Sunday, August 18, 2013

I think the Universe is trying to tell me something.

I've had a bad run lately. That's all there is to it. It's one thing to live and run a private practice in a small conservative community when you are married. But it is a lousy situation when you are single. I meet no one other than my patients. And I have, in the past several years, met some very nice guys on-line. But not lately. So I decided to just let it go and spend this next year focused on friendships and getting my house ready to sell and staying active. I pulled my profile and just felt like I'd done the right thing for me. But one guy I'd emailed with tracked me down and asked me out for Saturday and suggested a Mexican restaurant. In my experience, every guy who has wanted to meet at a Mexican restaurant on the first date has been out of shape and not particularly concerned with his health. However, I knew this guy was an avid cyclist and he looked fine in his pictures and even listed his body type as "athletic and toned."  I wasn't feeling very enthusiastic about it but decided I was jumping to conclusions and suggested an alternate restaurant. (An aside - I loved the food I had in Mexico. Lots of good seafood, a variety of veggies and fresh corn tortillas. The Mexican food I don't like is the Americanized version with that awful bland rice, white flour tortillas, refried beans, cheesy sauce and shredded iceberg lettuce. Blegh.) Anyway, he said he'd call the next day to coordinate. Well, he didn't call until 3:30, and when I listened to the voicemail, he was suggesting a place downtown that is 45 minute away for me, at 5:00. I wasn't happy about the late notice and I sat and sat and sat, unable to make myself return that call. Clearly, I did not want to go. At 6:00 he called again, saying he'd still really like to meet. When I listened to that voicemail, I accidentally hit the "return call" button and so I was stuck.
The skies opened up just as I hit downtown and there was some music event going on, so I called and suggested a place on campus. When I got there, there was no parking because of the football game. I called again and said we ought to head a little west. He suggested a place way out west, near where he lives. I wasn't thrilled about that, since I'd already told him I lived east of town, but just asked where he wanted to meet since I didn't know that area. He said, "Well, there's a Holiday Inn lounge." What?  There are a blue million good restaurants in this town and he thinks our best bet is a skeezy hotel lounge? Sounds like a little slice of hell to me. I named the first place I could think of out that way, a little Thai restaurant, and he agreed. By this time, I was sincerely regretting saying yes. But I would never, ever want someone to feel like I didn't want to be on a date with him (as evidenced by my tolerant behavior with Jerkwad), so I headed on over. As I was standing under the awning watching cars circle the parking lot, I saw someone get out of his car a good ways away and head in my direction. He had that polo-shirt-tucked-into-pants pregnant man look. I offered a prayer to the cloudy skies above me, "Please, don't let that guy with the huge belly be him." And then saw him put his phone to his ear and prayed again, "Please don't let my phone ring." You guessed it.

Here's the thing - I don't expect perfection. In fact, my old boyfriend has a bit of a belly, but he's also very muscular otherwise. I am not looking for a model, but health is important to me and I put a lot of work myself into staying fit. So when someone says they are "toned" and posts outdated photos from a time when they were, I feel a little betrayed. But I smiled and said hello and didn't even flinch when he ignored my outstretched hand and hugged me instead. And he was a nice enough guy, bright (a physicist) and talkative. And of course I was friendly also. I'd eaten while I was deciding if I was going to call back, so I ordered lightly - basically an appetizer and a glass of wine.  He got an entree and had a couple of beers. When the check came, he said, "Is it okay if we split the bill?" I said, "Sure." But inside I said, "Sure, and I will never, ever see you again." Because even setting aside the fact that here in the South chivalry is still the code, it's just rude to ask someone out and then ask that person to help pay for it. He asked me out to dinner, he knew that I had made a much longer drive than he had, and he knew that while he was ten minutes away from his house, I had an hour's drive home in the pouring rain.  But he couldn't swing the $10 that was my dinner?  When the waitress returned, I'd already put my card on the bill and he hadn't. She started to pick it up and I reflexively reached out my hand to stop her. That's when he pulled out his card and asked her to split the bill. She said, "Do you mean split it down the middle?" He hesitated and I gave her a look.  She added, "Or separate checks?" and I nodded. Because damned if I was also going to subsidize his meal, which was more than double mine. While we waited for her to bring back the separated checks, he said something about maybe catching a movie. Well, let me think about that a min...No.  I made an excuse about having to get up early.

Before I pulled out of the parking lot, I texted my sister in my usual ladylike manner, "Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck. I'm never going on another date." 

47 comments:

  1. "When the check came, he said, "Is it okay if we split the bill?"

    Okay, I just about spewed a mouthful of ice tea in shock when I read that!?

    Wait, let me get this right, he asks YOU out and then asks to SPLIT the bill? Such a gentleman.

    I am so glad you said, no...separate checks. And also for not going to the movies because if he didn't have enough money to pay for dinner, I bet he would have asked you to pay for both tickets.

    X

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    1. I almost choked, too, when it happened. WHat kind of person does that? And I was certain I'd be paying my way into the movies as well. No thank you. (See why I need you to send me a boyfriend if you find one who turns out to be straight?)

