Acceptance, awkward, blind dates, Compassion, dating, dreams, embarrasing, etiquette, friends, Girl power, Humanity, humor, kids, lake, Learning, men, mixers, Normality, online dating, people, picnics, relatioships, single living, stories, strangers, weird, women
So in my last post, one of the last things I talked about was how my mom says I need a man who can make me feel like a woman. And it made me think of some truly bizarre dates that I have been on. When my boyfriend of six years and I split back in 2011, it took more than a couple years for me to be ready to move on. When I did though, I had a friend talk me into going to a Match.com mixer. Slightly intrigued but definitely freaking out inside, I went with her. It was an outdoor croquet place, which was actually pretty cool. My friend Julie and I were two of maybe 12 people who came, so we were made to pair off with someone of the opposite gender and play teams with that person. You were also able to talk amongst several other strangers, and I did fairly well for someone who is so socially awkward.
I hit it off pretty well with this guy named Bob* and maintained a fairly steady flow of conversations. The more we talked, the more I liked him. He seemed really nice and genuine, not to mention into nearly everything I was. We talked about our favorite books to read (if I meet a guy who is a reader and enjoys actual books over magazines or comics, I instantly like being around that person), discussed many authors and their writing styles. Talked about different genres, etc. That lead to movies and other interests and hobbies. And then talking about family and what kind of relationship each of us was looking for and qualities. He had told me he realized it was time to settle down when he realized how lonely he was when his little sister got engaged. I could relate to that as my little sister had just gotten engaged a month or so earlier. So by the end of the mixer, pretty much everyone had paired off with someone and was talking to that person exclusively, us being no exception. When my friend was ready to leave, he walked us to our car and asked to exchange numbers.
Oddly pleased with myself for getting my very first number ever, we parted ways and went home. Bob and I ended up texting almost non stop for the next two weeks, both of us becoming more and more interested in each other. He seemed ideal. Most of the same values, had a good job in a technological field where he designed software or something like that, made really good money and had no debt, had a dog and his own place… Finally, we decided it was time for us to go on a date. Wanting to do something not so cliche as dinner and a movie, I thought it would be fun to do a picnic at the lake, which he agreed to. I was planning on making a proper picnic, but he couldn’t make any decisions when it came to what he would like and said we could just go to the store and pick stuff up. Reluctantly, I agreed, and he came over a couple hours later.
We got to the store, and he had NO idea what he wanted and basically shot down every option I gave him. Suddenly, he made a beeline for the deli. He went up to the guy at the counter and said, “Hi, I would like to get just enough roast beef for two good sized sandwiches. I couldn’t believe it! I mean, I’m not picky when it comes to food. I like to eat. But how he just went up and ordered without even asking what I liked? OK, then. And then what if I wanted more than just one sandwich? A girl’s gotta eat. I’m pretty sure the guy behind the counter saw the slightly outraged and somehow bewildered look on my face that my date was oblivious to, and generously cut more than we needed for two measly sandwiches. While I was still processing the complete lack of etiquette displayed by my date, he announces, “We should get something to go with the sandwiches.” At this point, he literally had nothing in his hand but a baggie of freshly sliced roast beef. There were no sandwiches. Just meat, which he seemed for the moment to believe were sandwiches. “Um, ok…but don’t we need to get bread and stuff too?” To which he looks at me in surprise and said, “oh…right. But we need something to go with them too.” To my horror, he looks around and picks up two bananas. Bananas. Was he messing with my head?! This was getting more and more bizarre by the minute.
By this time, I didn’t know what to do. I had a little guy in a plane pictured in my thoughts screaming, “Mayday, Mayday!” with smoke pluming from the engines and wind roaring in his ears. Hesitantly, I said, “ok. Um, maybe some chips too?” Apples I could have understood. They are picnicy enough for sure. But with bananas as a side, I felt he needed to compensate with something salty and crunchy. Fortunately, he left the chip decision up to me, and agreed jalepeno kettle chips sounded good. So we got the bread, and the mayonnaise I had to suggest (by this point it was so strained because he wasn’t interested in having a conversation, just getting our stuff and leaving) and took our items up to the register. Last minute, he realized he just so happened to be thirsty and invited me to grab something to drink as well.
