Twitter tags are in bold because FFN is lame.

140 Characters or Less

I am going to kill Alice. Why the hell she thought he was a good guy to set me up with, I'll never know. Friends don't make friends date douchebags, that's all I'm saying here. I know I mentioned that I wanted to date smarter guys after the last meathead, but this guy… Yes, fine, he's working towards his PhD, but this guy is just intolerable. And he's so self-involved that he doesn't even notice the fake smile I have plastered on my face.

Ah, we've moved on from deciding I wouldn't understand what he was working on to bitching about the coffee. And that elephant poop coffee is far superior to cat poop coffee. Sorry, dude. I don't care how good it is, I'm not drinking coffee that was covered in poop. And I know that shit is expensive so I doubt Mr. All But Dissertation has ever tried it. And yes, pun intended.

He just never stops talking! This is kind of fascinating, actually. Not the bragging or the droning, but that a person can be so completely out of touch. I zone out and contemplate the different ways I can murder Alice and then vaguely notice he's standing up. I pull my focus back, ever hopeful that we're done, but no… nope, he's headed for the bathroom.

I grab my phone to send Rose an SOS and see that she's texted me a link to a twitter page.

Rose: I think this might be about you – the guy is at the same coffee shop you are. Is your date that bad? Do I need to start scoping out locations to bury Alice's body? Should I head to Home Depot for shovels?

Me: Yes, he's that bad. Yes to scoping. We might be able to borrow shovels. I call dibs on her shoes.

I click on the link and start scrolling, start to laugh, and then snort… loudly. Yep. This is about me. Or actually about the douche I'm having coffee with.

EC Writer 30m

Ahhhhh… kahve… how I love your coffee.

EC Writer 17m

Watching a couple on what I think is a horrible first date at a table near me. This guy is textbook condescending narcissistic PhD candidate

EC Writer 17m

And I say that as a narcissistic PhD candidate. She is beautiful and apparently has the patience of a saint. He is an asshole.

EC Writer 16m

"Teaching just isn't my thing. I feel like I have more to give with my research." C'mon, guy, really? Bet you he ends up adjunct somewhere.

EC Writer 15m

She asked him what he was working on. His answer, no lie, is "You wouldn't understand." Whoa. She is NOT happy with that response.

EC Writer 13m

"People tell me I could be the next Stephen Hawking." WHAT PEOPLE? Is it your mom? Admit it, it's your mom.

EC Writer 11m

She's nice – asks him questions. He hasn't asked her anything.

Wait he just asked if she'd ever dated a Mensa member. wtf

EC Writer 10m

"You know, they just let anyone in these days. It's a shame. It used to be so great, so exclusive." IS THIS GUY FOR REAL?

EC Writer 10m

I apologize for this guy on behalf of all doctoral students everywhere. Kill me if I ever sound like this jerk.

EC Writer 9m

He's complaining about the coffee. And apparently elephant shit coffee is far better than the measly cat shit stuff. Um… ok.

EC Writer 8m

It's from shit though. I like my coffee shit free, thanks. I don't care what fancy name it has. Just call it shit coffee and be done.

EC Writer 8m

The look of disgust on her face is amazing. And if you haven't realized, he's a hipster douchebag on top of jerk PhD student. Awesome guy.

EC Writer 6m

Slight reprieve for her… bathroom break for him. She's texting… I'm assuming for emergency assistance.

EC Writer 5m

Which I simultaneously want and don't. This is entertaining but I wouldn't wish this guy on anyone. Least of all her.

EC Writer 2m

Update… she's truly gorgeous when she laughs, which she hasn't done once with douchebag but is while reading her phone

EC Writer 0m

She's even more gorgeous when she blushes. Which she did after snorting loudly. She snorted gorgeously, of course.

EC Writer 0m

Hmmm… she's furtively looking around. Not for douchebag. The plot thickens…

I keep looking around the coffee shop, trying to see who my mysterious tweeter is. I have it narrowed to three – one girl on her laptop and two guys on their phones. One is hot and in a black shirt, one is… not hot and in ironic plaid. OK, so chances are one in three that hot guy is the one tweeting. If I actually have a Hot Twitter Guy here, calling me gorgeous, that possibility is totally worth potential embarrassment. I glance towards the bathroom to make sure the jerk isn't on his way back to the table yet and compose a tweet.


ec_writer black shirt?

