Sunday, June 03, 2007

Disasters In Dating - Part 1

My most recent divorce was final at 11:35 am, November 7, 2002. I remember it as though it were 11:35 am, November 7, 2002.

The marriage had been publicly crumbling like The Bannister Mall for the previous year, so it was no secret to anyone that the end was nigh (always wanted to use that word in a sentence!).

Just a week before, a friend had called me to see if I might be interested in going on a blind date with her best friend. She reminded me that her friend had been at the Halloween party last month. Since everyone had been wearing costumes, I really didn't remember her at all.

But, what the fuck? Sure, why not? Coincidentally, we were both free the evening of November 7th. Fuckin' A, bubba! Get divorced in the morning, go on a blind date that night! Goddamned right!

I arrived at her apartment to pick her up a little nervous, a little excited. I had been married for almost 10 years and was completely and totally monogomous that entire time. So this was new for me. A lot had changed in the world between Mayday, 1993 and 11/7/2002. But I also had a lot of pent-up, frustrated desire and a determination to reclaim my emasculated self-esteem.

So, I took a deep breath, smiled, and knocked on the door. I could hear shuffling sounds, a child's voice, some quiet giggling, then some silence, a couple of clicks and the door opens.

Oh. My. God.

I want to be careful here. I really like women. I mean I REALLY, REALLY, like women. Like a wino likes Ripple, or Robert Downey, Jr. likes a little nose candy from time to time. The infinite variety of shapes and sizes and unique characteristics are among the things that fascinate and entice me.

But let me just take a step back here and repeat what I said before.

Oh. My. God.

What the fuck was my "friend" thinking?!? And then it hit me! I did remember this woman from the Halloween party! She was the one in the cow costume.

At least I had assumed at the time that it was a costume. Now...that line between actual person and costume was a lot fuzzier.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a single-issue kind of guy. I can find something attractive and appealing about almost any woman. Because I'm just a slut like that. But there was nothing, nothing that I could look at her and say "Oh, I rather like that!".

(SIDE STORY: A former boss of mine was standing in line in the Atlanta airport waiting to board a flight. She notices two things. One, the flight attendant taking the boarding passes is a flamingly gay young man who is able to find something nice to say about every single person who boards the plane. "I absolutely LOVE that tie!!", "OH! Those shoes are TO DIE for! Where did you get them?", "I LOVE what you've done with your hair! It looks fantastic!".

As this was going on, she noticed the second thing. A couple of places in line in front of her was this ginourmous woman in this shapeless, sweat-soaked, sack of a dress, with unwashed hair, bad teeth and carrying a big black garbage bag as her carry-on luggage. My boss, being almost as twisted as me, is waiting for the collision of these two elemental forces. The flight attendant is continuing his crusade to make everyone feel good about themselves. "Oh my goodness your complexion is just as smooth as silk! You absolutely GLOW!" Then the moment arrives. The woman with the trash bag hands the flight attendant her boarding pass.

He looks her up and down, puts a big, sincere, smile on his face as though he couldn't prouder of her and says..."WELL! Just look at you!!" END OF SIDE STORY)

Suffice it to say that there was no immediate physical attraction for me. No "eureka spark". There was a brief hint of the primordial "fight or flight" instinct that kicked in, but being a civilized man, I suppressed it.

A date is a date and a promise is a promise. I strive to be a chivalrous gentleman at all times. My "friend" was there when I walked in. She was staying at my date's apartment to babysit her 11 year old son while we went out.

I walked her to my jeep, opened the door and helped her in. We went to a nearby Chili's for dinner and drinks.

Drinks first (and keep them coming, please!). We start the process of getting to know each other. I quickly learn that her 11 year old son (who had never known his father) was quite excited when he learned that his mother had a date. Apparently this was a rare enough occurence (gee, ya think?) that it mobilized his imagination. When he discovered that I had a daughter (who was only 8 at the time), he had already worked out who would get which bedrooms when I moved in and became his daddy.


Now there are aspects of the above that are actually very sad when looked at from the boy's perspective and I did feel sorry for him to be wanting a father that desparately. Lot going on there.

But what creeped me the fuck out was that she would tell me that!

On a first date!

Over the first drink!

What the fuck was she thinking?? My God!

She may as well have said "My son and I are a pathetic black hole of lonliness and desparation and we will suck your soul dry and still want more if you give us even a hint of encouragement."

Then the appetizers and the second round of drinks arrived.

