… On[Line] Dating

It’s entirely possible that I’ll never top this post, and I say that only because this was THE sequence of events where I realized that my life in fact was a bit of a shitshow. And I of course mean that in the nicest way possible. But to the best of my knowledge (I’m sure I’m retrieving previously repressed items here) this is what happened when I decided to see what all the fuss was about Online Dating.

An important take away from this evening is bad dates do not discriminate between online and real life. Have I also been on bad “real life” dates as I like to call them? You bet. But lest we all get carried away, I’ve also had good dates to use as a point of comparison. So why are we not talking about those “real life” events as well? Mainly because I have to save something for my eulogy, but also because we’d be here all day, frankly and a girl’s gotta eat. So as I sit here with my wine (who am I becoming?) pondering the great mysteries of online ridiculousness, please sit back and enjoy my suffering. Have some wine as well, you silly fool.

Now. Ahem…

Four score and something something ago my roommate Bernadette-Penelope (names have been changed since she’s not home right now to ask permission from) had an idea. She had been on “OKCupid” apparently having a ball while I bemoaned the lack of kind, gentlemanly folk in the city of Boston.

“You should try online dating!”
“What? No. No, I can’t do that.”
“But it’s so fun! Come on, we’ll make your profile!”

While I can tell you I put up a fight, mostly within my own head, I eventually caved, obviously or none of us would be here with our wine getting shmagoozed. But I also wasn’t sure what in the blazes I was supposed to do on this site, or how to “act” in this weird new arena. On account of this confusion, my profile name for the site (which I found terribly clever at the time) was “CHEEKTASTIC”. I’m going to tell you something right now. Don’t use that name. People will not believe you and choose not to believe you when you tell them it’s because your face is round.

“Hey girl, yeah your ass is!”
“No, my face is, dick.”
“Yeah your ass is!”

So that was my first mistake. My second mistake was also a derivative of not really understanding online dating codes. The guys primarily pretend they’re too cool for their online dating profile by filling out brief snip-its of their categories. Books: “The Catcher in the Rye… yeah, maybe.” WTF does that mean? The girls tend to be a little more involved in their answers, but I chose the path of least commitment: aloofness. My “About Me” section was a poem I wrote on the spot that if anyone had any clue about anything, they would realize I had no idea what the hell I was doing. So are you starting to get the picture? Here’s what we have so far: My big head on the left hand corner, the name CHEEKTASTIC nice and big and then my profile.

I logged back in, just so you all could see this and am currently dealing with the consequences, but such are the lengths I will go to for my readers. ANYWAYS you may notice that there were some very telling indications that I’m a goof that doesn’t really have an online dating plan. Because this picture doesn’t cover everything I will tell you what my profile said so you can see how sexy and alluring I was:

My Self-Summary
Roses are red
Violets are blue
I was forced on this site
by a kindhearted Jew

ooooh lady…I am sassy, sweet, and like to eat

What I’m Doing With My Life
Living in Boston trying not to be offended when I midwesternly smile and people not so midwesternly pretend they didn’t see. Aaaannnd getting a masters in film, eating lots of desserts, running off those desserts so I don’t have to buy new pants… having fun 😉

I’m Really Good At
I’ve got rhymes. I’ve got stories. They gotta get out!And abbreviating words.example: this site is ridic And I’m pretty good at being active. I’ll play just about anything and love trying new things. But at the risk of sounding ridiculous, the shape of the ball is sort of a key factor in whether I’ll pick the game up or not.

The First Things People Usually Notice About Me
So here’s how I feel about this. I was under the impression it was my round face, as people I don’t know have rather interesting convos with me all the time, implying what I thought was some degree of comfort. And people are comfortable with round. Thinking more about this, I actually have no idea. HOWEVER! If they know my name before meeting me, they generally assume I am not what they were expecting. Read: Blonde with enormous boobs (sorry bout that) or… any sort of oddity.

