Here’s the thing about dating.
It sucks. I loathe dating. It is a huge game, and I don’t get games. I just don’t. I don’t get when people say one thing and do another – why don’t we settle into mutual like? Of the dating world, though, online dating is the worst. It’s super judgemental, it’s full of dudes looking to just get laid, and if you don’t answer the way that some of men expect you to, they get confrontational. I can’t tell the amount of times I’ve been called “whore” because I wouldn’t agree to a one night stand (Side note to these gentlemen – being a whore is the PRECISE OPPOSITE of refusing to hookup). My theory about the whole thing is that it’s easier to be an asshole when you are anonymous. It’s easy to judge people when you don’t know their names, or their stories. I’m guilty of it too – you have kids over 18? Nope. You don’t have a car, and do drugs? Sorry, but no. Your first message includes any reference to how arousing you find my photos? I’m not that kind of girl. I try not to judge – but it happens. That shield of anonymity makes it easy to judge, if that’s your game.
Anyways, I online date. For a variety of reasons (I’m busy, I’m shy, I don’t know where to meet people, blah blah blah). And I have found that I am a fairly good judge of character with this medium. It takes a lot of messages, but more often than not, I meet nice men. Not necessarily great matches for me, but they are kind, and sweet, men. So, this past week, I was messaged by a man on a dating site. It was a well composed message, thoughtful message. I briefly checked the photos and profile – cute, no red flags. So we start chatting. Lots in common, no curse words (let alone sexual references, which is a rarity). After a few days, he asks to meet me. I agree, because I’m feeling that it’s a good fit.
We agree on a time, and a place. I tell my safety person where I’m going, with who (I send his photo and his phone number), and I tell her that I’ll call as soon as I am done. Call me crazy, I’ve always had a first online date like this. I also tell my lovely work mates about this date, and they recommend that we come up with a “safety phrase” – something I can text them to ensure that it’s me, and not a serial killer who is wearing my skin and texting from my phone. So we agree on one, while I’m laughingly assuring them that I don’t need a safety phrase, and off I go.
I arrive about a half an hour early, right outside of the Moxie’s at Kingsway Mall. Since it was sunny, and I’d lost my sunglasses, I decide to go for a quick walk to see what I can find. My phone buzzes about 5 minutes into my walk.
“You’re more beautiful in person than I could imagine. See you shortly.”
I quickly look up, and scan my area. No one in my vicinity looks like the photos from the site, or the selfies that he sent – is he stalking me? My work buddy calls me to tell me to “abort”. I, stupidly, decide that he’s likely nervous, and meet him anyways. Because we all get nervous, right? And we do stupid shit when we get nervous.
I show up, and there is a gift on the table. And he immediately starts gushing about how beautiful I am, and how his mother thinks the same, and how great my hips are for birthing. Wait, what? Again, I brush it off as nerves, and we order our drinks. I order a Radler, and he orders white wine. “I got the woman’s drink, and she gets the can”, he jokes with the server. At this point, I can only notice on his half missing, rest rotten front tooth. I notice teeth – mine came with years of braces and surgeries, so I notice. It’s safe to say that he’s misrepresented himself online- his profile photos show a full head of hair, a full set of teeth. This person has neither. We start chatting, and we share war stories from our years of customer service. The first major red flag comes when he brings up his observations as a Walmart worker – mainly, how he noticed how single mothers would buy Happy Meals, leave their 8 to 12 year old children to eat, and do their shopping without the kids. He starts ranting that single mothers should be sterilized before they have any more children, and how HIS taxes pay for these useless creatures. I don’t know that it’s too my credit or not, but my bitchy face shut him up immediately. I can tell you that I took pleasure informing him that my best friend is a single mother. It made him look like he wanted to crawl under the table.
I told him to change the subject, and we started to talk about something else. I have a gross feeling at this point, but I decide to finish my drink. He then starts telling me about his past relationship – she took everything, he says, and he doesn’t have a license, a vehicle, or a couch. “But don’t worry,” he chuckles. “I’m not one of those homeless losers. Homeless people should be set on fire.”
A stunning silence falls. I finish my drink in one gulp. He stammers that I’m so beautiful, and he’d like another chance because his “mommy” won’t forgive him if he fucks it up with me. He even knows about my work, he says. It turns out that my first name alone in Google autofinishes to my last name – making a Google search simple. There are my social media accounts, thankfully mostly locked down. My LinkedIn isn’t, so he can see where I work. My volunteer hours, newscasts of me – everything is there, he tells me. And now, he is asking with panic in his eyes, when he can see me again.
At this moment, I was gripped with fear. Intense, paralyzing fear, fear like I don’t understand and have never experienced. I am genuinely afraid of this man. I’m afraid because he knows my first and last name. I’m afraid because he is clearly not mentally stable, and he clearly is into me. I’m afraid this man will hurt me if I tell him the truth – that I’d rather cut off my hands and pull out my eye teeth than ever see him again. So, I lie. I tell him that I need to check my calendar, and I flee. The cherry on top was that he kept my pace, we burst into the parking lot and all of a sudden, I hear a woman screech – “KISS HER YOU FUCKING IDIOT!” Of course, because this jackass doesn’t drive, his best friend is waiting for us in the parking lot.
My final words on this date were “If you touch me, I’ll break your goddamn nose.” Classy, I know.
I have to say – as I started writing this post, I was really amused by this whole event. I found it hilarious, in fact. I’ve had bad dates and awesome dates and dates that were OK, but I try to find a silver lining in them all. But now, I’m filled with dread. My name is so unusual that Google can fill in the blanks. Do I lie about my name in the initial message, and hope he overlooks the reason why I lied when we meet? I already have a very low tolerance level for bull shit, so now I’m on heightened security. What’s the limit to “run”? Is it jealousy? Is it anger? Is it simply the heeby jeeby feeling? What is the acceptable point of “I need to get out of here”? Needless to say, Friday put me off of dating. Indefinitely. I am so uneasy with what happened – how could I have missed such a fucked up person? How could that person have gotten past my usually good judgement?
In either case. I texted my safety word to my work friends, and my safety friend as soon as I got home. And then I drank raspberry beer with my roommate, who delivered this wise line about dating (and friendship, in general): “If you want to find some quality friends you have to get through all the dicks first”. Good advice, roomie.