Let me tell you a tale dear readers. A tale of a match encounter that started out so well, and ended with a few hours of my life I would legitimately like back.
Match had mostly been a disappointment to me (shocker – S was right). But then, shortly before I moved out to the burbs, S came along. He, despite using the stupid winking feature, seemed promising. He messaged me, and we e-mailed back and forth a few times. In his fourth e-mail he asked me if I’d like to grab a drink, gave me his number, and suggested we check out a photography exhibit opening at an art gallery. This was so excellent for so many reasons. No extended e-mailing, no extended texting, initiative in planning the date, a date idea that went beyond standard drinks. Color me impressed. The date was 2 days later, and he sent me the details about the art gallery out in Winchester.
I got there a few minutes early, which was a serious accomplishment. I promptly patted myself on the back, and sent S a text that I was waiting outside. I knew who he was as soon as he came into view – his profile mentioned his height, and he was not lying. He really is very tall. He walked up and moved in to give me a hug. Now, I know this makes me a terrible person and all, but I’m barely a hug person with my loved ones and close friends. I’m most certainly not a hug person with strangers. Say what you will about whatever deeper issues this might indicate, but I don’t like to be touched. So, I sort of reacted like this:
I didn’t push his face away, but the rest is pretty spot on. I know, I know. I’m a cold-hearted, hug-hating asshole. I’m ok with who I am. He was clearly thrown by this, but we recovered quickly and went into the gallery, which was small but very nice. They had wine and some snacks out for the opening of the exhibit, and so we snacked a bit while looking at all the photos. We ended up sitting on a bench in the middle of the room. He was a photography major, and was a member of this particular gallery, which is what brought us there. We continued to chat, but it was kind of awkward there in the middle of this small gallery, so he suggested we go find a place to grab a drink.
This is the point where it all started to go downhill. Up until now, aside from the online winking and the attempted hug, it was a perfectly nice date. There was no immediate spark or anything, but he seemed nice, albeit awkward.
The gallery was just off the town common so we headed that way. Neither of us really had any clue where to go, since neither of us lived in Winchester. So we went into the first place we came across, which happened to be a nice wine bar and Italian restaurant. The first time the waitress came over to take our order, we weren’t ready yet, and he said “sorry, this is the first time we’re meeting in person.” Dude. We don’t need to hide the fact that we met online, but let’s not go shouting it to strangers either. When she walked away after some nervous laughter, he asked if I had eaten yet.
Sidenote: I always eat before a first date. I’m not a kind person when I’m hungry. So I make sure to eat at least enough to prevent a hunger induced meltdown (my most famous one involved green glitter and the streets of London on St. Patrick’s Day, with S by my side having a meltdown of her own). So I said yes and gave a modified (read: watered-down) explanation about why. He chuckled, and then said “well I’m going to order something anyway, I’m hungry.”
Ok. After that little sidenote above, I obviously get it. But at the same time, he chowed down at the snack table in the gallery. So I sort of expected him to just order an app, something small to tide him over. In actuality, he ordered a full-fledged meal and a beer. This made me feel awkward, because I didn’t really want to sit and watch him eat, so I ordered myself something small, and a glass of wine (I’m trying to be more of a wine person, but it’s not really working). Once we had ordered, we had our first real chance to talk. And oh my, you guys, it was … interesting. I know we complain about this all the time, but I did 90% of the work keeping the conversation going. That aside, some really unfortunate things transpired:
1) We got on the topic of traveling, and he said he likes to travel so I asked him what was his favorite place that he’s ever traveled to? I wish I could un-hear his answer, because he responded: “Vegas!”
Now, I’m lucky enough to have had the privilege to travel in Europe and all over the U.S., and I know that’s not something everyone is able to do. But Vegas? Las Vegas, Nevada is the best place you’ve ever visited? That is horrifying to me, and I’m going to judge you for that. Disappointed with his answer, I followed up by asking what his least favorite travel destination was. Maybe he just hadn’t traveled much, I thought? His least favorite place that he’s ever been is Nova Scotia. We were definitely not on the same page here. I would flip those answers right around.
2) It came up that I went to Boston University undergrad. This fact prompted him to tell me a story about a time that he rode the B line of the T and got stuck on a car with a bunch of “douchey BU guys.”
I just told you that I went to BU and that I had a great time there. While I’m not offended, it’s true that BU has its share d-bags (not as many as BC (can’t pass up an opportunity to hate on BC, sorry/not sorry)), it’s an interesting followup to share with your date who went there.
