Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Not just "No," but "Oh sweet Jesus NO."

I very nearly walked out before the entrées even got to the table. It was that bad. It started with him commenting about having to talk a lot for his work. I sympathized, saying that I do as well. He set my teeth on edge, right off the bat, by saying all I had to do was listen and asking why I had to go to school just to be able to say "How does that make you feel?" That's right, six years of grad school reduced to a stock comic phrase. I just responded mildly that it wasn't something I actually ever said and he said, "Sure you do. That's what it shows in movies." I let that go and asked where he was from originally. He told me Ann Arbor, and then added, "Well, really Detroit, but no one says they're from Detroit anymore." I told him my ex-husband was from Detroit and he said, "Well, I just say I'm from Ann Arbor." Sure, why not? I'm originally from Connecticut, but I just tell people I was born in Fiji.

We moved on to a discussion, after ordering, about his view of the sorry state of kids these days. His contention was that kids today don't really learn anything because they have computers (and the guy is a computer programmer, although he does not have a college degree) and how we used to memorize phone numbers but now cell phones and computers do all the work. I disagreed, stating that not memorizing phone numbers is counterbalanced by the expanding nature of knowledge and... but he interrupted me saying, "What is learning? It's retaining information, right?" I said, "Well, no, actually, .." and again he interrupted, "No! What is learning? It's retaining information! Right? Right?" I pointed out that with a doctoral degree and having taught college courses, I knew something about learning and that it included being able to use novel data and think creatively and logically, and... But he interrupted again, voice raised, and proceeded to lecture me on what constitutes learning. I finally said, "Just because you're saying it loudly and repeatedly, doesn't mean you're right." He said, "I AM right, you're just not listening!" I shut down at that point and stared at him, expressionless, while he held forth for another few minutes. When he stopped, I said calmly, "I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one." He said, "What?!" And I said, "We're. Going. To. Have. To. Agree. To. Disagree. " As if talking to an idiot. Because, well, - draw your own conclusions.

He looked dumbfounded and then,
Him: "Then what else should we talk about?" 
Me: "Well..."
Him: (interrupting) "What are your views on politics?"
Me: "Probably different from yours!"
Him:"I don't really care about politics."
Me: "Did you just pick it because it seemed safer than religion or abortion?"
Him: "I don't care about those either."

The waitress was setting the food down on the table so I took a deep breath and decided to just be friendly and get through the meal. I asked about his only child, who he told me was "25 or 26." I couldn't help but express surprise that he wasn't sure which. He thought for a minute and said, "25. But she lives in Michigan." He talked about a phone conversation with her and I asked if he got to see her often. No, it had been three years. I asked why and he told me he doesn't want to go to Michigan and he doesn't want to pay for her to fly here. In spite of the fact that earlier he'd been talking about how much money he made and his houses and boats and cars. He bemoaned the fact that she "is an artist" and doesn't have the drive to make money. I asked, "Well, does she love it?" He answered, "Yes, but you can't make any money doing art! I don't think she even cares about being able to buy things!" I simply remarked that not everyone had that as a goal in life and that maybe it's important to do what you love.

This circled back to the "kids these days" theme. Honestly, you'd think he was 88 instead of 48. I had to hear about his paper route at 11 and how hard he worked at his factory job right out of high school. I listened politely. Until he talked about the good old days of playing kick the can. Again, I could not bite my tongue. "Kick the can! Are you sure you weren't raised in the 50's?" He maintained that people played kick the can "everywhere" in the '60's and '70's. I said I hadn't found that to be true in my neighborhoods during those decades in Massachusetts, California, Mississippi or Georgia. He said he was sure it was true in 90% of the country.

I won't go into every instance of bragging, unsupported statements of questionable facts, and talking right over me. Except to say that he was very pushy about his idea that I should rent out my house rather than sell it, disregarding my many protests that the idea held no appeal for me. A final irritant was that after I would answer a question he would say, "And how does that make you feel?" and laugh heartily. Oh ha ha ha psychologist joke. I get it. After maybe the 7th time, I found myself idly wondering how he'd react if I responded, "It makes me feel like you're being a dick."

I wasn't quite halfway through my my meal when the waitress came around again. He was nearly finished, in spite of having done most of the talking. She asked if we wanted to look at a dessert menu. "Oh," I said, "I'm not even close." She told us to take our time and started to leave, but he said, "I'd like a dessert to go."   -_-    I asked for a box for the remainder of my dinner.

