Red Flags and Rabbit Holes

One of the benefits of being middle age and single is the ability to recognize the red flags raised by someone you’re dating. I’ve found that I not only recognize them earlier than I have in the past, but that I also refuse to tolerate them more readily than I have in the past.

For the past several weeks, I had been seeing someone. He’s several years older than me and from Europe; we’d talked a few times and seemed to hit it off. We met up briefly and it was pleasant, so we got together to spend a late summer afternoon in my back yard to chat and enjoy some wine and cheese. It started out fine, although “wine” soon turned into “whine” as he lamented his age. I don’t see age as that big a deal – to me, it’s much more about how you feel and how you live life rather than a number marking the years one has been knocking about on earth, and I said as much. He was way hung up on that number, but I was eventually able to redirect the conversation. He had handed me a few pieces of baguette and cheese as we’d been talking, and it most definitely filled me up. He asked if I wanted more, and I thanked him and told him that I was full. Minutes later, he handed me more and like a fool, I ate it so I didn’t offend him. Repeat exchange two minutes later. And again after that. I thought he was being nice (because nice = completely disregarding my wishes because my tiny lady brain must either be lying or mistaken about what I do or do not want, apparently). The complaining resumed with lamentations about his job. I asked him what he wanted to do and he dodged. I asked him what he was doing to change his situation and got an excuse along the lines of not bothering because he won’t find anything.

He managed to get in a subtle dig – his first of several to come – when he was talking about his friend’s father dying from Alzheimer’s; I didn’t hear the part about the father and thought his friend had died of early-onset Alzheimer’s. I asked if they were close in age, and he fixes me with a condescending stare and says, “My friend’s dad?” it was a little aggressive and very snotty, and I felt an inch high. Of course, I apologized and explained that I had misheard. I disgusted myself a bit with that apology – a tumble further into the fucked-up rabbit hole.

Now, neither of these seem like a big deal on their own, but I’ve spent a great deal of time in the past playing cheerleader to people with chronic “woe-is-me” attitudes. There are two problems I’ve identified with this. People with this attitude use it for attention, affirmation, and control; if it works once, they keep using it. The second problem is mine. I want to help, so I give and give and expend energy that I don’t have trying to lift up this person and find ways for them to get out of their ruts. However, getting out of the rut ultimately requires action from them, and that doesn’t happen. Eventually, this personality wears down mine until I’ve gone beyond their rut and into an abyss of my own – maybe it’s a Pisces thing. It tends to happen slowly, so in the past I haven’t realized how low I am until I feel completely trapped and am ready to mentally break. One person having that kind of control given to them freely doesn’t happen in one fell swoop, it’s a systematic mental and emotional assault of little chips that ultimately fell the other person.

A few phone calls transpired after this date. They were often late (late for me, anyhow – 10/11 pm) and he was, with the exception of one call, practically unintelligible. He admitted to having a couple of drinks, but it was clear that he was completely drunk. Don’t get me wrong, I love booze and wine, however, I do not make a habit of getting plastered and calling people. Another flag raised.

Around this time, my iPhone started getting sketchy with phone calls. My phone wouldn’t ring and  wouldn’t show a missed call, yet I’d have a voice mail. Other times, no ring, no missed call, no voice mail notification. At other times, everything was perfect. I told him what was going on, and he actually Facebook messaged me a couple of times that he had tried to call. I always called him back as soon as I knew. Of course, he accused me of making it up. Why, I asked, would I bother calling him back if I was making up this story to avoid his calls? That seemed to put him in his place and he didn’t complain about that particular item again. (NB: he has an old flip phone, and gets mad when anyone – including his close friends or me – text him; he thinks that we should all change our habits to meet his needs. Hell, he hates the one radio station that gets reception in his apartment, but won’t get a free Pandora or Spotify account. Telling.)