3) His right knee was in a complex looking brace, so I asked about his knee injury. Which got us talking about how whenever you fall and hurt yourself, it’s never in a deserted area. There are always people around to witness your pain and humiliation. I fell and tore a couple ligaments in my ankle my freshman year of college in a crowded stairwell and ended up with a dozen people standing over me, one of whom unnecessarily called an ambulance for me (which I was all ready to turn away when it showed up because I knew a cab to the hospital would be significantly cheaper, but then the EMT walked in and he was so attractive that I couldn’t have turned him away even if he was Hannibal Lecter. He was so good-looking that I didn’t even care 3 months later when I had to start paying for physical therapy because I had exhausted my per-occurrence insurance limit and my parents refused to help me until I had paid out the cost of the ambulance. I can still picture his perfection. Best $400 I ever spent. And bonus – he wasn’t a felon). Anyway, I knew what he was talking about. Somehow, people witnessing your clumsiness just makes it that much worse. This led to a story about how he once slipped and fell in the winter on some ice, and not only hurt his knee, but also his arm. Because he couldn’t properly brace for the fall with his arms because he was holding an umbrella to protect him from the snow. He actually used the words “to protect me from the snow.” He said this so matter of factly. Like that’s a totally normal thing to do. Like he’d never heard of hats before. I’d be lying if I said that that story didn’t totally emasculate him in my eyes.
4) The 10% of conversation topics he initiated were … unusual. If felt less like friendly conversation, and more like a bizarre interrogation. Here are the questions that he asked me:
- Have you ever been in a fight and punched a girl out? I’m sorry, what? First of all, what an odd question. Second of all, let’s just say, for kicks, that I have honed a wicked left hook over the years (hahaha). Why am I only fighting with girls? Why can’t I have punched a guy out? I was more offended by that assumption than anything else.
- How long do you take in the shower? I was so thrown by this question, that I actually thought about it and answered him. And then it got even weirder when he reacted to my answer of about 10 minutes with a completely serious “wow – that long huh?” Is that an unusually long amount of time for showering? Also, why are we talking about my shower habits, Norman Bates? Stop being creepy.
- And lastly, it came up that I’m a Yankees fan. Without having really said much else on the topic, he pointed to the tattoo on my forearm and asked why, if I’m such a big Yankees fan, one of my tattoos isn’t Derek Jeter’s autograph? The implications of that question are pretty much all insulting. Just because I’m a girl and I’m a Yankees fan, I must be head over heels in love with that dreamy Jeter right? He must be my favorite player. And what kind of person does he think I am if he thinks I would brand myself like that?
S and I had nothing in common, other than a propensity to injure ourselves in public, and there was definitely NO chemistry. I was over this date, so I was thrilled when the check came. He took a look at it, pulled $25 out of his wallet, looked at the check again, swapped the $5 for a $10, handed me the check and said “I’ll need a few bucks change.” I was vaguely annoyed that I had been bamboozled into ordering food, but no big deal. However, as I had not planned on dinner, I only had $20 on me. I figured I owed about $23, so I pulled out my debit card. He then proceeded to say “oh, if you’re going to use a card, we can just put it all on there and you can keep the cash.” AND THEN HE TOOK HIS $10 BILL BACK AND HANDED ME ONLY THE $20.
Setting aside the fact that you just unilaterally decided to charge the entire bill to my debit card, which was obnoxious enough, you’re also going to short me your full share of the bill? 30 seconds ago you determined that you owed more than $25. But now that we’re charging my card, you suddenly only owe $20? Negative. That is not how this is going to go down. I am not going to subsidize your dinner tonight, you Psycho.
“You only owe $20?”
“Oh. Ok, I guess not.” He pulled the $5 bill out of his wallet and handed it to me.
Still not your full share, buddy, but fine. If it means this date can be over, fine. I signed the receipt, and we headed back to our cars. We got to my car first in the parking lot, so I beeped it open and said “this is me.”
“Oh, nice! Let’s just see how neat and clean you keep your car” he said as he walked up to my rear driver’s side door. I stood in the parking lot dumbfounded as he bent down, put his face to the window, and looked around inside my car. Is this seriously something that people do? Is this a dating norm that I’ve been blissfully unaware of until now, because WTF? Ultimately, he decided that my car was “not bad, not bad.” Uh, thanks?
He was now standing next to my driver’s door, so I told him it had been nice to meet him. Despite how poorly I thought the date had gone, he had other ideas and moved in for a kiss. I most definitely did not want to kiss him, but I had already used the handshake move, so I shifted my weight and made it a hug instead. He held on for a little too long, and then when he did release the hug, he kept his hands on the small of my back and pulled back just enough so that he could pucker up for a kiss. Before I realized what I was doing, I said “uh uh” and did this:
You guys, I wagged my finger in his face. I don’t even know where it came from. He pulled all the way back and said “No?” I felt a little bad about the finger wagging, so I tried to lessen the blow and said “No, I don’t kiss on the first date.” Which is definitely not true, if I liked him I would have had no problem kissing him. But he didn’t know that, so I told a white lie, thanked him again, and said goodnight.
I never heard from S again. I guess my Dikembe Mutombo impersonation worked.
Date rating: 1 out of 10, and that’s only because I have a serious soft spot for New England’s quaint little town commons, and Winchester’s was no disappointment. New England is so adorable!