His head snaps up from his phone, and he looks at me. When he sees me grinning at him, he looks a little embarrassed and wary of my reaction. I laugh and give him a little wave which seems to relax him and softens the panic in his eyes to amusement. He types one more thing before tucking his phone in his pocket, and I glance down to see what he's written.

EC Writer 0m

Ladies and gentlemen, I've been made. I think I'm going to rescue a swan and beg forgiveness for all PhD students, myself included.

I look up to see him walking towards the counter and away from me. I'm a little confused considering that last tweet, but I console myself by admiring how his ass looks in those jeans. I text Rose back about Hot Twitter Guy which she finds hilarious. She's encouraging me to trip and fall in his lap or take other extreme measures when he gets back to his table. At the very least, she's expecting a stealth photo from me. I am so focused on my conversation with her that I jump when I hear a voice close to my ear.

"I come to you, bearing the brownie of contrition, hoping you will forgive me and all condescending, narcissistic PhD candidates everywhere."

Hot Twitter Guy is bowing next to me, his head tilted down in supplication, and holding one of the amazing brownies they sell here in the palm of his hand. I snort-laugh again and immediately am horrified. Seriously? Hot Twitter Guy is in front of me and I snort?

He stands back up, and all I see are twinkling green eyes gazing down at me in amusement. "Don't be embarrassed. You're a gorgeous snorter." He tries to be serious but can't quite hold it together enough to sell the statement.

I start laughing again and smack his arm. "Dork."

"Yep. I got into that super dork level of Mensa. There are only five of us. Very exclusive. We talk about research that no one could possibly understand."

We're still laughing when the douchebag of the day returns, popping the bubble of flirty joking that Hot Twitter Guy and I have lost ourselves in.

"Hey, Betty. This guy bothering you?"

"It's Bella. Bel-la. My name is Bella. And this is my friend… um… E. We, uh, went to grad school together."

"Oh, yeah? Well, any friend of Becca's is a friend of mine, man. I'm Paul." He holds out his hand to shake E's, and I can just see the wheels turning in Hot Twitter Guy's head.

"Saul, eh? I'm Edward. Actually, I'm going to steal Bella away. We're having a bit of a reunion get- together thing, and no one had her updated contact info. It's just lucky I ran into her, right, Pablo?"

I don't need more prompting than that, so I grab my bag and stand from the table.

"It was good meeting you, Palomo," I manage to say with a straight face as I shake his hand.

"Definitely great, definitely. Can I call you? Maybe we can do this again sometime? I didn't get a chance to tell you about my friend who has a cousin who has a friend with a total in with the dean at Harvard."

"Oh, yeah, Dean Cope is pretty fantastic. It's great to have a female mathematician to look up to. She's been a huge influence on my thesis. And even though she moved up to administration, she still has time for us PhD students when we need to vent. She's the main reason I decided to go to Harvard. You're at BU, right?" I just had to get the dig in there. Normally I wouldn't bother, but that crack that I wouldn't understand sealed the deal.

Paul sputters, and I see a look of pride and amusement on Edward's face. "Harvard? How… great for you. Could I, uh, get your number?"

I glance down and see a flyer standing on the table for the coffee shop's afternoon half-price specials. Edward is watching me closely with a curious look on his face. I quirk an eyebrow at him as I read off the number from the trifold as Paul puts it in his phone. Edward barks out a laugh and quickly disguises it as a cough.

"Come on, Edward. Let's get you something for that cough on the way. We can't have you sick for the big reunion weekend, now can we?" We quickly walk out the door, Paul trailing behind us. We turn left, and he turns right, and we somehow make it around the corner before letting loose all of the laughter that had been bubbling up inside of us.

"Palomo?!" Edward gasps out, mid-guffaw.

"You started it, Edmund," I say while I wipe the tears from my eyes. I'll take tears over snorting any day.

