When Mr E Man and I got married, he assumed that now we had an official wedding anniversary, we’d no longer be celebrating the anniversary of when we met. However, when the next January 18th approached, I burst his bubble when I asked where we were going for our celebratory dinner. He’d always had a hard time remembering the date (not me – it’s the same anniversary as being awarded my PhD) and had hoped that he wouldn’t have to any more. I wanted to keep the tradition going, though, and offered him a deal – to celebrate both anniversaries, but skip Valentines Day. He accepted, so our only date tonight is with the sofa, TV, and the Canucks game.
Whatever your plans for tonight – whether you’re out on a date, home on the sofa, or – like my cousin in Ohio – out on a pub crawl with all your single friends, wearing the most hideous bridesmaid dresses your married friends have ever inflicted on you – I hope you’ll enjoy the following tales of Horrible Dates I Have Been On, and add your own to the comments!
1998 – The Monologue
Shortly after moving to Glasgow for my PhD, I joined the grad students’ Research Club – mostly for the cheap food at their bar, but also to meet students from other departments. One such person was a tall, dark, handsome and very confident law student with a sexy Israeli accent. He asked me out, and a couple of days later I found myself walking at his side into a bar where a large group of his law student friends “just happened” to be assembled. After talking to the group for over an hour, we moved to a table for two – and he proceeded to talk non-stop about himself and how great he was. He barely stopped for food and drink, and on the extremely rare occasions when I managed to get a word in edgeways, he turned whatever I said back around to himself. It was painful, but he talked so incessantly that I couldn’t even get the words “well, it’s late, I should be getting home” out between brags.
He called me a couple of days later and asked me out on a second date. I politely said “thanks but no thanks”, but he just wouldn’t let it drop – he just kept saying “how about Tuesday? No? Wednesday? No? Thursday?” I kept getting blunter and ruder, saying “No, I just do not want to go out with you again. Not on Thursday, not on Friday, not ever. I did not enjoy our date”, but he just kept talking and talking and eventually I had to hang up. He called back and left messages several times over the next few days – I was screening my calls at this point, obviously, and had instructed my flatmates to do the same – before he FINALLY got the hint.
1999 – The Asexual*
After the disastrous date with the supremely confident guy, I went the other way for my next date. He was a really nice guy, a total sweetheart (and really cute, too), but very quiet and shy. He was also two or three inches shorter than me, which I admit put me off at first, but I finally got over myself and asked him out.
Our first date seemed to be going well; he’d really come out of his shell and we were chatting away and finding lots of points of common interest. However, literally just after we’d ordered our food, he told me “you know, I’ve never had a girlfriend. And to be honest I’m not really sure that I’d like one. If I did want a girlfriend, I’d definitely want it to be you. But I don’t think I do want a girlfriend”.
The rest of the date was rather awkward. We stayed on good terms, though, and he still came to all our parties.
I don’t think he went on any more dates during his PhD.
(*or something. I don’t know what his deal was. I doubt he did either, at the time. I do hope he figured it out because he was a really nice guy).
2002 – The Old Guy
It’s hard to meet people in Vancouver. At first I thought it was just because it was the first time I’d moved to a new place for a job and found a flat on my own, rather than arriving as a student and being assigned to shared university accommodation. However, lots of newcomers to Vancouver – even students – say the same thing. People are great once you get to know them, but it can be incredibly hard to break into an existing clique. Until I met Mr E Man and got to know his friends, almost all my friends were from work.
Anyway, I’d decided to try telephone dating (internet dating was just getting big, but I didn’t have a computer at home and certainly wasn’t going to do it from work. Not after an unpopular person in the adjacent lab left their profile up on a shared computer and their labmates edited it to say such things as “my main role at work is to be rude and unreasonable and piss off my colleagues”, and then changed the password). I was 25 at the time, so on my recorded profile I said I was looking for a guy in his early 20s up to early 30s.
