Maybe continuing to look back at date failures is an exercise in futility. I mean, it is highly unnecessary (and downright pessimistic) to dwell on awkward moments from the past. I have no hopes of forgetting them, so I am telling myself that remembering them will be some sort of learning experience and I will improve at making better date choices. (hah, fat chance.)
Today’s (not so) fond look back comes from the ripe period of dating sometime during 2006. College boyfriend Mooch and I had (officially) parted ways the previous year and a friend had successfully set me up with a coworker of hers who then changed his interest level after a few weeks of my liberal ramblings. It was kind of a dark time as I licked my wounds and wondered whether to give online dating another shot. Friend and I were at a work function (oh the good old days when we had corporate, morale-boosting, +1 drinking functions) hanging with some of my coworkers. This particular husband and wife were good friends of mine outside the office as well and I had been to a bunch of their household gatherings (with 6 kids there was always a bday party to be at) and weekend hangout sessions. After a few drinks and wondering (whining) where the hell I was going to MEET someone, the wife (non-coworker) of this couple asked if I would be interested in a set-up. Despite it never working for me in the past, I had heard success stories of such a random pairing and thought I had nothing to lose.
The set-up was the best friend of my coworker (I would use names, but they are BOTH named Mike, so not sure it would help matters. And yes, I should have simply run into the hills rather than agree to a Mike setting me up with another Mike.) I had met him several times previously, though during those times I was elsewhere attached. Part of me will always be curious if the initial attraction to me was simply my acceptance of shorter men (I am 5′ 7″, Mooch (whom he saw with me over the years) is 5′ 5″, this particular Mike is (maybe) 5′ 6.5″) Anyway, I apparently was discussed between the fellows at some point and my phone number had been requested, much to the delight of the wife. Over drinks this sounded like a fabulous set-up and I agreed (clearly forgetting the part where I am being set up with a friend and coworker’s BEST friend. No potential for awkwardness there.)
So we went on some dates. They were fine, though highly unremarkable, and I always had a significantly better time when we double-dated with the husband-wife team. He is cute, athletic, funny, etc. We got along though I really wasn’t feeling it… and he was. I didn’t want to be rash (and also recognizing being on the other side of unrequited sucks), but there were certain things that just irked me and kept me from being interested. For starters he lived at home. Although not a dealbreaker in itself (and actually smart considering his parents lived near campus where he was attending to become a cop,) he did not have a cellphone so it was a lot of wait for him to call, or risk talking to his folks. He also seemed very put-off by my lack of initiative in the intimate realm and commented on my (unwelcoming?) body language often. I mean the guy had a valid point (and one I have heard before and after) and since we were already familiar with each other for years snuggling/handholding/kissing should have been easier. In the same breath, since we were familiar with each other he seemed to have skipped right over the typical best behavior/wooing part of early romance that tends to make me want to display more physical interest.
Well 600 words later I think I could get on with it to the part of the really bad date. We had plans to see a movie and check out an Indian restaurant that had come recommended (we had been on quite a tour of ethnic establishments thus far.) I don’t remember what movie we saw (which gives me hope that I at least have the capacity to forget SOME unimportant historical details) but it was not my selection and I remember leaving the theater being a bit annoyed at spending money for it. We were driving over to the restaurant when he essentially barked at me for not holding his hand. What the hell dude? Either be bold and grab my hand at this point, or be fucking polite and ask for it. (Guess who didn’t give up cursing for Lent?) It was right there that I was done with this charade. I was just about to blurt out that I wanted to go home when he pulled into the restaurant parking lot. What the hell, I thought, I can manage to hold it together for dinner. Maybe I was just overly, unjustly cranky because I was hungry.
We sat down and our waiter immediately brought us some fabulous naan that I inhaled while looked over the wine list. I mentioned what I liked on the list and he asked if I really needed to order a whole bottle. Although I was thinking in my head that I definitely DID need it, I must have outwardly presented a perplexed face as he continued on that my habit of ordering a bottle really drives up the dinner tab. Now as someone who never has a monetary surplus I understand where he was coming from financially (dating is expensive, yo,) but the tone in which he did it was downright irritating. I may have been gritting my teeth by this point, but I tried to calmly explain that our arrangement to split the bill and his habit of drinking half the bottle makes it plenty fair. I said if he didn’t want any wine he can just say that, but I still wanted it and I would pay for the entire bottle. (note, I was not feeling generous enough to simply say I would cover it for both of us. I was such a bitch.) I ordered the bottle I wanted and he did not have any as we soldiered through the meal. I can only imagine his emphatic wine refusal (I had checked in to make sure he truly didn’t want any before I finished the bottle) caused me to feel defensive, but I ended up picking up the entire dinner check just to feel superior. (As an aside, the delicious naan was line-item charged to us as an appetizer even though they brought it and set it on the table right when we got there. Strange. Stranger that I remember this? Perhaps.)
As we drove home he asked if I wanted to stop for ice cream. Maybe he was trying to be nice, but I took it as a personal affront after the argument over the wine. He talked about some possible ideas for another date and I tried to steer the conversation away from that possibility as kindly as I could muster, citing that we don’t seem to have the same interests, etc. It was seemingly lost on him and he continued on with his ideas. We got off the freeway and were approaching my neighborhood when there was a couple screaming at each other from a front porch and the guy was being very aggressive and intimidating. While I questioned whether I should call the police, he ever so casually mentioned that, “Cops shouldn’t have to respond to domestic disputes because it only puts the officer at unnecessary risk and enables the woman to keep staying with the guy knowing someone will help.” Ummmm WHAAAAAA? It ended right there. Within a couple blocks he pulled into my driveway and I told him not to bother turning the car off. He was not coming in. I could not imagine having feelings for someone who felt that way and I was entirely disturbed that he was going to school to become a police officer with that line of thinking.
He called a few times after that. He genuinely seemed confused over what happened, but I couldn’t ease up. I didn’t want to go out with him again. I saw him a few times in mixed company but I was able to avoid any direct contact. My work friend ended up being the wronged party and divorced, changing circumstances for my inclusion in their functions (I was closer to the wife, socially) so thankfully that awkwardness was not long-lived. Well that is until the coworker recently found out I was single again and opened another can of worms by asking me out himself. Although that is not a good idea on several levels, I am holding fast to my (irrational) rule: No More Mikes.