For chronological reference, this date sailed in at number two. Once you see the complete list, including the Pulitzer prize-winning numero uno date, you will honestly wonder why I didn’t do one of the following: switch to girls, become a nun, or shoot up a sperm bank. I wonder this too sometimes.
The ‘Guess What Rhymes with the Name Ryan’ Date:
One sunny Spring day I was messaged by a guy named Ryan. I checked out his profile and to my surprise I realized that I had somehow stumbled upon a loophole to the Triangle Theory of Relationships:
Because this guy was attractive, came across as intelligent, and as far as I could tell, had no emotionally unstable red flags flying. Instead of questioning this sudden influx of good fortune, I decided that the universe was simply being kind enough to hand me the perfect man wearing sneakers, speaking French, and standing at my height of 5’10”. [Pro-Tip: always look a gift horse in the mouth. You may be surprised to discover that it’s something else entirely.]
We chatted for a few days and I was won over by the use of complete sentences with proper capitals, and knowledge of the world beyond America.
He asked for my number and we made plans via texting to meet up for some drinks three days later. All seemed well. I said, “Ok, see you Sunday night!” and he said, “Looking forward to it!” In my world this meant: “We have made plans for Sunday night. We have nothing further to discuss and therefore we don’t need to communicate until Sunday night, unless there is a reason for it. Ie, switching up plans, or to announce that you spontaneously began reproducing asexually via budding. Because if it’s the latter then I need to make a pit stop at a Hallmark.”
So I was a little surprised, and ill prepared, for when the texting started. However, it began innocuously enough with a “Hey Liz, I hope you’re having a great day!” Nothing wrong with that right? It’s considerate and thoughtful. Isn’t this what we women are supposedly supposed to want? Or something? I succumbed and responded back that I was and hoped he had a great day too. He immediately texted me back some questions, and before I knew it I was sucked into the texting equivalent of 20 questions. But he was so nice, I felt like I was required to respond. I finally managed to disentangle myself by saying that I needed to get some work done and I thought, “There. That settles it. All should be good until Sunday.”
Except that the next day the texting started up again. At this point I was starting to feel pressured and annoyed. However, I bit back my irritation for I know I can be a bit of a prickly pear (said the sea anemone sporting a porcupine vest covered in honey rolling around on a bed of nails) and I wanted to make a Good Impression, so I replied. That’s when things started getting weird with him making comments about how “perfect” I seemed and then changing the subject to “how much he is looking forward to getting married and having a family at some point.” Oh and “by the way you are kind of perfect.”
I was starting to feel the beginning tendrils of concern. However, I had Made Plans and didn’t want to be rude and flake out. I told him I was going to be busy the next few days, but that I would see him Sunday night. He replied with a “No problem!” And then continued to text me random tidbits up until 30 minutes before we were to meet. Now, a wiser person would have ended it right then and there. I am not that wiser person.
I got to the restaurant first, texted him that I was waiting in the foyer, and sat down to await his arrival. A few minutes later I heard, “Liz?” and I looked up.
I need to explain a couple of things before I continue.
One is that this guy had many photos of himself on his profile. Many. Photos. As in “from the plural denoting more than one”. I knew what to expect based on these Many Photos. If he was Waldo, I could find him. He also had posted on his profile that he was 5’10” and I had made a mental note of this being that it’s my height. Did I already mention that? Maybe I should say that one more time. Five to the ten, muthafucka.
Two is that I had filled out my profile to the full truthful degree imaginable. If it was up to me, my profile would be something about unicorns, a list of all of my worst qualities, and then a dusting of glitter. So I tend to assume that everyone else has the same mentality as me in regards to their profiles.
I look up expecting to see this:
And instead I see this:
The man in front of me looked nothing like his photos. And when I say “nothing,” I mean in the classical philosophical sense encompassing such things as hair color, eye color, and the fact that the difference in weight between Photo Man and RL Man was about 300 lbs.
I said “hello” and stood up. I was instantly staring down at the top of his head. Wearing flats.
As we walked behind our hostess I began to wonder if it would be obvious to him if I yelled “AMGS FIRE!” and then ran screaming from TGIF. In my mind I am the 10th Natural Wonder of this World in that I think I am some kind of super ninja of emotions and that no one ever knows how I feel about anything because I reveal nothing, yo! (This concept of myself may, or may not, be based on reality.) I desperately wanted to be nice while I racked my brain for a way out of this pickle. My mother’s heavy-handed emphasis on manners that I had resisted for so many decades growing up had finally produced fruit at the most inopportune moment.
I stared at the menu wondering What Would Homer Do?
“Why don’t we get some lemonade! We don’t need alcohol to have fun after all!” He says, and our waitress takes this information down and trots off before I can ask for a bottle of vodka with a lemon wrapped around it. Meh.
Now to those of you who have been on dates before, you will recognize this moment as the First Awkward Interlude of Silence. Because the “to do” list of: get seated, stare at menus, make inane comments about the food and prices, order items, and open up your silverware packet prematurely, have now all been checked off. Half of my brain was desperately trying to conjure up beloved pie charts to detail what the hell to do now, and the other half of my brain was going “ACT NORMAL, WE GOT THIS UNDER CONTROL. JUST DON’T SAY ANYTHING ABOUT THAT WHICH SHALL NOT BE NAMED.” (Apparently my defense mechanism was bought at a Harry Potter store.) So I decide to fall back on my standard which is to just start talking about anything.
Which means that instead of avoiding the white elephant in the room I plopped down next to it and started painting its nails and cooing over how glossy its fur was.
Here are a few of my random gems:
“I was reading on Wikipedia that the Great Pyramid is so massive that it actually warps time itself slightly.”
“Sometimes when I think about what I will do after I die, I think I want to be a planet. Because if I was a planet now that would be sad for the Earth. Also, I just really want my own gravitational pull of objects.”
“Soo…. you said you go to the gym a lot… what exactly do you do there?”
He, like a wheel of boss cheese, just rolled with what I said, and acted like Everything Was Normal. I started wondering if I was remembering the wrong profile. I started wondering if I was being filmed. I started wondering why I needed pie charts to get me out of a non-burning building.
Fortunately at this point he said he was exhausted from working 16 hours that weekend and needed to call it a night earlier than he wanted to. My brain fell over in a quivering puddle of pudding.
He followed me out to the parking lot and as I turned around to say good night, I was immediately ensconced in a hug. He wasn’t tall enough to look me in the eyes, but he was tall enough to turn my chest into a pillow. Day? Meet your highlight.