My small circle of friends includes individuals of all ages; some married, some divorced, some single. (Apparently being "single" and being "divorced" are NOT the same thing, if you've ever been in my shoes and had to check a box on any official document.)
Anyway, I enjoy hearing random stories from my single/divorced friends about their dating adventures in the 2000s. The best ones, of course, are of dates gone bad, which remind me of the plethora of "God why are you punishing me" dates I've had in my illustrious dating career. Yep, I'm going there. My Dating Hall of Shame. Here goes.
It all started in 8th grade when my first "official" boyfriend, Steve G., came over to my house. We sat outside and ate chocolate cake that my mom had baked. He said something funny and I blew chocolate crumbs out of my mouth. That's OK. He was shorter than me and I believe the only blonde I ever dated. With a few chocolate sprinkles.
Fast forward to sophomore year of high school and John M., who drove a sweet car that always smelled like Big Red. He kissed me in the driveway after a date and perhaps I was so preoccupied with the thought of my parents peering out the window at my provocative behavior that I failed to notice his big slimy tongue reaching for my esophagus until it was too late. My sophomoric reaction was to reel back in disgust and say, "What are you DOING?" to which he, confused, said, "Um, French kissing you?" Well, no wonder those French people are so mean, I thought. Always having to deal with fellow citizens sticking their tongues down your throat. To this day I can't stand the smell of cinnamon gum.
Then there was Quentin, who made me scale a chain link fence in order to get into the drive-in movie for free. At least I didn't have to worry about him French kissing me in the back of his car; however, I think I ended up getting a tetanus shot from the rusty barbed wire.
A friend of mine invited a male friend of hers and me over for dinner one snowy winter's night for sort of a "break the ice" introduction. Things seemed to be going well until she got up to clear the table and give us a chance to talk. He whispered to me, "Shouldn't you be helping her?"
Oh, and that's not all. After post-dinner conversation that I could have had more successfully with a rock, I finally said I was calling it a night. It was bitterly cold outside, and as I donned my coat, he tossed me his keys and said, "Hey, if you're going out, can you start my car for me?" I rolled my eyes and tossed them back at him and left, but upon reflection, I should have said, "Sure, Sweetheart!" and promptly hurled the keys into a snowbank. Hindsight is so 20/20.
pièce de résistance was Jeff D., a guy I had known in high school who checked in with me about five years ago and said we should "go out". (Note: he had SEEN me since high school so it wasn't like it was one of those 'wow you've really let yourself go' things). We met at a bar one evening and I noticed he was texting - and unfortunately, it pretty much didn't stop. "Rude," I thought. "But I'll be a trouper." After about a half hour of small talk, he mentioned that his friend "Joey" might join us. "Hmmmm..," I mused. "Weird to ask one of his buddies to join us when we are clearly on a date." No matter. I can be one of the guys. Suddenly he said, "Oh, there's Joey!" and motioned to the door. I turned and looked - which must have been one of those looks you only see on the fade-out shot of a soap opera character. The wide eyes - the mouth agape... hold... hold.... hold....
See, "Joey" was not male. "Joey" was very, very much female. Long, blonde hair, very blinky eyes and very large, um, large... you know. So she bounced herself down and they started chatting like the old friends or friends with benefits or whatever the hell they were.
Stunned but undaunted, I excused myself to the bathroom (like they cared) and instead of contemplating my angry exit, decided that apathetic really described my mood better and texted my best friend. "Get here now - you have to see this to believe it," I typed. Being the best friend that she was, she showed up 20 minutes later, plopped down with Jeff and Joey and I and proceeded to interject herself into the conversation. About 20 minutes later, I said, "Have you had enough?" "Oh, yeah," she replied. "You?" And we left, went on to another bar, and proceeded to have a great time.
Best part about the above story? I was relaying it to a friend of mine the next day, who relayed it to her friend who was a DJ on a popular radio talk show. My dating horror story was a topic of conversation that very afternoon on his show, with everyone in agreement that the guy was a total tool.
I never liked dating much, as I'm sure you can see why. I remember the agonizing feeling of going through those horrible first dates in the beginning, then as I got older, they became battle scars. Badges of honor that I would sit around and talk about with my other single friends like old war buddies sit around and talk about combat. Yes, I'm scarred, but I will survive. But like any soldier who has gone into battle, he'd probably just as soon not have to relive that portion of his life. I'll take my heart, albeit not purple, and be just fine, thanks.