Then there are those occasional dates where you find out you lucked into a truly strange human being. Usually this turns out to be someone a friend has told you to go out with. If anyone set me up on a date that weird, it was pretty much the end of our friendship because it obviously said something very disturbing about our relationship. Most fun of all was the pathological liars, a species from the dating pool that loves the game and seeing how far they can push it. I have been pretty lucky to have only one in my dating journal (see story below), but I have heard some doozies from friends. One room mate really believed her current boyfriend when he said he was going to downtown LA on Saturday night to play pick-up basketball with his friends. The clue that this might not be the case? He took along a change of clothes fit for a king in a garment bag. I guess in the end it was about lying to herself as she wanted to believe the fairy tale.
There were some really great times dating, but it wasn't overall something I enjoyed. I actually found it more fun to meet a new guy out somewhere so either of us could easily escape if we needed to and I was freed by paying my own way (no obligations of any kind). In the end, however hard marriage has been at times (and no lie, there are rough moments), I am utterly happy to be out of the dating loop. Here a few "fun" moments from my past. If you make it to the end of this long column, you can try and guess which date said the final quote I included.
It all began in high school. There is that first magical time someone asks you out and you say yes, delighted you're now in the dating game. No thought is put into if you even like this person or if you have any thing to talk about. So there we are at the school football game (big deal in the U.S. - stadium, lights and a half time marching band) with absolutely nothing in common and unable to find anything to talk about. What was I thinking? I am stuck sitting in the stands instead of running around socializing, both of us are miserable and neither knows how to deal with it. So what does my lovely date do??? He starts announcing to everyone he's out with the minister's daughter - nudge, nudge, wink, wink. Total torture for me as I am humiliated. Unfortunately we had to attend a party after the game too, where he began in utter high-school mentality to do those annoying little verbal pokes. I didn't think that night would ever end.
First love! This guy was special and we went out for a long time. One day things started to change and he began to slowly pick at my self-esteem in a way only a family member usually can. Thinking I was doing something wrong, I finally offered to break up saying, "I don't know what I'm doing wrong, but I'm obviously not what you need." He finally confessed that he'd had an affair with an old girlfriend and was feeling guilty so took it out on me. WHAT?!?!??!? Bad enough to have an affair, but why make me feel bad about myself. I kicked his booty to the curb and then in what I can only say was mental illness due to being in love the first time, I felt guilty. I mean - he had been honest, right? Like an idiot I went to apologize for my reaction, have an honest conversation and see if the relationship could be salvaged. Not at home - HMMM! In his grief and despair he wisely chose to head over to the ex-girlfriend's for a booty call. I am ashamed to say I left a kind note on his windshield - really - but realized by the next morning that it was truly over and done. The funniest thing? This girl called to let me know he really loved me and I should forgive and forget. Not!
San Diego was an amazing place to live. A girlfriend and I moved down from L.A. after graduating from university and we rented a great apartment east of the city. She was working at a psychiatric hospital which should have clued me in. The phone rang one night and after answering, I heard my room mate say, "No, I can't go, but maybe Marilyn can." With no information at all she handed me the phone and I was asked on a date by a mystery man she worked with. The guy had amazing tickets to hear a concert by the singer who played the lead role of Tevye throughout Europe. He had a four octave range and the show promised to be one-of-a-kind. Intrigued, and reassured by the fact my roommate knew him, I said yes.
SIGH!!!! All I can say when I opened the door is the guy seemed to be someone who was living at the psychiatric hospital rather than working in it. The concert was wonderful, but the time in the car was torture. We ended up stopping for food on the way home. He ate BBQ with his hands and it was everywhere. I bravely stared at my plate trying not to notice. When the waitress gave him a finger bowl (hint, hint) he looked at her and said, "What's that for?" The look I got was - what a loser you must be to be out with this one. He even had a way of driving with his arms through the steering wheel - "Look ma, no hands!" Needless to say I didn't room with that person a lot longer and I never looked at her the same way. What was she thinking? Her response - she started dating my youngest brother.
Probably my favourite story of all time came when I moved to Seattle. There was this guy that just was easy going with amazing blue eyes that came into where I worked. We slowly began to hook up and things were moving along nicely. He seemed down to earth, intelligent and most of all, kind. I loved staying at his place because it was so peaceful. Then he let me know he was quitting his job and was going to do a stretch on a fishing boat. He worked at a supplier for the boats and had many contacts in the industry, so this made sense, especially from a financial point of view. The house he lived in was going to be sublet while he was gone, so the odd thing started to appear in the bathroom vanity, but nothing changed in the way of furniture or decor.
I really did miss him when he went. Assuming there would be a forward on his address, I sent him a lovely card telling him how much I missed him and our nights together. Imagine my surprise when his wife called me. That's right wife. He didn't have one when we started dating, but he certainly did when we stopped. Somehow he had managed to get married during our time together and hide it from me. This has to be my all-time topper when it comes to dating. I have never met anyone who played the game better and how he managed to move a wife into his house and not allow her to make any changes is beyond me, but somehow he did it. Needless to say I was pretty disgusted after this and decided that I was changing tactics.
The new direction for me was to look at men as company - period, lower the bar and expect little so I couldn't be disappointed. Unfortunately, where ever you set the bar there is someone willing to come under it. Enter my last dating experience before meeting my husband. I guess the current term would be more friends with privileges, although we were exclusive. I had no vested interest in this person other than we enjoyed hanging out together and ran in the same circles. My only requirement was to let me know when he was moving on. How simple is that? For some men it's just too much freedom. Out of the blue one night he just didn't show up. That had never happened before and it didn't seem his style, so I could only assume the worst - an accident. When he finally called four hours later, his first comment was, "Oh you're still home. I didn't expect you to sit there and wait for me." I am an absolute hothead, but somehow kept the lid on as I suspected he wanted the big blow-up as ammo to break it off. I just laid out my concerns, how out of character this was for him and how he could honestly have just told me he didn't want to see me anymore. Not the tactic he wanted and VERY effective as it took the wind out out of his sales and left him drifting.
Life moved on and I met Glen. When he started to come down from Vancouver, I again said what I really wanted was just to be honestly told when it was time to move on. Imagine my surprise a year later when we were getting married and I was moving to Canada. I don't think you could ever find a more fearful bride. On our wedding day I asked what he would do if I just couldn't go through with it and ran out of the room in terror. He had the perfect response, "I'd just come and get you." An old boyfriend shared a thought with me once. "Life's like a bowl of Raisin Bran. You have to go through a lot of flakes to find the other raisins." I certainly went through my flakes, but in the end, raisin it was. The only funny thing is - one of the above guys shared that with me. Can you guess which one??????