Favorite Books, Movies, Shows, Music, and Food
Books: The Boys of Winter, The Catcher in the Rye, Dork Whore, Flowers for Algernon, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Blink, On the RoadMovies: I know the choreography to every Newsies dance number.Music: Just about everything with a special partiality to Springsteen.Food: Cheesecake! HELLO!

The Six Things I Could Never Do Without
friends/fam
movies
rum
cheesecake
toilet paper
sass

I Spend A Lot Of Time Thinking About
World affairs… economic crisis… how did I get here… what pair of underpants did I put on this morning…”What the hell am I doing?” also seems to resurface in various situations. Is this one of them? Perhaps.

On A Typical Friday Night I Am
With friends, doing god knows. God probably does know actually, which I’ll deal with later.

The Most Private Thing I’m Willing To Admit
If you knew half the things… I guess the most recent was I got flashed by a naked guy running in the river alongside my Amtrak train the other day. But I feel like that wasn’t my fault. Give me some time for this one.

————————————————————————————————————

Don’t I sound amazing? I’ll answer that for you, I sound like a dork, which I am, but this did not seem to deter anyone. My first message came within 5 minutes of putting up the profile and was sent to my email address in a nice little alert that said “Hey, is it hot in here or is it you?”

Classy business this was going to be. I could just tell!

Well, since I didn’t really understand the online decorum which had more of a ‘tag you’re it’ feel than I was used to, I decided to go balls to the walls with this and just go out and meet some new people. That was my thought, anyways. My first real “date” I was understandably terrified to go on, and based on passed messages it was fairly clear that I was going to be the personality in this outfit. But I thought hey, why not. So after mustering up my courage, I trekked all the way out to Brighton from Cambridge on the greenline and met “Fritz” at a bar (I don’t know why I’m even bothering changing names but whatever). Initially things were going fine except that he responded to everything I said with “fair enough.” I still can’t hear that phrase without slightly shuddering. After we finished our respective dinners (more on dinners later) I had all plans to go home until he said “Hey, why don’t we go to this place around the corner. You’ll really like it.” I unfortunately said yes and additionally unfortunately realized that I look like the kind of girl that “really likes” dive bars. There was nothing else to do but throw darts and thwart unwanted Fritz advances while everyone smoked. When I accidentally came within inches of impaling someone with a dart, Fritz started talking about his “dog” which just made me homesick and wonder what the hell I was doing with my life at that moment.

“You have a dog?”
“Yeah, you wanna see her? I live right over there, you can come up and say hi if you want.”

Can you see where this is going? If I haven’t mentioned it yet I’m occasionally profoundly stupid. Count this as an occasion. I headed over to see this “dog” who I really shouldn’t put into quotes because she did actually exist. So did the mostly naked roommate that only wore a viking hat and tighty whities, but I digress. After seeing the dog, I just wanted to go home and went into the bathroom to formulate a plan. The bathroom I discovered was lined with Playboys from the last year all lined up numerically based upon publish date. It was about time to roll out. Unfortunately, I got plunked onto the couch and Fritz pulled a “let me give you a massage,” literally yanking me over and then subsequently yanking my face over for a really awful kiss. So I decided at that point this had gone on probably way past when it should have ended, and had to walk myself back to the train at 12:30. Oh wells. That sucked, but there was no time to dwell on it because I had booked myself another two dates the next day!

I woke up for what was supposed to be a morning brunch-ish thing with this guy “Marvin”. When I realized we were essentially both from Pittsburgh I thought this would be a grand old time! And it was actually very enjoyable except for the fact that Marvin looked about 14 and the two of us wound up getting drunk at 1 in the afternoon. No biggie! After some enjoyable conversation I said peace out and headed across the street to my next date with “Herman” at a coffee shop.I don’t remember why I had said yes to three people in a span of less than 24 hours. I just sort of started saying yes to people. Anyways, I walked into the coffee shop right past Herman and tried to buy myself an iced chai latte. My fave. It was cash only and my cash had been spent on booze with Marvin 20 minutes prior. So I plunked myself down at a table. Eventually after some awkwardness and feeling like someone was somehow whispering to me, I realized that the person sitting in the corner near the bathrooms that people kept walking in off the street, bombing, and then walking out of was my date. So I got my intoxicated ass up and walked over to introduce myself.

