the battle zone

Being 35 years old, and having been single all but – oh, maybe five of those years, I have a lot of dating stories. Various people I know, having heard those stories, have asked, “when are you going to write a book?” Well, as we all know, I’m lazy, and the thought of writing a whole book is intimidating. But I can certainly blog about it.

So, Chapter 1. This horrific experience can’t even fall under the “bad date” category, as it never even got as far as a date (thank whatever gods there may be), but it was possibly the worst of the bunch regardless.
I unhid my online dating profile for about 5 minutes – usually all I can handle. Most of the time I’m good with letting fate handle things, but every now and then I get scared enough about becoming the crazy cat lady that I feel the need to give fate a shove (see “what’s next?” blog). Anyway, I see this guy on there who I’d chatted with about a year before – he was preparing to move to Vegas at the time. We e-mailed a couple of times, said we’d get together when he was here. Fast-forward a year, I shoot him an e-mail and say, “hey, I see you made it.” He e-mails back. Three or four three-line e-mails later, I give him my number (I learned long ago NOT to let the e-mail thing go on too long. People can pretend to be completely normal via e-mail for indefinite periods of time – it’s much harder in person). We make plans to get together, then he goes out of town and cancels. No biggie, I’m not that into him, but when he calls a few days later I hit “record” on the Tivo and talk to him.
So pretty quickly, he says, “you know, we’ve only talked a little bit, we’ve never had a serious conversation. Do you have any pressing questions for me?” I say no. Because I don’t. What pressing questions could I possibly have at this point? “Do you have any medical conditions you’d like to tell me about?” “Have you ever been convicted of a felony?” I usually save those things for the actual first date.
He, however, apparently has a well-thought-out list of questions, which he refers to as the “Big 9.” (why is everything “big” with these guys? So self-important.) He has developed these questions over years of dating. They tell him pretty quickly whether he’s compatible with the person to whom he’s speaking. Can he ask me them? Sure, what do I have to lose?
“They’re situational questions,” he says. “The first one is: We’ve been dating about 3 months. I’m cooking you dinner. Your phone rings. You’re not expecting a call and don’t recognize the number. Do you answer it?”
OK, I’m not dumb. If I cared about his opinion, or him, by now, I’d know the right answer. “Oh no,” I’d say. “This is valuable ‘us’ time. You’re cooking for me. We’re bonding as a couple. I’d never take an interruption, even if it might mean my parents were in the hospital, or a coworker needed something vital. YOU are the all-important defining entitiy in my life.”
However, being me, you can be sure this was not my answer. I think everything is situational, and I might answer that phone depending on the situation. He obviously doesn’t like this answer, but goes on to Question 2:
“We’ve been dating a year. An ex-boyfriend of yours, someone you’re still friendly with, comes into town and asks you to go to dinner. What do you do?”
Now, I’m way off on this one. I think I know what the right answer is – or, more to the point, I think my answer is the right one, because I can’t imagine saying “no” to such a thing. I say, “I’d go.” He sounds shocked. “Really?” “Yeah,” I say, kind of weirded out that he’s so shocked. “I’d tell him I was seeing someone, and I’d tell you I was going, but I go.”
Ok, this is the good part.
He says, “well, let me cut you off right there. I could never be with someone who would do that. You’d have to tell him, ‘I’m seeing someone, and he’s coming with us.”
What?!!
“Yes,” he says. “I’d have to come with you. I couldn’t be with someone who would consider going out with an ex without me.”
I’m so furious right now I can’t even see straight. “Well,” I tell him, “my independence is way too important to me and I could never be with someone who doesn’t trust me,” and I slam down the phone (well, actually I hit “end” really, really hard – part of the problem with cell phones.)
Then I laughed hysterically for five minutes, cried and got drunk.
Yep, people, this is what’s out there. All of you married/relationship people, count your blessings.
Don’t worry – there’s many more where that came from.

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