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Confession time, guys. I’m a 33 year-old functional adult who has never truly dated.

I was what you call a late-bloomer and a serial monogamist. I had my first boyfriend at 16, then dated the next guy throughout all of college. I left him for a new man at age 22, and after 11 very difficult years, left that guy.

Furthermore, at 33, I’ve only had sex with one person my entire life.

Now here I am 5 months out of a relationship and trying to figure out not only who I am as a single person, but also how to get back out there and meet new people. So, how does one meet people these days? The internet. Apparently, that is the only way anymore.

Anyone that has tried online dating knows how much work it is. You have to match with someone, then you have to message them, then you have to make clever and cute conversation, then you have to do a deep dive online to make sure they aren’t a psychopath, and then maybe after a few days or weeks, you might actually meet. But don’t get your hopes up too high—because they may disappear entirely.

Oh, and you don’t just do this exhausting mating dance once. You’re trying to do this with eight to 10 people simultaneously so that MAYBE, eventually, hopefully you’ll meet up with ONE of them. It’s super fun!

So, that’s what I did. After a month of playing the game, I finally had a time and a place to meet a smart, charming, talented young man that I’d been texting with for about three weeks. We had tried to set up a phone call or two, but we were both just really busy and decided to meet without having spoken. Caution flag, but certainly not a red flag.

This guy had a gig playing his guitar and singing at a local bar, and I was going to go see him play then stay for a drink with him afterwards. Everything went really well, and he was an amazing performer. I did, however, feel horrible that I was literally the only person at the bar to watch.

So, let’s call this Red Flag No. 1:

How is it that he had no other friends or family that would be there to see him perform?

But I ignored that. We had one drink, talked to the bar promoter, and had a lovely time. He excused himself to load his gear into his car, and when he came back he signaled the need to head home. It was cold out, so he wanted to get his equipment inside.

Besides, he didn’t want to leave his car out on the street because his inspection was expired.

Irresponsible car maintenance is Red Flag No. 2.

He then asked me if I would like to join him at his apartment to listen to some records.

*pause for laughter*

I said “sure, why not?”

*pause for eyeroll*

Okay guys, I know. I KNOW. I hadn’t been laid in a good 8 months. Apparently, two red flags wasn’t enough for me to say no. We learn new things about ourselves every day!

He walked me to my car—as a gentleman should—and I gave him the go ahead eyes to kiss me. The kiss furthered my resolve to follow him back to his apartment.
When we got there, and out came Red Flags No. 3 and No. 4.

No. 3: Roommate, who he had not mentioned, sat on the couch playing video games.

No. 4: Many, many devices in which to smoke marijuana EVERYWHERE (I take no issue with pot, but you don’t need to have a vaporizer, a vape pen, a 2-foot bong, and three bowls lying about your living room, imho). Still I was not completely fazed. He was still very nice, very talented, and most importantly very, very hot. So when he asked me if I’d help him take his gear upstairs to be put away in his bedroom, I did not refuse.

This my friends is where we meet Red Flag No. 5.

King-size boxspring and mattress, no frame, just on the floor. I’m sorry, but when you’re 33 years old and can apparently afford (what turned out to be a very nice) king-size mattress and boxspring, maybe you could spring for even just a cheapo frame. But that evening I learned an important lesson, a mattress on the floor makes no noise.

Now I wasn’t looking for anything serious or lasting, and you know what? By ignoring all those red flags, that is exactly what I found.

Cecelia Halpert

Cecelia is an amateur storyteller, writer, and adult. She hopes to go pro in all three someday.

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