Second (and almost third) date with the Grouchketeer

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.

mr sick

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.

girlfriend

wait what

Source: rebloggy.com

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.”

time out

Source: fakemrjones.blogspot.com

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.

DudeWaiting

Source: fakemrjones.blogspot.com

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:

hell come

Source: gifsoup.com

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.

dandan

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.

liz mac and cheese

Source: www.menulog.com.au

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.

how dare you

Source: www.tumblr.com

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:

hard pass

Source: comics-watchtower.tumblr.com

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.

Me: Thanks.

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:

park

I waited 10 more minutes and asked how it was going.

working

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,

dude

Source: wifflegif.com

…and I bounced.

deuces

Source: wifflegif.com

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

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.

shower

gosling frustrated

Source: www.reactiongifs.com

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:

hell come

Source: gifsoup.com

I word vomited a response:

rant grouchketeer

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:

goodbye grouchketeer

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.

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2nd and 3rd dates with Italian M

Before I get to my post, I just want to point out a quick blogging fail. I missed our one year blogiversary! I feel like L, D, and you wonderful readers are just sitting at home, in your pretty new dresses, waiting to be acknowledged, while I frantically scroll through Yelp ‘best ofs’ to find a last minute place to take you for a nice dinner. Basically, I’m this guy:

Well I just want to say, I’m sorry, baby. I love you. Let me make it up to you.

(Was that creepy enough for your liking? It was? Good.)

Anyway, last week I dropped a major bomb on you Stucu readers. Thanks so much for your hilarious and enthusiastic reactions, btw. You guys make it so fun to write this blog. But today I’d like to rewind a bit and talk about another guy. TO THE BEST OF MY KNOWLEDGE, the gentleman in question never found the blog, but at this point, anything is possible.

Here’s a quick refresher on M, today’s victim..err, subject: 

  1. M is a tall high school teacher from Jersey
  2. I got drunk on our first date, which I wrote about here
  3. He has a family beach house in Italy which he visits every summer. I mean… Wayne's World schwing
  4. My biggest issue with M was that he talked my ear off and barely asked me about myself on our first date.
  5. We had a second date planned that was creepily booked for the day after my birthday, which based on past experience I was a bit dubious about.

So. What happened with Italian M? I’ll break it down by date:

Second Date: Creepy Faux Birthday Dinner

At a certain point I decided to stop being weird about the birthday thing and just go with it. M asked me if I had a favorite restaurant in the city that I’d like to go to, and I picked a place that was nice, delicious, but not super fancy or expensive. It also happened to be Indian, a cuisine that, at least to some people, doesn’t scream ‘sexy second date food’. Personally, I actually get a little turned on at the words ‘samosa’, ‘naan’, and ‘biryani’, but that’s just me.

M picked me up at my apartment and presented me with flowers, which was v. thoughtful and sweet. He even said, “I figured you couldn’t yell at me if I said they were just because and not for your birthday”. Haha. Cute. Also, true. 

We had a nice dinner. M aggressively ordered basically everything on the menu (man after my own heart) and we enjoyed some lovely cocktails. Although this time around, I wisely cut myself off at 2, lest he mistake me for an alcoholic and leave me a contact card for AA (SATC reference! See #47 on this epic list).

M did ask me about myself a bit more, but still dominated most of the conversation. We flirted a bit, as much as two people can flirt with a table full of curries between them. He wanted to get drinks afterwards, but I was uncomfortably full and just wanted to curl up in the fetal position in my apartment, so I declined. After ingesting approximately 90 tic tacs and a full pack of Orbit gum each to counteract the spicy breath situation, we made out a little and said goodnight. 

One thing I liked about M was his nerdy penchant for history. I liked that like he’d decided to model his Movember ‘stache after a different president every year, even though he showed up to our first date sporting a Chester Arthur:

chester-a-arthur-2

So, with that charming nerdiness (and let’s be honest, that Italian beach house) still fresh in my mind, I said yes to a third date. M mentioned something about cooking for me, which I was fully down with, even though that meant I’d have to go to his house in the ‘burbs which could end SUPER awkwardly. One thing I disliked about M was his excessive texting and calling habits. Homeboy was a little out of control with the extreme contact, and it was wearing on my nerves a bit. Which is probably why after we agreed on a date and time for dinner, I glossed over the rest of what he was telling me (something about lesson plans surrounding the Revolutionary War, and teaching the kids how people lived back in the 18th century, blablablawhocares.) Which leads me to…

Third Date: Colonial Cooking Lessons

Oh boy, do I wish I’d paid better attention to those inane texts. I arrived at M’s house ready to be cooked a delicious meal, only to be informed of the following:

  • The plan was actually for both of us to cook together (at this point, that sounded fine to me. I love to cook.)
  • Except we weren’t, in fact, cooking for ourselves, but for M’s history students.
  • And we weren’t just cooking a normal meal. We were cooking typical foods from the REVOLUTIONARY WAR ERA for the kids to try.
  • M had three dishes planned that had to be ready to go for an 8 am class the next day.