She's even more relaxed now. Bit more chatty. Not playing her cards quite as close to the vest. Willing to share more. At one point she leans in a little closer and let's me know that my "friend" has slipped my date the keys to my "friend's" apartment in case, after dinner, we want to slink back there for a little "hibbity jibbity" before returning her to her son.

I just threw up in my mouth a little remembering that.

Mercifully, dinner arrived. I'm careful to steer the conversation conoe around any boulders of commitment in the Class 5 rapids I've suddenly found myself navigating. I finally reach calm waters and the shore where I pay the check and escort her back to my jeep. I drive her home, walk her to the door, say goodnight with a gentlemanly kiss and take my leave.

I'm very conscious of my foot pressure on the accelerator as I don't wish to actually squeal the tires and leave smoking rubber in my rush to get away and have it all be over.

I politely (I hope) ran the obstacle course of not returning phone calls or responding to e-mails in a timely fashion. I respectfully (I hope) always seemed to have other plans or conflicts when follow-up dates were proposed. Until she finally got the message that I just really wasn't interested.

Maybe I should have handled that last part better. Been more honest. But remember, this was all new to me. This was my first real date in a decade. And she scared the holy fuck right out of me. I got better at the honesty part later. A lot better.

But it was this disastrous blind date that made me say, NEVER AGAIN. That is when I took charge of my social life and joined the on-line dating scene.

More on that in Part 2.


Joshua Xalpharis said...

That is the creepiest shit I have ever heard. It is almost rather sad.

Joe said...

We must be related, because I've said that almost every woman has something attractive about her. And I too went on line with my date looking after my relationship with the She Devil ended. I got lucky for once and my wife was the first gal I got as far as a face to face with. She had met a few guys and dated two of them, so it wasn't total desparation for either one of us. Joining was empowering for me, as I was taking control of my social life and getting my name out and about.

Heather said...

I snorted coffee through my nose when I read this. Lucky for you, it was cold.

Dating sucks. Great story!!

Stinkbait Boucher said...

Friend of mine just went from blind date to restraining order in four calendar days.

I hope that's a record but I'll bet it's not.

Side note - my best buddy just got married on Friday to a wonderful gal whom he met online not long ago ( in fact).

It can sure happen if that's what you're after.

Spyder said...

Damn, I'm glad I'm married! I don't ever want to do the dating thing again.

satyavati said...

Aw... blind dates aren't all bad.

That's how I met my husband.

Of course, if you ask HIM about blind dates... who knows, he might tell you to run, run, run, run away.

I'm sorry it didn't work out for you though.

Now everyone should go post their own stories about how they met their ------- so I can go around and read them.


crse said...

Wowza. My one friend got divorced and went through a series of blind dates. We came up with a string of ego saving excuses as to why you cant date the person. "Your personality is just like my brother's and i cant get past that." to "you look like the man who committed some horrible offense (of your choice) against me and Im sorry but I cant get past that." Linking innocuous to painful makes it all you. Im totally fine with it being all me as long as i dont have to be mean. Once I moved to avoid breaking up with a guy. I kind of suck as a person.

travelingal said...

XO never gives us one physical description of this woman, yet we envision her through his emotional response to the whole evening. I can actually "see" her and I sure can "see" him with pedal to the metal at the end of the evening.

Damn good writing.

Faith said...

Reminds me of a blind date I had in high school once. I *still* cannot understand what that "friend" thought I was into when she set me up with that guy. Holy shit.

The guy was a former body builder who had stopped working out, and so all the muscle had turned to fat. (His description of himself...not mine. Just to be clear.) He thought it would be fun (and not creepy at all!) to make me dinner at his apartment (he was around 21 - I was 17, I think), and then hang out in a back room they had set up with a VCR to watch some show that he had taped. I can't remember which one it was, but after it was over, we somehow got on the subject of UFO's, and he went OFF about how much he had dug up on Area 51, or whatever the fuck that is out there in Arizona, and he had a video of the alien autopsy and some other stuff that was considered "classified" (did I mention that he had been in the military for a while? Yeah...nice), and did I wanna watch it?

Um, NO, asshat! I do NOT wanna watch any alien freakshow shit on a FIRST GODDAMMED BLIND DATE that was about as suffocating as they came!

I almost kicked that girl's ass in algebra class the following week. I can't believe I didn't, looking back now.

Lynn said...

Great story, XO. I felt like I was with you through every uncomfortable moment. Especially the part where you threw up a little in your mouth.

What did you say to the friend who set you up (if anything)?

Xavier Onassis said...

lynn - we never spoke of it. We have since drifted apart.