Total Disaster Date

Y’all!

I went on a date last week that was truly, truly terrible. 

I met this dude online, as most of us are doing now.  

I saw a few pictures of him and a small profile.  After exchanging a few messages online, that neither wowed me or frightened me, I requested a phone call to chat and feel it out. 

I’m in this new city, I want to get out, meet people, and feel easy about it all.

On the call together, I felt a stop and start.  Like riding the brakes and the gas at the same time.  A stutter.  It didn’t flow like I desire.  So, I just chalked it up to nerves and awkwardness.

He invited me to dinner. I told him I like sushi.  He chose the place.  Sent me a text picture of the reservation time and location.  I liked that.  It was straightforward, easy, quick. 

The day arrives; we text to confirm.  He messages me when he’s leaving his place.  I text to tell him I’m running late.  

We arrive in the driveway at the exact same time.  He sends his BMW away with the valet.  I say goodbye to my Lyft driver. 

We’re at a swank place.  Soaring ceilings, floor to ceiling windows, open kitchen, all the tables are set with wine glasses and plates, staff dressed in slick uniformity.

In my typical black on black on black wardrobe choice, I sit at a table with a white linen napkin.  The moment I lift it from the table, a server arrives to offer me a black napkin to ensure I don’t get any white fuzz on my clothes. 

I’m feeling good about this spot, hopeful about this meal and this human. 

I am smiling and curious.  What is going to happen here?  What can we create here? Who is this person? I’m excited.

Within minutes, he says, “You’re the first woman I’ve met in person,” off the internet.  

I think, “UGH.”  My stomach sinks.  My eyes roll inside my head.  I wish I would have known this before I changed my pants 3 times then got back in the ones I had originally put on. 

We order sake and sushi.  

He gives me a compliment on my looks while making a low-key diss on other women.  He asks a few questions about me, then checks his phone (which is face up on the table, notifications on display). 

He tells me that he’s interested in me because I wrote in my profile that I’m into politics; he says he is upset that there is such a “lack of civility” in politics right now.  He says he’s a “live and let live” kind of guy; he says he doesn’t ascribe to any kind of ideology. 

He keeps asking me questions I can knowledgeably speak at length on.  I know its dangerous territory, but clearly, I can’t help myself. 

“What is Antifa all about?”  

“To literally resist fascism, like the US did when we entered and won WWII.”

“Why do trans people have to have special protections?”  

“Because they human beings and deserve basic human rights.  And they experience suicide, housing, job, medical, and social discrimination at much higher rates than virtually any other group in the country.  And trans women of color are murdered at something like 5 times the national average of any demographic in the country.”

I sip my sake and enjoy my yellowtail, looking in his eyes and thinking, “I’m totally not going to have sex with you. Ever!”

I try to steer the conversation away from politics because it is clear he and I live in really different educational universes.  

And then, almost without warning, things escalate and spiral out of dialogue and into a diatribe.

He starts defending Confederate statues, getting pissed people who do are called racist.  He’s asking if we have to hate Robert E. Lee, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson now.  He gives me the “heritage not hate” line.  

I took a breath and just witnessed his loneliness and confusion. 

Until he went even further.  

“It all started in Ferguson….that kid was 6’2”, 200 lbs and fighting the officer…  Did you see the officer’s face? … If I was stupid enough to confront a police officer, I should be shot.”

I’m sure I said something about human dignity, but it didn’t matter because at this point, this dude was interrupting me and talking over me. 

I could only feel my heart pounding and my skin burning.  

I thought of this recent tweet.

His next comment was “Just look at the prison population!  They’re criminals!”  He was leaning over the table, eyes were wide and wild, hands gesticulating left and right.  

I lost my cool.  I couldn’t handle this white nonsense anymore. 

So, I stand up, grab my purse and coat and say, “I’m leaving.” 

Before that moment, I had never just walked out of a date before.  I’ve been direct to say, “This isn’t really working for me.  I don’t think we’re a good fit. I’m not feeling it.”  

But I didn’t say any of that.  I just turned and walked away with my cheeks on fire and my stomach aching.  I wasn’t angry in that moment. I was scared.  

I was scared of breaking the rule of politeness and compliance with white men and then being punished for it.  

In the same week that 2 white men each shot and killed 5 people.  And like so many of these mass shootings by white men, they took deadly action because they couldn’t handle a woman telling them NO, refusing to comply with their expectations or demands. 

Outside in the cold, wrapping my coat around me, tying it tight, I order a car.  I watched the door, half expecting this businessman to migrate his rage outside.  

As I settle into the back seat, I say, “I’m leaving a terrible date.”  He says, “Girl, let’s get you out of here, then.” I feel safe and alone. 

I look at my phone again. I’ve got two rage-hate texts from the “live and let live” guy bitching about how “progressive” I am to leave on my “half of the bill” and being “and intolerant liberal unwilling or unable” to listen to other people’s point of view. 

