plus one | 31 Blind Dates Anthology

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Let's grab dinner. I'll send you a location pin.

It's Day 11 of the bet Suzi made to go on 31 blind dates over the course of July, and she decided to do this one the good old-fashioned way. Tinder. Give me some geo-located, AI-determined true love based entirely on someone's hotness, please, she thought as she layered on multiple rounds of Facetune for a new profile pic and snagged herself a swipe named Mateo. 24, dark skin, brown hair, writers' assistant, string of funny messages, good emoji game. She clicked on the location pin-- a swanky, trendy restaurant on the rich side of Santa Monica near the water. Ugh, not another fancy restaurant. This dating challenge was seriously draining her of her coin.

I told you I just graduated college, dude. I can't afford that place, she replied.

Wasn't he a writer's assistant? At this point, she'd have to budget just to afford Chipotle.

My treat. I'm a gentleman, he writes.

LA dating life for you. You never know who's a baller. Maybe he was some famous person's kid. Or he was playing her and he couldn't pay for this and she would be maxing out her credit card or climbing out a bathroom window before the check was served. After four years of beer pong and pizza bagels and a swipe history of immediate hook-up requests and unsolicited dick pics, Suzi was willing to take the risk. Plus she had two pride-crushing job interviews earlier that day, and if she didn't go out, she was probably going to sob into three-day-old pad thai that she would definitely be stealing from her roommate's side of the fridge. So she agreed to meet the baller hottie.

She stared at her closet and tried to figure out what to wear that would make her look sort of like the fake picture she posted of herself. There was that dress she ordered in a flash sale to wear to her ex's graduation party and then stuffed it way in the back of her closet when they broke up before she had a chance to wear it. Yesssss, done. Was this a night for Spanx-but-no-sex-fashion or is it sex-if-he-doesn't-mind-fast-food-belly-fashion? She lifted her shirt in the mirror for a view of the landscape, and Spanx, it is. Good talk, Mirror. Next time, you don't have to be so honest. I'm not the damn evil Queen, she thought. Ten minutes of contortion later and she was into the spandex girdle. A chastity belt... probably.

She popped in her earbuds and blasted Lizzo's Good as Hell. One foot-planted-on-the-top-of-the-toilet-bowl, two-handed blow-out where she actually made the effort to get the back of her head and one makeup tutorial video on YouTube later, and she was in the back of an Uber looking fine af. If nothing else, she would get a hot Instagram picture out of this that would make Ashley's judgy ass jealous-- because she of course hadn't unfollowed Suzi like the messy bitch she was.

Date night @ Maravillosa

Within 5 minutes, Suzi had earned several fires and a wide-eyed emoji. Mmm-hmm. She was so ready to meet the baller hottie. She arrived at the restaurant and opened the app. Mr. Sandman, bring him to me.

Meet me by the bar, he messaged.

She took a seat at the bar and looked around. This restaurant was more decadent than she expected— panoramic Pacific Ocean views, all-white furniture, hand-painted abstract murals on the walls. She scanned the crowd. Lots of west side high rollers, none of them him. Was he even there? Was that him? Nope. Not him. Him? No, not him. Maybe him? And no. Maybe this was some kind of joke-- some YouTuber making a prank video.

The bartender sidled up. "What would you like to drink?"

Ugh! Where was he? She didn't want to buy a drink on her own. The whole point of this escapade was that this guy would be treating. "Water please," she said.

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