When we walked out to our cars, he took a few minutes to quiz me about why I hadn't submitted a claim to my insurance for a small dent and then I thanked him for dinner. Neither of us bothered to say it was nice to meet the other. There was, of course, no talk of ever communicating again, let alone a second date. With other dates that went nowhere, there were at least some good qualities. But here, I got nothin'. He was a blowhard and a bully. So pile on if you want to, I won't argue with you.


50 comments:

  1. I assume there was a reason there was even a first date? Boorish behavior is pretty irritating, hope you got at least a decent glass of wine out of it.

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    1. Obviously I didn't know any of this before that date. He sounded normal enough beforehand. The wine was okay, but I'd have much preferred to supply my own and not sit through that dinner!

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  2. I don't know how you did it, actually. You have more poise than I do, that's for sure! Gah!

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    1. I actually wish I had walked out, but it's hard for me to move past my training of keeping the peace. And also hard to balance that with my inability to suffer fools gladly.

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  3. As I was reading this, I could SO feel your pain. And I admire you for staying because I think I would have stood up and walked out on him. What an ASS he was!

    And thank god you came in separate cars!

    "I found myself idly wondering how he'd react if I responded, "It makes me feel like you're being a dick."

    HA! Loved that!!!!!

    And hey, that is an AWESOME photo! Way cool!

    X

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    1. I've never walked out on or stood up a date, but boy, was I tempted! I ALWAYS go in separate cars on a first date!

      And thanks! It was an accidental photo at the beach, but it looks like I'm exploding. Or maybe my soul's leaving my body. :-)

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  4. Wow. Sounds like you had a meal with obnoxiousness personified! Was going to say "hard to imagine why this guy is still single", but that kind of insults single people everywhere.

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    1. You know, I had the same thought and the same follow-up thought. After all, I'm single but I'd never treat someone like that!

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  5. I think I might have rolled right over his toes...What a jackass!

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  6. eh sounds like you are def better off without...and better than wasting time there...hows that feel...err....smiles.

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    1. Oh, no question. I just hate that I'll never get those two hours of my life back.

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  7. to the point: a total asshole! (forgive me) (but I like to be properly descriptive)

    you are a saint sitting through this one. good god holy moley. obnoxious personified.

    live and learn, right? and to think the jerk ordered dessert to go!

    love love
    kj

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    1. This one actually was, I agree.

      I truly wonder how often he gets past a first date? He was insufferable. And when he ordered dessert to go? When I was telling my ex about that, he doubled over laughing.

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  8. p.s. this is a fine compelling piece of writing. totally so. xo

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  9. I feel like I've had this situation before. Ick. It's why I hate dating actually. At least he didn't try to kiss you or hold your hand. LOL.

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    1. The vast majority of first dates I go on range from pleasant to great. This one qualifies as my all-time worst.

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  10. Was the meal itself at least good? Not sure I would have been able to eat the leftovers being reminded of the ordeal over again!

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    1. I got salmon and it was like eating dust. Truly an effort to swallow it. But when I heated it up the next day, it was delicious. I think it has been the guy's presence that made it so unpalatable.

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  11. Me: "Did you just pick it because it seemed safer than religion or abortion?"
    Him: "I don't care about those either."

    This made me laugh out loud for real. Sorry you had such a lousy date, but it certainly made an entertaining story. :)

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    1. When I was telling my ex about it, he doubled over laughing, and then said, "At least it makes for a great story!"

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  12. Oh dear- and I thought I'd had bad dates in my time...
    I'm 48. I found that bit particularly disconcerting, as I'd assumed he'd grown into prathood over many more years than that. Uuugh

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    1. Welcome!

      See, I would be unsurprised by this from a late teen/early 20's guy, but you'd think age would bring a little maturity.

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  13. You write like a dream. I pounce on your blog whenever I get a chance.

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  14. I haven't read an account of such a total arsehole for a very long time. Just sorry you had to sit through such endless devalidation. I think I would have walked out pretty early on when his complete lack of any genuine interest in the other person became all too obvious.

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    1. I amused myself by storing it all away so I cold write about it. I probably should have left, but it is really hard for me to be that rude.

