You know how they say, "write what you know?" Well, when Liz and I decided to write our book, it wasn't hard to figure out what I knew way too much about. I, being in my mid-thirties and still single, had an over-flowing well of knowledge about bad dates and broken relationships. There were many nights after a train wreck of a date, when I’d fall heavy into my bed, swimming in a sea of self-pity. And as the effects of the one too many glasses of wine would begin to wear off, I’d wish I could forget it ever happened.
But at some point-- the next day or sometimes the next month, depending on whether I felt I was winning or losing the battle on the front lines of the single woman’s war, I’d eventually find the things I could laugh about. I think there was a part of me that always knew I’d use those lousy Match.com encounters or the blind dates gone bad to my advantage.
So, to all the men who lied to me (5’10” isn’t 6 feet gentlemen), disappointed me (is chivalry dead? My last name’s Stein-ke, not Stein-em) or just plain shocked the hell out of me (did you really just stick your tongue down my throat? To channel Carrie Underwood, “I don’t even know your last name!”), THANK YOU. For without all of you and the fodder you provided, our book wouldn’t have been possible.
Disclaimer: It takes two to tango and there are two sides to every story, blah, blah, blah…I also don't have anything against the height challenged, hair challenged or men in general.
The False Advertiser
Mr. Bait and Switch and I met on Match.com a few times. I’m embarrassed to say I had to learn the hard way more than once that you shouldn’t spend a lot of time trying to get to know a guy before you meet him in person. It probably sounds shallow, but nine times out of ten when you do finally come face to face after long, flirtatious conversations about your hopes and dreams, you’re disappointed because you aren’t looking at the Greek god you’ve built him up to be in your mind. Looking back now, I can scream at myself, “No sh**, Sherlock! What did you expect from a dude who posted a picture in a baseball cap and sunglasses while standing in the shadows?”
But back then, *cue the violins* I was just a girl trying to catch a break; hoping to find someone to spend my life with. So, the person on the other end of that phone line would transform into Brad Pitt and I’d turn into the sap that day dreamed about our future transcontinental life with seventeen babies.
The problem I had with these guys is that I was basing my fantasies about them on LIES. They were dishonest about who they were. There is a form you fill out when you create your online profile. You answer questions like, how tall are you? how old are you? do you have hair? And as far as I’m concerned, you should answer them honestly because eventually the truth is going to come out.
I’d love to know what these guys were thinking my reaction was going to be when we actually met. What was going through the bald guy’s mind as he sauntered into the bar, all Mr. Clean-like, head gleaming as it caught the light above? Or the five foot eight-incher who hadn’t expected me to wear heels? And what about the forty-year old who sheepishly admitted he wasn’t really thirty-seven? Maybe they were rolling the dice thinking if they won me over on the phone, they might have a shot. Believe me, it would’ve been great to say I was five years younger or to have posted Angelina Jolie’s picture instead of my own, but we weren’t creating avatars, we were advertising ourselves! And in the end, who’s ever satisfied with false advertising?
Bottom heavy Barry
I don't even have to tell you about the date. I'll just tell you how he got his name. I met him on the first flight I ever got drunk on. He was so funny and smart that by the end of the three and a half hour journey, I'd agreed to go out with him. But when I saw him at the baggage claim, I discovered that he had an ass the size of Kansas. I still went out with him because I wanted to prove to myself that a fat ass didn't matter... but it turns out that I couldn't see past it--literally.
Two lessons learned. #1- never agree to a date with someone sitting down (remember when Samantha from Sex and the City said yes to the cocky guy on the barstool but later discovered he shopped in the Juniors department?)
#2-never drink and fly if you're lonely.
Kevin with a “C”
I met Kevin with a “C” on that first night out after a bad break up when you convince yourself you’re ready to get back out there. But of course, you’re never ready which is why I thought I saw something in Cevin.
I’d just cut bangs and after introducing himself as Kevin with a “C”, he told me that he’d always wanted a California girl with my hairstyle. That should be where this story ends, but it’s only the beginning my friends. So after more compliments that my bruised ego and I gobbled up with a spoon, some small talk about where we lived—he was in Hermosa Beach- oh so was I, what street?-and letting him buy my girlfriends and I a round of cocktails, we exchanged phone numbers.
Cevin was tall, good looking and seemed nice. But Cevin had a secret. Not a Brokeback Mountain kind of secret but a pretty big one still. After a week, I hadn’t heard from him, so I gave him a call. I asked him point blank why he hadn’t called.
“I have two daughters, they live with me and I have full custody,” he said quickly like you do when you’re a little kid trying to say something three times fast.
“And?” I asked.
He said there wasn’t an “and” but he figured that was going to be a red flag for me and that’s why he hadn’t called. He said he didn’t tell me at the bar because that’s not something you blurt out after you buy someone a mojito. I agreed.
My issue with Cevin was not that he had children. It’s what I saw when I went back to his place at the end of our date. Yes, I went home with him but nothing happened! (I swear! Get your mind out of the gutter.) I walked in and his five and six year-old daughters were sleeping on the sectional couch. I wondered if they’d fallen asleep while watching a movie. How cute, I remember thinking. He paid the babysitter and then asked me if I wanted a tour. That’s when I discovered that he was sleeping in the master and only bedroom. I asked him about this and he said he planned to eventually move and get a bigger place where they could have a room.
That’s when the big bright red flag sprung up out of the shag carpeting of his 700 square foot bachelor pad. During the “tour” I also learned that his only means of transportation was a convertible and I almost lost my mind when he told me his daughters rode in the front seat, but they were always belted in! What? That’s when I knew it was time for me to exit this mis-prioritized guy’s apartment…and life.
I was surprised when he called six months later to ask me out again. I declined but hoped he’d moved or at the very least now had a car with a backseat. Then, a few months later, I saw him walking out of the same apartment with his daughters and all I could hope was that he’d figured out he’s the one who belonged on the couch.
We’ve all been there. We'd love to hear your dating antecdotes!