He had a bit of a lisp and refused to make eye contact but other than that things were going very well. When he asked where my drink was (“I mean, we’re in a coffee shop, like, that’th why I picked it. Tho you could get coffee, know what I mean?”) and I told him I only had my card on me he said “Aw, that thucks man. Thucks.” And then just looked around the room. This was just awesome, complimented nicely by the fragrant aroma of poo drifting in and out of our lives. After an hour and a half in which I can honestly tell you I have no idea what we talked about, I said I was ready to call it a day. Herman told me he’d thee me later and I went home and slept for about 14 hours. Marathon dating is exhausting.

Now, the wise thing to do would be to take a step back from the site and assess what in the blazes I was doing. What did I want from this? What were my goals? Was this helping or hurting me? I had no answer to any of these questions and so went onward with my nutso dating brigade. Just as a point of reference before we go any further, in a span of approximately a month and a half I went out with 15 people. I was a little out of control, but I’m going to hit you with the high points in this extravaganza. Just hang in there, we’re gonna keep trucking along!

The next one I decided to see we’ll just call “Spandex.” At this point in the game I was actually really proud of myself because I had started to realize that when I requested the meeting place, I could take the date to wherever I liked to eat and usually the guys would pay for dinner. Call me what you want, I call myself a well-fed strategist. So I implemented operation “Get Ingrid Fed” and decided to go to one of my favorite restaurants- Daedelus.Daedelus is a restaurant of many faces I’ve come to learn. It thinks of itself as pretty classy. Generally it’s somewhere in the upper middle class but every now and then you get some high class dames in there. Not like when I call myself a high class dame, like actual high rollers that are over 60 and wear cardigans and diamonds, sometimes at the same time. It happened to be one of those HRD (high rollin’ dame) nights when we went out, and so we were of course on a wait list while the diamond encrusted upper crust finished their filets. When I had initially met up with Spandex in a nearby bookstore, it took me a moment to realize he was talking to me because he spoke so loud and somehow looked constantly at everyone else but me. He seemed to be addressing the entire bookstore. I think he was looking at some older man when he said “Cheektastic! Awesome!” and gave me a hug while simultaneously turning his head 97 degrees to the right.

We’ll call that strike number 1.

We went out during our wait to a bridge over the Charles and a man came walking really slowly behind us wearing only a white pair of spandex shorts.  If you know spandex you know that white should be outlawed everywhere except pornos, so I decided why not utilize this as a point of conversation?

“I’d never only wear spandex. I don’t think I could rock that.”

Unfortunately this led to the beginning of a string of what I’m just going to call terrible statements.

“Oh I totally would. I love spandex, it’s amazing. I have a pair of black and white shorts, they’re the same kind. I seriously dig ’em. Great, great stuff.”

What? Strike Number 2.

Our buzzer went off so we went back and were seated in the midst of not one but two HRD’s. I ordered my usual crabcake sandwich and tried to focus on the fact that I was eating one of my favorite things. Everything would be just great. My food would arrive very soon. These ladies that flank me totally respect me.

Then it happened.

“So, I mean I used to be seeing this girl and like, she was smoking hot. You know what I mean? Like she was super hot. And you know, we went on a few dates and I thought things were going well, but then she said she was gonna be going on a camping trip for the weekend.”

“Camping is good. Why are we talking about this?”
“But like she wasn’t camping!”
“Oh, ok. Is the food here yet?”
“You know what she was doing?”
“I think the food should be here, let’s have some water. Look, there’s your water.”
“SHE WAS FUCKING HER BOYFRIEND!”

Strike bazillion. The HRD’s all turned. It was terrible. In my head it always plays out like this:

I had nothing left to do but act like a 7-year-old.

“Shhhh!! You be quiet right now!”
“But can you believe that?”
“No! Be quiet!”

