Story Time!

A blog I follow asked for bad date stories and after going through my archives, I realised I haven’t posted a story I pull out whenever I want to give new friends a laugh (and make them thank God they are not single). So, here is the story of Car Guy, which happened fairly early on in my online-dating experiences.

I had been chatting to Car Guy [obviously not his name, but go with me here] for a few days when we agreed to meet. We’d been chatting pretty much every day and conversation flowed easily. He decided to take me to a comedy club in the city, meeting for coffee first.

I dressed up, looking forward to the night, and got there a few minutes early, sitting outside the designated coffee shop. As he walked past, he looked at me, paused, and said in questioning greeting, “Amy?”

“Car Guy! Hi!” I stood, we pecked cheeks, and he joined me at my table.

After a bit of initial conversation, he asked, “One of the guys at the club tonight is on Triple J. Do you listen to Triple J much?”

“Not really,” I replied. “I usually only listen to radio in the car, and my last car didn’t have a working radio. I actually just upgraded on Tuesday!” We had already discussed my new (second-hand) car in an online conversation.

“That’s right,” he said. “I remember you saying you were doing that this week. What kind of car did you get?”

I told him, and he asked more questions. O.K., so he wanted to talk cars. I could do that.

It went downhill from the moment he asked, “What was the first car you ever had?”

Well! My first car was quite a few years ago, before the non-radio car, and as I’ve never been one to know makes and models off the top of my head, I had to think about it for a second.

“Uhh…” I said as I thought. I was about to say, “I can’t remember,” when it came to me, and I told him. “It was an ’81 model, I think,” I added. “Something fairly old.”

I will never forget what he did next.

He leaned back in his chair, and crossed his arms and legs. A blind person would have been able to pick up on his body language, and I was instantly suspicious about what he might say.

He said, “I think you are lying.”

Yep, that was my response, too: “What?!”

“I don’t think you are telling me the truth.”

“What?” It was all I could say. My brain was frozen. It had hit a brick wall and was working furiously, mentally replaying the conversation and cycling through all the possibilities of what was going on. Was it a joke? Candid camera? Was he giving me some sort of bizarre humour test? Did I inadvertently give off ‘lying’ signals?… I was coming up blank on all counts.

“I don’t think this is going to work,” he continued.

Pause. Split-second thinking. The brick wall wasn’t budging.

“O.K.,” I replied airily. A bit in shock, but in control enough to decide not to waste my time on the loser, I picked up my bag and walked off, not looking back.

I got around the corner before the nerves collapsed in the shape of salty tears – I’ll say it was the after-effects of shock 😛 . I messaged a friend, who thankfully was home, and after a few hours, wine, a cup of tea, and some chocolate, I was able to laugh it off.

I still see him online (using the same photo) every now and then. I chuckle every time.

Ghosting

The New York Times recently ran an article about “ghosting” in a relationship – aka rather than having a closing conversation, one person “ghosts” the other, simply fading away and ignoring any contact by the other party.

“Ghosting” is the same idea as “if he’s not calling/texing, he’s just not into you,” which I hate. I think it’s a pathetic excuse for men to act like assholes.

The NYT also ran a follow-up article of responses to the first. It was interesting to read a response from someone who described a friend – not a partner – doing the fade.

Personally, I think if you’ve passed the 3-to-5-date mark, SOME sort of closure is required. Even when I meet someone online and we have a first “meeting” in real life (doesn’t even have to be a date), I think a simple, “Thanks for meeting. I don’t think we have much in common. I wish you all the best,” or some such afterwards is just plain polite, although it’s not always 100% necessary, and “ghosting” isn’t so bad after just one meeting – sometimes they just naturally fade out of your memory and you simply forget to send a closing message.

From the responses in the NYT article, I do agree that in a few circumstances ghosting is necessary. If someone isn’t getting the hint that things are over and continues contact, especially toxic contact, then ignoring them is the best policy, but that is only after you’ve had the “It’s over” conversation and left them in no doubt you don’t want further contact. It’s just cruel to leave someone with hope if there isn’t any.

I would much rather have a guy tell me why he was ending it, especially when it comes out of nowhere (D, I’m talking to you). I would much rather a guy break up with me by telling me, “I think you’re a boring bitch. You farted in your sleep and I never want to see you again”. It would hurt, sure, but most break-ups hurt. At least this way I’d be clear on where we both stand, and I’d be able to accept it and move on much easier than if I were left over-thinking things and trying to figure out what went wrong.