My face as I was being told this….oh man, my face. I’m sure it was comical. Basically, I had misunderstood. I read “come over for dinner”, and what M really meant was: “come over, we’ll order dinner, and then I’ll use you, my date, as free labor to help me complete my lesson plans FOR MY JOB.”

To be fair to M, I went back and read his texts, and he had told me about this. But you guys, the texts were INCESSANT and my patience was wearing thin, so my reading comprehension was at an all time low. As comical and bizarre as the proposed date activity was, I shrugged it off and thought, “WELP, I’m here. I’m going with it.” Honestly, I knew I’d at least get a great blog post out it of it, and I also think if the chemistry is right, two people cooking together can be super fun and sexy. Exhibit A:

So we grabbed Chinese and got to work on the (terrifying) historically accurate menu which included Brunswick Stew and something called (dead serious) chicken pudding. Chicken. Pudding.

What actually transpired couldn’t be further from the aforementioned croissant making foreplay with Meryl and Steve. First, M gave me the job of chopping four huge onions, which 1. made me weep uncontrollably, smearing my eye makeup in the process until I had basically transformed into George from the Wedding Singer:

george

And 2. made me REEK LIKE RAW ONIONS. Sexy, M. Really sexy.

I kept trying to turn this bizarre situation into something fun or at least funny, but to my dismay and honestly, annoyance, M was pretty humorless about the whole thing. (One of my least favorite personality characteristics EVER). I suggested he put some music on (we were literally chopping vegetables in silence) and he asked if Christmas music was okay. “Sure!” I said enthusiastically, thinking he’d be putting some fun and upbeat holiday tunes on. Instead, M proceeded to select a playlist that contained (exclusively) slow, serious, old fashioned, super religious, SOMBER Christmas hymns. So picture me, readers, in some dude’s kitchen in Jersey, dicing veggies, weeping, while Little Drummer Boy is blasting in the background. I mean. What is my life?

The other incredibly comical part of this “date” (at this point I’m using the word date VERY loosely) was that I quickly discovered M didn’t know the most basic things about cooking. He had gone on and on about learning to cook from his immigrant parents, spending every summer in Italy and cooking big meals for his friends, and watching hours upon hours of Food Network, yet he was incredibly slow and nearly clueless in the kitchen. He’d never heard of a roux (come. ON.) He tried to make the stew in a pot that was way too small. He read the directions 843029843274850 times. At this point, my patience was wearing thin and it was getting late, so I did what any bossy, type A 20-something gal would do in this situation: I took over. Yup. I cooked M’s students a colonial feast while M stood there, ostensibly being my sous chef but really just chillaxing with his dog.

Finally, FINALLY, we (I) finished the damn food and M proclaimed that we’d earned ourselves a nightcap. “Well actually, I’ve earned myself a nightcap,” I corrected. “I’m thinking you’ve earned about 1/3 of a glass.” I was teasing, but of course I was secretly dead serious. We sat down for a drink and I calculated the number of minutes before I could politely leave. Which is when, predictably, M tried to put the moves on me.

Look, I probably shouldn’t have done what I did next, given the fact that I was so totally over M at that point. But I was still attracted to him, and thinking about the fact that he was a good kisser. And I just…wanted to have a little fun after such a lame night. So we made out. M, bless his heart, tried his darnedest to continue along the baseline (yes, I’m aware this “base” talk makes me seem like I’m in 8th grade or I’m secretly Meatloaf) but I wasn’t having it.

After a few minutes of half-hearted smooching and blocking attempted passes at clothing removal, I was over it. I got up and said goodnight. M was leaving for Florida the next day to see some friends, so I was hoping this would create some distance before I needed to end it with him. EXCEPT, that conversation never happened, because M faded away. I never heard from him after that night. I was 85% thrilled at this development, because it saved me an awkward “I’m over this” conversation. But there was that other small part of me, you know, the part with the ego, that was annoyed. Like, excuse me, how dare you not be interested in me? You just bamboozled me into cooking for the 50+ kids that you teach, and I did it happily WITH A SMILE ON MY FACE, all the while being jokey, charming, and adorable, and you think you get to fade away from me? Nah. I don’t think so, bro. If I may borrow a wonderfully appropriate gif from D:

matumbo

Date # 2 rating: 5.5/10. The semi high score is really due to the flowers and excellent Indian cuisine.

Date #3 rating: 2.5/10. One of the most bizarre “dates” I’ve ever been on in my life. Two points for the blog material and .5 for the sheer absurdity. 

Lessons learned: READ EVERY TEXT before agreeing to a date.