First dates, after having met previously whether it’s in the work place or a chance meeting, are basically awkward. Blind dates hedge toward disastrous. Internet dating tips the scales at being the most adventurous, as well as unpredictable. All this angst makes the world of dating look bleak and bothersome, and yet people take the risk, dive in with their clothes on, and hope that this one is “it.” Has anyone on the face of the earth NOT had a worst date? I’ve had several seriously bad dates, but one stands out from the rest and I shiver and quake in my recollections of… the man in black.
I am more than old enough to know better. I was going through the proper cautions of getting to know someone before meeting. We chatted online for two months before the subject was brought up, “Gee, should we meet?” Discussions of who are you, what do you do, where do you do it, why do you do what you do, and even the hows transpired over time until I thought I knew the person at the other end of signals, wires, and keyboards. I had asked him for his picture and he told me he didn’t have a recent one, but he admitted to being a big guy. Big guy means different things to different people, so I wasn’t too concerned. One of the problems with the Internet is that we form pictures in our minds of how the other person looks if pictures are not exchanged. This false illusion sets up a notion that the person is something they are not. Always exchange pictures before meeting. This is not all about appearance, but physical chemistry counts whether we like it or not.
One late afternoon, I logged on to ICQ and there he was. We exchanged pleasantries and then he asked me if I was busy that evening. I answered, “No, why?”
“Let’s get together and meet. Why keep wasting time typing?”
I pondered for a bit. I’m not impulsive and in fact I move like a turtle when it comes to decisions of the heart. My hesitation irritated him. (RED FLAG) After a few more minutes of dragging my feet, he said he’d call. In a few moments the phone rang and he finally persuaded me to meet him. Now all of this sounds like I should have just stayed home, but I am who I am and I tend to deliberate and sometimes miss the brass ring, so I agreed.
He lived about two hours from me so we agreed that we should meet half way. He insisted this was far more than a meeting that this was a date. I’m not sure where the difference lies anymore, but who am I to quibble with semantics. I asked him where we should meet and he quickly said, “McDonalds just off the turnpike at Stony Ridge” (RED FLAG) Perhaps I was naï¿½ve, but I thought this would be a meeting place because it was easy to find and together we’d find a quiet place where we could talk, have a glass of wine and dinner. I showered and primped until it was time to be on my way. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on how it’s looked at, I ended up caught in a traffic snarl due to an accident. I arrived at the Golden Arches just as it started to rain. (AN OMEN?) I took out my lipstick and began dabbing it on quickly when I nearly jumped out my skin. Someone knocked on my window. I peered out and there stood an enormous man of corpulent measure dressed all in black. I froze for a moment not recognizing the person standing in the rain until he said my name. My mind reeled with fright, caution screaming at me, but I opened the door anyway. I stepped out of the car and before I could say a word, he began with, “You’re late, I’ve been waiting for half an hour.” He took me by the elbow, steering me toward the door of McDonalds. His 6’5″ height towered over my 5’1″ frame as we stood in line to put our order in. He didn’t bother asking me what I wanted nor did I offer my desires to him. It was our turn. “I’ll have a diet coke,” I uttered softly. There’s no need to go into his menu choices. We headed to the back of the seating areas near the bathrooms, of course. I chose a booth and he shook his head no and moved toward an open seating area.
Once seated, he scolded me again for being late and complained that I had let him get wet by not jumping out of the car immediately. (RED FLAG) With brows knitted and eyes squinted, I stared at him in disbelief before sipping hurriedly on my diet coke. I had all ready decided that as soon as I had the diet coke down, this meeting, date, fiasco was over and done and I was out of there. He began chowing down on his sandwich after running his fingers through wet, matted down black hair. Seconds lapsed into minutes and minutes into what seemed an eternity before he spoke to complain about the lack of sauce on his two all beef patties. The silence resonated between us like a bass drum beating in an empty auditorium.
He reached over while munching a fry covering my hand with his soft pudgy one. I slowly, yet deliberately, pulled my hand out from beneath his. I asked about his work while one hand played at the straw poking out of the drink and the other hand lay safe in my lap. I was trying to make conversation, but it seemed impossible. His reply came out in a whining whimper about the stupidity of his colleagues. I’d had enough.
I looked him square in the face and told him this was not working. I would be leaving as soon as my drink was finished. “That long?” He asked. I didn’t bother to speak again until he made a comment. “I spent a lot of money calling you.” I was taken aback. I’d not expected him to complain about the cost of phone calls. Without hesitation I reminded him that I had called him, also.
He countered with, “I kept my phone bills and I have them added up.” I’m not sure just how my face looked at that point, probably disbelief touched with anger. It may have been red and blotchy, as it tends to get when I’m angry, embarrassed, frustrated, or sad. I finished the last of my coke, took out forty bucks, leaving me ten, and tossed the money on the table. I turned to walk away and he grabbed my hand, asking me if we couldn’t talk this over. I told him no and left. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him take the money off the table and shove it in the pocket of his shirt.
On the hour drive home I swore I saw his truck following me. Once home I raced in the house, locked the door, checked the windows, and crawled in bed with the covers drawn up to my chin. A few days later I logged on to ICQ to chat with a friend and received a message, “DO NOT MESSAGE ME EVER AGAIN!” Did he really think I would?