We had dinner together and it was actually normal and pleasant, so I relaxed a bit. I had gotten tickets to a traveling Broadway production of Jersey Boys through work and I asked him if he wanted to go. It’s not what I would have bought tickets to see, but when it’s a night out for zero dollars, I’m in.

red flag

The day of the show comes around, and he Facebooks me about the plan. He doesn’t want to drive. Okay, fine. I let him know that I’m anxious about parking and would like to leave at 6:30 (curtain was at 7:30) and he assures me he’ll be ready. I get home, take care of my pets, do my hair and makeup, change clothes, and manage not to pass out after not sleeping well for months (and only getting 4 hours the night before). I call at 6:30 and tell him I’m on my way. No. He needs 10 minutes (mind you, he’d been off all day). Okay…not much I can do so I pace for 10 minutes trying to stave off worries about where to park since I’m not that familiar with the side streets near the theater.

I arrive, and he gets into the car. His face is practically a waterfall of sweat; maybe I’m being picky, but he really could have wiped off his face with a paper towel before going to sit in a $60 seat at a packed theater. Actually, fuck that. If you’re going to the theater, is is not acceptable to look like you just got in from baling hay. It’s just not. I ask how his day was, and he answered that it was awful – as was the rest of his week – and he didn’t leave the apartment and just paid bills. “You didn’t get out and enjoy the day at all? It was so beautiful.” “No.” Okay…

We get on the road and he casually mentions that he forgot his credit card by his computer. I think to myself that it makes no difference to me, because we hadn’t discussed and drinks and/or dinner so I ate leftovers. Money’s tight for me, and one of his chronic lamentations is about his lack of disposable income, so that was a no-brainer to me. I just thought it was pointless to bring up. He continues to kvetch about this and that until we get downtown, and of course, there is no parking left in the theater lot. I drive around the block and find a spot about a half mile away, which is fine. I say that I’m not going to put my heels on to replace my sandals because I’m not walking that distance in them, which got a look and a comment under his breath.

That was only the beginning of the snotty comments for the evening. I had recently attended a local TEDx event, and sent him the videos with a note that there are a couple that might inspire him (rah, rah like a good little cheerleader). One of my best and closest friends had done a talk and brought down the house. He mentioned it and said she was good, but laughed at her own jokes too much. I visibly tensed and he tried to backtrack, but at this point after weeks of the pile-on, there was no going back, especially when it comes to my friends. I imagine that he didn’t like not being my ultimate focus, and so had to try to tear her down a little, to make her seem less to me.

At intermission, he asked if I’d eaten and I told him that I had. He gave me the kind of look that’s normally reserved for those who’ve just dropped a horribly offensive comment. I looked through the program and started listing off restaurants in the immediate vicinity that should be open after the show. His reaction was, “I know there are places open late.” Again with the snotty. I told him that I was looking at places near the venue and he again tried to walk back his nasty attitude. He didn’t think that he needed to turn off his phone like all of us other peasants, so it vibrated a couple of times during the performance – thankfully it was a weak vibration so it was hardly noticeable. On the way out (literally walking up the aisles to get out with 800 other people), I saw one of my friends ahead and we made about 60 seconds of small talk with her looking over her shoulder. He was clearly angry that I hadn’t introduced him, even though I’d told him that I wasn’t ready to meet his friends and wasn’t ready for him to meet mine (this conversation didn’t stop him from blindsiding me with meeting one of his friends a couple of weeks earlier – what was right for me didn’t matter at all).

I quite enjoyed the show, even though it wasn’t something I’d have chosen for myself – I was actually really pleased. I told him that I thought it was really good, and his response was, “It was okay. I don’t know why it got an ovation because it didn’t deserve it.” He again tried to walk it back when I threw up my hands and started booking it for the car. We got into the car, and he tried to make conversation by talking about art when we passed the museum. He said that he especially likes Chagall, although “you Americans” can’t pronounce his name right.

I was done. Finished. Didn’t even attempt to say words, only grunted my responses and told him that I was dropping him off and going home because I was exhausted. He had the nerve to ask if I’d take him through the McDonald’s drive-thru, which was fine – my final act of mercy. He continued his attempt to pour on the feigned concern for me being so exhausted and I just didn’t respond – immature, maybe, but I really didn’t give a fuck at that point. He got mad and yelled at me to forget taking him to McDonald’s. However, as we approached the gas station near his home, he told me to pull in so he could get beer. I did, I think more because I was taken aback at his tone more than anything else. I just wanted to get rid of him before he got any nastier. As I slowly and carefully backed out of the parking spot at the gas station, he yelled at me to watch out for the pumps – which I was nowhere near. At his apartment, he asked for a goodnight kiss and got a peck, which pissed him off. Again, my field of fucks is barren, so I didn’t care – I just wanted him out of my car and my life.

