Friday, February 02, 2007

Red Flags + Red Flags = Dating Disaster

So a week or so ago, I got an email through from happy_fun_guy* telling me my profile looked interesting and asking if I’d like to grab dinner or drinks sometime. I checked out his profile, and he looked fun (silly photos, good sense of humor), so even though he was 38 (I don’t officially have an upper limit (who am I to put limits on love!?), but 38 is a little older than my ideal) and divorced (I had actually been on a great date with a divorced guy recently – who am I to judge?), I figured it was worth a date to meet him in person, and I emailed him to tell him so. In his original email, he had sent me his phone number, so in my response, I sent him mine.

He called me back that day (Thursday) within the hour, asking if I was free that night or that weekend “to have a tall, handsome, guitar-playing man take me out for a nice dinner.” I wasn’t, so after examining the insanity of both of our schedules, we decided to meet after my class on Tuesday night.

That night (still Thursday), I arrived in class and told my friend A. (who is also on that she should find someone to meet up with for a date after class on Tuesday at the same bar I was going to and we could walk over together. She said sure, and then asked about the guy I was going to meet.

Me: “Well, I don’t remember his screen name, but he’s 38, and he seems to be pretty fun.”

A: "You said he called you?”

Me: “Yeah… it was kind of weird – he called me right after I emailed him, and said something like ‘I’m calling to see if you’d like to have a tall, handsome, guitar-playing man take me out for a nice dinner’”

A: “Wait – you said he’s 38??? Does he have a photo of him playing guitar??? – Is his screen name happy_fun_guy?!”

Me: “Yeah – that’s it!… Why??? What do you know about him??!!”

A. proceeds to tell me that happy_fun_guy has emailed her 4 times telling her she’s beautiful and that he would really like to take her out, but she has never written back to him. I begin to get nervous about this guy (ok, more nervous - I already wasn’t completely psyched about him),

A.: “Um, so I won’t be going with you to that bar, then.”

That weekend, at brunch with my parents, aunt and uncle, I weighed my options:

1. Cancel the date. Put up with happy_fun_guy emailing (and calling – remember, he had my number) me over and over to reschedule (as he would inevitably do, as evidenced by his enthusiasm for emailing A. multiple times, despite her lack of response).

2. Go on the date. Potential problem being that I would be coming straight from school, which I walk to and from on Tuesday nights, and would therefore be without a quick getaway if the guy turned out to be lame/crazy/unsatisfactory in any way.

Thank God for relatives, because they came up with the winning option:

3. Reschedule the date for a night when I would have my car.

So I emailed happy_fun_guy to reschedule for Thursday night after class at 9:15pm. Done.

In the meantime, the three single friends I have in class (including A.) decided that it would be fun/wise to go hang out in a corner of the bar and keep an eye on this potentially strange man and me while we were on our date. Already not looking forward to the date, I agreed to this plan, if only for the reason that they would be good moral support.

Thursday night rolled around, and I arrived at the bar to meet happy_fun_guy outside. Introductions were made, and then happy_fun_guy (from here forward, to be referred to as HFG) said, “Well, your bar (Editor’s note: I had chosen this bar because it is usually quiet and is close to school) is rather crowded (Editor’s note: it was.). If it’s too noisy, it makes it hard to hear the other person, and how will you be able to decide if you want to go home with me then?” (Editor’s note: this is not exactly what he said, but I was so shocked by what he did say that I think that my brain immediately erased it from memory. The above comment is in the same vein as his original comment.).

I laughed nervously, mentioned that I needed to stay in the area because my ride was picking me up from there later, and then suggested we check out the bar across the street. It turned out that bar was even louder, so we returned to the first bar, and were lucky enough to get a seat at a table. We ordered drinks and then he ordered hot wings. (Editor’s note: HOT WINGS!? On a first date!? Really!? I mean, I love wings. I really do. But the way I see it, he was either making a lot of assumptions about me (that I eat chicken, that I like spicy things) or he was testing me (to see if I eat chicken and spicy things). Either way, kinda lame to not ask my input on the one dish of food we ordered. Also, wings are messy. There were multiple points throughout our conversation when he had sauce on the corner of his mouth. Was that a test to see if I’d tell him? (If so, I didn’t pass.))

So we conversed about typical first-date stuff (What do you do for work? What do you want to do with your social work degree? Tell me about that photo on your profile. Have you always lived here?) and not so typical first-date stuff (that his mother had cancer when he was little, and that she died a few years ago would both fall under this category). By this time, I knew I wasn’t interested in him, and set my sights on finishing the date so that I could go hang out with my school friends (who, by the way, were at the only other table that had been free when they walked in – yes, that’s right – the one right next to ours).

HFG: “Listen, I know you have to work tomorrow, but if I told you that there was this amazing thing that I could show you that would take about 90 minutes, could you give me 90 minutes?” (Editor’s note: This may or may not be as sketchy as it sounds. He runs a website that finds and lists all kinds of random events and attractions around the state, so it’s entirely possible that he knew of something really, validly cool that he wanted to show me. It’s also entirely possible that he was being sketchy.)

Me: (alarm bells going off in my head left and right) “Honestly, no. I have to be at work by 7:45 tomorrow to meet with a parent I haven’t seen in a month, and it’s the end of the week and I’m tired, and I just don’t think it would be a good idea.”

HFG: “I could drop you at home after.”

Me: “Well, you know, I have my friends picking me up here after.” (pause – feel the need to explain) “It’s just that I have this group of friends who are all single, and we all kind of look out for each other, you know, and check in after dates… in case of psycho-killers – ha ha!”

