The sounds of the Amazon rainforest gently rouse me from my slumber. No, I didn’t take a last-minute trip to Brazil, it’s the newest live alarm pack from Rise+Shine. Instead of canned, prerecorded tracks like some other apps, Rise+Shine pays people all over the developing world to install solar-powered microphones on their roofs so that we can get a little taste of what life is like with no indoor plumbing or electricity. And with the money Rise+Shine sends the villages each month, they’ll all soon be able to buy potable water from a non-profit water supplier that Mark Zuckerberg and his wife just set up through their charitable trust. It’s a win-win-win.
I hop in the shower and turn on my waterproof Bluetooth speaker so I can hear the latest issue of MorningPaper. It’s a summary of The Skimm, Oprah’s last 12 tweets, and some other daily email newsletters, condensed and read aloud by an American expat who lives in London. It’s a huge timesaver because now I’m up to date on the latest happenings before I get to the gym.
Speaking of the gym, I better get going, or I’ll be late to my favorite spin class. Well, it’s not really my favorite, since under my current subscription plan I’m only allowed to go twice a month but only if the moon is half full, but I still like this instructor the bes —
Crap, is it really 8 already? Rise+Shine must have a Daylight savings time bug. Will have to remember to have my Jarvis write up a support ticket. Now I’m definitely not making it to spin class, but luckily I got into the beta of PastClass. It posts a picture taken at a random fitness class to your Instagram so that your friends think you went to the gym. I hear the next version will also scan your friends’ accounts so it doesn’t accidentally post a pic from the same class they were at. That would be really embarrassing.
Well, now that I’m not going to the gym, I have time to try out this new leave-in conditioner from Bonsaibox. It’s like Birchbox except you and a hundred other people all forward your monthly Birchbox samples to a processing plant that combines the samples into full-size bottles. So instead of getting 17 little packets of stuff I will never use, I get a full bottle of something that I might use a handful of times. It’s so hard to get more than a dollop out of those little packets, you know? Plus Bonsaibox recycles the Birchbox packets into fertilizer for its rooftop garden at their Williamsburg HQ.
I wish my company was located in Williamsburg, but we’re in half a WeWork private office in Flatiron like every other startup in New York. We’re a digital marketing company that focuses specifically on subscription-based retail apps. It’s a crowded space, but we were a finalist for @ccelator’s winter class, so I’m hopeful, but I’m still having HeadHunt make anonymous inquiries with the other startups on my WeWork floor to see if they might be hiring.
We won’t get free lunch until we close our A round, but because so many of our clients are food-based, we end up getting tons of free food anyway by serving as their beta testers. One of them is an all-you-can eat lunch app called Lunch Pail. They give you a literal pail (it’s neon green) for $100/month and you go around to different restaurants, which each give you one entree or side dish. It’s like a scavenger hunt mixed with mandatory exercise!
It’s actually become a real team-building exercise in the office. We stop working at 11:30 each morning to plot out our route for that day’s lunch. Sometimes the discussions can get pretty heated.
So we almost got into a huge fight with a startup on the fifth floor over the last red velvet cupcake at the gluten-free cupcake store. Put enough Ramen-fueled, sleep-deprived people in a boring office building that’s cut up into cool-looking offices with free beer and it’s going to be a powder keg just waiting to be set off. Luckily things settled down before people starting throwing their Lunch Pails at each other.
It creates fake profiles that mix in with your real profile, and then all of the profiles message the same guy, so you can make sure that he’s not an asshole. I’ve been chatting with this guy as Lily, Amelia, and Hailey over the past few days and am really laying it on thick that I want him to ask me out and —
Crap, did he just pick Lily before Lily could ghost him? Damn it. OK, new plan. I just won’t have Lily respond and then hope he’ll move on and message Hailey (the real me) on his own. Phew.
That stupid Rise+Shine bug is really throwing my schedule off. It’s a little late to be grabbing coffee, but I’m hoping tonight’s date isn’t a one-drink-and-ditch situation, so I’ll need to be awake later. (Although I saw that my BackUp promo code just arrived in my inbox, so I’ll have a fake emergency on hand if need be).
