I have been on many bad dates, but I have only been on one where I was so annoyed that I felt compelled to physically harm the guy.
He messaged me first and although his profile wasn’t spectacular, I really needed to get under someone to get over someone else, so I wrote him back. He seemed nice enough, he wrote in complete sentences, and after more than a week of our schedules not working out he was still interested in meeting me. As far as online dating goes, that as good of a start as any.
We lived on opposite sides of town so I suggested a neighborhood in the middle. He said he wasn’t familiar with that area and had only been to one bar there. Red flag. It’s the most central neighborhood in the city, everyone meets here for drinks or dinner or shopping or strolling or coffee. I wanted to write back, do you live under a rock, sir?
The best thing to do in this situation is to utilize this wonderful thing called The Internet (if you’re unfamiliar I think Al Gore could help) and seek out some good date spots. Instead he suggested arguably the worst bar in the neighborhood because it was the one he was familiar with, admitting that it wasn’t anything to write home about. Awesome. We arranged to meet at 7pm.
The worst feeling in the world is walking up to a first date and knowing before you say hello that you’re not interested. For a moment I wondered if I could turn around and text him that something came up last minute, but in reality I’m not that cruel and also I was pretty sure he’d already spotted me. When I reached him I immediately noticed that he was about 50 lbs heavier than he appeared in his pictures, and the hat he wore in said pictures was to cover a pretty substantial bald spot. He was also a clear candidate for What Not to Wear, and I’m fairly certain that in 7th or 8th grade I owned the Jansport back pack he had slung over his shoulders. Weight doesn’t really bother me, in fact I like guys on the husky side, but I do not like guys that lie. I also don’t like guys that are clueless when it comes to style. Looking like he tried would have been too much ask, I would’ve settled for looking like he knew what the fuck PC load letter means.
Just picking a place to sit is an ordeal. I want to sit at the bar and he can’t make up his mind about which spot is best. After three rounds of musical chairs, the bartender hands us menus which my date promptly turns down.
“We don’t need menus. I know what I’m getting. I always order the same thing.”
Maybe YOU don’t need a menu, buddy, but I would like to see what the happy hour specials are. He orders a Yuengling draft and looks disgusted when I choose a bottle of Heineken Light. I suggest splitting an appetizer and he looks like I’m suggesting we start a nuclear war.
“I ate before I left work, and I really don’t want to pay for food.”
It’s now 7:15 on a weeknight, also known as dinner time, and I’m so hungry I could eat my arm. I was going to split the bill with you anyways but if that’s big of a deal I’ll buy my own god damn food, and by the way thanks for pointing out that you’re too cheap to split some pita and dip for $7.50. This is going swimmingly.
We make small talk about where we’re from, college, and where we like to hang out. He’s lives on the edge of the city in a neighborhood that resembles a remote suburb. The metro doesn’t run out there and I’m pretty sure there are only one or two bus lines that service the area. The one bar closes around 10 or 11, and yes it’s scenic, but when you’re that far away you may as well live in an actual suburb that offers some ammenities. He says he lives alone because he can’t stand other people touching his things, and that he avoids the city as much as possible. I ask him why and he says because it’s hard to get to from where he lives, so I suggest maybe he move. He says no, because he has a backyard with a grill and a hammock, and I point out that I have a grill and could probably put up a hammock if I wanted to and I live right in the city. I’m already annoyed by his existence so I press further. How do you know you don’t like the city if you never spend any time in it? How can you say for sure that you hate it if in fact all you’ve experienced is this shitty bar?
He reveals that he moved here with a girlfriend and while it didn’t work out, he likes his job so he’s going to stay. Ok fine, that’s fair. Then he tells me all about this girl and how his best friend really had a thing for her in college but she wasn’t into it, and now they’re broken up but the friend is still mad at him. I don’t really want to know about his past dating drama, or what kind of girl could consider sharing a bed with this guy, but he goes on to tell me about the first time he met her family.
“Her parents were fine, but her brother was high on drugs and he pointed a gun at me. It was cool though, the gun wasn’t loaded.”
I don’t know how to respond to this except to say that I can’t ever imagine myself in a situation where I’d be comfortable with a drugged up man pointing a gun at me, so I change the subject to work. The one thing I did like about this guy is that he did cancer research, and I found that to be a noble profession, especially in a city full of self serving political dicks. I tell him so, and he tells me that he’d like to run for office in about 15 years, but that he can’t stand The Hill and doesn’t want to go near it until he’s ready to be elected.
Maybe it’s because I went to a university where everyone was convinced they’d be President of the United States and had been working towards it since adolescence, or maybe it’s because I live on Capitol Hill and thus have friends that work in politics, or maybe, just maybe, it’s because I have some common sense, but this is where I lose it.
Me: How can you possibly expect to be elected if you don’t have any political experience?
Him: You think everyone that’s been elected comes from political backgrounds? What about businessmen?
Me: Maybe billionaire businessmen that have contributed to political parties and thus have well connected, powerful friends. (Now I’m shouting.) Also, you’re a scientist, not a businessman.
Him: People are tired of the same person getting elected, they’ll be happy to vote for an outsider. I want to make a difference.
Me: I think you’re being incredibly naive.
Him: I think you’re being cynical.
Me: Actually, I’m being smart. I don’t even like politics and I know this plan is stupid.
Him: You don’t know anything about me. I DO have experience. I did student government in high school. There is a billboard with my face on it in my hometown.
Me: That’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard.
In what world does student government in a one horse town equal actual politics in the real world? The fact that his man who doesn’t know how to dress himself, or plan a proper date, or make interesting small talk thinks he can run a successful campaign and be a leader is so infuriating that I just want to slug him in the mouth (both to shut him up and to make him feel that pain that my ears have suffered after listening to him). It’d be great if we had some sexual tension brewing, but all I feel is complete and utter disgust. I wave for the check then sit on my hands so I don’t give him a bloody lip.
After all that he offers to pay, but as always I insist on splitting. I walk towards the door before he can finish signing his portion of the bill. Outside it’s raining and I don’t share my umbrella with him. He walks two steps behind me toward the metro and halfway there says, “Well it was great meeting you,” and I cut him off before he can suggest another date. I say over my shoulder, “sure. Take care.”
Dating is the worst.
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