her, “What are you doing here?”

IDK what any of us are doing RN, TBH.

Her ex brandished a set of keys, claiming she lived there.

Under the guise of not disturbing the neighbors I suggested they take the argument inside. The truth being I needed to grab my bag, make like Usain and Bolt. I chugged my wine while watching a few minutes of this Bravo-worthy fight before sprinting to my Uber.

My date texted me a few minutes after I’d hopped into the car, “I’m sorry,” she wrote, admitting that the two were not really broken up after all, “I’m sorry I wasn’t honest with you.” 

It was all sounding very premeditated and like something out of a thriller circa 2000. I responded, “I hope you two figure things out.”

The next morning I woke up to one missed call, two Tinder messages, five text messages and one Facebook friend request, all time-stamped around 3:30 a.m. As I was getting ready for work, I noticed I missed yet another call from her. This time she left a voicemail. Leaving no stone unturned, she sent a follow-up text to that voicemail: “Can you not do that thing where you just ignore my phone calls and texts?”

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Homegirl, calm down. I just woke up!

Her texts were extremely apologetic; she promised that what happened last night with her ex would never happen again. (Hmmm. A few texts ago she had admitted that they were together; wonder what split them up?) She wanted to know if she still had a chance. I responded by expressing my doubts.

I didn’t hear another peep from her … until she dropped off flowers at my work, even though I had not given her that address. My stomach sank. What other information had I carelessly divulged that might come back to bite me?

In lieu of a card, the flowers came with a text swearing she wasn’t stalking me – which sounds exactly like something a stalker would say – and apologized, again.

I thanked her for the flowers and told her that the gesture was highly unnecessary. The time came to say goodbye for good.

Days after I told her things wouldn’t work she reached out again, asking for a “do-over.” Fortunately she stopped shy of asking me not to “do that thing” where I ignore her.

I ghosted. Her texts, requests and calls have ceased … for now.

Lesson learned. Next time, I have to do a better job at psychopath filtering before I agree to meet IRL.

As I said, I have terrible luck with women. 

The author is a Los Angeles-based writer. She is on Twitter @TheVMele.

L.A. Affairs chronicles the current dating scene in and around Los Angeles. We pay $300 a column. If you have comments or a true story to tell, email us at LAAffairs@latimes.com.

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