There are few people who are more well-versed in the art of Uber than I am.
I know that's a pretty cocky and possibly delusional statement to make, but hear me out.
One month, I managed to spend $800 just on Uber rides. I had a panic attack on a subway about a year ago, and I haven't been able to ride one since. So Uber is my go-to. (Trust me, mental illness is expensive AF.)
As a native New Yorker, I love my classic yellow cabs. But my love for convenience trumps everything, even my loyalty (not a winning trait, I agree).
I was elated when I realized I could just punch in my credit card number once, lightly graze my phone screen with my pointer finger and BAM: An air-conditioned, chic black car would gracefully come sailing up the street like a plush knight in shining armor, ready to rescue me no matter where I was.
But here is the tricky thing about Uber: Unlike most customer service-oriented things, the customer is not always fucking right.
Customers rate their Uber drivers, but Uber drivers rate their customers, too. And if your Uber rating is low, you might not get that gorgeous, shiny car so damn quickly, honey.
You might have to wait 10 or more minutes in a bad neighborhood at an ungodly hour. Because Lady Five Star gets priority.
I used to work in customer service, so I get it. I spent years slaving away at a beauty counter in a high-end luxury department store. Can you imagine the slew of entitled shitheads I've had to deal with?
Do you know how much I wished and prayed to sweet baby Jesus that I could put a bright red "RUDE, DON'T WASTE YOUR TIME" stamp on the forehead of the bitchy women who treated me like the gum at the bottom of their Christian Louboutin over-the-knee suede boots?
Working in customer service for so long made me wildly sensitive to how my dates treat service people. If you're rude to a waiter, not only will I viscously chew you out and force you to leave a massive tip, but I'll also never talk to you again.
Because how you treat a waiter, a taxi driver and any sort of server tells me everything about your soul.
I've gone on far too many dates with women who were as sweet to the waiters as those yellow Splenda packets.
You know how those artificial sugars taste really sweet, but they're actually made from poisonous chemicals? The same thing applies to certain dates. After they've hooked you, you find out their kindness toward waiters was nothing more than a ploy to get in your pants.
In other words, their generosity wasn't genuine. And by the third date, their true colors revealed themselves. They acted like the cheap assholes they were, and I had wasted my time.
The beauty of the Uber rating is there is no hiding behind it. You can't be nice to your driver to show off to your hot date just once, act like a bonehead the rest of the time and still maintain a decent score. It doesn't work like that, bae.
Which is why you should ask your date to reveal their Uber rating before the appetizers come out.
It will show you the kind of monster you're dealing with before you decide to get that extra glass of wine that will probably escalate to sex.
And we don't want to have sex with anyone, male or female, gay or straight, who thinks they're better than service people, right? That's just disrespectful to the holy grail of le pussy.
However, the girl I'm currently dating — who I happen to like a lot — does not have a perfect rating. It's not super low, but I would say she teeters between a 3.5 and a 4.5. When she confessed her score six dates in, I was aghast.
"You don't have a five-star Uber rating?!" I yelled, as if all my hopes and dreams for a potential future with her were crashing and burning right there at a civilized West Village bistro.
"I'm not rude to them, Zara! I'm just a native New Yorker and sometimes want to go a specific route. I'm NICE about it, JESUS CHRIST!" she bit back, because she is, indeed, a native New Yorker. And real New Yorkers are very tempestuous in their romantic relationships.
Later that evening, I was riding in an Uber with her. I paid close attention to her behavior. Was there some red flag I had conveniently overlooked because I was physically attracted to her?
I noticed that while she was polite, she wasn't a pushover.
"Sir, there is a detour that way. Can you please take the FDR instead?" she curtly demanded.
"Sir, do you mind dropping us off right in FRONT of the building and not at the curb? Our final destination is a block away," she requested, her voice calm but firm, like a fair boss you wouldn't want to fuck with.
I found myself getting a little turned on.
If I'm real with myself, I don't want to date a person who just sits back and twiddles her thumbs, too timid to speak up when the person they're paying to drive them can't even drop them off in front of their actual door on a cold winter's night.
If you really think about how much Uber charges, especially in metropolitan areas like New York City where it can cost $75 to go a few miles during a surge, shouldn't we get fabulous service in return?
If a customer has the gusto to speak up when they're not being treated fairly by their driver and it lowers their rating, I'll take it. I need gusto. And people who are little outspoken and salty always seem to be better in bed anyway.
Now, let's take me and my perfect Uber rating that I'm so proud of.
I sit in silence as my driver takes the long route, even though I know better and have somewhere important to be. I say, "Hello, how are you?" even when they're super rude and greet me with a bitchy glare.
In short: I'm a pushover. And my five-star rating proves it.
Because Uber drivers, I've learned, will deduct stars if you so dare to sneeze in the backseat. And trust me, girls, I've held in a lot of sneezes in hopes I won't "tarnish" my precious rating.
I don't want to date another pushover. Two people pleasers in a relationship is a recipe for disaster. I need someone with assertive energy to balance me out or I'll get stepped on forever.
So, for me, a 3.5 to 4.5-star rating is ideal in someone I'm dating. Five stars means we're too alike, and we'll probably get screwed over all the time because we're both too meek to question anything.
However, anything lower than 3.5 means you're most likely a dick.
It's one thing to demand the service you deserve, and it's one thing to be smart and know your way around the city. We like smart people who have stellar senses of direction.
But if your driver gives you a two-star rating, your behavior has traveled to a world beyond just bruising the driver's ego for knowing your way around better than they do. Two stars most likely means you're rude, or even worse, a drunk.
I like to party, but I've never puked my guts up in an Uber. If you're consistently doing so to the point where your rating has dropped to two stars, you have a problem.
We are no longer 20. We can't be blacking out and vomiting in the buttery leather seats of chauffeur-driven cars.
And if your rating is low because of something other than excessive, destructive drinking, it's definitely because you're a mouthy jerk. And we're also too old to be mouthy jerks, let alone date one.
Uber ratings should be a requirement on Tinder profiles. My profile should read, "I'm a perfect, five-star Uber passenger seeking a polite yet firm 3.5 to 4.5-star passenger to balance me out."
And if you're a 3.5 to 4.5-star passenger, you should probably date a five-star like me. You can't have two Type-A, aggressive people in a relationship. That's just too intense for everyone involved.
In fact, I think I'd like to keep my SO's Uber rating more in the upper four-star range because I soften her blunt harshness with my sugary politeness.
She should probably send me flowers for that, honestly. Because if we stop seeing each other, it will look way better on her dating profile to have a solid four-star rating than a tepid three stars.
So, girls, boys and everyone in between, if you want to stalk your date, don't bother with Google. Unless you're a celebrity or internet personality, Google won't tell you shit.
Ask for a screenshot of that Uber rating, babes, before you find yourself knee-deep in a relationship with a spineless pushover or a self-important douche bag.