And that was dinner. On our way out he said his car was on the way to my apartment so we walked until suddenly he said “Goodbye!” and gave me the most sudden and aggressive hug I’ve ever had in my life. Speaking of which, let’s talk about this hugging business. If you’re ever an online dater you will come to find that the hug is this odd gesture at the end of a date that is expected by almost every boy. To the point that even if you don’t like your date (please see above) you still get wrapped up in a bear grip. It’s better than kissing someone you don’t like but also one of the oddest things I’ve encountered. But we don’t have time for semantics, we’ve got dates to get through!

Forging ahead! During my next date with “Abel” he got diarrhea and I sat at the table and ate my cheeseburger alone for about 28 minutes. I asked Abel if he wanted a hug later, but he didn’t seem keen on that. There’s really not much else to say about that one. Now, returning to a player from the past, “Marvin”, it was around this time that I realized something slightly curious about him. If you’ll remember, he was from the Pittsburgh area and we got drunk at 1 in the afternoon. I had thought he was fun and went so far as to invite him to see a Penguins/Bruins game with my “real life” friends since he seemed to love the Penguins almost as much as me. However, I seemed to have misunderstood several things about Marvin. The first is that I thought we were friends. That’s sort of a big thing to misunderstand and I have a very bad tendency to mistake signals.

“How could you not think he wanted to date you if you met on a dating site, Stobbe?”

This is a good question. In fact I’ll even call it a great question, but one to which I have no answer. Suffice it to say, Marvin showed up to the Penguins game with hickies (not mine) all over him, and then sent me a gchat saying he’d love to hang out sometime but was actually moving in with his girlfriend the next day.

OOooookkkKK?

This was the moment when I started to realize people were not exactly what they seemed. You may be wondering what took me so long, and as usual I have no legitimate answer. These are explanations people, they are not excuses. But back to the grind. Marvin was out of the picture and now it was time to meet ‘Harold.” Harold met me at Grendel’s Den and in hindsight things could have been substantially worse. But then they also could have been infinitely better. Harold was a jolly fellow and conversation was easy. Especially after I had several beers. He regaled me with stories about how he had intended to go out with a 24-year-old young lady but she showed up as a 44-year-old woman (at least that hadn’t happened to me yet) and how I looked like my pictures and it was grand. But no amount of beer could have prepared me for the fact that Harold would suddenly and without warning burst into song. Rock songs. By Def Leppard and ACDC. 80’s. Really, really loud. I’m going to tell you right now that I’ve been in a lot of awkward situations. I pride myself on knowing how to dodge bullets of wtf, but when mildly intoxicated and presented with a man I hardly knew at all singing at the top of his lungs in one of my favorite booze holes, I was at a loss. So I did what any self-respecting lady of good breeding would do.

“Ok, that’s good. Very good, let’s stop that now.”

But it didn’t work. And of course it didn’t work, why would someone with the necessity to sing at the top of his lungs on a first date feel any reason to stop just because I asked? I don’t really know how I got through dinner but on the way out I was making my way towards my apartment when he hit me with-

“So you wanna do this again sometime?”
“Um, you know-”
“What are you feeling? Like, what are you thinking right now, would this be something you’re interested in?”
“Well, why don’t we just like, I mean we could-”
“Really? Do you mean it? Only say it if you mean it because I don’t play games.”

I don’t honestly know what my response to that was. I hope it was polite. My next date was with “Max” the dental student who started telling Bernadette-Penelope how he would fix her canines while I got ready to head out. In all fairness, I was getting a little jaded at this point. While Max headed over I was watching a Penguins playoff game and frankly was running out of zest for this whole process. So when he got there I was in gym shorts and a T-shirt. But in hindsight it doesn’t really matter, the guy was a dick. We went to look at the stars at the Harvard College Observatory, and had to climb a slightly treacherous ladder to get on the roof. My “I’m afraid of heights for real” statement was met simply with”Lame.” After being told I know a lot about sports for a girl, and apparently insulting him by saying he wasn’t nearly as laid back as he thought he was (I still stand by that statement), it was about time to call it. We both mutually agreed we very strongly disliked the other and said goodnight. Fun times back at the ranch. But things were about to turn up (not) as I had a date the following week with someone I actually found attractive and (WHOA) was the first person I had actually picked out myself! Yeah! This would be great! Unfortunately, some things happened that slightly tainted the experience.

