Please God Give Me The Wisdom To Avoid Summer Flings
A tattoo of Africa, a finger covered in vaseline, and a man with dice: a summary of summer flings.
By Tamim Louise
What Was It Like For You? is a monthly column of reflections around intimate experiences.
The summer felt like an especially bad time for dates (especially first dates) and it sucks because it’s the season when I feel most flirty — I want someone to text and be cute with so I am more susceptible to people who I shouldn’t be. All of my worst dates have happened in the summer, and they continue to happen in the summer. Maybe I should just spend these three months “working on myself” or whatever bullshit people say as an excuse for being alone. But I won’t, I can’t.
In Body Heat, the cop says something to the effect of, “When the heat comes normal people act crazy and start killing each other.” Lana del Rey also sings, “Something about this weather made these kids go crazy.” Yes, those are both kind of cringe things to reference, but they make me feel better about my seasonal bad decisions. When I think about summer flings, I'm met with this horrible montage that makes me want to find an icepick and perform my own lobotomy.
I had seen Joe a couple of times in the spring, when it was still kind of cold (he’d be in hoodies and sweaters). On our first date in nice weather, he showed up in a t-shirt, which revealed a tattoo of Africa on his arm (he’s white… Italian American… from Staten Island…). After he looked at his Apple watch and said, “Sorry, i’m having dinner later with my mama,” I chugged my drink and went home.
Then there was Theo, and that one faired a little better. It lasted a few months, but in the end, he was a 30-year-old man-child who wanted pity for having supportive and loving parents.
There was the guy who kept taking me to Welcome to the Johnsons. He dipped his finger in the large tub of vaseline he kept on him at all times. When he took out his finger, it was completely coated and I was confused about what he was going to do next. I thought maybe he was gonna give me a weird wet willy but he just applied to his lips. There was so much left on his finger and he just wiped it on his pants, and then tried to kiss me. I made a face — it was all so off-putting and he said, “It seems like you’re looking for something more serious than I can give you.” I said “I don't really think I'm looking for that," because I didn't even think I liked him. He said “I oscillate a lot,” but he didn't say between what, so maybe he didn’t really know what the word meant.
Jude was actually nice, it was just a bad time in my life and our issues were too similar. He was half Arab and half white and conflicted about how to deal with the two identities. He was sober, so our dates were like, walking around Washington Square Park at stabbing hours or watching him eat Pho. I wasn’t comfortable with the PDA because we were both working in music, and we’d be at shows where we knew the same people and I was working. To some extent, you’re always working when you’re in music and at a show, so I’d flinch or get stiff. He asked me if I was a virgin. I tried to stifle a laugh, but it came out as a sort of sprinkler spraying spit on his face.
That was a few years ago, but my track record this summer has not been great either. I went on a date with a guy who showed up in flip flops — like those foam-looking ones — and I can't understand how you could wear those around New York City. Like, wasn’t he afraid of contracting some yet-to-be-discovered disease from the sidewalk or having his foot make contact with dog shit? It’s just literally insane to only have half an inch of foam between you and the streets of the city.
The one I think of the most often was the art handler who wanted to take me to Mission Chinese Food on a Friday night. He didn't make a reservation, so we just stood there while the hostess scoffed at us for having the audacity. He took me to a noodle place around the corner with bright overhead white light that made me think about unliving myself. Then we went to a bar and he played around with something in his pocket. He finally said, “Do you know what's in my pocket?”
It had been going on all night. I thought, okay, the logical conclusion is that he’s going to pull his dick out and lay it on this table, but instead he pulled out dice, which was actually worse. I said “okay?” He said, “I like to play dice at house parties, you just have to find a piece of cardboard,” and I stared at him more. He just moved on and started telling me some theory about the truth not being the truth. When I engaged with him he said, “Let's change the subject — what should we talk about?” like he wasn’t familiar with how normal conversations work.
I was trying to finish my drink as quickly as I could so I could leave, but we were at a dive bar and the vodka soda really just tasted like vodka, so it was hard to get down. He finished before me and said, “I have to get back to Brooklyn.” I said, "okay well nice to have met you,” and he said he didn't want to leave me alone at this bar that was perfectly safe. So I ended up inhaling this disgusting drink.
We got outside and he said, "You know I really do need to go back home I wasn’t trying to get rid of you, you can come if you want." I spent 30 seconds imagining the discomfort of the 35 minute train ride that would leave to even further discomfort just in a new location where his bed would be feet away. He read my face and I guess thought it was a good idea to say, “By the way, I’m not trying to have sex with you, I don't want to have sex with you." I laughed at the absurdity and said, “I need to take the F home.”
He walked me to the steps of the train and tried to make out with me. I was confused after his proclamation, stepped back and stared at him. He said, “I mean it, I really don’t want to have sex with you.” I thought, okay, what the fuck, and he tried one last time. I said I heard the train coming and ran down the stairs. When I got home, he had sent me a text: "sorry if that was weird.” I responded, “yeah it was.” He replied, “well don't worry about it” and I didn’t answer because I had nothing to worry about. I wasn't the one who kept interrupting the conversation to say, “let's change the subject” or who made it known I was a terror armed with dice at parties. I also didn’t say “I don't want to have sex with you” five times in between attempts at making out. I never saw or spoke to him again, but I think of him at least twice a week when I walk by 169 Bar.