Apparently I left you all hanging with my post from last week, because multiple readers reached out to me and my co-bloggers asking what happened with Grouchketeer. Never fear, my pretties. That was not the last I heard or saw of him, which for his personal safety was probably a good thing; no single woman should have to endure Mr. Sick AND a fade away.
Grouchketeer asked me out again a day or two after our fated first meeting, and I said yes. This time the itinerary was much more normal: dinner and checking out a pop up park in Philly that was about to close for the season.I joked the apparent normalcy of this date compared to our first one.
Well okay then! We made plans for Friday night at 7 (his suggestion). Grouchketeer lives in a Philly suburb, so I knew he’d be contending with some unique traffic driving into the city. But since he “worked from home” (possible euphemism for semi-funemployed) and could leave whenever, this didn’t seem like a huge deal.
The week leading up to our date, we did a bit of light text flirting. Grouchketeer seemed to be enthusiastically pursuing me, which was great because I liked him, but at times I thought it might be a bit TOO enthusiastic. For instance, it had come up in conversation that I work for the same (large) company as his brother’s girlfriend, and one day he texted me asking if I could look her up in our employee directory. Assuming he wanted the info. for something legit, I did.
Oh my God, Grouchketeer. Inappropriate. So inappropriate. At this point we had been on ONE date; I didn’t know his last name, and he wanted me to waltz over to his brother’s “live in girlfriend” (who PS works in a different department and different building than me) and say what? ‘Oh hi, I’m your boyfriend who refuses to propose to you’s brother’s date. We’ve literally met once to watch nude puppets prance around on stage. Anyway, he says we’d get along, so we should totally be best friends!’
Honestly it freaked me out a little bit that Grouchketeer didn’t seem to get why this was a completely whakadoo request to make of someone you’ve spent a total of 3 hours with. But I told him the idea made me uncomfortable, chalked it up to my date possibly having some light Aspies, and moved on.
Friday rolled around and I got ready for dinner like normal, until Grouchketeer called me at 6:30 and said, “I have bad news.”
Gentlemen. Please don’t call your date whom you’ve met once and say you have bad news, especially if your date is a confirmed Negative Nancy. The mind reels at the possible things that could follow that statement. Here are some of the options that ran through my head:
- I can’t make it/I’m canceling/I never want to see you again (this is the most obvious and least upsetting option)
- Just a heads up, I have a scorching case of herpes
- I’m a convicted felon and I violated my parole so I just want you to know I’m headed back to the big house today
- I found your blog and have deemed you an undatable psychopath
Grouchketeer: I’m stuck in some of the worst traffic I’ve ever been in in my life. I haven’t moved in 45 minutes and there are multiple accidents. It’s really bad. Just wanted to let you know I’m never going to make it by 7; I’m really sorry.
Me: Oh. (Internally: no parole violation/herpes. Score!) Well, thanks for letting me know. When do you think you’ll be here?
Grouchketeer: At this point honestly I think I should just go back home and wait it out for a bit. If I can’t move our reservation to later I’ll think of somewhere different for us to go. I’ll keep you posted on my ETA. Really sorry.
Me: Um, okay? Talk to you soon.
I hung up the phone, confused annoyed. Obviously shit happens, and Philly traffic is a clusterfuck. But at the same time, this guy was the one who suggested Friday night at 7, and it’s not exactly like he was rushing from his busy office job (or possibly any job). Also, WHY was he going home? I was too bamboozled on the phone to ask him how that remotely made any sense, but I wondered if he’d ever actually left his apartment or if he’d just called me from his couch in sweatpants while fully engrossed in a Law and Order marathon.
The other thing that annoyed me was, there’s a god damn regional rail line that runs right through his town and into Center City Philadelphia. Why couldn’t he just hop on the train? Was I not worth one six dollar ride on public transportation?
Then the Grouchketeer texted me to tell me he couldn’t get a later reservation at the delicious restaurant we were supposed to have dinner at. He promised he’d figure something else out, but I was already at this point on the rage spectrum:
Here’s the real problem: I was starving. I’d spent the day fasting in preparation for Dan Dan noodles, and now they’d been snatched away from me. I informed my date of this.
Yes, they’re blindingly delicious, Grouchketeer, but that’s no excuse. I stewed some more, until my roommate (cautiously, carefully ) pointed out that my supreme annoyance at this scheduling hiccup was probably 25% due to my date being a poor planner and possibly a liar, and 75% due to pure, unadulterated hanger. She advised me to have a glass of wine and a snack before things got ugly.
I did just that, for everyone’s safety and well being. And it worked! I was much calmer about the whole thing. An hour and a half later, when the Grouchketeer finally rolled up to my apartment (I had demanded that he pick me up at this point), I was feeling totally breezy. And slightly tipsy. ‘Where are we going?’ I asked nonchalantly.