The first was that I stepped on a piece of glass and it got stuck in my foot. The plan was that I was going to play ultimate frisbee with this guy, but I couldn’t seem to put my foot all the way down without feeling pain. So I got a phone call that went something along the lines of-

“Hey, are you still up for ultimate?”
“Actually, I have glass in my foot and I’m trying to get it out. It hurts a lot.”
“So, are you still up for ultimate?”
“What? No, it kind of hurts.”
“Well, I also have these two tickets to a concert and I’m gonna offer them to my uncle first but if he says no you totally should come.”
“That sounds… like not really polite-”
“Well call me tonight and let me know what you want to do!”

I hung up and came out into my living room to express my issues and get opinions only to find that Bernadette-Penelope and our former roommate “Gerty” had for some reason both decided to clean the tub and each utilized one half of the exceptionally potent draino/bleach combo known to throw people in Emergency Rooms (What’s up dad!). It was kind of chaos as BP realized she had gotten some draino on her hands and we were all a bit confused as to what to do. While I was calling poison control, Max called back to ask about the concert.

“Did you make up your mind yet?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t think I can go, we’re having a bit of a situation here.”
“With your lame foot? That’s so lame.”
“No, though that’s not lame, that’s legit. I don’t know what you stick in your foot, but that’s legit.”
“Well, I’m just gonna go with my uncle then.”
“Fantastic.”

Suffice it to say that when Max and I finally did go out (to a movie) it was not fun and I was perpetually looked at as some sort of wimp who can’t handle a foreign object in their appendage. I mean, you can’t win them all, can you? Though it’s nice to at least have a shot at the date- the next date with “WTF” was one that never actually happened.

Whatever do you mean, Stobbe?

I showed up to the designated meeting spot at the designated meeting time (6pm, beeyotch) and waited. And waited. If you’ve ever thought to yourself “I wonder how long Ingrid waits for someone that doesn’t make any contact to say they won’t be there or answer their phone when she calls” you now have the answer: 15 minutes. After 10 minutes I call, and after 15 I send a text that says “peace out homes, call me if you need me”. Besides, my friend had a soccer game that night with a party at a bar after, so that sounded infinitely more enticing to me than hanging by muhself. When I got home that night though, my phone was flashing and I had a new voicemail.

“Hey Ingrid, I’m really sorry I couldn’t make it tonight, I know we were supposed to meet up and stuff. But it’s really funny, I’m actually in jail.”

I’ll give you a moment.

“I had this thing happen where like, I ductaped my roommate’s hands but they were naked and someone called the cops and they totally misunderstood and…”

I had stopped listening at this point, I was laughing too hard. But I finally emailed the guy and asked what in the blazes he meant, and in his irritation that I would be concerned that someone I was going alone to meet was in jail I received-

“It sounds so bad when you put it like that! Though I suppose it’s a fair request on your part. I honestly am kind of tired of talking about the whole situation as it was a big misunderstanding. The short version is that a friend and I were joking around but the Boston Police took it to an extreme and arrested me. It’s near impossible to explain the entire scenario without knowing my relationship with (let’s call her Brunhilda?). Basically the BPD thought that I had assaulted and/or battered her, in fact one of the papers I was given about the ‘incident’ says that I ‘did assault and beat’ her.”

Raincheck? MOVING ON!

There wasn’t time to think too much about this because I had booked myself a date the next morning with “Hank.” The problem was, I was a bit hungover from the soccer party the night before, and so in the morning I sent the assholish request to push the date back from 10am (I can’t believe I agreed to a date at 10am) to 1pm. And somehow I made it to the Boston Commons for another date, thinking a bit about the beer that was def still in my tum as well as the fact that my date last night was possibly a felon. BUT I got there and awaiting me with a big bag of something was Hank. I mean this in as honest a way as possible: This was the only date where I arrived and almost went home. I knew as soon as I got there that things just were not going to go well, but I forced my feet to march over and sat down on the grass.

