I’m Glad I’m Past That Stage Of Life

Disclaimer: This post is part of this blog’s That Tiny Tirade series. It can (and likely will) contain harsh language, scenes and storylines not suitable for children, and some content that may be unacceptable to other readers. This post may also contain strobe lighting effects.

Dating. The one activity that is disproportionately glamorized by media to the point where what you see in the movies cannot even be called a shell of the reality of the actual activity. Turn on television or movies and you’re bound to see someone meeting the man/woman of their dreams on their first date out of a horrible relationship. If there is a bad date shown, it’s nearly always an independent woman1Who is later shown to be weak when she actually does meet her dream man, but that’s another rant for another day who is on a date with a guy who either likes video games, lives with his mom, or both. Needless to say, the dichotomy provided by the entertainment industry is disappointing at best, ludicrously misleading at worst.

For those of you who are newer to this blog, I’ll be getting married later this year. I’m happy to spend the rest of my life with the woman of my dreams, settle down, maybe start a family someday, yada yada yada, white picket fence that doubles as a proximity mine to form a moat in case of a zombie invasion.

I hated dating. It was (and still is) the single most socially awkward interpersonal interaction activity that we engage in2Narrowly beating out small talk, forced lying to feign caring about something, politics, and willfully attending a Dave Matthews Band concert. While not every date or dating experience I had was bad, there were quite a few of them that went poorly. I have no desire to share all of the experiences, but at the request of you readers, I will share my top three. Names have been changed to protect the people in these stories.

3. The Blind Date With An Unexpected Surprise

A couple of weeks after I finished grad school, my then-girlfriend split up with me. While the relationship wasn’t particularly long (three months at most), said girl was a lot of firsts in my life, so I took it pretty hard. Combine that with the fact I had just moved to Arizona — a place where I knew literally no one — and was extremely cash strapped, and I was not exactly in the best of spirits.

My new manager knew this and decided it would be a great idea to set me up on a blind date. All I know was that I was going to the movies with my manager, her husband, and a girl I’d never met, Jenna. My friend talked Jenna up quite a bit, so I was excited about the date. Considering how pessimistic I’d been in the 3-4 months leading up to this date, the fact that I was excited was an accomplishment in and of itself.

I arrived at said date to find my manager and her husband already at the movie theater, just waiting on Jenna to arrive. Sure enough, she arrived just a few minutes later. Much to my surprise, Jenna was short for Jennifer3Still speaking in pseudonyms here, however her real name was short for another name, which is what knew I her by. On top of that, I had known Jenna (as Jennifer) for roughly two years — as she was my cousin’s ex-fiancee.

Once I explained the situation to my manager, everything was incredibly awkward. I left, as did Jenna. To my knowledge, Jenna never mentioned the movie theater incident to my cousin (whom she’s still friends with to this day).

2. There’s A Fine Line With Religion

I first joined an online dating site during my final semester of college, just before my 21st birthday. I found most of my dates from age 21-24 via online dating, ending up in multiple (mostly fruitless) relationships. But for every relationship that I found, there were 4-5 mediocre or terrible dates along the way.

The most…we’ll go with interesting…one of these came about roughly a year before the “date” described above with Jenna. I had met a girl — Amber — via online dating. Our first date consisted of lunch and a walk around a park, and while it wasn’t an overwhelmingly awesome date, it was good enough that we both decided to go on a second date together. We decided to meet up at her house, then walk to a bar nearby, have drinks/food there, and see where the evening took us. Throughout the evening, I learned quite a bit about Amber. She was big into “alternative spirituality”, she would occasionally dress up in Renaissance Fair regalia for fun, and she was very close with her best friend, Bob.

A few hours and a handful of drinks later, we made our way back to her house where clothes started to come off. The long walk back from the bar in the summer heat left us both sweaty, so we decided to shower together. That’s where things started to go downhill.

As I’m in the shower, I hear Amber open the shower curtain behind me. I turn around to see Amber climbing into the shower, with a dildo as big as my forearm in one hand, and a switchblade knife in the other.

“Um. What?” I think this what all the more I said…though to be fair, a “What the fuck?” may have slipped out too.

“Meet my best friend, B.O.B.”4Apparently BOB is short for Battery Operated Boyfriend, a fact that I was oblivious to prior to this encounter, she said as she held up the dildo like Rafiki held Simba in The Lion King. “We’ll involve him later. So we can fool around in here as much as you want, but if you want to have sex, I need you to cut me. The blood appeases the goddesses and allows me to cum.”