Unfortunately, the office coffee selection is subpar and there’s no coffee startup in the building, so I trudge outside in the cold to CoffeeCart. It’s a big self-service truck that sells unlimited cups of coffee for $35/month, which is a crazy good deal in NYC. Their secret is in the bean selection — they only buy beans from Folgers, Maxwell House, and Mr. Coffee, which they get for super cheap, and then they let them sit in huge pressurized oak barrels, which really infuses the beans with third wave flavor. You also get a special orange smart cup that is linked to your account and fits in a little slot dispenser in the side of the truck. It’s so seamless.
The Facebook ad campaign for one of my big clients is going gangbusters, so I sneak out of the office early to get ready for the big date. I take another shower while I listen to EveningBroadsheet (MorningPaper’s companion service that summarizes what’s happened so far today read by an American expat living in Mumbai). Yes I know two showers a day seems like a lot, but you would not imagine how much grime accumulates on you in this city even after a few minutes outside.
I check LoveDoctor to make sure that my date tonight has successfully transitioned from fake Lily to the real me.
Crap! He stopped responding to Lily, but then went hard for Amelia. Not sure what that says about the real me, but that’s an internal monologue for another day.
In any case, I need a new new plan: I’ll just show up to the date as Amelia and hope the sunglasses in my real picture hid enough of my face so he won’t know the difference, except if we end up hitting it off and getting serious. But then I would just hire NewU to digitally recreate myself as Amelia and then legally change my name. One thing at a time.
Also, I used an artsy filter in the Amelia picture and no guy expects a girl to look like her online dating profile anyway, so I should be fine. Just in case though, I quickly booked an appointment with a BlowToGo stylist at my apartment. She’s going to straighten out my hair and apply some temporary brown coloring. At the same time, my Rent the Night stylist is bringing over a cute outfit that she handpicked for me based on a machine-learning generated style profile. It’s much easier and cheaper than keeping a fully-stocked wardrobe on hand, when I usually spend the nights I stay in wearing just a t-shirt and sweatpants anyway. Plus no repeat outfits!
I book a ride to the bar with ElecFleet — it’s only electric cars (I hope I get a Tesla!) and they also sell eco-friendly snacks out of a kiosk built into the backs of the front seats. As I get into the car, I slip on my headphones to let the soothing sounds of the Amazon take me away from the hustle and bustle of the city, if only for a few minutes.
Despite me pretending to be 23 year-old Amelia (I’m 26) who works at Goldman Sachs, this date is still among my top five first dates all year. Right off the bat, I told him that I went by my middle name, Hailey, so that solved one problem. Now I just have to pretend that I know something about finance. Luckily I have my DateSquad earbud securely in place (they’re funded by Taylor Swift). It’s got a microphone that listens to our conversation and then a team of women who used to work at McKinsey formulates one-liners and conversation topics on the spot. They are really saving my ass now, as my date seems to know an awful lot about finance for a guy who works at a health food tech startup. I hope he’s also not using the male version of DateSquad, BroDude, which would make this whole date into a redundant exercise planned by machines and on-demand consultants. I like to think I live in the real world, you know?
As the night goes on, I casually mention that I’m thinking of quitting my job to join a digital marketing startup and then I won’t even need to pretend to be Amelia after tonight. If we end up getting married and he finally notices my real age, I’ll just say I’m 23 at heart. Perfect.
My date mentions that he lives a few avenues away and asks if I want to come see his first edition of Peter Pan that he won at a charity auction last year. I politely decline and tell him that I have to go back downtown to work the rest of the night. He goes in for a kiss though, but at the urging of the voices in my ear, I turn slightly to the left so he just gets my cheek. He puts me in a cab and I have the driver make a U-turn uptown once he’s out of sight.
I would have leaned in and kissed him, sure, but, as the DateSquad girls explain to me as we zig zag up First Avenue, Goldman girls don’t kiss until the fourth date. Good thing I won’t be one for that much longer.
Click here for part 1!