When we finally calmed down, he smiles and holds out his hand.

"Hi, I'm Edward. Nice to twitter stalk you."

"Hi Edward. I'm Bella. And it was a pleasure to be tweeted by you. I mean tweeted about. Oh, for fuck's sake. Nice to meet you. Shit! I left my brownie inside! Oh man, I sacrificed my brownie to the bad date gods. Not cool."

"You sacrificed the brownie of contrition?!" he asks with feigned horror. "I, uh, know a place down the street if you want to grab some dessert? The coffee isn't as good as this place, but it's not bad. And it doesn't involve elephant shit, so that's a plus."

I can only imagine that the grin on my face matched the one I see on his. "Well, by all means… lead on, Sir Dork."

"Sir Dork, at your service, m'lady," he says with a wink and offers me his arm. I link my arm in his and feel simultaneously goofy and completely comfortable as we walk down the street.

We sit and talk in the little bakery for hours. He asks me about the work I'm doing and makes an effort to understand the intricacies involved, fascinated by the problems I'm encountering and my plan for how to get around them. I'm enthralled by the way his face lights up when he talks about his dissertation topic. He doesn't brag or boast; he just truly loves what he's working on, and it shows. We compare our love of books and movies, and although there is some overlap, we each have interests that the other person doesn't. He listens and asks questions about why I love the things I do. Not in a judgmental way, but because he wants to know me… to understand me.

The bakery staff finally kicks us out, but we linger on the sidewalk. Neither of us wants to end what had turned into an amazing afternoon. We stand close together in comfortable silence and he nervously plays with my hand. On a whim, I stand on my tiptoes and give him a quick kiss on the lips. When I pull back, he's grinning, surprised and apparently relieved that I had taken the first step. He gently strokes my cheek and then bends his head and kisses me softly. His lips move against mine slowly, sensuously, and I feel myself melting into his embrace.

When we finally separate, he holds my face in his hands and gives me three small kisses . "Can I call you? Please?"

I give him my number… my real one.

A year later

EC Writer

Holy shit. Bad date guy is here with a new victim. shoppingalice HAVE YOU LEARNED NOTHING? YOU ARE A CRUEL, CRUEL WOMAN.

Shopping Alice

ec_writer ha ha ha. So funny. Like I'd do that again? That cost me my favorite boots.

EC Writer


EC Writer

I can't believe this guy. And the girl is way into it too. Earnest gazes, hand holding, the works. Seems nice but you can't save them all.


Seriously shoppingalice you still owe me for that shit. At least Palomo didn't talk about daddy issues- ec_writer wouldn't have survived

Shopping Alice

bswan0913 you got the boots AND ec_writer so I'd say it worked out just fine.


True shoppingalice. Possibly best awful blind date ever. Wouldn't you say so ec_writer?

EC Writer

You know it bswan0913. Never thought I'd be grateful to hipster douchebag, but I am. Your date was the best thing that ever happened to me


xo me too ec_writer. ILY.

Shopping Alice

For the love of Louboutin bswan0913 and ec_writer get off twitter already. You two give me cavities.


OK, OK shoppingalice I'm heading home ec_writer

EC Writer

*zooms out door*


ec_writer dork

EC Writer

bswan0913 your dork.


ec_writer my dork xo

I am stunned and amazed by the response this got in the contest. Huge thanks to the hosts and judges and Kim (especially for dealing with the twitter FFN bs) and everyone involved for dealing with 79 (!) entries.

Some really wonderful friends helped me out by prereading and holding my hand while I had some minor freak outs. Mary Kitty Masen is my own personal cheerleader and I wouldn't have it any other way. Drotuno lets me pick her brain and throw ideas at her in FB PMs and gives me gentle nudges in the right direction. And Hadley Hemingway is my validator twin from MtD and I can't tell you how thrilled I am that she was willing to read through this for me. OK, thrilled and scared because she's HH and I'm kind of in awe of her bad beta self.

And Carrie ZM… there are no words. I know I keep saying that, but I really have nothing that will suffice when it comes to you. Your red pen carries some very kind and sparkly ink in it, and your support when I doubt it all means everything.