Caveat Emptor

I wish I would have been blogging back in my dating days because I have some great stories. I was a complete dating whore, not whore mind you, but dating whore. I would go out with nearly anyone. My reasons were two fold. One, I figured you never know who's going to knock your socks off. Looks are overrated and frequently first impressions are wrong. Two, I loved telling stories even then and the worse the date, the better the story.

When I moved to California, I had no social network, no friends from work or college to go out with. I frequently lamented my lack of options with regard to meeting men. Then I discovered online dating, this was back when it was still considered odd.

"Really?" other women would ask me,"you meet guys from the Internet?" their faces screwed up like they smelled something bad.

My mom used to give me shit that I was going to end up buried in some guy's backyard. How do you know they won't end up in my backyard I'd ask her?

In addition to online dating, I was open for blind dates and set-ups.

"Oh, I have this friend who is so great, I should introduce the two of you."

Sure, I'd agree, knowing little else. A friend of mine who worked in the health care industry told me she knew of a doctor I might like. Doctor? Smart, driven, and rich, sign me up. She said he was an anesthesiologist in his early forties, with salt and pepper hair, like John Stewart she said but with nice blue eyes. Hmmm, sure sounds good. Okay, I said, give him my number.

"He's a little awkward with women," she added after I'd already agreed.
"No worries," I said, "I am an “awkward with women” magnet, they love me because I talk enough for the both of us."
"And he's Russian", she threw in.
"He speaks English right?" I asked.
"Oh yeah."

He called me a few days later and we agreed that he'd come by that Sunday and we'd go out for an early dinner. He was nice enough on the phone. Nice accent, seemed very smart and while certainly not slick in any form, he didn't go full scale introvert on the phone.

I walked around the whole week excited for my upcoming date.
"Ahhh, I got a date with a doc-tor," I teased a few of the girls I worked with. "He's Richey McRicherson and apparently very handsome. Mmmm, and did you know anesthesiologists are more likely to have girl babies? Hmmm,wonder if I should pick out names yet," I teased.

A day before the date, the same friend and I had dinner and when I said I was looking forward to meeting my ER meets John Stewart, she said, "well, maybe less like John Stewart and more like Bill Clinton, a bit more salt than pepper," she added.
"Oh, well, that's ok, Bill Clinton's a good looking guy, I don't need John Stewart or George Clooney."

Sunday I cleaned the house, went to the market and bought a giant bunch of fresh flowers to put on the table. I took great care in getting ready utilizing the higher maintenance beauty regime reserved for special occasions. I full body exfoliated, I redid my pedicure that was just a week old, I masked, tweezed, and primped until I looked the very model of effortless perfection.

I wore a black, cashmere v-neck sweater which showed off the girls in a nice subtle way and a skirt with heels, a uniform of mine to this day. I was ready a half hour early so I sat down and let myself daydream about what he'd be like. I saw him as Mikhail Baryshnikov minus the ballet dancing, Bill Clinton minus the philandering, George Clooney's character on ER minus the relationship issues and Cary Grant, just because I like him and always imagined the person I'd end up would have a little Grant about him.

As I finished my reverie, the doorbell rang. Herein lies one of the problems with an active imagination and a sunny outlook, frequently things are imagined far better than they ever turn out to be in reality.

Bill Clinton? How about Steve Martin, about ten years from now. His hair was white with large swaths of shiny pink scalp peeking through. There was no way he was in his early forties unless he had that disease where people age way too fast. To best that, he wore a fanny pack. I am certainly prone to exaggeration but that is the godawful truth. It was a black faux leather number and when I saw it, a little part of me died. He had a sizable paunch with a too tight black t-shirt on, and ugly puffy black tennis shoes built for comfort. We had decided to go for sushi and I had picked a modest but good place nearby.

“Would you mind driving?” he asked me.

I am a tidy girl who cares for my things in all places but one, my automobile. Dirty, rusty with probably three months worth of empty diet coke cans littered about and who knows what else. Absolutely not I thought, he'd take one look at my car and run screaming in the other direction. In hindsight, maybe I should have driven but I had this sickness where even if I had no interest in a guy, I still wanted him to want me, twisted I know.

So I scrambled out the quickest lie that I could think of, "uh, we can't take my car 'cause, uh, the brakes aren't working and uh, I wouldn't feel safe."

“Fine,” he said flatly.

I don't know if he'd spent time in some Russian gulag but this guy was not a real bright spark. I followed him to his car which was shiny and black and some type of exclusive Mercedes of which I knew nothing about because I am not a car girl and have driven dependable, cheap Hondas all my life.

Still, it was pretty and shiny and though I wasn't exactly sure why, I knew this was a car to appreciate. He didn't open the door for me which while an unnecessary convention when your in the thick of it, is absolutely necessary for a first date. Take notes here men, it's not a tired affectation, it's a sign that your making an effort to make a good impression and it's nice.
I slid into the butter soft leather seats and before I can compliment him on the car, he sticks a big tube attached to some kind of device mounted on the console of this beautiful car into his mouth and starts puffing.

I am now in full blown confusion here. Is this how you start these cars? My brain is trying to figure out what he's doing before the stupefied look comes over my face. He raises his hand up to signal that he'll explain in a second as he finishes blowing.

"I got a DUI," he tells me,"just one but they made me put this Breathalyzer in and I need to blow to start the car."

I may be blonde but I'm pretty sure they don't make you install a digital breathalyzer in your car that you have to blow in every time you want to start it because you got one DUI. I was silently cursing my friend for setting me up with what was turning out to be a train wreck.

We got to the restaurant and talked business for awhile. I tried to just make the most of it and enjoy conversation but it took a herculean effort on my part not to fall asleep. Even at that moment, a little part of me was imagining the story I would tell friends later, structuring it for maximum comic effect. I got through dinner and we got back into his car.