Maybe even 10 years ago, I would have internalized all of this as a collection of reflections on me, and I must admit that with this situation I ran through my concerns with one of my friends to make sure that I wasn’t being unreasonable, so I clearly don’t yet completely trust myself. I would have told myself that I should have known that a worldly European was too sophisticated for me, the people I love, and the things I enjoy so I would just have to try to be classier. I would have let him chip away at me, dig by dig, comment by comment. The years have taught me that I can’t fix anyone else, all I can do is try to keep my life moving along in the right direction. I wish that I’d been able to recognize the flags after my first few rough experiences in my late teens and throughout my 20s, but it took slogging through the better part of my 30s before I woke up and realized that people are who they are. They’re either open to being decent, making the best of things, and rolling with the punches, or they’re not. This was my first big test with a Not, and I’m proud and relieved that I didn’t follow the White Rabbit.

I haven’t contacted him since, and he hasn’t tried to contact me (unless he called even though he knows about my phone issue, which is entirely possible and completely characteristic). That’s how it’s going to be because that’s what I’ve decided – he can find himself another Alice, and heaven help her if he does.

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Shut it down, and shut it down fast 2.0: Updated

Any of you – man or woman, gay, straight or other – who have done the online dating thing: have you found that most people think that you’re dumb and/or naive, or is it wishful thinking on their part?

After last night’s Shutdown 1.0, a message came in from the dating site. I could see that it was someone new, but I didn’t feel like dealing with any of that, so I settled in blissfully with my book. I recognized the guy, as he was on before I was (so at least for several weeks) and I’m in such a small area that I tend to see the same profiles pop up.

I left the message for this morning, and when I read it, it was clear that he had read my profile and was articulate: two ticks in the “Pro” column. Not my style appearance-wise (one tick in “Con”), but we did seem to have a lot in common (a third for “Pro”). He also noted in his profile that he’d been matched with women with several common interests, but they never got back to him. I didn’t want to be that asshole, so I wrote back.

Over lunch, I decided to do a little sleuthing. I had his first name and his city, so off to Facebook I went. And didn’t I find his profile picture with his girlfriend, and find several of those hokey inspirational graphics that would make Jack Handey proud. Some had been posted within the past few weeks, during the time he was definitely cruising the dating site. I have thoughts about this.

I cannot wait until he writes back so that I can share them.

Graphic of a woman leaning on a man, saying,

I’m not the dumb one in this situation, sir.

Update 7/28/2015: I may have been wrong. MAY. Although it would be odd to have two men with the same first name, in the same field living in the same tiny city, it could happen. I fucking hate being wrong, so I have screen shots in case I’m not!

Shut it down, and shut it down fast

I’m back in the dubious world of online dating. I gave it a rest for a few months, and then decided to give it another go. I was emailing back and forth with a really nice guy – who is half a continent away. I knew it was a no-go, but it was a good warm up.

For those of you not familiar with the general online dating scheme, it’s generally that you get certain matches based on how much you have in common (assuming that everyone has answered honestly). You look at those matches if you want, and decide if you want to indicate further interest.

One day last week, I got an email from a man whose profile I’d viewed. I wasn’t interested, so I just moved along. The thing that really got my guard up about his profile was the level of try-hard. Sure, you want to put your best face forward, but go too far and you’re going to be perceived as desperate at best and – shall we say – “off” at worst. If we’re doing a scale, 1 would be “Fuck you, because I don’t give a fuck,” 5* would be “I am a sane, rational human being that you may like,” and 10 would be, “NOTICE ME, PLEASE.” This profile was an 11, ergo the moving along. I didn’t think much of it, or him, afterward.

