Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Day Eleven: Revisiting Bad Dates

Although not a lot of you commented on my bad dates (perhaps you didn't want to point out how pathetic I am?) the comments I did receive were revealing. All of you thought I had a relationship with #2. You are right. You will receive your subscriptions to Mens Quarterly in 6-8 weeks. What scared me was people thinking I had a relationship with #5. I told David that just typing my memory of that date got me furious. And a shout-out to Cheri: I'm not sure what you mean by "make-up sex." (My mother-in-law, and occasionally my mother, read this blog.) So I'm going to guess it's like when you buy blush at the Chanel counter and don't even look at the credit card slip before you sign it. What a rush. ;)


1. When I was 16, a guy took me to see Being There, which he described as one of the all-time classics. I was so bored I almost slipped into a coma. I was dressed (adorably, I thought) in an '80s-era Madonna get-up with fingerless gloves, which he made fun of. But the best part was at dinner, when the waitress followed the standard greeting with: "And what would you like to drink? Tall, frosty glasses of milk?" I wanted to gag her with one of my gloves.

Yup, we had a relationship. But not then. It was, lo, many years later (nine, to be precise) before we got it together. That night ended with him deciding he needed to check his oil before driving home, dropping the dipstick into the engine in the process, and me waking up my entire family rummaging through the kitchen for a flashlight. Nine years later, I tracked him down in New York, and we began a whirlwind summer romance, after which I left dramatically for grad school on the other coast. I should have known there was trouble when he told me he'd called the graduate office and threatened to sue if they ever released his personal information again. But I did take a clue when he woke up one morning a year later and neutrally remarked: "You know, I just realized I'll never marry you." And then, Readers, he was gone, gone, gone. I never saw him again. (I have Googled him--apparently, he's written a bunch of boring-sounding books.)

2. One guy asked to meet me at a bookstore near the beach, where he proceeded to recite WWI poetry to me, apparently so I could swoon over his elocution. I kept trying to convince him to take a walk on the boardwalk, but he said his shoes hurt. He also confessed that he was "jonesing for some nicotine," which was a real turn-on. Eventually, I saw him groping under a table outside the bookstore, from whence he produced a huge bouquet of roses. "How beautiful!" I exclaimed, and asked if he would walk me to my car so I could drop them off. "But I want you to carry them," he said, wounded. "Why?" (They weighed like 50 pounds.) "Because I want everyone to know we're together."

Sigh. Yes, we had a relationship. For an entire year. It was long distance--I was living in MA at the time, he in CA (seeing a theme here?) Otherwise, I might have noticed sooner that he was crazy-controlling (anyone besides me find the rose thing creepy?) and scarily infantalizing (he was older, divorced and a father.)

3. I met this guy at a Hillel "break fast" at UMass and he asked me to meet him at Packard's, a restaurant in Noho. When the waitress came over, I went first and ordered a hot chocolate. He said, "Just water for me, thanks." Then he whispered to me, "I didn't bring any money." He had a huge smile on his face.

People! I don't even remember this one's name. But just to add to the humiliation, he invited me to his birthday party that night and I said yes, flattered in spite of my disgust. And then he never told me where the party was.

4. I tried to suppress my misgivings when I ran into this guy, whom I hadn't seen in a couple years, and he was suddenly speaking in an English accent. He's from San Diego. His English accent was so good, however, that I allowed myself to be lulled into a non-questioning state. We went to see The Full Monty, which I'd already seen, but figured he'd feel a kinship with the film--after all, it's about his people. He seemed distracted and raced to the exit as soon as the credits rolled. On the way home (I was driving) he confessed that he'd spent the day in an apartment that had just been fumigated and wondered if he had some brain damage. Then he launched into a lively tale about the previous evening, which had been such a lark: "I met these two Irish girls at the pub, they crashed at my flat, and I ended up shagging them both in the same evening!" I gripped the wheel and laughed with the merriment of it all.

Don't worry, I didn't go out with #4. Not that he was interested in going out with me, as I think I made clear. I was neither Irish nor shaggable. I remember laughing demonically as I watched him drive away, giddy with relief to have him out of my car so I could quench the flames of my degradation with a big ol' container of Haagen-Daz. The next time I ran into him, he was speaking in a French accent. Just kidding. I never saw him again.

5. This one guy and I went to see White Men Can't Jump (another pick of mine--this guy was a basketball fan--how could we go wrong?) and by the end, he was sulking. We crossed the street to a diner and I ordered French toast. Apparently, that was my second fatal move of the evening:

Sam: Did you like the movie?

Chris: You know, I really didn't.

Sam: Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you would.

Chris: Well, you thought wrong. Why did you order breakfast at night, just out of curiosity?

Sam: Ummm...I have no idea. I guess I think of diners like casinos--there's no day or night.

Chris: It just seems like an awful lot of food.

Sam: Hmmm. Oh, I just remembered a funny story about French toast. Wait, did I tell you already?

Chris: I'm not sure.

Sam: Well, I'll start, and you can tell me if you've already heard it.

Chris: You better not. If I've already heard it, it will be awkward.

Sam: Well, it will be awkward NOW.

Chris: (expression softening) Sam, I think we both know this isn't working.

Sam: It isn't?

Chris: No. So I suggest we just sit back and enjoy these last few minutes together, and then we don't go out again.

Sam: (rising and throwing some bills on the table, while trying not to hurl) No, let's NOT enjoy these last few minutes together. Okay? Let's NOT do that.

To make it a little more surreal, he ran after me, we had a fight in the parking lot, and it started pouring like a monsoon, so hard that we were both blinded by the water running into our eyes. As he began rattling off the many wonderful qualities about me he would always cherish (and those were his EXACT words) I leaped into my Jeep and peeled out of the parking lot, hydroplaning like a madwoman.

So you think I went out with him again, huh? Neewwwooo. Here's the pathetic coda: about two weeks later, I was in the process of handing over $5.00 for a huge-ass bag of Taco Bell (whaddaya want? I was 24 and thought I'd live forever) when I saw him coming towards me with a veritable posse of hooligan friends. My heart seized, I broke into a sweat (and this was before the fast food), and then I turned tail and ran. That's right, Readers: I RAN. Full-out sprint back to my car, just so I didn't have to talk to him. And you want to hear the really, really sad part? I didn't even grab my Taco Bell. So then I was dinnerless, too. And I forgot my change! I did see him again. About a year later, I ran into him on campus, and he was dashing and debonair, telling me he'd missed me, and he'd changed. "Look," he said proudly, "I got a tattoo." I stared at what looked like a small "x" on his forearm. "That looks like ballpoint pen," I said, before I could stop myself. "It is," he said. "But it's under the skin."


Cheri said...

Sounds like you too were under Number Five's skin.

Anonymous said...

He he he
Love the follow-up stories.

I am totally loving this month and living for every day to get up and read another entry!

I have a good date story from a friend of a friend. She went on a first date to dinner with this guy. Halfway through dinner, he cheerfully says, "I have something to tell you. I don't have a colon!"

I don't think they went out again...


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

You're definitely a woman with a "past!"

Jen said...

These are great stories, Sam. I lerve having the aftermaths spelled out so deliciously.

Miss J

Mary and Paul said...

These are great stories!

I have a few, including some guy who thought it was romantic to lick my face! Ick!

Thank goodness we are all on the other side now!



Anonymous said...

Sorry about the #5 guess, I must've been projecting again--just the kind of drama I would get sucked into, in another life anyway.

Cheri said...

@Mary: Was the face-licker named Stephen?

Anonymous said...

@Mary, what about Mark for the face-licker?