You know what’s bullshit? People who are married or in a cohabitation situation asking you to watch their kids so they can go out on a “Date Night.” Sure, I will watch your kids because I love them, I kind of like you, I want your relationship to be successful, and not to brag, but my track record for keeping children alive for limited periods of time has been described as “approaching decent.”
However, I am no longer going to allow you posers to call this activity “Date Night.” At best, it is “Eating Dinner in a New Location Night.” At its most dire, I could refer to it as “Hostage Release Night.” Not “Date Night,” though. Anything but “Date Night.”
Dating is something you do to get to know someone, and it is an activity filled with anxiety, hope, laughter, horror, stolen flip flops, setbacks, and broken fingernails. If you are living with a significant other, you are no longer dating. The next phase of your relationship is death (best case scenario).
Happily–and even unhappily–relationshipped people: in case you have forgotten, actively dating as a single adult is a perilous adventure, alternately wonderful and humiliating. I’ve been here in Myrtle Beach for about a year and a half now, plenty of time to rack up a whole new slew of wacky dating stories, and I am sharing some of them with you, a sign of solidarity with unshackled ballers, a harsh reminder to the helplessly attached that if you want to go out on a date, well, be careful what you wish for.
*Names have not been changed to protect the innocent. These people did this shit.
Fifth date with Dave. Things were going fine. I wasn’t wondering where the relationship was going, but he was fun, he liked to dance, and he was nice to my cats, so I gave the whole thing a solid seven. It was a fun summertime romance, nothing too serious.
Then one night, Dave was kissing me, and I was kissing him. And then he spit in my mouth.
He SPIT in my MOUTH.
When I shoved him away, flummoxed and disgusted, he said, “It’s not like you haven’t had my spit in your mouth before.”
Fair point, but this was different. It just…was. If you’re going to have a weird spitting in the mouth fetish, that’s something you need to ask permission to do. Though I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that perhaps he used to ask if it was okay to spit into women’s mouths, and weary of being rebuffed, he decided he would rather ask for forgiveness.
A friend set me up on a blind date with his cousin. We had each other’s cell phone numbers and had exchanged a series of texts. His grammar was appalling, and even worse, he used hashtags every other sentence. He knew I was a writer, for God’s sake, you think he could have made some kind of effort. It was to the point where I didn’t even want to go out with him, so horrendous was his language. Yet I sucked it up. I put on makeup. Okay, some mascara, but still. Effort.
Then a half-hour before we were supposed to meet, he texted me and cancelled, and he was brutally honest about the reason why.
The text: “i dnt liku”
On Valentine’s Day, my best friend’s husband was working, so she and I went to hear her favorite local band play their 30th Anniversary Show. I had a shirt that said “I Choo Choo Choose You,” which is a Simpsons reference, though if you didn’t know that, I can’t imagine how you found your way to this blog.
My little brother said, “What if you meet a guy who has on a shirt that says, ‘Bee Mine?’”
Obviously, I would marry him that night.
The shirt got a lot of positive responses, but one guy out at the bar really stood out from the crowd. He saw the shirt, got the joke, then leaned over and said, “Want to bee mine?”
Naturally, I grabbed his hand and shoved it in Annie’s face. “Look, no ring!” I exclaimed, which would have sent most guys running for the hills, but this was my soul mate, after all. He kept circling around me, we kept talking, but after a couple of hours, I was starting to wonder why he had not asked for my number.
That was when Annie realized he was there with another girl. She was wearing a 90s style crushed red velvet top with a turtleneck and cutouts in the sleeves, topped with a brown rabbit fur coat. It’s really true what they say, there’s a lid for every pot. I shrugged it off, content that at least the mystery of why he was not making a move had been solved. All the way home, Annie was tipsy and livid. “He was funny and cute and smart and he liked you, and he does not need to be with that stupid girl! I mean, a rabbit fur coat. What is that?” She was way more distraught than I was, probably because she’s been married for so long. When you’re single, you know that not everyone else is, and that’s something you have to roll with.
Then a couple months later, I was out on a first date (with a guy who actually turned out to be pretty aces), and I saw Mr. Bee Mine again. He walked by and then did the neck craning thing, looped back around, and came right up to me. “I know you,” he said. “Valentine’s Day?”
We talked for a few minutes, actually learned each other’s names (Sonny), and I thought, this is what it means to be star-crossed. The next time I see him will probably be on his wedding day. I’m sure it was palpably weird for the guy I was actually on a date with. It certainly was for me.
