Really dead, or just to me?

I suppose it’s only fair that I, an admittedly terrible dumper, would eventually encounter someone who does it even worse.

It’s unfortunate that I actually really liked this guy and even had this ridiculous gut instinct that we were going to work out together. (Perhaps my gut had been overstimulated by the combination of bad popcorn and Hollywood romance.  So overstimulated, in fact, that I may have prematurely calculated on how clever our kids would be.)

Anyway, things were proceeding well until the day scheduled for our fourth date (yes, yes, I just acknowledged it was too soon to line up a babysitter). He had confirmed in the morning, but mid-afternoon he sent an email saying that he was really sorry, but he had eaten something bad or caught a stomach bug and had to cancel, and he would call to reschedule. Like a normal person, I emailed back a quick “Bummer. Hope you feel better soon!”

Then two days later, I emailed him again, because I had just acquired an extra ticket to a comedy show. And I swear, I didn’t say anything crazy about our nursery school options– just “Hope you’re not sick anymore” and “Hey, do you want to come to this because I have an extra ticket?”

Silence. That day, the next day, the next and the one after that. So finally I employed the modern “Are you still alive?” test (who needs a mirror to fog when you have a cell phone) and texted him. Still nothing, which leaves me with two possibilities: he’s either a total asshole or dead.

I told this story to a friend of mine (actually lots of them, but this specific one had a related story). A guy had repeatedly acted very interested and then disappeared at the last minute, so she left a voicemail telling him off. Then she watched a Sex in the City episode where a guy who no-showed for a date actually was dead, and she felt compelled to call her guy back: “So, if you didn’t call because you died, I’m really, really sorry about that.”

It’s a nice move, but I’m going to go with the odds here, assume that a 29-year-old man was not freakishly struck down by a tummyache, and consider him just dead to me, not the world. Although I might check the obits next week to make totally sure.

Meeting over meat

When you’ve speed dated as much as me, you may develop the desire for a tougher challenge. Like speed dating and eating at the same time. I assume, anyway, that this was the inspiration for the organizer of the “Meet with your Meal” event.

I can’t be sure, since it’s hard to guess the motivations of a woman in her 50s who is wearing a clingy sweater, leggings and knee-high furry boots. Her decor was no match for the restaurant’s, however. Picture your favorite lobster shack, add some Hawaiian murals and Mexican art and plop the whole thing down in a quiet residential neighborhood. Oh, and in anticipation of Valentine’s Day, Cupid had puked on the place, after a dinner of red balloons and construction paper hearts. Our prix fix menu matched the walls as well as anything could; options included lobster bisque, baked ziti, fajitas and cheesecake.

Given the ambiance, it’s no wonder that the bartender seemed surprised to have a customer. He gushed appreciation when I threw a dollar in the tip jar. (Sidenote on tip jars: Make sure your server is looking when you tip. I once tipped while a ice cream clerk’s back was turned, and my companion convinced me that, in order to get credit, I should pull the money back out of the jar and put it in again. You can guess at what point in that process the clerk turned around.)

After obtaining my beer, I joined the only occupied table in our private area, at which four women were already seated and complaining about men generally and their absence from this event specifically (is there something contradictory about that?). But a male soon joined us and started off the conversation on an awesome note. In response to the very first question he was asked–something about whether he was from the area–he announced, “My great aunt is a very famous psychic. Not one of those crazy fake ones–a real psychic detective.”

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to hear more, as we had to keep moving, between courses of the meal and to keep the gender balance reasonably even. The age balance was pretty hopeless–only one guy my age, but several my parents’ age (a word of advice to those guys: jokes about your erectile dysfunction are not hot).

Maybe it was just a conditioned response to scarcity, but I was kind of into the guy my age, until he proved that silly icebreakers can actually tell you quite a lot about a person. Dinner was over and a group of us were finishing our drinks and entertaining ourselves with the conversation questions supplied by the organizer. We were listing our favorite possessions and when it was his turn, he said, “my vaporizer.” The elderly and straight-edge in the group (i.e., everyone except me) assumed that he had some kind of painful sinus condition until he explained that vaporizers are how the young’uns smoke the marijuana these days.

Ok, so he’s a pothead, I thought. Not a good sign, but not a total dealbreaker. Then we moved on to “What do you most appreciate about your life right now?” “My career” was a popular answer, with “friends” and “freedom” among the other responses.

Young guy went last. “Being single,” he said. “I was in a three-year relationship and it was very special, but I’m just loving being single, you know, so I get to come to events like this.”

Near-silence ensued, as we put on our coats and headed for home, all wondering the same thing: what had gone so terribly wrong in this attractive, normal-seeming young man’s life that a mediocre dinner in the world’s tackiest restaurant with a bunch of weird old single people was a highlight?

My money’s on the pot, but I guess only my new friend’s great-aunt knows for sure.

Don’t say that #122

Honesty should be a good thing in a relationship. But some online daters I’ve encountered recently take the concept a little too far, by revealing everything you need to know about them in their screennames.

I’m not interested in getting entangled in a relationship with “needyphillyguy” but I’m pretty sure I want more than “lookin_to_bone” has to offer. And I really had no right to be surprised when I got the following message from “flingseeker”:

>Speed dating? Does that mean quickies?

Should I go pro?

I’ve been having a speed dating problem recently. And not the usual ones of having already dated every dude in Philly or only meeting weirdos (I know you all love them, but once in a while I might like to date a nice guy). But every time I sign up for an event lately, it is cancelled at the last minute. The most recent cancellation came with the mysterious excuse of “circumstances beyond our control,” so I decided to get to the bottom of the situation by emailing the organizer.

She replied right away:

Hey there! 
We’re in the process of recruiting a new host for our events in Philly! 
We’ve received a ton of resumes so we’re looking forward to hiring someone soon! 
As soon as someone is on board we will be scheduling a ton of new events! 
Thanks alot! 
Have a great day! 

At first I was excited. Finally, a way to turn my favorite hobby profitable. As for my resume, who could be better qualified for this job than Speed Dating Girl? But then, like any good job applicant, I reviewed her email for any hints at what my prospective employer might be looking for. And I found one major problem. In a six-line email, she had used more exclamation points than I have in the past six months of blogging. (Seriously, I went back and counted.)

So, in order to make the transition from paying dater to paid organizer, I think I will have to go into training! It’s fun! Like every sentence ends with a party!