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  15. Stories like that make me think that if ever I was single I'd never ever date. Ever. *shudder*

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    1. Except that it's only worth posting about because it's unusual. I've had some great dates.

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  16. I am so sorry you had to suffer. I walked out on two of such arsemen, politely, high road style. Last one was a reader of my blog and it was two years ago and he started to trash gays, his children, his ex-wife. And I stood up halfway through and said: "I'm sorry but I really have to leave now." Without further explanation.
    My head was exploding.
    Could NOT have sat there like you did. Hats off to ya. Your training.
    XO
    WWW

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    1. I'd probably walk out if someone started trashing gays or was racist or something like that. I have confronted a couple of men for trashing exes. I always figure anyone who will trash an ex on a first date will soon be trashing me if I stick around. I don't stick around.

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  17. Glad that one is over for you. What a mess he is. I played kick the can in the 50's and maybe a year into the to 60's. No one played that in the 70's for sure!!! I give you credit for staying.
    Hope your dessert was good :)

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    1. Even if he started playing kick the can at age 4, that would have been 1968.

      I didn't get a dessert! He ordered his and handed the menu back to the waitress!

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  18. PSYCHOLOGISTS UNITE. Despite that guy being a complete asshole, I have to apologize in advance because I cannot take the line "And how does that make you feel?" seriously.

    Oh, and while we're at it "Tell me about your Mother" and "You're making good progress, I'll see you next week" and "You're late on your last payment".

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    1. If you are bothered by being asked about your family or by being told you are making progress, you might not be a person who can benefit from therapy. But taking offense at being expected to pay for a service that's been provided to you just floored me. If you don't pay a healthcare provider, you are stealing. It's no different than refusing to pay a mechanic who has worked on your car or picking up an item and walking out of the store. The best way to avoid being told that you are late on your payment is to behave honorably and pay for what you've taken.

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  19. WHO mocks someone's occupation? I can't get over that. It's like he wanted you to hate him. I guess kids really are different these days because no kid I know would ever put down someone who makes a career out of helping others. Sheesh!

    Although I admit my husband did play kick the can in the 60s and 70s. I always figured they were out in the country without anything else to do.

    And who would say they are from Ann Arbor over Detroit? Detroit gives you street cred! What a bizarre man

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  20. He's not the first person who has openly mocked my profession to my face, although the first time someone has done that to me on a date. I do find it bizarre - but I think people who make fun of therapists are the ones who are defensive about their own psychological make-up.

    I always thought of kick the can as more of an urban/suburban activity. You''d need both available trash and paved streets. It's hard for me to imagine kids kicking a can down the dusty dirt roads I lived on in the country. But I've never seen it anywhere, and I lived in the country, the suburbs and military bases all over the country.

    And yes, the bit about denying Detroit was just plain weird.

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    1. They kicked the can on their cement driveway. He actually taught our kids the game and they played it with neighborhood kids when they about seven yrs old. Before that, I didn't even know what the game was. I played kickball and freeze tag when I was a kid. I was normal!

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    2. To tell you the truth, I've never seen it played, so I don't really know anything other than there is kicking involved. And a can.

      I played the normal things, too!

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  21. what an asshole. seriously. money talk, heavy criticism, devaluation of your profession, unwillingness to maintain a relationship with his daughter over money and her desire to be an artist, and generally argumentative. i'm impressed you made it through dinner. i would not have been able to do it.

    i will say only one thing in his defense. my husband who was born in the mid 60s grew up playing kick the can. but hey, even a broken clock is correct twice a day...

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    1. He hit all the big no's, didn't he? I think my job plays a role here - I've had loads of practice listening to things I don't agree with.

      But see, he didn't even have the grace to admit that it wasn't a universal game. I flat don't believe they were playing it in 90% of the country in 1970.

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  22. Oh did he manage to ask you out without being offending?

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    1. He seemed normal and polite before. But I'm basing that on very little information. I thought he was just quiet. Ha!

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  23. That's "how" not "oh" but I think I meant the "oh" too.

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  24. I have no words, honestly! I'm glad you stuck it out for our sakes - it certainly is good material for a post but what feats of tolerance it must have taken to not walk out.

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    1. Pretty soon into it, I was storing things he said away knowing it would make a hell of a post!

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  25. disaster date!
    you were very patient with him i must say.

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