Within 24 hours, he sends me this long email going on and on about himself and about me (telling me that he could see deeper than my profile). I sent back what was basically, “Oh, thanks,” because I didn’t want to be rude; it must be a woman thing because I can’t think of one man who would reply rather than just hit the “Not Interested” button. I didn’t want to be a complete asshole because he’d put some effort into his email. This was a mistake.

He ran with it, and ran hard. Another long email followed. Comments on several of my photos followed. When I didn’t respond, another long email, completely oblivious to my disinterest followed. It became clear that I’d gotten myself into this, and I’d have to get myself out. I’ve found that boring the shit out of them usually works; they get bored and stop communicating, so I don’t have to sever the communication and risk being verbally abused. Everybody wins!

Gene Wilder as Condescending Willy Wonka: "Oh, so you're bored...Please tell us all about it on Facebook. It's so riveting.

My goal is to make him think exactly this.

So, following that third email, I answered again. I was so dull and blase that I wanted to clone myself just so I could roll my eyes and walk away from me. Didn’t work. He emailed again, and included that he was going to settle his mother’s business as she was entering a nursing home due to Alzheimer’s. That, I felt bad about and can certainly relate. So, I wrote back, wished him luck and – in order to make myself less palatable in another way – threw in a couple of sentences about how my mother’s illness brought out the worst in some people and caused a rift in the family. Bitching about family is a tried-and-true way to get some points deducted…at least it has been. I also answered his question about my job since it was an actual direct question.

Instead of being put off, he decided that I needed some mansplaining.

Graphic from Lost in Space, with the robot saying, "Danger Will Robinson."

Goddamn right.

Infraction 1: Your job seems busy, I guess. Well, if that’s what you like I suppose.

Excuse me? Yes my job is busy, and yes I do like it. Keep your side eye to yourself, chipmunk.

Infraction 2: I’m an only child, but this is how you should feel and this is how you should act regarding the family issue. This isn’t advice, though.

EXCUSE ME?! You don’t know me, you don’t know my history, and despite reading the two sentences that I wrote you, you have no idea about the severity of the situation. And you’re not giving me advice? Do you know what that leaves? It leaves you dictating how I should think and act. I know where that leads.

Closed fist with tape around each finger, spelling the word OBEY.

Here. It leads here.

Fuck. That. Shit. I did what I should have done initially and shut him the hell down. I wrote him and said that we will not be communicating any more, and it’s because he doesn’t know me, yet finds it acceptable to tell me how to be; I really only wanted to cuss him out. I also blocked him from contacting me again, because he would have certainly tried to make me see the error of my ways, and I am not playing that game.

My lesson is learned. No more polite and no more benefits of the doubt. I go with my first instinct from now on because she’s never wronged me before. It’s bad enough that I’m a Cassandra; I’m not going to Cassandra myself. Learn from my fail, and if you have a bad gut feeling about someone, roll with it.

* A 5 is as magical and rare as a rainbow-shitting unicorn.

Season 4, Episode 3

I really like the show Louie, but it’s not like Game of thrones for me. By that, it means that I won’t take a nap during the day to make sure I can watch the new episode on the night it airs; I’m fine catching it when it comes onto Netflix.

When episode three of season four, “So Did the Fat Lady” first aired, I read a couple of reviews and made a mental note to catch it. I finally did today, and I thought it was very good and very necessary.

Sarah Baker was absolutely fantastic as Vanessa, the heavy waitress interested in the fictional Louis (she was also the actor who made The Campaign watchable – sorry Will and Zach). She’s adorable, sharp, funny, and fat. The character and episode accurately reflected some of the issues that come up when you’re not the standard ideal.

  • Some – not all –  men think that if you speak to them, you’re hitting on them, and they’re horrified. Relax, gents, we’re not all looking to lock it down with you. Some of us are just friendly and like to chat after a couple of drinks.
  • Some – not all – men have no business whatsoever judging and/or dismissing you, because you wouldn’t let them touch you with someone else’s dick. Across the board, they are unaware of this reality. See Jim Norton‘s character on Louie. This has more to do with boorish behavior and a lack of respect than it does height, weight, or facial features.
  • Lots of men think that because you’re not within the ideal-range construct, you must be desperate, so they’ll take a chance. And these men…they aren’t partner material. Some real examples from my own experience include: the pushing-40 guy with two ex-wives who paid so much in child support that he literally brought home $15 per paycheck and had to move back in with his parents, they guy who doesn’t put a photo or personal information in his dating profile other than “lieks 2 cudle,” and they guy on disability (who includes a little “wink, wink” that indicates he’s manipulating the system).