We drove to the lake in silence, me giving the occasional direction to get there. When we got to our destination, he remembered he had paper towels in his trunk to use as plates, and had some spare plastic silverware to use to spread the mayo. It was sweltering outside, and he was ill dressed for it. He wore a brown t-shirt, brown polyester slacks, brown argyle socks, and brown leather sandles (omg, the socks and sandles….and the dull brown on brown on brown in the height of summer??)
As he started making his sandwich before even offering me anything, he finally decided he was ready to have a conversation. And it was much more revealing of his character that I ever expected it to be. He elaborated on many of our texts. He had told me he was an outdoor guy. It turned out his idea of being outdoors was going outside to let his pug use the bathroom. This meant him being at the lake with me was a pretty big deal, and his pasty white arms suddenly made a great deal of sense. So there was no way he would ever hike, camp, or go on adventures. He had told me he had a motorcyle. What I didn’t know until then, he refused to ride it because he was scared of riding motorcycles and hasn’t actually been on one. He didn’t even know the first thing about them, yet had spent thousands on the one he bought.
As he is eating, he is chain smoking. First, I loathe being around cigarette smoke when I am eating despite being a smoker myself. Second, when I say chain smoking, I mean he didn’t have an unlit cigarette once in the hour and a half we were sitting there awkwardly making conversation. It got more and more awkward. The silence was like rapidly cooling jello. Finally, in a blind fit of desperation, I suggested we go to the Jamboree the next town over. He agreed and FINALLY put out his upteenth cigarette. I would say he probably went through nearly a pack of cigarettes in that hour.
There was more silence on the way with just me talking only long enough to give directions. When we got there, I looked in shock and a great deal of despair at the fact the Jamboree was over and people were packing and loading up. My terror was mounting at this point because I had no idea what to do. So, seeing as how my best friend only lived a street away, I said we should go there. I could not bear the thought of suffering another moment alone with him. Thank God she was home. When I walked in with Bob in tow, my friend’s husband who is a true American redneck and manly to the core saw the twig of my date (and basically dressed like one), his mouth dropped open. His gaze shot to me, then to Bob again in disbelief and then finally on me, body quivering with supressed mirth. “Don’t,” I mouthed silently to him. “Don’t even.”
Fortunately for me, my friends had company, but they were “the more the merrier” type of people and didn’t mind unannouced guests when they already have people over. I had a very welcome distraction in playing with their guests’ baby. And then it got worse. If he had been short spoken before, he could have passed for a clam now. He didn’t interact with ANYBODY there, especially the children. They tried to play with him, and he blatantly ignored them and didn’t respond by so much as looking at them. He watched everything like a hawk, but despite all the jokes and funny stories, not one smile.
Finally, we made our goodbyes. I knew I would be ok now going home because it was finally almost over. We talked fairly amiably on the way, mostly because I was secretly happy this hellish nightmare was 5 minutes away. He said he had a really good time and that we should do it again. I said, “sure” in a faint and slightly unenthusiastic voice and finally walked through the blessed door.
Safe to say, he never contacted me again, and I promptly deleted his number.
I called my mom later and conveyed the whole disastrous event (which lasted all of maybe 2 1/2 hours. She was laughing hysterically. I told my mom I needed a real man. And she told me, “No, Autumn. You WANT a man. You don’t need one.” To which I responded, “No…I NEED a real man. One who will protect ME! Not one I have to…to protect from a SNOWBALL!” At this point, my mom completely lost it and was laughing so hard she was keening, and I could hear her hand slapping her knee while she could barely breathe.
When she finally was able to catch her breath, she said to me, “Autumn, you almost never say anything funny. But when you do, you’re an absolute riot!” Thanks, Mom. Thank you ever so kindly. This is still one of her favorite stories as it was just so bizarre. But it definitely makes a good one.