“What’s in the bag?”
“Oh, I have a frisbee and some bread to feed the ducks.”

Hmm. Maybe this would be fine. I like frisbee. And I’d never really thought about it, but hey, I like ducks. So I did my best and led with-

“So do you wanna go for a walk? That’s my favorite street over there.”
“Beacon? Seriously? That street sucks.”

Maybe not.

We first went to the Public Gardens to feed the ducks and as more and more children started piling around us wanting to feed the birds, Hank seemed to have some sort of adverse reaction. He disappeared and I found him near a tree after I reluctantly bid the welcome little distractions goodbye.

“Well, you have a frisbee, right? Want to go play catch?”

On the way to the field we stopped in starbucks so I could get a drink. I ordered my beloved iced chai latte and pulled my wallet out. If we were playing the strike game this would be about number 17 at this point, but I’m trying to consolidate.

“PUT THAT AWAY!!!”

Was that direction for me?

“Put your money AWAY! I’M GETTING THIS!
“Um… I’ll get it. Thanks for the declarative offer, though.”

Leaving the gawking coffee-goers we headed to the field, me and my anger management friend. Crossing the street he hit me with-
“Did you play any sports in college?”
“Yeah, I did X, Y and softball-”
“Softball?!”
“Yeah?”

At this point I wasn’t really paying attention and was instead more or less robotically trying to inhale my chai and forget that this was my life. Therefore I didn’t notice him winding up.

“You must have a really good ARM!!! Then he hit me. Like, he actually punched my arm. That was about it folks. He threw the frisbee to me and I subsequently threw that mother into a construction zone. Woops? Peace out, my man.

This particular date is of note though not simply because of its violent tinges laced on the tail of a jailed date that was not, but because every so often in life there are reverberations of past acquaintences. People you wish you hadn’t been involved with and managed to shrug off until suddenly they appear back in your life once more. Hank was just such a person. I recently decided to be all professional and join LinkedIn, and made the decision to have it access my email contacts. I thought I was being all stealth by filtering who I thought I knew as contacts and checking off those email contacts I just didn’t remember. Apparently I missed Hank, because the following are the unedited messages I received on LinkedIn ONE DAY after joining:

“Hello, friend! You may have added me by mistake somehow, but that’s quite all right. It made me giggle like a little girl once I recognized your name. Where the heck could I have met an Ingrid? And then I remembered the most disastrous date in recent memory. You showed up – you got points for that – in a daze, and it really threw me into a panic. I thought briefly about sending you on your way home, but I was pretty certain that you were coming down off of the effects of ketamine, so I spent the next hour or so babysitting you so you wouldn’t collapse on the street and end up in an ambulance. You did your best to try to shake me off, and I didn’t know what else to do other than play dumb and make sure you’d be okay. You owed me a frisbee, but you left me with a good story to tell so I’ll settle. (Totally swore off of online dating for 6 months after that.) Hope you can laugh about it now. Great seeing you on LinkedIn! Let me know if you should need anything

Best,
Hank”

You may be asking yourself “My god, Ingrid. How did you keep it classy in the face of a delusional nut that claims you put him off of dating anyone for 6 months?!” And my answer to that is that after 26 years of keeping it classy amidst such accusations of horse tranquilizer usage, I politely responded-

Hank!! I signed up for this and literally have been getting emails about people not knowing me cause it added like everyone I’ve ever emailed, so this note is totally fine! And don’t beat yourself up over that! That whole experience on there was so ridiculous for me, I just hope you didn’t hate that day! It was totally fine. Once I went out with this guy only to find that he’d actually been put in jail so of course he didn’t show up, so seriously not to worry. And I wasn’t in a daze that day, just hung over. Not that that makes it any better. But hope you’re doing well! This made me laugh.

Ingrid

Do you see the finite jabs that don’t overtly proclaim “I know you’re nuts” but also establish a dominant position in the conversation? It’s a subtle art. Unfortunately I haven’t gotten great at the art of  “Shut up already” and received yet another gem in my “Professional” inbox.