I’m not trying to say that people don’t have physical preferences for what we find attractive – I know that I have them. However, I have gone on dates with men who I’m not physically attracted to right off the bat because they had other good qualities. I won’t lie, I had to think for a minute about accepting the date each time – rather than immediately accepting – because of the physical attraction issue, but ultimately I decided that I would be a fool not to go. In most cases, there’s so little to lose by taking a couple of hours to get to know someone a bit (just make sure that you’re in public and that someone you trust knows where you are and the details about who you’re with – safety is still paramount). We all know that the more we like a person (as a friend or as a partner), the more attractive he or she becomes, so I knew that there was an opportunity for that piece to develop. None of these worked out, but not because they didn’t meet my physical standards; one enjoyed trophy hunting, another expected me to go home with him after the first date, and another couldn’t talk about anything but his ex-wife.

So, as you may imagine, there was no passing Go with them. And that’s okay, because at least I know that I’m mature enough and confident enough to put aside my expectations of how a man “should” look. And please don’t get me wrong, I am sure that there are many, many single men who do the same…it’s what grownups do, and there are a lot of grown men going outside of their comfort zone.

It does my cold little heart good to see so many men and women fighting across-the-board standards of attractiveness. There are so many people out there celebrating and representing different body types (there are loads of body-positive bloggers on Tumblr who I could have used as an adolescent, like Katana Fatale and Pretty Girl Glam).

I hope that more people will step out of their comfort zones, or have those comfort zones grow. If they don’t, we’ll all be missing out.

 

 

I Think I’ll Stick with Cats, Thanks

This one is going out to the men of online dating. I’m sure that there are women who would benefit by taking these observations to heart, but for now I’m going to stick with my observations on those with the XY chromosomes.

Now, please understand that I’m not being an asshole – these observations are about men who have reached out to me, supposedly after drinking in the wit and vitality glowing in my profile like the sun itself.

In other words, these dipshits asked for it.

Profile Photos

If you have friends, enlist them in both taking and choosing profile photos. If they care about you, they will help you avoid the following profile picture mistakes:

  • Amish Beard Showcase: People with this kind of facial hair generally eschew technology, so I have no choice but to infer that you are either a mountain man or think that your copious, unkempt, crumb- and dip-laced facial hair makes you desirable to a woman with a mainstream office job and a decent Goodreads list. I may be wrong, but I’m not nearly as wrong as you are, Kaczynski.
  • Ted Bundy’s Playbook: The only thing worse that serial-killer handwriting is serial-killer eyes. (Or actually being a serial killer.) STOP STARING LIFELESSLY. It’s fucking creepy, and if you “wink” at me again, I’m contacting the authorities and my next-of-kin.
  • I Know You Love Your Kids, But This Is Creepy: Your young children can’t give informed consent for you to use their images on an adult site in order to manipulate a woman into a date; if you write that you are a good father and enjoy spending time with your children, I will believe you. Your photos in the bar with your adult son, or of you with your adult daughter in formal wear with a plunging neckline may be even more disturbing. Stick with photos of you and snapshots of your life – don’t live vicariously through kid pix.
  • The Time Warp: Hey, 52-year old fellow, I can tell that your pictures are from 1983 (the Night Ranger shirt and feathered hair are dead giveaways). Stop this shit right now because I’m not an idiot.
  • Photo Booth: I know Photo Booth is fun. If you must use it, Fish Eye is the only acceptable effect. Twirl, Squeeze, Stretch, and Bulge (it doesn’t do what you think it does) are unacceptable and not conducive to your goals.
Distorted Photo Booth picture of a man with his mouth open, holding up his hand.

Yes, someone chose this as his profile.

  • Bathroom Selfies: If you need me to tell you why these are a million ways of wrong, then you should probably buy a yurt and park it next to a nice sand dune in the Sahara, because you really aren’t fit for human companionship. I’m sorry, and I hope that you like cacti.
A man holding his iPhone in front of him, taking a selfie in a bathroom mirror.