Grouchketeer: I made an executive decision. No Old City… the parking is a nightmare and we’ll have to wait to eat. We’re going to a place in West Philly.
Me: Okay. Sounds great.
We drove, chatting amiably, until I noticed a duffel bag in the car.
Me (half jokingly): Going somewhere?
Grouchketeer: Oh. Yeah. My dad has a shore house in Wildwood, and I’m going to head down after our date tonight and stay the weekend. He’s away so I’ll have the place to myself, and it’s probably the last weekend of nice beach weather we’ll have until next year.
Me: That sounds amazing. I love the shore.
Grouchketeer: Yeah, so, uh, actually, I didn’t know if it would be weirder to say something now or in advance, but I wanted to invite you down, too, if you’re interested. I’m sure you have plans and I’m not trying to sound presumptuous, really I just mean you can come hang at the house and there’s a pool there, and a guest bedroom if, you know…yeah. I’d love for you to come with me if you’re up for an adventure.
I’ll admit it; for roughly five seconds this offer did sound super romantic and spontaneous. Boy meets girl, boy whisks girl away to the shore in a vintage Camaro for a weekend of hot sex and drag racing (yes, I was essentially confusing my life with a Bruce Springsteen song. We Jersey girls do that sometimes).
Then reality sunk in. First of all, I was sitting in an ’03 Toyota. Second, ONCE AGAIN, I didn’t even know this guy. My mood quickly shifted to indignant.
Who did this complete stranger think he was, asking me to befriend his siblings’ significant others and then proposing I spend the weekend with him 2 hours away? After one. date. Plus there’s the fact that he could OBVIOUSLY be a rapist or serial killer (which would explain why he stayed home to watch that Law and Order marathon–he was probably taking notes!) But even though my answer was clearly:
Grouchketeer had asked me very sweetly and earnestly (although I imagine most sociopaths have that look down) and I didn’t want to overreact and sour the whole date, so tried to respond as casually as I could.
Me: Oh. Wow. Thanks, but I have plans this weekend.
Grouchketeer: Okay, no problem. Was that weird of me to ask you that?
Me: Honestly? Yes, a little bit.
Grouchketeer: I’m really sorry, I didn’t mean it that way. You’re just really cool and I like spending time with you.
Awkward silence. So much awkward silence.
While we drove, I tried to decide how inappropriate all of this really was. Later that night, when I told L about the shore incident, she made a great point: clearly I liked Grouchketeer, but I was not that into him, and I might have (probably would have) reacted differently with a different guy. For instance if H, the guy who I had the best first date of my life with, had asked me the exact same question at the beginning of our second date, I probably would have gone full Born to Run fantasy and risked becoming a human lampshade in the name of having a spontaneous adventure with a guy I was into. And she’s so right. In dating, the same behavior can read as inappropriate or hot, creepy or romantic, annoying or charming, depending on how much you like the person. God, L, why are you so wise?
We arrived at the restaurant, a trendy restaurant owned by a Top Chef winner that I’d been meaning to go to for months (tragically/hilariously, D and I had had plans to eat here, but I had to cancel our reservation when he dumped me three days before we were supposed to go. Memories!) Cynical S was thinking: it’s Friday night, this place is small and super popular, there is no way we’re not waiting an hour plus for a table. And waiting at the bar would be no big deal, except my date was an effing tea totaler. I bit my tongue, though, and just went with it.
Turns out that Grouchketeer had the hook up. He knew the restaurant manager (a “friend of his” aka cute girl who was overly friendly to me, which made my spidey senses tingle) and we were seated almost immediately. We had a delicious meal and the kitchen sent us multiple dishes on the house. Once again, Grouchketeer proved himself to be a a severe mumbler and I ended up getting food on my shirt because I was leaning across the table to attempt to catch what the hell he was saying in the loud ass room. The manager who he knew came over to ask how our food had been, and he said something to her in THE LOWEST VOICE EVER and they both looked at me expectantly. At that point, tired of saying ‘Excuse me?’, I literally just said ‘Yup!’, smiled, and took a big swig of my drink. I’m sure I looked (and sounded) deranged.
After dinner, we faced another classic Grouchketeer dilemma: what. the. fuck. do we do if we can’t go to a bar? Again, was not ready to invite him to my place, and the park we had planned to go to was on the other side of the city and at the point getting ready to close. We were in kind of a dead area full of insufferable Penn students, so we decided to “take a walk”. The banter/chatting with this one was good, readers, I will say. Then my date announced he had an idea for what to do next.
Grouchketeer: Have you ever been to a hookah bar?
Me: Sure, before I was 21 and could get into actual bars.
Grouchketeer: There’s one around the corner. We should go.
Me: Okay…? Sure, why not?