“Oh, Ingrid…

Luckily for you, I don’t put much stock in first impressions. It pretty much went from:

5 minutes in – Hmm, something’s “off” with this girl.
10 minutes in – Someone sold her something amazing.
15 minutes in – Wow, this one really hates me.
20 minutes in – Shit. There’s gotta be a rule against abandoning her unconscious in the park.

While I realize that you may be reluctant to put certain things into writing, you must understand that denial is the first phase towards recovery from addiction. If and when you decide to make a change in your life, I’ll be there to listen. Let me know when you need me. Until that point, I’ll know where to go should I happen to be called to tranquilize a horse or some ferocious animal that has escaped from the zoo. That’s the story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

Hank”

And with that, my friends, I realized that the politeness dance was done, and it was time to do the big “unlink” on the big LinkedIn. Hank had been officially linked out.

At this point in the story, though there were other dates, our time together this day is about to come to a close. But you may say to yourself “Man, Stobbe. A jailbird, accusations of drug use, cheatin’ hearts, gastrointestinal malfunctions, how will you end this on a high note?” And my answer to that is to give you a personal low note. To close, I give you without further ado,

The Man Who Cried

After weeks of trying to get me to go to the beach I agreed to get drinks down the street from my apartment with this guy (am I really gonna show up by myself with your friends I don’t know and rock my probably not ready for summer beach bod with you? For all intelligent reasons including potential kidnapping, hells no). Keeping it local I found to be the ticket for my sanity at this point. We met and his first question was if I was on team Edward or Jacob.

Just, no.

I said the movies are terrible and let’s get some margaritas! Easy peasy. Everything was going alright, and though I knew soon enough that the funny bartender was gonna be my only ally on this night, I was willing to play along. They had the World Cup showing on all the screens which was a pleasant distraction when conversation waned. But then something happened that I hadn’t encountered before. If you’re keeping track, that’s not just one but TWO awkward encounters during this dating process that had me flummoxed. ME! The queen of inadvertant weirdo interaction.

“So where are you from?”
“Pittsburgh.”
“Oh yeah? I love Pittsburgh, I used to always go through it on the way to visit my dad. He loved Pittsburgh, too.”
“Really, what parts have you been to?”

Silence.

I had been looking into the face of my pina colada during the tail end of this exchange and looked up, perplexed as to why it had ended so suddenly.

How could people not go on and on about the Burgh? There’s tons of things to talk about!

Wait. Wait a tic, was this man crying?

Yes. Yes he is.

Well, shit.

My only ally of the evening caught the scene and went to make a pretend drink (Thanks. Thanks a lot.) while I was left there and the sobs became bigger and bigger.

“What- is something wrong?”

This is the dumbest question I could have asked. Of course something’s wrong, Stobbe. But I had no idea what to say to this person. I didn’t need to wonder for long because it just all started coming out.

“My dad just passed away and I miss him so much!”

Ok. I felt really bad. I also had no idea what to do, and proceeded to say what I consider one of the stupidest things I’ve ever said to someone that was grieving (others may have different stupidest quotes, but this is my blog so I can choose).

“I’m so sorry. How about that World Cup though, who do you think’s gonna win?”

Absolutely terrible. It did not help at all, and he continued to bawl. The night didn’t get any better and when we finally left the bar, I gave him the obligatory hug (you know the drill) and no one said anything for a moment. Maybe I was still rattled about the dad thing and even though I didn’t want to I threw out a “So I’m free next Thursday.”

INGRID!! SHUT UP!!! MOTHER OF GOD!!

“Wow. I didn’t even ask.”

Take that in your pride hole and smoke it, folks! Slap my face, I’d like it better!

He held out his hand and said “Good night, Cheektastic” so I put mine out too.

“Wow. You have a really masculine handshake.”
“That’s great. Thanks.”

And so, in conclusion, I gave it the old college try. Now if anyone needs me, I’ll just be hanging out with this guy from now on.

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