Yes, he thought this was a good idea.

  • ALL THE PIXELS: If your photos leave you image less defined than a Minecraft character, it’s time to upgrade your phone to one with a better camera.
Heavily-pixellated photo of a man's head and shoulders.

SHOW ALL THE PIXELS!

Profile Details

  • Playa Hate: If there is a woman to whom you are not biologically related in your photos, you’re a dick, and I must assume that you’re probably compensating for any number of emotional and/or physical shortcomings.
  • Inability to Master Seventh-Grade English: The differences between “you’re” and “your” are important. Don’t get me started on “their,” “there,” and “they’re.” Mastering these homonyms is not difficult, and your inability to do so tells me that you’re intellectually lazy.
  • Get a Grip: This may be the harshest of my harshes, so prepare. If you take no pride in your appearance and have only an inflated sense of self and feelings of entitlement, you do NOT have the right to specify parameters for attractiveness in a woman. Remember that Shrek’s princess was an ogre, and if you’re an asshole, you’re going to attract assholes. If you have an irrationally inflated ego, an arrogant personality, and – frankly – are not physically appealing, you need to not shame women. You need to address your ego and arrogance with a therapist, then maybe a self-respecting woman will give you the time of day.
  • Making Sure We Know Where We Stand: We’re not dumb, and we actually have an expectation that your children will take priority over us, especially since we’re complete strangers. When you specifically state that you will only have a couple of days per month to devote to dating, it might be time to re-evaluate your investment in a dating site. Don’t get me wrong: we appreciate that you work hard, have extracurricular activities, and are an involved father. However, telling us that you want a slim, attractive, old-fashioned woman, and then immediately stating that you have approximately 8 hours a month that you can carve out for your “queen,” you defeat your purpose. Or at least I think you defeat your purpose – you’re giving some seriously mixed messages and might want to hire a writer to iron out your plot holes.
Profile of man requiring "no slobs."

Burn your sweatpants if you want to land this one, ladies.

  • Verbiage Matters: If you use the word “lonely” in your username or profile, I am going to bypass you because I’d hate to get in the way of the hobbies I imagine you have, such as thimble collecting or small-vertibrate taxidermy. WORDS MATTER, JACKASS.
  • Reading Comprehension Matters More: A cursory glimpse at my profile will reveal that I love animals. Guys – if your idea of a good time is killing animals, we are not going to mesh, so please move along. These details matter.

Communication

  • Complete Thoughts/Sentences: The contents of your email should consist of more than one syllable. “Hi” and “Hey” are generally not enticing or impressive unless you’re an Australopithecus.
  • Reading Comprehension Skills: Do you know what human beings enjoy? Being recognized. Because of this, show the person you’re messaging that you have actually read her profile, and SPECIFICALLY REFER TO SAID PROFILE. Do not reiterate things you’ve already outlined in your own profile, because frankly, I don’t care about you at this point. I care about why I might want to spend time with you. Real-World Example: One man messaged me, repeating words he’d already vomited into his own profile, and I took advantage of the handy-dandy “Not Interested” button. This dude followed up and asked me what turned me off, and I told him (nicely…don’t laugh, I really was kind). He responded by begging me – a perfect stranger – to give him a chance because he is a “fine wine connoisseur” and loves dogs, too. For those of you unfamiliar with match.com, this is the exact language they use when trying to partner you up with these dudes.

I know the above sounds very harsh, but just put yourself in my place. I had to deal with all of this and not totally and completely lose my shit and destroy these poor souls. I am only trying to help you…learn from these men’s fails, gents. Learn from these men’s fails.

(Mis) Adventures in Dating

As tends to happen as we grow older, my friends are all paired off. Every last one of those assholes. This makes it very difficult for me to meet single men, as couples are the last bastion of acceptable segregation. My friend K had great luck on match.com, meeting the wonderful man who became her husband and father of her daughter after a relatively short time on the site, so I figured I’d give it a try.