“Do you want to go for a coffee?" he suggested. "No, I'm really tired and I have to get up early, you know, go get those brakes of mine fixed."

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Anonymous said... October 24, 2008 at 2:12 AM  

haha loving it. Sure made a good story. So That's why he wanted you to drive. Just think- someone out there is probably on dates with him right now. What did you say to your friend? haha too funny! were you more cautious after? hehe

~Mountain Lover~ said... October 24, 2008 at 6:25 AM  

LMAO. If the car started, at least you knew he was sober. *wink*

I wonder if that's better or worse than some guy just finished a meaty lasagna burping in my vegetarian mouth and violating it.

Anonymous said... October 24, 2008 at 7:27 AM  

I'm so glad you began constructing this story for maximum affect during the date. FUNNY! You made me think of a blind date I was on with a self proclaimed survivalist who informed me he wanted a woman willing to help him procreate the earth and take care of the cows and pigs after the 'End of Days'. The only reason I stayed until the end of the date is because my salad was really good!

Rassles said... October 24, 2008 at 7:45 AM  

Do people really date? I don't know anyone who dates. Everyone just kind of...goes home, and sometimes they bring someone with them, and if you're "dating" then you go out for breakfast.

Repeat said process over and over and over again until it becomes routine, and voila!, boyfriend.

But going on dates? Never happens.

~Mountain Lover~ said... October 24, 2008 at 8:07 AM  

Rassles, I think that's becoming the norm. They claim Denver is the best place for singles. However, if you're not into random hookups, then not so much.


Spatula said... October 24, 2008 at 8:10 AM  

See, this is why you NEVER do a full-blown beauty treatment for a first, blind date.

I have a rule where I won't even put make-up on for a blind date or a first off-line date with an Internet guy, because hell, I don't even know if the guy is make-up worthy, let alone, you know, exfoliation and deforestation-worthy.

So true that bad dates are good story fodder. Sometimes I get stuck for blog ideas, and then I think, hm, maybe I should go on a date.

formerly fun said... October 24, 2008 at 8:12 AM  

I made the friend buy me dinner and sadly, it never made me more cautious.

mountain lover-
My friend told me later that they were out for a dinner meeting with some mutual clients and he'd had a couple and asked her to blow the thing to start his car, she just said she'd drive him home, loser.
And btw, burping in your mouth is definately worse but I have some more stories I'll tell as I get braver about laying bare my sordid dating history.

funny is my self defense mechanism for sure, sometimes if I couldn't laugh I'd cry. The survivalist? I think I might have gone out with him too.

Just an aside, it took me therapy to figure out that just going home wasn't going to lead to a decent bf. If a guy really likes you and doesn't just want to tap that shit, he'll take you out on a proper date.

formerly fun said... October 24, 2008 at 8:16 AM  

oh girls, don't let that become the norm, all these girls out there lowering the bar wth bjs in the bar parking lot and such. seriously, remind me to tell you how my husband dated me and what he did the night I basically threw myself at him, good story for another time. I'm 35 and the only thing I would do different if given the chance is raise the bar with the guys I dated and not settle for so little. I didn't know there were still men out there like my husband.

formerly fun said... October 24, 2008 at 8:18 AM  

And yes, ssg, I soon found myself doing slightly less full blown grooming. I'd even wear the granny panties as an extra reason to 'be good', sadly, it didn't always work.

Rassles said... October 24, 2008 at 8:44 AM  

FF: There are tons of men who are like your husband. They're called, "Husbands."

The pattern I'm seeing is like, if you don't got that shit on lockdown by 22 years old, it's going to take about fifteen years. Because single guys LIKE being bachelors.

And not many people I know are jonesin' to be wifeys anyway. They're all too focused on finding obscure beers and having a "career," whatever that is.

Rassles said... October 24, 2008 at 8:45 AM  

That is not to say that you have to be single to have a career. I am not even trying to say that.

Sandi said... October 24, 2008 at 9:14 AM  

I, too was a dating whore. And like you, mostly so I could tell outrageous stories about my dates.

I never did the on-line dating though.

Bluestreak said... October 24, 2008 at 10:24 AM  

great story, FF. The fanny pack had me in tears. I seriously don´t know what I would do, but I would be really tempted to call off the date right then and there. I´m such a bitch.

By the way, I was wondering the EXACT same thing as RAssles, I didn´t know people really dated. I thought this was some custom that died out ages ago. I don´t think I´ve ever been on a proper DATE before. Granted, I met my husband when I was 21, but still, I had several years where I could have DATED, but no, never happened. Get wasted and wake up next to some guy I liked? Yup. But take-me-out-to-dinner-and-open-doors-for-me-n-shit? Never.

MJ said... October 24, 2008 at 11:25 AM  

Wow. I really hope you're not friends with that person after that... Did she hate you for some reason? LOL.

I think I would have gotten out of the car after the breathalyser thing. Wow. Just wow.

Bimbo Baggins said... October 24, 2008 at 12:14 PM  

God we are so fucking similar it's sick...

That's a GREAT story.

Anonymous said... October 24, 2008 at 3:24 PM  

I don't understand? How did you end up with your current husband over the Russian guy? I thought all women went for the guys with cool cars? Am I being led astray by the auto industry advertising?

Great story! I used to get dates out of The Stranger personals when I first moved to Seattle. But I wasn't very computer savvy. Man, I had some crap dates...

Anonymous said... October 24, 2008 at 5:05 PM  

That friend would have been so fired.

Captain Steve said... October 25, 2008 at 7:23 AM  

Woow, sometimes I wonder, you know? I once had a friend tell me that I "have to start somewhere!" when an old round dude hit on me

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