This wasn’t the first time I left a date because of something my date said that made me uncomfortable, nor is it the most awkward. Those honors belong to this next story.

1. First Date…PUNNNCH!

I’ve shared arguably the most ridiculous date story I have with some of you previously. What makes this story particularly special is because of how quickly it escalated.

As I mentioned in the previous story, I spent a fairly significant portion of my early twenties trying to find relationships through online dating. My major reason for doing so was because of the fact that my first post-college job consisted of a 9pm-6am shift Thursday-Monday. Having Tuesdays and Wednesdays off while also having a night owl schedule isn’t exactly the most conducive to meeting romantic prospects. Nevertheless, I started messaging a girl — we’ll call her Serena — who worked as a cosmetologist. She lived roughly two hours away from me, but considering my terrible run of bad relationships/dates preceding talking to Serena, I was willing to make the drive. Since Serena worked days, we decided to meet up for a lunch date at Subway5aka the second least romantic first date option, trailing only McDonald’s near her work.

We ordered our food and sat down at a round table, with Serena to my right. After a couple of minutes of small talk, I was taking a bite of my sub when I felt Serena poke my arm lightly, though intentionally, with her finger. I figured she was trying to flirt with me, so I returned the favor. A few seconds later, Serena poked my arm again, this time more forcefully. I assumed the additional force was accidental, so I poked her arm again, this time even more lightly than the first time.

I had no sooner removed my finger from her arm than I got hit in the face with a swift, closed-fist punch from Serena.

“What the fuck was that for?” I yelled, obviously in a bit of pain.

Serena shrugged her shoulders and replied, “I wanted to see a girl hit a guy for once.”

I stood up, grabbed my coat off of the back of my chair, and left. I got a text from Serena later that night asking if she could take me on a second date to apologize. Needless to say, I never answered.

  1. Oh dear, never in my life have I experienced these shenanigans…nor do I want to. Though I must admit, I kind of chuckled at these stories due to the sheer absurdities behind their behaviors. Fortunately for you, your wedding’s coming up. No more of this crazy stuff. I too am glad that you’re past that stage of life.

    1. There are a couple of equally absurd stories I left off of the list, however I felt these three stories were likely the best (and most vivid) examples of the shenanigans I dealt with in the past. And yes, as you mentioned, it’s a very fortunate thing that it’s over and done with.

    1. See, I look at #2 as being a far more surreal experience, but I view #1 as the far less kind one. I’m not going to judge someone’s religion just because it makes me uncomfortable. I will, however, judge your choice to use violence unprovoked.

      1. I don’t think freaking out at someone randomly coming at me with a knife judgmental, just a reasonable survival instinct (if that’s your thing, or part of your beliefs, whatev, but you damn sure need to discuss that shit beforehand). The punch was unprovoked and wrong, but all in all not as dangerous IMO- public place, you were dressed, etc. Naked in a stranger’s home? MUCH more terrifying.

        1. I can see your justification on that point. Now that I think about it, there is a fairly traumatic reason in my past well before that date happened which likely caused me not to freak out when someone had a knife near me. That’s a much bleaker story than belongs on this post (or site, really) though.

          1. That’s unfortunate to hear. Although I did think while typing that comment that maybe my mindset is a result of the different experience of being a female- we’re pretty much primed to expect rape. If, as a straight woman, I try to imagine myself in that situation, the odds of me being able to peacefully take myself out of the situation with a male partner are maybe not so good and that’s why it seems worse to me.

          2. I completely see where you’re coming from. With the genders swapped in that scenario, that becomes a significantly scarier and more intimidating situation. Fortunately, my situation ended with me just being able to leave after saying I was uncomfortable. There wasn’t any malicious intent on her part, merely a ritual that she believed in with her religion. She was a very nice person (which is part of why I agreed to a second date), and once she understood I was uncomfortable, leaving wasn’t an issue.

  2. I’m trying not to laugh, because (other than the Jenna one) … those are horrible experiences. But jeeez! I thought that shit only happened in sitcoms!

    I thought ‘choke me’ was as weird as it gets…. nope. “Cut me…” wins. Hands down.

