1,001 Nights with Laken: A train ride of shame

Laken Howard, Columnist

I’ve been asked to blog about my personal experiences with online dating. Luckily for you, dear readers, I am not shy. In fact, I tend to overshare, but I’ll keep that to a minimum here. I’ve been on a number of OkCupid dates, their quality ranging from outrageously amazing to super sexual to so-boring-I-think-I-might-stop-dating-forever. Here, I want to share with you the adventure I went on this summer. (Warning: I talk about sex).

The month: August. The day: Hell if I remember that. It was the summer after my freshman year of college, and I was stuck at home in Roscoe, Ill., with only my overweight chocolate lab Willie for company. Naturally, I browsed OkCupid in my boredom, occasionally messaging a worthy suitor. I had been talking to one guy — we’ll call him “Jared” — for a few days. I didn’t switch my location on OkCupid to my hometown, so all the users I talked to were in the city. Jared and I FaceTimed and texted for a while until my boredom got the best of me and I made plans to hop on a Metra to Chicago and go visit him for an evening.

Jared didn’t actually live in Chicago. He was interning and living with an aunt while on vacation from his college on the East Coast. Despite actually liking his personality, I’m sure I knew going into this situation that no relationship could ever grow out of this excursion. Nevertheless, I really wanted to meet him, so I made the trek downtown. He met me at Ogilvie Station and we walked back to his aunt’s ridiculously fancy and huge apartment on the Gold Coast. Needless to say, it was a little uncomfortable that I had to “meet the family” on our first date, but they seemed nice enough (read: non-judgmental of the fact that a random girl just came to stay the night with their nephew).

Unfortunately for me, Jared didn’t actually take me on a date that evening, even though I was practically starved to death from being on the Metra for two and a half hours. Instead, after chatting with his family for a bit, he took the keys to his aunt’s other, empty (like literally, there was no furniture) apartment so we could “hang out” there.

I’m sure you can imagine what happened next. We ended up hooking up on a moonlit patch of the carpeted floor of this eerily empty apartment in the middle of downtown Chicago. That sounds romantic, right? Wrong. Now, Jared wasn’t a bad guy. He was really nice, though a little awkward, and we had a lot in common. Unfortunately for Jared (and me), he was also kind of sweaty and not all that experienced in bed. Naturally, this made for a less-than-ideal situation for yours truly. I’ll spare you the intimate details, but just know I’ve since had much better sexual experiences.

After we were done, we ventured back to his aunt’s place, where we hung out, ate some food and eventually went to sleep. In the same bed. Which was kind of awkward since his aunt was like 65 years old and seemed like a sweet lady, and here I was, a stranger she just met, sleeping with her nephew.

The next morning, I had to take a cab to Ogilvie Station to go back home, looking and smelling like roadkill. If you start to feel embarrassed on your next walk of shame, don’t. I’ve done hours-long train rides of shame, so how bad can your walk from Bobb to 1835 Hinman really be?

Ultimately, I chalk this whole adventure up to “life experience points.” I never regret anything like this, so I’ll just say I learned that some one-night stands are less ideal than others. In this case, at least, I got a good story out of some bad sex. I can only hope my beautiful readers have better luck than me.