Wise men say, Only fools rush in…
*Sigh* So, I’ve reactivated my online dating account.
I’m either a glutton for punishment, or stupidly hopeful. Only time will tell.
My reason for hanging out here on the fence is that I’ve been here before. If my life was a movie, my online dating experiences would be a cleverly put together vignette of dates and messages cut together to cohesively show how absolutely bat shit insane some of these dates were. It would only take about a two minutes to communicate the quality of the company I was in. Attempting to be diplomatic and fair, I answered most messages against my better judgement. Ladies and gents alike, please, whatever you do, trust your fucking gut. If it hasn’t steered you wrong yet, its not going to start now.
So with the encouragement of friends Amy and Shannon, I lined up a bunch of dates, saying no to next to no one. This is a mistake I will not make again. Lessons learned.
Before we proceed with this online dating shit story hour, let us remember a few key things:
a) I’m not perfect.
b) I exhausted all possible understanding of these situations and still cannot fathom that they occurred.
So, what follows is my point of view on a handful of the dates I went on. Consider this the highlight reel.
Date 1: First person I ever met off online dating. Tall, blonde, a motorcycle and an IT tech. On paper, totally acceptable, respectable and H-O-T. I arrive for my date punctually, already misleading this poor guy because I’m usually late to everything except school presentations and work meetings. Who knows, maybe he’ll influence a change in me (spoiler alert: no, he won’t).
So I’m sitting in Barcelona in New Haven. I have to attend another gathering afterwards, so I put on my new dress, did my hair (‘fro chic) and even sported a pair of swanky black pumps. Not to toot my own horn but, HONK. So, surprised that I was not only on time, but the first to arrive, I perched myself at the bar and ordered a sangria. 10 minutes in, he texted to say he was running late. Things happen, so I wasn’t going to hold it against him. He arrived 30 minutes later. We chatted for an hour, and then I paid the bill. Yes, you read that right. I.paid.
Now, I’m not so old fashion that I minded. I’m a feminist. I’m an independent woman by Destiny’s Child standards. I’m a working girl with income. But at least OFFER to pay for my one slightly overpriced glass of red sangria, seeing as the reality is that you probably make more than me because of what’s between your legs.
Cut to: Date 2.
I meet this guy outside Anna Liffey’s in New Haven. Nice smile, kind eyes, shakes my hand upon meeting me, and comically blows me away with his loud voice.
We’re 2 of 5 people in the bar, and the other 3 can hear every word he says. Turns out, he’s a helicopter mechanic, a totally respectable position and admirable job. Somehow the conversation turns to a Christian camp that he works at during summer time, and the more passionate (and loud) he became about Christianity (the kind that frightens me, not the kind I peacefully coexist with), the more I wanted an anvil to fall on my head a la Wiley Coyote.
Cut to Date 3:
Standing outside Atticus book shop. Looking for someone who looks like Seth Green, but at the height of 5’7. As I am 5’1, I was not looking at eye level. Gentleman: do not lie about your height. I won’t care if you don’t care. And an inflated ego doesn’t compensate for the 6″ you lied about. I’d rather you be short and humble than short and an ego maniac.
Discouraged, I took a hiatus for a few months. Then I was encouraged to try again.
Date 4: Not bad. Just not a strong enough attraction, as apparent in my lack of details.
Date 5: Shit Show Extravaganza. I love exchanging long messages, and it always makes me excited because I feel like that means it should automatically translate to good conversation off line. WRONG. Also, I’m fine with people being comfortable with me. I’m happy when that happens because then it makes my actual job easy (counselor). Yet, here we are, on a first date.
We met up at a local bar for drinks. The conversation started off light enough, gently flowing through the work exchanges and then after he heard me say “I’m a counselor” must’ve gotten the wrong idea. The conversation took a nose dive, like a cartoon character leaping from great heights into a Dixie cup.
I was bombarded by his lack of luster for his chosen profession, his schooling left him unfulfilled, he had a terrible childhood, (drink #1 complete, drink #2 commence) his parent’s bad marriage, the okay relationship with one of his siblings, (drink #2 complete, drink #3 commence) and the string of terrible relationships that have left him the broken man he is before me (drink #3 complete, drinks 4&5 commencing). Anytime I offered constructive or positive feedback, or even a silver lining, it was dismissed by doom and gloom. Ok, Donnie Downer. Also, asked me nothing about myself. I offered up several facts, asked him follow up questions, but he was the focal point of conversation.
