When I started this adventure with online dating, I went in with hopes high. I expected to have fun and put aside any of my previous impressions, doubts or fears. I went into the experience with an open heart and an open mind. I truly believed that opening up myself completely to the experience would allow me to meet people I would normally never meet in my little life. To accomplish this, I adhered to one simple rule: say yes to everyone. Anyone who caught my attention, yes. Anyone who wrote me back, yes. Anyone who suggested a date, yes, yes, yes! I wasn’t going to deny myself any opportunity that may present itself. As it turns out, when it comes to online dating, perhaps a bit more selectivity was in order. Perhaps a bit more caution on my part could have saved me a lot of time and trouble. This was definitely not one of my smarter moves in life.
From the very first date, I had worries about my approach to this online dating world. After posting my profile, the first person to respond was a woman calling herself CoffeeGirl. Is it bad that I remember her handle and not her actual name? After only a few email interactions, she suddenly asked me to come spend the day with her in Boston. And by sudden, I mean after only two emails. “Let’s get together this sunday!” I have to admit, I kinda liked her style. She was approaching this dating thing in much the same way as me: dive in head first and get the ball rolling. No pussyfooting around with emails getting to know one another. Screw that! Let’s just go out and see what happens. I said yes to the date and we met up in South Boston after a big snow storm.
I had a bad feeling from early on that sunday. I called her asking for directions. “What the fuck? You don’t have a gps?” Sadly, I only had a phone with text capability. I had yet to graduate to the smart phone. “Oh, by the way….I shoveled out a spot for you to park in, so you better appreciate it!” I don’t know if you have ever been to South Boston, but there seems to be this big to-do about shoveled out parking spots. Aparantly, there is a neighborhood watch system to make sure nobody steals anyone’s shoveled out parking spots. And woe to the person who does. From my vague understanding of it all, I guess somehow, Whitey Bulger finds out and puts a hit out on your ass. Something like that.
I finally find my way to her house and that oh-so-coveted parking spot. She met me at the curb. I’m not one to judge someone on looks, so I usually try to look beyond that initial first impression. Not to mention that these modern websites almost require you to post a picture of yourself. What they should do is require you to take a picture right when you post your profile because, I’m sorry, she looked nothing like her picture. Straggly long straight hair, kinda blown back from her forehead, a weird puglike nose I hadn’t really noticed in her profile pics and an oddly shaped body that, at first, gave the impression that there were various large root vegetables fighting for space under her clothes. Her voice was gravelly and nasal all at the same time, an effect that I had hoped was just a bad phone connection before but now, hearing her speak in all her unfiltered glory, I realized that’s really how she sounds. “Hi George!!”
From her house, we caught the T (Boston’s Transit system) into Boston and literally wandered aimlessly. No plan, no goals, just wandered in the cold and snow. The only true goals we had were find lunch and then find dinner later on. She was perfectly happy to wander the city, as was I except for one thing: I was rapidly running out of conversation. Turns out, Coffeegirl wasn’t much for arts, music, politics and all the stuff I love. She loved sports. Sports and nothing but sports. Nothing turns me off faster than someone who is one dimensional and CG was quickly proving to have a one track mind. And as I ran out of conversation, I realized to my horror that I was trapped in the city with her. Even if I had made a run for it, for the life of me, I could not remember which T stop was hers. I was stuck. After grabbing some excellent sushi, the one high light of the day, she insisted we go to one of the bars near TD Garden to watch the Bruins and play pool.
Me…in a sports bar.
This woman really knew nothing about me. Nor did she care. Nor did she know what city she was in because it turns out, she was not a fan of the black and gold, no, no. She was a huge fan of the Flyers, the team the Bruins were set to square off with that evening. That’s right. I know you are probably way ahead of me but yes, she wanted to go to a Boston sports bar in the heart of the city and scream and cheer for the opposing team. As you can imagine, this went over spectacularly well with the locals in the bar. Not only did she scream at the tv, badmouth the Bruins loudly and basically make an obnoxious ass out of herself, but she cursed out many patrons of the bar. She even went so far as to call an entire pool table of people a bunch of Bruins loving pussies. When I noticed the the locals starting to circle us like wolves around a wounded deer, I suggested we head to another bar and thankfully she agreed but not before some parting insults to the Bruins fans in the room. I basically had to shove her out the door before the the crowd started lighting torches and took chase after us.
After watching the final minutes of the game in a bar many blocks away, I suggested we hop on the T and head back. She agreed. I felt this great sense of relief as the train pulled into our final stop. Turns out, if I had decided to run and hop on the T, all I had to do was wait for the final stop on that line and I was there. Oh hindsight….
We made it back to her house and as my car warmed up, we sat on the couch. The silence was deafening. I was scouring my brain, trying to find something to say, some way to end the night that didn’t give the impression that I had a miserable day. And really, a day in Boston, even with odd company, is still a good day in my opinion. We had seen a good chunk of the city, Boston Common, had some world-class sushi and window shopped on Newbury street. So despite the fact that we would never have anything beyond this date, it had really been a good day. And just as I was about to say all that, she kissed me. A big sloppy, bit drooly, kiss. Not much surprises me but I have to admit, that kiss was a huge surprise. Not just because I wasn’t expecting it, and really, let’s face facts here, I had no attraction to this woman at all. No, I was surprised because she was so bad at it. I would have thought that she would have one thing she would be good at, her special talent that she thought could save the day or the date, as the case may be. Sadly, no. I didn’t pull away or avoid the kiss, that’s just rude, darnit. But wow, what gave her the impression that this date had been a success? And who taught her that kissing with your teeth was a thing? What the hell? I’ve been known to bite a lip now and then, but she went for the full on bite like she was chomping into a good ear of corn. And ladies, pay attention to this little tip: it’s not attractive at all to make loud slurping noises during what should be a simple kiss and then drooling so much that I worried about back wash getting on my shirt. Just saying.
We said our good nights, promised to stay in touch (yeah, right) and I headed home. On the drive, alone with my music, I reflected on the day. There was certainly quite a bit to process but I boiled it down to this: Those 8 hours of my life taught me a few valuable lessons. First, get to know the person better before agreeing to a date with them. Second, have a plan, an activity, something neutral and fun you can both agree on and enjoy. And third, perhaps the most important lesson, ALWAYS have an escape plan. You never know when things may turn sour and you need to make a hasty exit. There is no shame in retreat, especially when your date is annoying the hell out of you or possibly endangering your life.
There were many dates after this first date, each with their own lessons, but this first one set the bar for my experience with online dating and sadly, what followed set that bar lower and lower. More to come in the next installment.