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  2. ha. ouch. dang. ok. here is the good news, its only got to get better right? i think i would have ditched at the holiday inn suggestion...

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    1. I've never in my life stood up a date - I just can't do it. But boy, I was tempted. And I'm not convinced it can only get better - I know there are other horror stories out there.

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    2. I'm with Brian. Your kindness code might stand for an update. What's the point of being conscientious with a jerk? That said, I hope in the course of doing what you do and living your good life the universe intervenes. God knows you deserve everything good!

      Love
      kj

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    3. No, I'm not going to respond to bad behavior by behaving badly myself. He wasn't a monster, just inconsiderate in some ways. How is the world a better place if I also act like an ass? I'm just going to keep living my life the way I'm living it, and see the bad dates as at lest good blog fodder.

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    4. cs, i don't see this one bit as being unkind or acting like an ass. i'm more like, why spend your time on someone who offers evidence it won't go well? whether it's dates or friends or family or colleagues, i try to screen the people i want in my life, not that i'm unkind about it because i'm not. I figure the more positive energy the better for me and everyone else.

      i saw your comment below about instinct. in this case, there were actual clues. it's your life to do whatever you wish, but i will say your emphasis on 'being kind' in this kind of a situation confounds me. (i know you well enough to know you won't like this comment by me. be gentle, please)

      and yes, excellent blog fodder.

      love
      kj

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    5. I believe strongly that is exceedingly unkind to stand someone up. The only thing I had in the negative prior to actually agreeing was the Mexican restaurant suggestion, which is a very petty objection. If I hadn't already been in town with both of us on the way, I could have said no. But once I was meeting him, I would be the kind of person I loathe if I had just not shown up.

      An instinct is an innate behavioral response to a specific environmental stimulus. Like a bird depositing a worm when it sees the gaping beak of a baby bird. It is NOT about feelings or intuition. I was making point about the word itself, as a scientist.

      And let me also say that after you've heard the story, it's very easy to say I shouldn't have gone. But hindsight is very clear. There were NOT big red flags. He was very pleasant and complimentary. Are you suggesting that I should have intuited in advance that his photos were outdated? Or that in spite of his talk of long bike rides, he'd be woefully out of shape? Should I have known based on... what, exactly?... that he wouldn't pick up the tab? The only thing I overlooked was my own weariness with dating. But that part wasn't his fault. And you can keep saying it over and over, but I'm still voting for kindness. I believe that you don't tell people to fuck off (which is what standing someone up amounts to) just because your taste is food doesn't mesh. And yes, it IS my life. It's condescending to tell me that I should be something that is not in keeping with my own character.

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    6. For the record: I would not stand someone up either. But cancel, yes. In rereading the story it seems both he and the universe were providing kernels.

      Condescending? Not fair. You know me well enough to know it's only my opinion!

      (I knew you'd let me have it!)

      Love
      kj

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    7. If I canceled as the person is driving to meet me just because I don't like the restaurant suggestion, I'd be petty and unkind. I don't do that. And the restaurant choice was the ONLY negative piece of information I had at that point, the rest was positive. I don't get why that is so hard to understand.

      And I think it IS condescending to assume that you know better than I how I should act and feel. I've said many times over that I am not looking for advice or an opinion about my own thought processes. And hell, if you knew in advance that what you were saying would be offensive, why say it?

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    8. I was mirroring the title of your post, for crying out loud. It sounds like you prefer that I censor my comments. So I will :-(

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  3. What's making me gag is THIS IS THE BEST HE IS OVER GOING TO BE WITH YOU!!

    Mein gott, these cave-dwellers walk amongst us...

    XO
    WWW

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    1. The best and the worst since I'm very serious that I will never see him again. I did not return the follow-up text today.

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  4. Is it not done to meet a new date just for coffee or a drink? You’d save yourself a lot of trouble.
    There seems to be a good reason that these awful men don’t have partners already; or maybe, on top of everything else, they do? Being short of money often means that there are household bills waiting to be paid.

    By the law of averages you will have to come across someone acceptable at some point. In the meantime, I find your reports very amusing.

    I must have come here too late to find out the reason for breaking up with the old boyfriend. As a friend and lover he seems to hit all your right notes.

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    1. No I wouldn't have. I would still have had to drive as far and the $10 I spent on dinner is only marginally more than coffee or a drink would have been.

      This guy had no kids to support and a high-paying job - I don't think he was not paying for me in order to pay bills.

      Not every man who is a good lover and friend is willing to be in a relationship.

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  5. This just makes me very sad. What the hell is wrong with people? I just don't understand why a guy would go to the trouble of posting a profile, find a date, communicate and ask someone out, meet somewhere, and then proceed to do NOTHING that would make him attractive to his date. At our age, we can't expect supermodels, but we should be able to expect consideration and polite manners.

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    1. All I can guess is that he's clueless. I got a text the next day saying how nice it had been to meet me and how he wanted to go out again. I just deleted it.

