Dr Strangedate, Part 4: The Groupie and One Drink Disasters.

After the general disaster of my first OKCupid date, I decided to be a little more cautious. I wasn’t going to fall into the same traps I found myself in on that first experience. I would get to know the prospective date before agreeing to meet. At the very least, a week of phone calls and emails would be my rule.

Sifting through their site is a challenge. You can never search very close to home, they only allow you to search at a minimum of 25 miles. So instead of all local singles, I would end up with a handful of people in my area and the rest would all be from the North Shore and Boston area. This was a little frustrating at times, but I figured at the very least the site was helping me expand my horizons. Foolishly, I was still under the impression OKCupid had my best interests at heart. Oh, I was so naive.

I quickly broke my own rules by agreeing to meet for drinks with someone after only one email. A pattern emerged rather quickly with the “meet for drinks” dates. Starting with a casual response to my ad and quickly suggesting we go for a drink, somewhere in the middle and neutral. And since most of my matches showed up from the North Shore and Boston, even meeting in the middle was a bit of a hike. But all of these meet and drink dates ended the same: going our seperate ways, both dissatisfied with the experience. I was always early, waiting at the bar. I could always recognize the date from their entrance: standing in thedoorway, scanning the room with an expectant smile. Then, they saw me….and one of two things happened: an outright look of “ewwwww” or that pained, forced smile, the kind you reserve for your Uncle when he tells a raunchy and inapropriate joke at a funeral.

A couple went so far as to make eye contact with me but quickly look away and rush out the door. One even texted me after dashing out the door, explaining that she couldn’t make it to the restaurant due to her inability to get a babysitter. I messaged back “Do you live in the parking lot?” She never got back to me. One woman I met for dinner in Newburyport, which is actually rather close to me. We had great conversation, a few drinks and even some dinner. I thought we were having a lovely time. At the end of the meal, she gave me a big hug and when I suggested getting together again, she started laughing loudly. “No thanks, I think I’ll pass!” There was a distinct tone of “ewwww” in her voice.

During all these disastrous little dates, I had met a woman on the site that I thought I had connected with. Her name was Emily and she grew up with the same crowd I hung out with: punk rocker kids hanging in Harvard Square. Yeah, I used to be one of those punks, black mohawk, combat boots and trenchcoat, the whole halloween costume, just lounging around Harvard Square. I have always lamented the fact that I lost touch with all the great people I used to know back then, not to mention all the bands I counted as friends. And it turned out, Emily knew all the same people! She was like a lost connection to my forgotten past. I was dying to meet her but I decided to wait. We talked, emailed and texted for almost two weeks.

Her favorite restaurant just happened to be my all-time favorite place in Boston. The Border Cafe on Church St. was just beyond my favorite movie theater to see The Rocky Horror Picture Show (which you can read about in an older post about my adventures in the square https://glassowater.wordpress.com/2008/08/03/im-a-rocky-horror-fan-or-lets-do-the-time-warp-again/ ). I had been dining there since the day they first opened their doors. Anytime I find myself in Harvard Square, you can usually find me there at some point. It all seemed so perfect. We were so alike. What could possibly go wrong?

I planned the day according to my previously established rules. Instead of meeting her outside the city, we decided to meet at the restaurant. This gave me a plausible excuse to disapear if I had to. We had spent 2 weeks chatting, so it was well established we had much in common. Our activity together was dinner at our mutual favorite restaurant of all time followed by Newbury Comics and other such window shopping activities, with a trip to Faneuil Hall planned for the latter part of the day if time allowed. I had planned the perfect OKCupid date. Right? Escapes routes, mutual interests, lots in common, what could go wrong?

I waited in the bar at the Border Cafe, watching the door. It was a cold and blustery February day in the city. Emily knew how to make an entrance: the door blew open and she swept into the room, a flurry of flying scarfs, her long coat billowing in the breeze. She took off her woolen hat to reveal platinum blonde hair streaked with purple. Scanning the room, she found me immediately and smiled. Not a forced smile, but a genuine giddy smile. And holy crap, she was so much cuter than her pictures suggested: big smile, beautiful eyes framed by librarian girl glasses. I was won over in seconds. She came running up to the bar and gave me a hug and smooched me on the cheek.

Wow, this was starting out well…..

We sat down for dinner. I immediately start talking about music. I figured this was a good place to start since we both loved music so much. I start mentioning all the bands I used to know, the people I hung out, the guys at TAANG! Records who used to have their office in the square, bringing up all the little connections I knew we had. She smiled and laughed as I talked about the old times. Finally, I asked how she met everyone from these bands, people I called friends back in the days of the old punk scene. Her response? “Oh So-and-So? I fucked him.” She then proceeded to recount, in rather colorful and descriptive language, all of her sexual conquests. “I sucked his dick, fucked that one, had a three way with them”… I quickly realized something: she wasn’t a friend of any of these people, she was a professional GROUPIE!!  Her list didn’t end with my friends, oh no. She started to recount, in graphic detail, every band she has gone back stage and serviced over the years. I was a little horrified. Is this really dinner conversation? Telling your date that you screwed, sucked and cornholed your way through all their friends? What would the future hold for such a coupling? Every time she said she was going to a concert, do you sit home with a portable STD testing kit so you can swab her and run some tests as soon as she gets home?

Once The Groupie got a foothold in the conversation, she never stopped talking. The rest of dinner sounded like this:

“Me me  me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me me…. you? Me me me me me me, etc”

I could not get a word in edgewise. I felt battered into hanging out with her because there was never breathing room for me to object or to implement my escape plan. At one point, we were standing on a platform waiting for a train and as it approached, I seriously considered just leaping in front of it just to make her shut the fuck up! Finally, outside Faneuil Hall, I got a moment to myself, texted a friend to call me. We faked an emergency and said our goodbyes. She kissed me on the cheek, saying it was nice to meet me. I dashed off for the Goverment Center T station, but first I made a quick stop at CVS. Alcohol swabs were on sale that day…

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Dr. StrangeDate Part Three: Attack of the Dates From Hell! Act 1 – The First Date

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.