I was an Interpersonal Communication Major. I live for well balanced conversations.
Hell yes he paid the bill.
Afterwards, when walking out to our cars, he, feeling the date went well, asked me for a second date. When I gently declined, stating I was not who he was seeking, he stated his disappointment, and that he wanted to kiss me.
I left him, downtrodden but resilient. Or so I thought.
Cut to the next morning, a
cup of bowl of coffee in my hand, checking my dating site messages. There he is. Sad as ever. It was a ridiculously long message, damning me for not wanting a second date, lamenting about how he went home and polished off a handle of Jack D all by his lonesome and came to the shocking conclusion that I SHOULD ALLOW HIM TO TAKE ME OUT 4 MORE TIMES BEFORE I DECIDE I DON’T WANT TO SEE HIM ANYMORE. Because, you know, that’s fair and reasonable. Apparently 4 is the magic number of dates to have before you decide if a person is tolerable or not, whereas I figured it out in 1. Go figure, overachiever.
And on that day, our brave heroine used the almighty ‘Block’ button.
Date 6. Awesome. We met at a museum (there are several good ones in New Haven). We wandered, observed, shared. It was so fluent and easy going, I was ecstatic. Perfect bounce back from El Loco. Could it be? Is that…? A SECOND DATE?
Before the Hallelujah chorus had time to start vocal warm ups, I was forgotten on the second date, due to a sudden weather movement of marijuana clouds that settled over his house. *Le sigh*
Skip to Dates 12-14.
Date 12: Handsome, employed, showed up on time, and he bought the first round of beverages. The conversation was light and lively. When he saw my debit card, he went off on a tirade about ‘Big Brother’ and how he doesn’t have any credit…and then I checked out of the conversation. I checked back in around the time he declared that “If we get married, we’re getting married in Ireland, because I love it there and you have no say in it.” Great. Lovely. Drink please.
Date 13: A teacher. A math teacher. I recall making several of those cry throughout my educational experience. *Shrug* Well, let’s just try, shall we?
A dreary, rainy evening, I walk into a lovely Indian Restaurant. On time, again, for good measure. He is already in the bar waiting. We exchange hellos, and proceed to be seated, but not before hilarious tragedy strikes. (This is the part where I become a terrible person).
The floor, was a slippery tile, the ground outside was soaked, if shoes weren’t wiped properly on the carpet by the door, then…oh. Oh dear. Yes. Confidently striding down a wooden stair from the bar to the floor only to be betrayed by the elements! As he lost balance, flailed, and came crashing down, it took absolutely every fiber of my being not to laugh. He was not hurt. I wasn’t being intentionally cruel. It was so Marx brothers, in my mind, physically comedic. I helped him up, fighting back my smile for the sake of his slightly bruised ego, and managed to get to the table without further incident.
I took out my phone to place it on silent to be polite. He saw that I had recently acquired my first smart phone (love to Windows and Nokia Lumina 1020). Perplexed that I had chosen this device freely, he asked if I had looked at any of the iPhones. I said yes, but they didn’t suit me the way this phone did, and figured that was the end of the conversation.
Oh, right, silly me.
He proceeded to take out his phone and give me full Apple tutorial about the benefits of the iPhone, apps that he loves to use, how it benefits him in the classroom, in his social life, how he stores all of his music, movies, and books on iPads or other cloud type features (I think I’m just saying words right now and hoping they make sense). All in all, a 45 minute tutorial. About the iPhone.
Remember when people went out on dates before cell phones? Remember dancing and jazz clubs and those bygone days where people gave a rats ass about the person sitting in front of them?
CAN WE PLEASE GO BACK TO THAT?
I felt like if I told this guy I had a record player, vinyl collection and two over flowing book shelves, he would probably have a melt down and see me as a hoarder. So I held back, dutifully shook my head, pretended to be interested while he dominated the conversation, said thank you and ended the evening. PS- he was a douche bag to the waiter, and I will never tolerate that
And for the grand finale- The final guy was a sweet, artistic recluse. I’m a social butterfly. You do the math.
So here’s to all these lessons learned. If round 3 doesn’t work, I will throw in the towel, tap out, & cry uncle. But why come back this third time? Why come back at all?
I’ve been single for the better part of 4 years. I’m happy with who I’ve become, and who I continue to grow to be.
I have nothing to lose and I’m an optimist. Terrible combination, really.