How about you?

So You Think Your Date Was Bad….

This happened about a year ago.

~~

We hadn’t been chatting online for long when I agreed to meet Matthew (obviously, not his real name).  He was interesting and we had a lot in common, so meeting was a mutually appealing next step.
After a few initial timetable clashes, we eventually arranged an afternoon movie.  I had a family lunch I couldn’t get out of that day, but I could leave early and because we’d already rescheduled the date twice, it was the best we could do.

Since lunch that day was a small family celebration, it was one of those roasts with the works and champagne.  I didn’t eat all that much, and I only had a small glass of champers, but as I left for the movie, I wasn’t feeling the best.  Perhaps I had just eaten too quickly, I thought, and sitting down for a movie would be the perfect way to digest.

I was running slightly late, so we didn’t have much time to catch up before we went into the movie, but it was long enough for me to think he was even more interesting (and attractive) than online, and I had my hopes up.

We chatted quietly through the previews, commenting on movies we’d seen or would like to see.  As the theatre darkened, he took my hand.

I smiled…

…And then squirmed in my chair as my stomach kicked up a little protest.  I didn’t want to fidget too much, but as the movie went on, and my stomach wouldn’t settle down, I started to worry.

I very rarely throw up (at that time, I hadn’t puked in years), but just as I thought about getting up and going to the toilet just in case, I suddenly knew I would never make it and all I could do was lean over to the left as my stomach attempted to purge itself of whatever it found so objectionable.  Not once, but three times.

Luckily, Matthew was in the aisle seat to my right, and there was no one in the rest of the row, or in the rows directly behind or in front of us.

The instant I thought I could make it, I ran out of the theatre towards the toilets, barely registering that the aisle seat had been vacated.  I stayed in the toilet for a few minutes, but nothing happened, or felt like it was going to happen again all that soon.  I was safe.  For now.

At this point, I thought to check my phone, and I saw it piled with Matthew’s messages.

 I raced to get you tissues but you’d disappeared.

I’m guessing you are embarrassed as well as unwell. Do you want me to just go?

I think I might. Make it easy for you.

I hurriedly replied that I was waiting in the foyer.  I paced the lobby, but I didn’t hear from him for a minute or so, and my stomach was starting to roll again.  I tried to call, but when there was no answer, I sent off a quick text telling him I thought it was gastro, and was sorry but I couldn’t wait anymore and had to leave.  I received his reply and responded as I was walking to the car.

Ok. Get well soon.

I’m so sorry!! Are you going to stay for the rest of the movie?

No, I’m going to head home in case I get that gastro bug, too.  That hit you hard and fast.

I hope you don’t get it!  Again, I’m sorry…

Stop worrying.  Just get home to get well.

As if I needed anything else to worry about, the ticket machine in the car park didn’t give change, and I didn’t actually have any change.  As I was debating the merits of going back inside the cinema to try to get my $20 note broken, a wonderful grey-haired angel offered to pay my $4 fee.  I thanked her profusely (trying subtly to keep my distance so that I didn’t get my gastro breath in her vicinity) and dashed, trying not to speed, and knowing my stomach was about to announce yet again how displeased it was with current circumstances.

I made it home (without making a mess or getting a speeding fine) and to the bathroom just in time.

I spent the next 15 hours in and out of the bathroom, and I have honestly never been so sick in my life.  I ached all over (do you know how painful it is to have your stomach think it needs to get rid of something in your body, but actually have nothing in it to get rid of?).  I couldn’t even keep water down.  I felt a little better the next day, but it took a good few days before I was able to look at more than toast, and more than a week to feel back to normal.  I found out that while no one else at the family lunch felt the slightest bit ill, three other people in my workplace fell to the gastro bug that month, and it was certainly a bad one that year, as many can attest.

So, what happened with Matthew?

When I started feeling better a few days after the movie was aborted, I contacted him, apologising again, asking if he was ok, and asking if he ever wanted to give the first date a second shot.  He was very polite when he said no.

I was disappointed with the way it turned out, but I think he really was a good egg.  I don’t blame him for not wanting to see me again.  Throwing up during your first date doesn’t exactly inspire attraction, and I can’t say for certain that I wouldn’t have done the same had the tables been turned.

So, the next time you think you’ve had a bad date, I hope this story makes you feel better.

xoxo