Somehow, Ben made it to the third date. Looking back, I have no idea how. Maybe there wasn’t anything good on TV. He was dropping me off at home, and that’s when he decided to get romantic.
Ben said to me, “Even though you’re kind of chubby, I’ll still sleep with you if you want.”
Oh, you will? You’ll throw my fat ass a mercy bang? How shall I ever express my gratitude?
Let’s put aside momentarily that he wasn’t exactly Chris Hemsworth. Or Chris Evans. Or Christian Bale. Or Christopher Reeve. Or Chris Pratt. (Digression: if Chris Farley were still alive, would he have been cast as a superhero because that’s what happens when you’re named Chris in Hollywood?) Ben was cute enough, but he wasn’t exactly Hemsworthesque in his face, body, or accent, an uncharitable thought which would not have crossed my mind had he not been such an asshole.
I know what he was trying to do. Some guys think undermining a woman’s self-confidence is the best way to lock them down. Well, the joke’s on you, buddy. I’m a writer, and chicks don’t come more insecure than that. Therefore, I was immune to such manipulation.
Despite being “kind of chubby,” I am a workout monster, and I should have showed him that by punching him in the throat, which would have been a service to his social life because crushing his larynx would stop him from ever saying something so galactically stupid to a woman again.
STILL HUNG UP
I was seeing a guy named Steve (which was also the name of Blind Date Guy, so I’m pretty sure I’m done with Steves altogether), and by the second date, it was obvious that he was incredibly hung up on his ex-girlfriend. So I said, rather slyly, “Hey, it sounds like you’re really hung up on your ex-girlfriend. You might want to think about working that out.”
He texted me the next day that I was right, but until he got his head sorted out, I was “a nice distraction.”
No, fucker. I’m not a distraction. I am the thing you need to be distracted from. I’m the mosquito bite on your toe (or some other metaphor that doesn’t make me sound horrible).
FOGGING UP THE WINDOWS
This guy actually does get his name redacted because he didn’t do anything wrong. He brought me home from a date, it was late, I kissed him, and then I decided it would be a really good idea to make out in his car for a little while. I don’t know why, it just felt like something fun and different to do. It was at least one-thirty in the morning, who would notice?
In my neighborhood, everybody.
My neighbors are all up in each other’s business, which most of the time is fine. Honestly, it makes me feel safe in my little corner of the world. Unfortunately, I had to hear it from all directions for the next few days. You know what, though? I did not give a rip. I live my life on the straight and narrow, I work hard, I’m kind to people, and if I want to suck some dude’s face off in his car every once in a while, then that’s exactly what I’m going to do. I’m not ashamed. I’m an adult, I do what I want. I didn’t particularly enjoy being the neighborhood teasing target, but doling out a round of cupcakes got that squared away. People stop making fun of you if you give them cupcakes.
For equity, I am including a story about a bad first date from a male perspective. My buddy Justin was set up by his aunt with a woman named Melissa. She came from a rich family and was a real estate agent, she seemed cute and normal. He invited her to a wedding, and at that event, she handed him a small remote.
It was the controller for a vibrator. That she had…inserted.
Melissa thought that would be exciting for him, but it was profoundly strange and a tad nauseating. Panicked, Justin gave the remote to his friend. His friend used it several times throughout dinner, and Melissa kept grabbing Justin’s thigh and squeezing while his friend grinned maniacally.
After the wedding, Melissa said she could stay home during the day to watch Justin’s daughters while he worked. She already had herself moving in, becoming the mother to his children. The relationship didn’t work out.
You wouldn’t know from these stories, but I actually like dating. You get to meet interesting people, and most dating liaisons end on their own naturally, amicably, and with a minimum of hurt feelings, the fizzle nobody’s fault (unless you disappear for a few weeks wrapped up in a cocoon of writing, that one was on me, Ian). For me, even bad dates are good because my favorite thing in the world is a good story, and nothing is more entertaining than harmless catastrophe. This is what dating is. You put yourself out there, vulnerable and wide open, and hope your common sense, humor, and immune system resiliency will keep you from getting hurt too badly.
So, my berelationshipped friends, as you can see, unless there exists a real possibility of something awful occurring because you don’t really know the person you’re with, you’re not on a date. It is not “Date Night.”
This is something that single people get to have. You cannot take it. We own it, in all its mortifying, exhilarating glory.