As an older millennial, I find it impossible to date anyone who isn’t named Thad. It’s become so dire that I assign them nicknames: Trucker Hat Thad, Clown Thad, and, as we’ve aged, Bald Thad.
Inevitably the Thads work as craft chocolate makers, professional students, or carpenters with a PhD in semiotics — careers that will not get me the house in the suburbs I’ve been denying I want. And I’m fully booked with my 12 hours a week at the flower shop and my feminist food web series.
The Thads never seem to be interested in a serious relationship either, which is natural, since monogamy is for old people. Unless you had someone you wanted to fix me up with? I’m always game for a date, and I’ve realized I thrive on my attraction to the underdog.
That’s why when Bald Thad recently asked if I wanted to grab a yoga class and then tacos, I said yes. A self-made digital nomad, he lived in a co-dwelling space on the East Side and exhibited a certain troubled aloofness. He was practically perfect.
But our Velvet Underground-themed wedding wasn’t to be. A few weeks in, Bald Thad told me he was having “doubts about the seriousness of our relationship.” He reassured me he still liked my poetry, and that he would get back to me in a few days.
A FEW DAYS? I That’s 857 Tinder years. I was just a girl standing in front of every boy age 25 to 40, asking him to love her and have a baby immediately because my doctor told me it would already be considered a geriatric pregnancy.
Within an hour I’d found another Thad: He was into Malaysian food, Instagram, and Arcade Fire. I knew it was fate. I nicknamed him Tuba Thad, because he played tuba in an alternative marching band.
We decided to meet at a bar near his house the next morning, and I arrived bright and early at 1 PM, dressed in my best flouncy prairie dress. Tuba Thad looked just like his photos: dark curls, black threadbare tee, inner bicep tattoo of an unreadable but clearly philosophic motto. It might have been in Sanskrit or Cyrillic, but I’d forgotten my Eastern Linguistics course materials.
We immediately started discussing how to bake with local gluten-free flours. This Thad got me: I hadn’t told him my plan to open the first cricket-flour bakery, but I had intimated that I was different than most girls because I was obsessed with dessert.
“If you want to come over to my house, I can teach you how to make a pie with oat butter,” he said, putting his hand on my left breast. I giggled like my mother always told me not to, then whispered, “Maybe later” as I removed his hand, because that’s how Beyoncé would do. I appreciate a romantic gesture as much as the next gal, but we hadn’t talked about being exclusive, plus it wasn’t Thursday, Friday, Saturday, or Sunday after brunch.
Suddenly, I felt an awkward stare coming from the shuffleboard court. It was Bald Thad and his brother, Almost-Bald Brad. I froze. Tuba Thad noticed our mutual stare and shouted, “What up, my brother?” to Almost-Bald Brad, because you can’t swing a Lone Star without running into someone you lived with in a vegetarian co-op ten years ago. The dome-headed brothers stood up simultaneously and came to sit with us.
As I watched their conversation unfold, I zoned out more than during savasana at Yoga Chandi. Their dharma talk? The superiority of switchel over kombucha, how to take balance to the next level, milk-washed whiskey, who got more woke after reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, the hegemony of narrow bike lanes.
This continued for what seemed like 45 animal-shenanigan videos on YouTube, but all at once the tone shifted, I saw the sky had darkened, and the brothers told us they were leaving to open for their friend’s band, Dead Pencil Kings, at the Mysterious Barber. Flabbergasted, Tuba Thad said he’d been planning to hit that up next. What was Bald Thad’s chosen instrument? he wondered.
“Theremin,” Bald Thad said, air-playing … well, the air, since you don’t actually touch anything when you play the theremin.
The Thads and Almost-Bald Brad nodded solemnly, then walked off into the dusk like three riders in a storm of smog and air pollution because we really need to focus on the environment, you guys. Meanwhile I walked home bumping into this person and that pole as I watched Live Stories of them bumping into this pole and that person, and wait, that’s Karli, Bald Thad’s ex-partner — oh, no his current partner it seems from the taco emojis and ellipses plastered across her face as mine fell into the concentration known to creatives as flowing.
Image Credit: Salvador Dalí “A Trombone and a Sofa Fashioned Out of Saliva” (1936)
Megan Giller is the author of Bean-to-Bar Chocolate: America’s Craft Chocolate Revolution, and her work has appeared in Slate, The New York Times, and Texas Monthly, among other publications. A native Texan, she lives in New York City with her husband and dog. Follow her chocolate escapades on Instagram @chocolatenoise.