I also made a rule for myself: that I wouldn’t be as brutal in my culling as usual. I’d shrug off poor grammar and spelling, check any concerns about ex-wives/baby mamas at the door, and ignore my definition of attractive.

Following is a sample of my results:

  • Turkish businessman from Syracuse: Not very attractive, but I thought that I’d let it go, so I responded to his message. We ended up meeting at Turning Stone Casino (which I really don’t care for, but was determined to follow my “ease up on the brutality rule). Had a drink, got some dinner, and chatted. At NO POINT in any communication – written, verbal, or physical (definitely not physical – unless a handshake can be considered a come-on) did I express an interest in going home with him, but did that stop him from asking? It did not, in case you didn’t realize that was rhetorical. I just looked at him, slack-jawed, and then managed, “I have to go take my dogs out now.” And that was the end of that.
  • Vanilla A, machinist at a gun factory. Nice guy, not super concerned with proofreading his profile, and makes agents of death, but whatever – don’t forget The Rule. Divorced, three kids. Normally, that would be a lot of baggage, but like a jackass, I followed my own temporary rule and let it go. Turns out that three kids, two ex-wives, and so much child support that he works 50 hours a week and brings home less than $15 in his paycheck and had to move back in with his parents is a lot of fucking baggage. He’s a talker, and by talker I mean he talks and talks, but doesn’t have a conversation. He legitimately did not ask me one question about myself or my life. Ever. I literally put in writing the reasons that this was not going to work so there would be no misunderstanding. He still texts me…he’s like a dumb dog that gets beaten every time it gets on the furniture, yet still thinks he can sneak onto the couch.
  • Jethro K also works at the afore-mentioned gun manufacturer because FUCK MY LIFE. We texted and talked on the phone. He sent a picture of his daughter, who I knew from somewhere. Turns out, he’s one of a friend’s wife’s ex-husbands because OF COURSE HE IS. (Yes, one of her ex-husbands, and she’s younger than I am, so I tell myself that at least I don’t have multiple ex-husbands/baby daddies…but I digress.) At this point, that piece-of-shit, worst-fucking-idea-I-have-ever-had-in-my-lousy-life rule is still in place. We decided to meet at a casual pub for a beer. I’m well aware that this particular pub isn’t fancy, but it’s far from a dive, so I still dressed to hide my flaws, curled my hair and applied fresh makeup. This jamoke rolls in, talking to my friend who is married to his ex, wearing a Gun Company t-shirt, and untucked, unbuttoned, wrinkled, possibly dirty flannel shit over said t-shirt, and a Gun Company baseball cap, which was at no point removed. Let me tell you, he was in a mood after having a rough day (never mind that I offered to reschedule more than once because he’d had a shite day), which is always a pleasure to entertain…and by “always,” I mean “never.” He opened with, “I was just on the phone with the current husband, and he didn’t have anything bad to say about you,” thinking he was funny. It was a lie, and I wasn’t amused. Additionally, he’d gained probably a good 25-30 pounds since he took the pictures he used in his profile, which wasn’t a big deal until he asked me if he looked like his pictures. “No, you don’t look like your pictures,” I replied because he did not deserve the comfort of a lie. Then Flannel McShootsalot asks if that’s good, bad, or different. I just told him “different,” because we all have fluctuations and I didn’t want to shame him (note to self: that was a missed opportunity…read on and you’ll understand). A short while later, he proceeds to tell me how he went out with a woman who’d put on weight that wasn’t reflected in her photos, and he wanted to turn and run. O, RLY? So, he talks and talks and talks, and then stops, looks at me and tells me to talk. The fuck? Really? Okay…I struggle to find something to talk about, and finally land on the show Archer – thank god for H. Jon Benjamin. He made me feel completely awkward for not being able to pull a conversation out of my ass on demand. The dude dressed like he just got off a plow managed to make me feel awkward and inadequate. DUNZO.

Lessons learned:

  • There are reasons that I am the way I am. I need to remember that before making stupid rules about being nice, giving people chances, and all of that happy horseshit.
  • Kand her dear husband are likely the exceptions, not the rule. Those happy bastards.
Bottle of "So This Happened" wine with lit candle.

Sometimes all you can say is, “So this happened…”