The Date From Hell

A few years ago, I was asked to write a guest blog post for a friend who had a blog relating to dating, and the joys and dangers fraught within. The sentiment still applies today, so I thought I would share it here with my readers.

 After joining a popular online dating site, I contacted a woman we will call “Carol”. And, although the site provides pictures and a profile of the person (the accuracy of which is questionable at best), the process of getting to know each other begins. We exchange a few emails and then share our cell numbers, so we can talk on the phone or text directly. That evening we have a conversation on the phone which does not make me immediately run away screaming. We find enough in common to agree to meet for lunch. We set a date for three days later and I am looking forward to seeing if this person is, at all, who she claims to be. Yes, I am on the hunt for the red flags that will stop this process in its tracks. I am not hoping for them, just on the lookout. Kind of like looking both ways when crossing the street, it is a common safety procedure.

 The next morning, I receive a “good morning” text. How thoughtful of her. I figured she just wanted to let me know she was thinking of me. I respond with my own salutation. This is followed by an inordinate number of texts ranging from “what are you doing right now” (wanted to respond that I was juggling chainsaws and answering her texts to show my unique multi-tasking skills, but thought better of it) to a detailed list of what she had for breakfast. I quickly surmise that she is bored, and I am the entertainment. I mean none of these texts are the “get to know you better” variety. They are honestly an inconvenience and come across a little desperate for attention. But as I am trying to get to know this person, I overlook this obvious red flag. I feign a need to apply myself to my work, as it is business hours, and she finally stops sending messages. Hoping to repair any damage my earlier dismissal of her attention may have caused; I send a text in the evening asking how her day was. I get no response. Oh well, damage done maybe. I text her again the next day inquiring about our lunch date the following day, and still no response. Later that evening, I leave a voice mail asking if we are meeting or not. The morning of our proposed lunch date, I get a return call from her. When I ask why I could not get a response from her, she explains that her mother is very ill, and she had to go take care of her. In fact, we will have to reschedule our lunch date for another time because of this situation. This could well be the truth, but I smell another red flag. We all know that it takes little time or effort to return a text or phone call. Again, I ignore my gut instinct and plow ahead.

 We set a date for a few days later and I move on with the rest of the things in my life. That evening the text messages begin again, with the same importance as before. As I find texting to be uniquely suitable for the exchange of specific information and not great for common pleasantries, I decide to call her instead. Maybe a 15-minute phone conversation can save me hours of texting back and forth. But alas, she does not answer. Another red flag? Absolutely. But the blinders are already on and I am determined to meet with her for lunch. I am hoping that sitting in front of each other, talking openly and honestly, will help to dispel these concerns I have garnished since our initial contact.

 I text and call the next day and the day after that, but do not get a response. I am somewhat relieved. This has ended without any of the difficult conversations that come with telling someone you are no longer interested. Inevitably that statement is followed by questions as to why, and nobody ever really wants to hear the whys. Regardless of your reasoning, you will either get crappy explanations and excuses as to why your view of them is wrong or you will be told how much of an asshole you are. It never ends well. This, thankfully, died of natural causes.

 The evening before our second attempt at having lunch was scheduled, she texts me. I immediately call her, as I am now done with the texting bullshit. I again ask why she was unable to contact me, and her excuse is that she washed her cell phone in her pants pocket and lost my number. Really? I mean it would be on the messages we exchanged on the web site. But alas, she supposedly deleted those messages. Well, you could have just sent me a message through the web site, so I knew you were trying to get a hold of me. Her excuse? She stopped going on the web site since we met. Funny, that does not agree with the last time the web site shows you had been online. (Huge red flag being waved) This unusual sequence of unfortunate events seems almost unbelievable. Probably because it is.

 She says she still wants to meet for lunch, but we must reschedule again, due to her need to take care of a terminally ill friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer, and although I am completely baffled by this whole episode, I agree. My God, what must be wrong with me? I am pretty sure I have been tested for colorblindness on numerous occasions and passed with flying colors, so to speak, but suddenly I can’t see a red flag to save my life. Undaunted, we again reschedule our lunch.

The day is a beautiful fall day and I choose to ride my motorcycle to the diner we chose to meet at. She is there and just as lovely as her pictures on the web site showed. I only mention this because that is rarely the case. And being attractive may have some part as to why I have been willing to overlook some obvious concerns thus far. We have a nice lunch and then head outside to sit and chat for a while. She puts the windows on her 2012 Civic down and leaves the key in and the ignition on. Two hours later when we are saying our goodbyes and I am hopefully optimistic that I can safely move forward, her car won’t start. She suddenly becomes helpless and it falls to me to solve the issue. And there is little I disdain more than fixing another person’s stupidity. My immediate desire is to wish her luck, start my bike, and head on home. But I know that being anything less than helpful will certainly end this fatally. So, I go in the diner and find someone with jumper cables and a car. We try to jump her car, but no luck. I call a nearby service station and the mechanic suggests that it will likely need a new battery. What now? Obviously, I hop on the bike and head to the nearest auto parts store to buy her a new battery. Unfortunately, I am completely frustrated with the events of the day and tear off up the road desperate to make this all end as quickly as possible. I make it to the parking lot of the auto parts store, closely followed by a police officer. He is there to add a speeding ticket to my already eventful day. Can this date get any worse? Probably, but the chances are about the same as being struck by lightning and mauled by a polar bear in the same day. I take the ticket, buy the battery, return to the diner, install the new battery, get her car started, and pray for the day to be over. But alas, I must follow her to an ATM to have her reimburse me for the battery. Once at the ATM, she comes to find out her ATM card won’t work. She promises she will contact the bank on Monday and figure it all out and insure I get my money.

 I ride home, completely defeated. Luckily the chilly evening air numbs my limbs with the same dull ache my head is feeling. It is finally over. My date from hell will leave a scar as a constant reminder. I make a mental list of what this adventure has cost me and what lessons I have learned:

 Lunch for two – $22.47

New car battery – $110.15

Speeding ticket – $121.00

Reminder to look both ways when crossing the street – Priceless

5 Responses to “The Date From Hell”
  1. Why is it that we are so capable of turning a blind eye to red flags? Is it a desire to believe that others are being as truthful as we are being? Do we still cling to the smallest of hope that things really are as good as they seem? I know of three people who have waded through internet dating to a happily ever after; with my limited amount of friends, that’s not a horrible number. But I will never return to that world – having been phished and scammed, I’d rather take my chances in the real world. The good thing is, I’m not looking for it!

  2. edward dougherty says:

    Sounds a bit like some of the dates I’ve had before. I was lucky enough that my last internet date led to a happy marriage and family.

    But the 64,000 dollar question is….
    Did you ever see her again and get reimbursed for the new car battery?

    • Brad Osborne says:

      I am glad to hear of a true success story abut online dating. Congrats! And the $64,000 answer is no to both. Never got reimbursed and never wanted to see her again. C’est la vie!

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