A few months ago I went on my first date in a long time. If you haven’t heard of a free and popular dating website called Plenty of Fish, then you’re not missing anything. I have found all manner of freaks, weirdoes, (this is how spell check wants me to spell weirdos), perverts and yes, one time, a vampire on this site. I mean; this pool of fish has been seriously peed in.
So when a seemingly normal, human guy emails me, I tend to give him a few moments of my attention out of pure suspicion. I inspect his profile for grammar errors and douchbaggery, rifle through his photos waiting to find pictures of his dog, truck, boat, partial profiles of ex-girlfriends’ faces that have been poorly cropped out, and, of course, the obligatory jet ski photo that I think every guy has stolen from somewhere on the internet.
I’m not sure who these guys think they’re fooling with these pictures. It’s like, here’s a picture of my dog because I’m sensitive, here’s a picture of my truck because I’m macho, here’s a picture of all the cool places I’ve been because I’m well rounded, here’s a picture of me rock climbing because I’m adventurous, and here’s one tiny picture of my face 50 feet away because, well, I’m ugly. Guys, just so you know, that’s what you’re telling us with those 11 annoying pictures of landscapes.
But I digress.
The seemingly normal guy was very nerdy looking. Typically, after one look, I would ignore his email and log out. But he had seen me at a piano bar and then recognized me on the site. I didn’t remember seeing him at all (which was probably my first warning) but I loved the idea that someone had noticed me that I hadn’t noticed and then found me on a dating site and couldn’t pass up his chance to meet me a second time. It was all very Nicholas Sparks. So I let the voices in my head (thanks mom and sisters) that say stupid stuff like, “people get better looking when you get to know them, he could have a great personality, you need to give the guy a chance,” rule my decision to respond and agree to meet him in real life. Letting those voices have a say should have been my second warning and seen as a sign of desperation. I learned years ago after my very first post-divorce date that one should never go on a date just to go on a date but, unfortunately, I have a loud family and their three voices drowned out my one.
We agreed to meet at a wine bar. Casual. Not as big a commitment as dinner, but not as lame as coffee (I don’t consider coffee to be a date, anyway. Buy me a real drink, jackass). I kept trying to forget that he wasn’t attractive at all in his pictures and telling myself that maybe he’s just not photogenic. Partly because it made me feel superficial to care so much about what he looked like and partly because…well, let’s be honest, I just didn’t want to feel superficial; regardless of whether or not I was slash am.
As soon as I walked in the door I wanted to run back out. He was uglier (apparently spell check doesn’t recognize that as a word) than his pictures and nerdy had changed to dorky. Nerdy can be cute, sometimes sexy, because nerds are smart. Even geeks, with their real life video game battles have potential when they’re in costume, but dorks are just…dorks! There’s no helping them.
I didn’t run away. He could see me. I may be an asshole, but I do my best to limit my assholish acts to those I could stand having done back to me. I would never want someone to take one look at me and run while in my path of vision. So I powered through. As I walked up to him he got up from his seat, flung one arm out for a half hug and said, “Happy hump day!” I wanted to punch myself in the face. Why had I agreed to this stupid date! You know why? Because I’m a lunatic! When I hadn’t been on a date in several months and was feeling desperately low and insecure, I let the voices talk me into this date when I knew it was a bad idea. Now that I was on the date, I was highly overconfident and couldn’t stop wondering how someone as beautiful and overall fantastic as I could be on a date with such an ugly, lame, cliché dork. Yeah, I like to call it “passionate” not “crazy.”
He continued to dig himself deeper by saying stupid shit, like, “I thought the Lollipop Guild was a club in San Francisco for midgets.” Yes. He actually said those words. I was flabbergasted; caught between hoping he was messing with me and scared that he wasn’t. My response went something like this, “You…the...what?...that’s…it’s…the Lollipop Guild is from The Wizard of Oz! And I don’t think you’re supposed to say midget.” I don’t know what my face was doing during this stammer but I don’t have a very good poker face, so it couldn’t have been kind. He said, “Well, I know that now because I actually offended someone once asking if it was a club in San Francisco.” Oh. My. Gosh. I may have said that, I may have just stared at him like he was an idiot. I may have done both. Sometimes I have no filter and sometimes I’m shocked into silence. Finally, I just laughed at him and then apologized for laughing at him and he said, “No, you should be laughing, it’s funny, that’s why I told you.” That was when I knew he wasn’t messing with me - he didn’t realize that I was laughing at him, not with him.
It didn’t get any better after that and I managed to get out of the date early (I scheduled the date before dance class so I had an excuse to leave if it sucked. Which it did. I’m a genius. You can learn a lot from me). I didn’t let him pay for my champagne flight or walk me to my car and he was wise enough not to call me ever again.
Later, when I told my sister the story, I said, “He just kept saying stupid, annoying shit like,
“What’s your gig?”
“Um, my gig?”
“Yeah, what do you do?”
“Oh. I have a really dumb job, I’m a receptionist.”
“That’s not a dumb job, I’m a babysitter.”
“You’re a babysitter?”
“Yeah, I babysit all the salespeople who work under me.”
You know, because he’s so important that he has people who work under him. Way to work that into the conversation. I seriously think guys only ask us what we do so they can tell us what they do. But anyway, I just kept looking at him and thinking, all the shit you’re saying maybe wouldn’t sound so stupid and annoying, might even sound cute and funny, if you had a different face. Ya know, just get a different face?”
And that is the ugly truth, my friends. Pun intended.