And, he is right.  I am progressive and unwilling to hold space for a grown adult advocating that police execute black and brown teenagers for resisting arrest.  I think the kindest thing I did was to only leave him with the check.

 At home, I blow off steam by stomping around and peeling off my clothes, then submerge into a 90-minute bath with salt and vinegar to extract the slime from my pores. 

Dating is a game show sometimes. We don’t know what is really behind door #3 until we open it. 

But, look, I don’t have time or energy for the kind of shit show that was this dude’s seething white supremacy. 

And neither do you. 

I haven’t had such a terrible mismatched experience with anyone like this in years and years and years.  

There are a few things I usually do to prevent these kinds of meetings, some of which I did and some I didn’t.  (I’ll write about that soon.)

I’d love to hear from you about what you would have done, either in the early stages of messaging, on the phone call, in person.  

How would you have handled yourself at any point along the way? Let’s crowdsource some solutions or alternative actions to this madness. 

Please comment below and tell me. 

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22 thoughts on “Total Disaster Date

  1. Wow. That sounds really yucky. Glad you were able to exit safely. I’ve avoided the whole meeting people online process mainly because of the possibility of a date like that. I don’t have any good suggestions other than trust your instincts.

    • Yes, super yucky. I understand wanting to avoid situations like this. Let me say, that in a decade of random dating, lots from the internet, this is the first time I’ve had this kind of experience.

  2. I think it’s better to discuss for a while before you decide to meet a person. Personally I had the same experience but only online. I understood from our conversation pretty early that we are mismatched.

  3. It sounds like you got the right intuitive hit, you just filed it in the wrong category – “awkward nervousness” instead of “not resonating, do not proceed” – as we all often do. The entitlement, rage, and violence of white men in this country is profoundly disturbing. I’m sure he finished his sushi with an extra helping of fury, and who knows, maybe the tiniest seed slipped in that might someday grow into self-reflection. But forget him, my gratitude lies with you taking that step, and showing us, so that women are reminded it’s okay to leave, and men are reminded we need to stay alert to help get our sisters’ backs.

  4. I always make the first meeting a coffee date. That way our drinks are paid for up front and either one of us can politely excuse ourselves without having to ask for a check or any other formalities. Now I myself don’t have all that much fear of a date gone bad but I understand that the women I date might have reservations, and if suggesting the coffee date helps them feel more at ease then it’s the right choice. Afterwards, if there’s actually some chemistry, then we can have a longer and more sophisticated second date.

    • Yes, the coffee date. I’ve done this so many times. And, I have mixed feelings about it. Yes, its casual and quick with an easy escape. Its also impersonal, dry and an easy escape.

      • Too tru Eva. So add some extra sauce on the side. In my city I can choose to have coffee at a bakery that offers other things besides just coffee, from chocolate croissants to sandwiches, so the coffee date can easily be extended to a light meal. Then, I like to choose a cute French bakery with loads of charm, so the conversation can jump to subjects like culture and travel. The women I like to date warm up quickly to romantic subjects like those and soon when we’re sharing a quiche and dreaming of Paris no-one notices that we’re on a “coffee date.”

  5. My first reaction is sadness, that there are people out there that are so blind to the realities of basic human kindness, needs and vulnerabilities. I could spend an hour disecting the “I’m not affiliated with a political view” (paraphrasing) comment quickly followed up with comments that makes me as a white guy boil. But I digress, I agree with a previous comment about “not resonating, do not proceed”. I dated a fair amount online up till Dee and I met, yes online. There where times I had a feeling about someone but would put myself out there anyway when I should have listened to my gut instinct instead. Looking back I was on a journey to find something to fill a void before I understood I had to do that on my own. That time in my life was a learning and growing experience, lonely and sometimes painful but the reward was realized later on. Things I learned to do online was check myself on what my intentions where, what was I wanting out of meeting someone. I would also learn over time to not ignore my instincts but also be open to possibility. Some people are looking for someon else to dump on and it’s hard to weed them out. Walking out was the best and safest action for sure. Did you see any clues earlier on that looking back you ignored ? How will you prevent it from jading you or pulling inward to not put yourself out there? What other safety boundaries would you have put in place? People eventually show their true nature, but sometimes they are masters at hiding it for awhile.

    • Thanks for sharing the piece about yourself — filling a void. I hear that.

      And, you’ve asked good questions. Yes, there were other signs, multiple in fact. Less of scary red flags and more of “we are really different” flags.

      What I know to be true for me is my sense of curiosity was on all the time. Curious about this person, curious about myself, curious about what happens when we sit together to connect. Can we connect?

      I believe that my curiosity is what keeps me from feeling jaded or bitter. (Obviously, I have to take breaks and even shut the door sometimes.) Because under that curiosity is the knowledge that we all want to be loved and seen and understood.

      This guy wants that, too. He is terribly lonely; he told me this. He wants someone to truly know him; he told me this, too. And like most of us, his beliefs keep him tethered to his own sense of safety. That is all human stuff.