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    2. Maybe we should feel sorry for him in that he can't read social cues? I'd think most guys can tell when a woman is just not interested. Or maybe not? Yup, clueless!

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    3. It probably doesn't help that I play my cards close to the vest!

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  6. Your instincts told you no and you ignored them. Don't do that!!!!

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    1. My "instincts" (although that's not actually an instinct) were about not wanting to go out with anyone, not just him. But I have had the experience before where I wasn't enthusiastic prior to meeting them and was very pleasantly surprised. I don't want to turn into a Seinfeld character where I'm rejecting people just on some silly little quirk.

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  7. Gives new meaning to "a pig in a poke!" Like Friko, I get lots of chuckles from your ad-(or mis-ad)-ventures. First rule of thumb is he must be a gentleman. This one, physicist or no, sounds like he lives under a slimy rock in a bog somewhere! But karma is on your side I'm thinking...

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    1. I was actually laughing as I texted my sister afterwards. I do at least get good stories.

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  8. What a jerk! I think the universe is trying to tell you that you really like the old boyfriend and stop looking elsewhere. ;)

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    1. You keep saying that and I keep saying it's not possible. I don't know how else to say it's not an issue of whether I like my old boyfriend. I love him. HE DOES NOT WANT TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH ANYONE. That's as clear as I can be.

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  9. Oh dear, what a run of dreary experiences. Like the others, I think maybe you should have responded to the warning signs and gut feelings rather than persevering. But I also understand your not wanting to stand someone up. Yes, what is wrong with men that they can't see how oafish they're being and show just a bit more sensitivity and intelligence? I do hope you meet someone more compatible very very soon.

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    1. I just will not be an ass. I don't stand people up. It's wrong.

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  10. My daughter suggested last week that I sign on to a dating service. I was considering it. Until I read this post.

    Bless your heart, I feel for you.

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    1. I've had some lovely dates, so it's not all bad. Just a bad couple of months.

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  11. Since the last time I dated was during the Johnson administration, well Nixon, but it doesn't count if your engaged, I can't comment on the dating woes of you youngun's, but Mexican food....some of the best seafood I've ever had, and the regional varieties are excellent and different. I remember the oldest daughter at 7 years old wolfing down a goat taco from a street vendor exclaiming that goat was delicious, and could we get one.

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    1. Yes, if he'd invited me to a restaurant in Mexico, I'd have felt differently about it. But I won't eat goat.

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  12. don't you need a few not so good ones to appreciate the good ones? It was bad but probably not your worst one right?

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    1. Did you read the story of Jerkwad? Far worse.

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  13. I think I went on a date a few years ago with that exact same guy! I know...unlikely, but he is definitely a "type" it seems.
    Glad you were able to recharge with someone you trust, who treats you with respect and affection.

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    1. Ha ha ha! I know he has many brothers out there!

      Recharging is good, though. I look forward to tomorrow night.

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  14. Bye bye asshole! What a jerk he was. I can only imagine how much worse it would have gotten with him as time went on when he was like that on the first date and really, who thinks they can get away with a picture from the past.

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    1. I don't know, but both he and the last guy used old photos. That's just so unfair.

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  15. My chef-designed stomach is now looking decidedly under-toned. Having been with the same wife for 40 odd years, my whole attitude to on-line dating is probably kept to myself. But, Jeeeeez, he could have paid the whole bloody bill; what a cheapskate!.

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    1. Yes indeed, he was a cheapskate.

      You know, when I was dating the first go-round, and had a whole University's worth of men available, I wouldn't have thought much of on-line dating either (had it existed then). Ditto when I was married all those years. Now? I've learned not to express opinions on things I've had no need to experience because I know that life will humble you.

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  16. after all that, split the bill ???
    what an ass!

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  17. And I'll bet the guy thought the date went well. Seriously, I'll bet your drive out and home never crossed his mind, and that he visualizes himself as fit and toned when he thinks of his image. He'll probably wonder what's up when you don't call him in three days.

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    1. Maybe - I can't say I care what he wonders about!

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  18. This brought to mind a description of the guy: brilliant but socially challenged person. As the psychologist, is that a diagnosis? Personality disorder? Asperger's syndrome?
    When things are going terribly wrong in a situation, my husband always reminds me "This is going to make a great story". Frustrating, but he's right. You got a story out of that one, all right.
    Hope the next one has a happier ending.

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    1. This guy was not brilliant. Just average bright. And socially inept. I don't think he warrants a diagnosis. And I do enjoy this sort of thing for the story's sake.

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  19. I know this is a month after that awful date, but it intrigued me about the guy so I had to keep reading on about how bad the night turned out. I think it was a bit crass too that he didn't pick up the whole tab for the night and how he misrepresented himself. In cases like this, I'm glad I'm married and resolved if my husband dies first, I'm not getting married again and I'm not even sure I'm ready for the dating scene again. I admire your efforts to try to remain out there, even with the unsuccessess you have.

    betty

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    1. I don't see myself getting married again, but I'm not ready yet to never have men in my life. Fortunately, I've had way more good times with them than bad. It's just that the bad ones make funnier stories.

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