One of the three or four guys who left messages on my account actually seemed normal, so I called him back and we chatted a few times. He said he was in his early 30s. However, when we finally met (Sunday lunch, at a chain restaurant – his choice. BLAH), he was blatantly AT LEAST ten years older than that. He was pretty good looking, actually, but I had no interest in dating someone almost twice my age, and I think my disappointment must have shown on my face. We had an only semi-awkward conversation at first, but then when I asked him what kind of music he was into he started telling me how he hated all “the typical young person stuff” like live music and going to bars.
Seriously? You lie about your age to score a date with much younger women, and then tell them you don’t like “young person stuff?” Whatever, creepy old guy!
That was the end of my telephone dating experiment.
2002 – The Job Interview
Finally, I met a fun and interesting guy in a “normal” way – at a friend’s Hallowe’en party! I was dressed as Robin Hood (complete with a toy bow and arrow and Smarties** to give away to “the poor”, i.e. cute guys), and he was dressed as a cowboy, but as the evening progressed he ended up with balloons under his shirt like boobs, and put lipstick and eye shadow on too. We had a really fun time – he burst his boobs with a pin after I complained that they were bigger than mine, and everyone laughed, that kind of fun – and I was delighted when he gave me his business card at the end of the night and asked me to call him.
I should have known something was up when he suggested we meet for coffee at 11 am on a Sunday. WTF is up with Vancouver men and Sunday lunchtime dates?! I arrived a minute or two after 11, to find that he’d already bought his own coffee and muffin without waiting for me. (I bought my own, too, and even though I don’t think women should expect the guy to pay, I’m old-fashioned enough to think that men should at least offer). We sat down on the sofa, and I expected that we’d resume our fun conversation full of jokes and talk of movies and music. However, he proceeded to basically interview me for the vacant position of Girlfriend. Seriously – he asked me questions like “where do you see yourself in five and in ten years?”, “how many evenings a week do you anticipate you will be spending on work activities?”, and even, at the end, “is there anything you’d like to ask me?” I was totally flabbergasted – I thought he was joking at first – but no, he really was that boring and pompous! It was a total turnaround from his party persona, which is never a good sign, and the date managed to combine boring and weird in totally new and unwelcome ways. At the end of the date he shook my hand (I’m not making ANY of this stuff up) and said he’d be in touch (SERIOUSLY).
A friend who’d been with me at the Hallowe’en party had been very excited for me for scoring such a fun and interesting date, and she’d asked me to call her as soon as I could to give her all the juicy details. After she’d expressed surprise that I was done already, after only an hour, she asked how it went. I told her that I’d just been interviewed for the job of Girlfriend, and (when she’d stopped laughing) she asked if I thought I’d made the shortlist. I replied that I’d decided, upon reflection, that I really didn’t want the job.
He never called back. To be honest I think I blew the interview five minutes in, first when I laughed at his oh-so-serious questions, and then when I corrected a statement in the preamble to his next question with “actually, I’m not Jewish.” (He’d thought I was, because my friend was. Because that makes sense).
**I’d wanted to give away chocolate coins instead, but I couldn’t find any because it wasn’t Christmas
At this point, I basically gave up. However, a guy I’d met and talked to very briefly at that same Hallowe’en party was present at a pre-dinner gathering at the same friends’ house a few months later. I hadn’t really felt like going out that night, but then I realised it was the first anniversary of getting my PhD, and decided this was an anniversary worth celebrating. I chatted to this guy at the house, and then he offered to give my friends and me a ride to the restaurant. This meant we all ended up sitting together at one end of our group’s cozy table for 15, and we just really hit it off. He pretended to hit on my (straight) male friend, as a joke – but only on the condition that he got my number after asking for my friend’s***. When we talked a couple of days later to arrange a date, I was bracing myself for the dreaded Sunday lunchtime suggestion… but instead he said “Are you free on Thursday night? What’s your favourite pub?” He showed up with flowers, let me win at pool (for the first and only time), walked me home, and kissed me at my door before telling me he’d call the next day. The rest, as they say, is history!
Happy Valentines Day!
***He also gave me his number – belt and braces approach – at the end of the night. When I turned the card over, I realised it was another woman’s business card. Turned out he hadn’t had any paper on him, so he did the logical thing – he asked another woman at the bar for her number, got her card, then wrote his own number on the back and gave it to me. I still have it, tucked away in my most-precious-keepsakes box!