One day I’ll climb out the bathroom window on a date...
I once went out with a guy who was twice divorced. When he revealed this tidbit early during our first date, because it was left off his online dating profile, since what kind music he liked was way more relevant than past marital status, the voice inside my head went into overdrive asking, “Does this guy really need to be dating after two whacks at the old matrimonial piñata?” I sipped my wine and tried to not be so judgey, but the thought bubble over my head was popping like crazy with questions, “Was he an optimist?” “Does he think the third time is the charm?” or “Is he one of those people who just can’t be alone and that’s why we are sitting here on a Saturday in the dead of winter while my Netflix que is overflowing?”
I ignored my inner voice, since I was usually the one being judged for having double zeroes in the ex-husband and kids column. My lack of baggage often surprised and confused men, then the conversation went one of two ways. They either asked, “What’s wrong with you, why haven’t you been married?” their tone implying I had failed a big life test or was tragically flawed or defective. Or, they realized I was a MAJOR catch since they wouldn’t have to listen to hours of my droning on about an ex-husband, a knock down drag out divorce, or coordinate dates between kids soccer games.
Mr. Two Times to the Altar picked the latter option telling me I was a catch. But when he began laying out his story, by comparison I was not only a catch, but the Stanley Cup, Wimbledon Trophy and Pulitzer Prize of dating rolled into one girl. His story, in his own words, included, kids, step kids, estranged relationships, complicated divorces, a whiff of financial issues, a girlfriend while married, an addiction issue (props for recovery), a life threatening health issue, a crazy alcoholic ex-girlfriend who stalked another ex-girlfriend who was anorexic and looking for a stepdad for the kids. Whew! If that wasn’t enough of a story, in a nod to self-improvement, transparency, or I don’t know what, he added one more juicy tidbit to this shit storm of information. I can’t believe he verbalized it (but in hindsight, even worse, I can’t believe this didn’t catapult me out of my seat), it was, “I’m going to try and stop telling little white lies.” That should have been my cue to stand up, wish him well, slap a $20 down for my wine and exit, or take the less dignified way out, which I often imagine doing on many first dates – excusing myself to the ladies room, hoisting myself out the bathroom window and making a run for it.
My head was spinning and I could barely process all of this drama that was very carefully woven into witty first date banter. Wondering if he was a “hopeless romantic” turned to “who the fuck tells people this on a first date?”. Also I should not have ignored my inner voice yelling, “Run girl, run!”
But I didn’t. I actually agreed to a second date and I’ll totally own that poor decision. I was bored, underemployed, underchallenged in my grad school program and after all it was a drab, boring winter. What else was I going to do? And I had NEVER dated someone like this. He was the opposite of every guy I had ever agreed to a second date with, let alone a third or fourth. Plus, I love people and their stories, but this was beyond my wildest imagination. One friend of mine said maybe it was refreshing that a guy actually put ALL his shit out there up front, instead of letting it come out drip, drip, drip style. That wasn’t a drip of information, it was a tsunami. I thought, what else could there be? Ha! Famous last words. Let’s just say, that truth thing wasn’t really working out for him. All the red flags including estrangement from kids, avoiding certain places in town because of people, and the constant blaming of everyone else for his problems, was not sitting right with me. I wanted to say – hey Fuckstick you are the common denominator in this equation, and you can espouse all your 12 steps including accountability, but trying to walk the talk while you master the blame game isn’t cool.
It was no great love affair. Quite frankly between his whining and the personal drama, an overinflated sense of self-importance and one really creepy comment about my ex who is incredibly successful (and drama-free) it was time to wind this thing down. I tried to do it in person, but that didn’t work out. Then there was a bit of a phone confrontation when his ex was creeping around on me, the one he deemed “crazy alcoholic” (I had met her years before and thought she was lovely, actually). At this point he mentions for the first time that he owns a business with her and sees her all the time. Two months after our first date you casually drop that in the conversation? Dude, not only did you fail at not telling white lies, but just because you leave something out that doesn’t NOT make it a lie. 18 years of Catholic education tells me that’s a lie by omission. Regardless, I quickly realized this guy’s addiction was drama. He may have kicked the booze, but his one true love was drama.
I ended the call, too stunned to speak further and figured we could end it amicably with a phone call in the morning. Silly me! I woke up to a balless text from Mr. 2x that went something like this: We shouldn’t date anymore (You got that right!) I thought I was in a better place for dating, I’m not. (Clearly, you keep trying and it doesn’t work out) The text pivoted to, We have very different ideas about dating (I know, I am into monogamy and shit like that, you should try it!) I tried to call him to end it amicably like an adult via a phone call. He wouldn’t pick up, and he came back with more whiny texts, My heads not in a good place (How can it be? It’s up your ass!)
Some people get off on the drama, it’s their drug of choice – it fuels the relationship, it keeps them going, and it turns them up and turns them on. It’s almost like oxygen for them, they can’t function at their full potential without it. They will find their drama mate – like attracts like, it always does. Not me. I’ll take my oxygen straight up, and my men drama free.
Next time I’ll take a deep breath when the voice in my head tells me it’s time to end a date or I smell too much drama. If you see a woman dropping from a bathroom window, purse slung over her shoulder, making a quick getaway you’ll know I heeded my own advice.