So we went to a hookah bar, like a couple of 19 year olds whose fake IDs have been confiscated. It was mostly empty because again, hookah bar on a Friday night. We smoked (green apple flavor), enjoyed Turkish coffee and I proceeded to drop the powdered sugar on the Turkish delight all over my top, which was already looking unique due to my mumble-induced table leaning.
As painfully uncool as it was, there were upsides to the hookah situation. First of all, it was empty, so it was QUIET, which meant I could actually hear what Whispers Von Mumbleson was saying. Second, we were literally on a couch covered in pillows, which led to a very relaxed vibe that was conducive to chatting and flirting. We stayed at that place for hours chatting, smoking and drinking and chatting. Despite the weird start, date #2 was going pretty well.
Finally I realized it was super late and the owners were giving us the cut eye because we were the last people there. Once again Grouchketeer drove me home, and once again we made out in the car in the bike lane outside of my apartment and then said goodnight.
Date #2 rating: 7/10. Grouchketeer once again overcame multiple setbacks (tardiness, hanger, change in plans, indecent proposals) and showed me a pretty good time.
But wait! There’s more.
A few days later, my date asked me out a third time. Woot. He suggested we check out a neighborhood street fair with food, booze, and live music. Double woot. Grouchketeer mentioned he had “no schedule” so I should pick the time. The location was a bit of a hike for both of us, so we both planned to drive and meet there at 7.
I arrived at 7 and texted him to let him know I was there. No answer. He’s parking, I figured. 10 minutes went by. I got myself a beer and walked around. I checked my phone at 20 minutes, now officially annoyed. Was this dude seriously going to make me wait for the second time and not even say anything? And at least the first time I’d been in my apartment and could easily do other things; now I was outside in a strange area of the city with hundreds of people, wandering around aimlessly and alone like an idiot. Then I got this:
I waited 10 more minutes and asked how it was going.
What. the. fuck. I had parked in two minutes. I stood there, stewing with rage, until approximately 7:40, and then something inside of me snapped. And I did something I’ve never done before, readers: I left. I was so over this guy’s shitty behavior and being made to wait twice in a row, and I knew even if he’d shown up 30 seconds later I would’ve been so annoyed with him there’s no way it would have been a good date. So I said,
…and I bounced.
I texted Grouchketeer to let him know I was over waiting and was going home. Comically, five minutes later he texted saying he’d found parking. Clearly he hadn’t even looked at my messages.
FOR REAL, Grouchketeer. You asshole. Also, when I just went to screen cap his (bullshit) response, it was gone. Like, deleted out of my text history. I’m pretty sure I went to copy and paste it to L or D and must have in my blinding rage accidentally deleted it. It said something to the tune of “bla bla bla sorry but to be clear I said to pick a time where you wouldn’t feel rushed.” WHAT??
Here’s something I did find when returning to our texts for this post. I didn’t even see this when Grouchketeer actually sent it, because I was busy being an adult and being on time for my shit. If I had seen it, crimes might have been committed.
ejwqoidmoiewjrfekdmcklewjroi3remmngfnuoewjro oh my GOD. So this dude had all fucking day to take a shower because you know, “no schedule”, but he chose to do it 48 minutes before we were supposed to meet up, when he also knew he had to drive a minimum half hour to get there and fight to find parking. And then he actually tried to sass ME when he was wildly late. COOL PLANNING/MANNERS, BRO.
Anyway, as you can see above, there was not reaaaaally even an apology in that text from him; I remember that for sure. Since my rage level had officially returned to:
I word vomited a response:
Yes, that was so long I had to paste two screencaps together. Yes, I know I made it sound like I’m busier than the president when in reality I’m usually on the couch watching TV. But it’s the principle of the thing. I don’t know what I was expecting after that (admittedly wordy) manifesto, but I certainly thought it would be more climactic than this:
Aaaaaaand scene. Literally those were the last words we said/wrote to each other.
I was so mad, you guys. And just disappointed. And while Grouchketeer had been really sweet and considerate at other times, be had been a real dick about this, which simultaneously made me feel vindicated for leaving and completely depressed because everyone out there is apparently the worst. A small part of me wondered if I should have just gone with the flow more, but in case you haven’t noticed, that is just not who I am; and if this guy couldn’t pull it together the second and third times he met me, it was only going to be downhill from there anyway.
I realize this was a depressing end to my run with everyone’s favorite trash kid. Believe me, I felt the same way; I think a first date as epically ridiculous as ours deserved a better, or at least more interesting, conclusion. So even though we ended on a sour note, I will always remember our time with Mr. Sick et al fondly, so I’m going to go out on a limb (or a stump-badumching!) and give Grouchketeer a proper, puppet-themed send off.
Date #3 rating: 0/10. I know the date didn’t actually happen, but I showed up (on time) so I’m counting it.