A quiet moment in the bar allowed me to overhear only a single sentence in the conversation between this speed dater and his date, but nonetheless, I’m 100% positive it was a don’t-say-that situation. “Yeah, he molested his last step-sister and was convicted of it,” the dater said.
Different online dating sites have different reputations. Eharmony is kind of known for the conservative Christianity of its founder and OKcupid tends to attract some normal, single, monogamous daters, but also some kinkier types. (For example, Little Dating Brother and his friends introduced me to it.)
One of my (normal, single, monogamous) friends (who was, by the way, staying with her parents for the summer) was reviewing her options on the site and came across a guy who seemed compatible, except that he was polyamorous, as in dating multiple people. My friend decided to open her mind and give this alternate lifestyle a shot, figuring she could get to know the guy a little and see whether she liked him and this whole non-monogamous concept. So they set up a date, with the plan being that my friend would ride the train out to his suburban town where he would pick her up to walk to a restaurant.
When my friend got off the train, her mind was opened a little farther than she expected. Turns out the guy believes not only in dating multiple people at the same time, but having the actual dates at the same time. As she explains, “When he came up to me, he said, ‘My girlfriend needed a ride home from work so I picked her up along the way. Hope you don’t mind. Plus it would be great for you two to meet.'”
The girlfriend shook my friend’s hand but then held her boyfriend’s hand on the walk to the restaurant. They got two tables, one for my friend and the guy to have their date, and the other for the girlfriend to watch them from. “He started on normal date topics,” my friend says, “but I was distracted and kept looking over at her table where she was sitting.”
Eventually the guy made his move, reaching to put his arm around my friend. But, the girlfriend’s eyes still boring into her, she couldn’t take the pressure and bailed. “I told him I was sorry, but it just wasn’t for me. Perhaps I’m just too influenced by societal norms,” my friend says.
It’s such an honest, polite, self-effacing answer. If I were her, I totally would have gone with “I’m just not sure how this is going to work out after our third date. Will your girlfriend want to hang out in the living room with my parents?”
I had started to notice a theme at a recent speed dating event. First, there was the guy who insisted that he prefers protein shakes to food. (“That will come in handy when you get old and can’t eat solid food,” I said, displaying my sexy repartee skills.)
Then I speed dated his brother, who manages a gym and has arms that each deserve their own speed date.
After him came a guy who explained that he doesn’t have any friends, because he’s been too busy competing in the Philadelphia Mr. Natural competition. (Click through and take a peek– ain’t nothing natural about it.)
With all the bodybuilders around, I had to sympathize when I got to the skinny little speed dater who was twitching and glancing over his shoulder repeatedly. He may have been a weirdo, or maybe he was just afraid that someone was about to impress a girl by bench pressing him.
I’ve explained my basic date requirements of job, car, phone plus a place to live before. Well, I recently got rid of my car, thus disqualifying myself from dating myself (Which is a shame, really. A while ago, I was surfing an online dating site and thought I had found a super-compatible guy– right age, same beliefs and interests– until I realized that I had clicked back and was reading my own profile).
I also recently broke my rule and dated a guy without a home. I mean, he wasn’t really homeless, but he was living with his grandparents way outside the city, which could actually be less convenient than dating the guy who sleeps on the sidewalk down the street from my office.
The net result was that we made out on a lot of street corners. (It’s true, we could have gone to my house, but first I would have had to clean it. I don’t whip out the vacuum cleaner for just anyone.)
I gained a whole new respect for public displays of affection. So next time you’re about to yell, “Get a room” at that annoying couple sucking face in front of you at the movies, pause to consider whether they have a room, and whether it might be too full of elderly relatives or cat fur to sustain a fourth date.
But then, once you’ve established that it’s not me and a guy with a “Will take verbal abuse for change” sign, go ahead and yell.