      Stay tuned, I’ll say more, in another post, about my dating safety strategies.

      • I’m hearing that curiosity is important to you and you are using dating as an avenue to explore your curiosity about other people. And that it was your need to explore your curiosity that overrode the signs that there was a lack of compatibility.

        I’m wondering if there might be other avenues of exercising that curiosity that wouldn’t leave you quite so vulnerable to assholes. And if you had the ability to explore that elsewhere, maybe that wouldn’t be such a driving need in dating and it would be easier to heed those signs and not need to go find out what is interesting about this incompatible person.

      • This kind of experience is rare for me, like 1% of dates or personal meetings with people, which is not leaving myself “quite so vulnerable to assholes.”

        I offer it here because I think it is valuable for us to talk about our search for connection with ourselves and each other while maintaining our agency and curiosity.

        So, I’m not going to overhaul my radar or excise my curiosity vis a vis meeting people and creating connections. And, if I did “explore that elsewhere” like you suggest, the default might become assuming I know someone’s past, present, or motivations rather than inviting someone to show up and learning about who they are.

        Curiosity is a gift and, to me, a necessity in establishing and maintaining healthy, vibrant, trusting relationships.

      • I wasn’t questioning the value of curiosity…it is a huge value of mine as well. I never suggested to “excise” it. The fact that you heard that suggests to me you hold curiosity a little tightly. Like, you have some fear around losing it. I get that curiosity is super duper important to you, but I doubt it is going to disappear from your personality if tweak your strategy a bit to avoid the worst dates.

        You asked for “solutions or alternative actions” which suggests you would like this to not happen again. If it’s only 1% of dates and you don’t see a need to change anything about what you are doing, then that’s just fine…I just didn’t understand that from your request.

      • Both of your comments really don’t accurately reflect what I’ve written.

        Here is my request:

        “I’d love to hear from you about what you would have done, either in the early stages of messaging, on the phone call, in person.

        How would you have handled yourself at any point along the way?”

        This is more an invitation for you to reflect and share what you’ve done or what have done in this situation, rather than to dig around in my intentions or to make assumptions about my intentions.

      • Ah, OK. Our personalities are very different, so I’m not sure how my personal solutions would be helpful to you. I would never put myself in that situation. In this era, it’s pretty easy to dangle a few conversation prompts to get an idea of where someone stands politically. I wouldn’t bother with someone like this and definitely would not have stuck around to answer the kinds of questions he was asking as it seems pretty obvious to me where it was headed. But I have zero patience or willingness to engage with people like this. I satisfy my curiosity through reading or observation, but would never expose myself to that kind of risk.

        I’ve learned to do this because when I married someone in prison, I quickly learned that the amount of judgment and fear and scorn people carry toward people in prison was overwhelming, and there is an enormous level of ignorance in the general populace, especially among well-meaning white liberal types. And I just don’t have the bandwidth to be the thing people hang their projections and shadow material on. The emotional torture I have to deal with being subject to the prison-industrial complex every day is quite enough without also dealing with people’s unquestioned opinions based on television shows, racism, and raw fear of the unknown. So I limit my interactions to people who I can reasonably expect to not make it worse and am very careful about what social risks I take. (I recognize that I’m dealing with what is basically a form of constant ongoing social trauma, but that is just where I’m at.)

        So, given that we are so different, or at least in very different places, I was trying to help you by exploring ideas that occurred to me based on my intuition and reading of your personality, values, the sequence of events you described, and the way you operate given what you wrote and what I know about you from previous times we’ve met. I wouldn’t label what I was doing “assumptions”, but rather “guesses” or “reflections” in the spirit of collaborative problem-solving and exploration…but YMMV I guess. But as you are not experiencing my contributions as helpful, I’ll stop. Perhaps we don’t know each other well enough for my attempts to land well and I was being presumptuous in my eagerness to be helpful.

  6. As an alternative, I’m also a fan of what I call “Date 0,” the coffee date (After several f’ups where I didn’t do it, once pointedly taking a First Date to a baseball game– 3 hours of awkwardness! Yay!) Of course, I also used to, in my hubris, tell myself “I don’t know if you’re *not* unbalanced / dysfunctional / etc when we first meet, but I can tell if you *are*” Which is easy for a white guy, because if you *are*, I’m not necessarily feeling physically threatened.

    In my adventures, I have also tried to really sit with the thought of “Is this my gut, or is this my fear?” Because I can be very good at inventing things that aren’t right with someone else when in fact I’m just running old tapes in my head because I’m scared to do That New Thing.

    Glad you’re safe.

    • I love this question you pose. “Is it my gut, or is it my fear?” I love this question. It is an A or B that helps to discern with nuance the difference.

      I find that my gut and my fear often make my belly rumble. So, being curious about this question is helpful to see which part of my belly is moving — the instinct or the fear.

      So valuable.

  7. Pingback: A Dreamy Date & 36 Questions | Liberating Desire

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