HFG: silence accompanied by intense stare

HFG: “You know, by saying that…”

Me: “Wait, are you a psycho-killer?” (laughing – to make it clear that I was joking before)

HFG: silence accompanied by intense stare

HFG: “You know, by saying that, you are putting yourself in a certain group of women.”

Me: “What do you mean?”

HFG: “You know most women aren’t quite so paranoid – or at least they don’t share that inner-monologue with their dates. I’d say about a quarter of women are that paranoid and it says a lot about someone…”

Me: “Wow, I’m sorry if I offended you. I didn’t mean anything by it. I…”

HFG: “I’m just telling you, because you know, you’re going into social work, and it’s a field where you are going to be getting a lot of feedback, so I’m just giving you some here. I thought you were more adventurous than that.” (Editor’s note: Whaaaaaaaaaaaat?”)

Me: “Ok… Well… Like I said, I didn’t mean to offend you. It’s just that in this group of friends, some people have had some pretty scary experiences with men, and so we look out for each other, and on these first dates, we…” (Editor’s note: yes, I was lying. But this guy was a loser, so I really didn’t care if he knew I was lying or not, or if I was hurting his feelings or not. I just wanted the date to be over.) (Editor's note: No, I don't know why I didn't just walk out then.)

HFG: “I’m just telling you that by saying that to me, you put yourself into a very specific category of women in my head.”

Me: “How do you mean?”

HFG: “Well, it’s like if I jumped into talking about sex with you – that would put me into a category of men in your mind – a not very good category of men.”

Me: (Internal monologue: “Do I say it? Do I not say it? Yup – gonna say it.”) “Well, actually you did.”

HFG: “Did what?”

Me: “Talk about sex.”

HFG: “When?”

Me: “Right when we first met – when we were standing outside of the bar.”

HFG: “No I didn’t."

Me: silence accompanied by intense stare

HFG: "Ok. Yes, I guess I did.”

Me: “But I didn’t judge you for that. I came inside and we had pleasant conversation.”

HFG: “Yes, we did. And besides, you’re really hot.”

Me: “Thank you. Your phone is ringing again. “(Editor’s note: his phone had rung twice earlier, but he had not answered it)

HFG: “Yeah, it is. Three times – It looks like someone is really trying to get in touch with me.”

Me: “Yeah.”

HFG: “I might have to take this, since it seems like we’re done here???”

Me: “Yeah, I think so.”

HFG: “Ok then, well thanks.”

Me: “Thanks for the date.”

HFG: “Ok, take care.”

HFG exits, I pretend to fiddle with my phone until he leaves, and then sit down at the table next to ours with my school friends, and proceed to tell them the details of the disastrous date.

If you’re still reading, thanks. Also, I'll try to make future dating horror stories (more of which I'm sure will be waiting for me in the future) a little shorter. As my coworker pointed out today, anyone after this guy is going to look pretty good, so it may be a while before another blog-worthy dating tale comes my way, but I’ll be sure to keep you informed (and hopefully entertained) if one does.

* Name has been changed to protect the crazy.


ATG said...

Phoebes, if I lived out there, I'd be your wingman-- meaning I'd order buffalo wings, lick my greasy fingers, and psychoanalyze your potential new boyfriend.

Melissa said...

oh my... wow. i guess this guy got ruled out. good move.


dasein668 said...


I say again: Oof.

legallyblonde29 said...

did you think about actually giving the guy's real screen name, just in case there are other Boston women in his line of fire who also read your blog?

jme said...

the problem with posting his real screen name is that he probably googles his own screen name, and would come across this blog, and then he'd terrorize us all.


i think it's good you didn't get up and leave. it's always better to tell the guy off. i mean, as long as you have a machete in your purse or a bunch of girlfriends nearby.

phoebe said...

LB, Jme is right - that's exactly why I didn't use his real screen name. If he's smart enough to crack the password-protection code on a blinking construction sign, I'm thinking he's smart enough to know how to google his screen name.

(and also, though it's flattering that you think that people other than my friends read my blog, I'm pretty sure they don't, and all my friends here already know this story)

Anonymous said...

Oh my god Phebes that's hysterical! Keep the faith with online dating thing though as it certainly worked out for a lot of people. I'm going to a wedding in two weeks for two people who met on Match and then going to another in June who also met online. Rock on sister!

Peter said...

There seem to be two types of daters, which apply to just about any method (dating services, blind dates, set-ups by friends, casual meetings):

1) the simple dater: someone who, for whatever reason, is not otherwise "dating" someone, and just wants to meet a decent guy/girl to hang out with. No biggie - simple.

2) the moron: someone who, for a multitude of reasons, should take themselves out of the gene pool, for the betterment of man.

Also, Pheobes, you're a lot nicer than I would be. I mean, once the third Family Feud "X" flashed up behind his head, I figured you'd just move over a table and start talking about him.

That's what I would do. But, I'm kind of an asshole. Ask Rian.

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Turboglacier said...

Fib-- just bounced over here following your comment on GirlTuesday's "worst dates?" post. Wanted to thank you for the laughs. I had a rough day and I'm sitting here at 2am reading blogs trying to cheer up, and THIS really helped. Plus I got some useful real-world "Dating Do's And Don'ts"-type tips out of it! Whoever would've thought that mentioning sex during introduction to a stranger could be construed as a "red flag" by the other person. I learn something new every day. Anyway I hope your dating life has been steadily improving since this posting...
P.S. My word verifiction: FBB-DTW! No joke. Obviously stands for "FiBBy - DaTe Woe"!