    1. The Jenna one was just awkward happenstance. If nothing else, it’s a story that gives me a chuckle now and again. I have a couple sadder ones I could have replaced that one with, but I felt this post needed an upbeat story in it somewhere.

      FWIW, I heard “choke me” too (and worse). Again…bad situations.

  3. Ah man, I feel like ever since I started blogging we’ve pretty much seen eye to eye when it comes to online dating. I’m glad you’ve shared some of your encounters. I thought my dating escapades were bad, but man… those last two are awful. Dating is a terrible experience– especially with people you’ve met online. I mean I cannot knock it completely… I met my current boyfriend online, but I can’t say that even our first date went off without a hitch. (Nothing bad, just eternally frustrating on my part.) The experience of dating though is awful and consists of a whole lot of mixed messages and scoping each other out. I’ve found it much easier to just stay single or be in a relationship. But man, having someone ask you to cut them is probably something out of a horror movie. I’ve had guys do some pretty terrible things to me (mainly sexual things without much consent) but never had anyone to ask them to cut them. Yikes. 😡 And I thought my dating experiences were a whirlwind…

    1. I legitimately don’t think online dating is bad for the most part. In nearly all situations, I’d say it’s on part with more traditional dating in terms of its awkwardness and unnecessarily societal usefulness. That said, I’d also make the argument that 3-4 of the online dating situations I found myself in would be extreme outliers if they were to happen in traditional dating situations (not to mention that I think all but one of them are outliers for online dating as well. I could have shared a lot more, but I chose to limit my list.

  4. Okay, I have to admit I would have laughed out at #1 loud had I not read this at work. And #2 scares me just a little bit. Idk, the new year had me on the verge of creating an OKC account again but ugh. I think I’m not going to do that after all. But I do need a damn date at some point.

    I don’t think I ever asked but how did you an dthe fiancé meet?

    1. We actually met at university, so it was completely unrelated to the online dating shenanigans I dealt with. That’s not to say all the shenanigans I dealt with came about as a result of online dating, however some of the darker ones did come about as a result of meeting someone online.

      I’d personally say go for it when it comes to restarting your OKC account. While I recognize that I had some bad experiences with online dating, it is a wonderful resource to find people you wouldn’t otherwise be aware of around you. I did have some good experiences because of online dating, however since none of them involved my fiancee, I don’t feel this is particularly the right place to discuss those. There were good experiences, even a few that didn’t lead to dates.

      1. My reluctance to re-join OKC was less the result of this post and more my general uneasiness with the medium. I prefer meeting people by chance but that isn’t going to do me any good because I live in het-central.

        1. I think there’s still a negative stigma associated with online dating that makes people feel uneasy about it. While the stigma is nowhere near as strong as it once was (the first girl I dated thanks to OKC actually had us make up a story of how we met because her family and friends were so against the concept…this was in 2009, so not that long ago), it still exists. If there are fewer opportunities for you to find a relationship in your area due to the lack possible dating partners, I do think it could work in your favor to try online dating again. With that said, you need to do whatever you’re comfortable with.

    2. I met some cool people on OKC.

      Both of them were guys I thought sounded cool and I messaged, instead of waiting for guys to message me. They both ended up being incredibly nice people whom I have yet to delete from my social media friends even after getting married, if that tells you anything.

      Just…y’know, carry pepper spray and meet in public places. Ya never know if there’s another crazy BOB-wielding type out there.

      1. I met a few cool people on OKC, though I don’t talk to them anymore (two of the three because we stopped talking after breaking up, one because you don’t have exes who are your closest friends while dating someone else…personal opinion). I wish I could say I met a great on OKC who is still a very close, personal friend, however I cannot. Doesn’t mean it’s not worth the effort though.

        1. I think one guy I would have stayed a lot closer with if we hadn’t been so lonely and dumb when we met. We were really meant to be just friends…we even tried having sex once and totally failed. But we persisted in trying to make the whole thing physical and messed around just enough that now it’s a tiny bit awkward as a married person to spend a lot of time talking to him. We content ourselves with the occasional Google + comment and that seems to work out just fine!

          I’m all for friends of the opposite sex…it’s just yeah, a little different when you’ve also seen their genitalia before.

      2. Ha! I would never not meet in a public place. The last time I tried, we met at a café. When I wanted to sign up for OKC again, I remembred that it still wasn’t as much a thing in Germany as it is in the US. Maybe I will try it again some time but not right away.

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