With a headline like that… I really had to think a long time to come up with something, but I think this fits. I actually refer to him as something else to friends who are familiar with the story, but… I can’t put that in my title. I just can’t.
However, there are a few things I’d like to get out of the way. Please note that none of these are recent dates: the most recent one that I described was in December, and the one I’m about to describe took place in April of last year. This is not an April Fool’s Joke, would that it was. Life is stranger than fiction. I also want to thank you all for your support – via Twitter, Facebook, private message, texts and comments below – I am enormously thankful for all the love I’m being shown for my comedic nonfiction writing. Please do know that I found all of these experiences funny, and if I were hurt or sad about them, I would not want to relive them by sharing them so publicly and openly.
I’m lucky to not be in a rush to get married, or I would find going on dates with these people incredibly frustrating. As it is, I’ve been dating for 17 years and over this time, I’ve managed to accumulate some totally insane but hilarious stories to share with y’all… so bear with me while I plunder my bizarro past for your entertainment.
Last but not least, this post is less about food than any of the other posts, so if you only want food… you should probably come back on Monday, though food makes a VERY brief appearance here.
Mom, I told you on Sunday that you should probably skip this week’s dating post. I think you’ll find it hilarious, but you may have more questions than I’m willing to answer… so proceed at your own risk.
Roughly a year ago, I joined a very prominent dating website whose name I won’t use here, but yes it’s one of the big two. After a week or two of chatting extremely casually, JP (his real initials) suggested that we meet on Sunday after his softball game.
There were some red flags already; despite being an educator from a long line of educators, JP didn’t seem to enjoy following grammatical convention as much as I do. Also, one of the questions I used to frequently ask people is “If you were a sandwich, what would you be and why?” JP’s response of a turkey sandwich on white bread with mayo (or something along those lines) because he’s very vanilla didn’t exactly spark any excitement in me (though I’d happily eat that sandwich – if I made the turkey). He admitted that he wasn’t particularly adventurous with food, and when I pressed him about trying new things, he said – I cringe repeating this – “Sometimes I try the new sandwich from Subway… does that count? I’m not going to try this month’s though, it has Sriracha and I don’t know what that is.”
Despite that, I still agreed to meet him. I’d informed him that I was a food writer and food was very important to me, but he didn’t seem phased. In fact… maybe it didn’t register, as he said he’d meet me near me since he lives in Long Island and has a car, and then asked me if there was a TGI Friday’s or Chili’s in my area.
I will defend the usefulness of chain restaurants (except Crapplebee’s which I despise) with my dying breath. I have enjoyed many a chain restaurant in my youth, and in fact used to frequent TGI Friday’s up to 2-3x in a single week. I’m also fully aware that most men will pay or try to pay on a first date, so I feel that when they make a suggestion, it is something within their comfort zone (especially with regard to their wallet), and unless I’m completely unable to eat anything at a given restaurant, I don’t see much point in fussing about this. I wasn’t bothered by his suggestion – just amused.
Sunday came around, and he texted me “Evo is 5 ok? Im running a little bit late.” Yes, that is a direct quote.
My name is Yvo. My name is incredibly important to me. I could ignore the lack of apostrophe (even though autocorrect adds those automatically), but misspelling my name? At this point, it wasn’t enough to really put me off. Mistakes happen. Maybe his phone corrected that and ignored the apostrophe.
It turned out his softball game had gone longer than he expected. I agreed easily – Friday’s is a 10 minute walk from my apartment, so it didn’t really make a difference to me – but his followup was “I had to drive the Dominicans, tell you about it when I see you.”
I’m sorry, what?
I headed to Friday’s, put my game-face on, and waited at the bar as instructed. When he showed up – still a few minutes more late past our revised meeting time – my immediate first thought was, “Why do guys lie about being 5’8?” I am 5’8 and I will know immediately that you are shorter than me. I was not wearing heels. My second thought following close behind was “Okay, I know you just came from softball, but that’s really, really casual…” (I think he was wearing cargo pants and sneakers.) I understand we’re at Friday’s, but per usual, I was wearing a dress and flat boots.
We chatted for a bit, and he tried to explain about “the Dominicans” – he’d driven home his Dominican softball teammates. I tried to politely explain that I didn’t think it was PC to refer to them as “the Dominicans” and he protested that they were really Dominican, “the best players on our team! and I had to work really hard to recruit them!!” – I don’t think that made it better. He refused to accept that you really shouldn’t refer to people by their race – he said it was a descriptor, but having been friends with many various Dominican people over the years, I can tell you that their skin color (which shouldn’t be an important descriptor regardless) can range from very dark to very light.
Though we were at the bar, he informed me very forcefully that he doesn’t drink, and has seen too many lives ruined from drinking to take part in it. He seemed inordinately proud that he’d never even tasted alcohol. I believe I felt pressure to order a nonalcoholic drink from the strength of his passing judgment on anyone who imbibed, ever.
Eventually, food became the topic. He stated firmly, “I don’t really like Asian food.”
This is a declaration that I personally find patently offensive and completely ignorant. Asian food runs the gamut from noodles, sandwiches, fried cutlets, rice dishes, soup, dumplings, … do I need to go on? I cannot fathom a world in which a single person can definitely state that there is not ONE ITEM in the HUGE lexicon of Asian food that they do not enjoy. Also, has he even TRIED all of the Asian food in the world? I know I haven’t, but I’ve made a significant dent in them!!
In case my readers weren’t aware, I have distinctly Asian features because, surprise, I’m of French, Irish and Chinese descent. When he made this statement, I looked blankly back at him, but before I could say a word, he smiled like a little boy and proudly finished – like he’d worked really hard on something – “but I like the people just fine.”
Thanks. All of “my people” just breathed a collective sigh of relief.
I will give him props, however, because at one point, an older gentleman at the bar began intruding on our date. I’m all for talking to people at the bar – it’s part of why I enjoy sitting at the bar – but intermittently, not so much the way this older man tried to and then began to dominate our conversation. I am exceedingly polite, so we chatted a bit (and he told me that he went on a date with Gael Greene YEARS AGO and was upset that he had to pay), but eventually JP seemed a bit irritated at the repeated interruptions. Finally, he got up under guise of going to the restroom but instead requested a booth for us, and he politely bid adieu to the older man by way of telling him our table was ready.
I was impressed with how he handled that situation. Clean, not fussy, no pouting, no rudeness, just simple and effective.
We ordered snacks to munch, and he refused to try the potstickers that came with my sampler platter. I don’t remember what he ordered. I do recall, however, the best / worst / most awkward conversation I have ever had, ever, ever. I’m not sure anything in my life will ever trump this.
JP informed me “I don’t really care much for money. I don’t. I just want to give it all away.”
I like money.
“To that end, I created an endowment group. I already have the website put together” – he seemed really proud of being able to put together a website, I mean, it’s not that difficult, SquareSpace will do it for you, right? -“and I’m going to make this little button on the bottom. The group is JPEG, you know? those are the initials – JP Endowment Group. So I’m going to make the button to apply for an endowment say ‘Get JPEG’d’ or maybe even just ‘Get PEG’d’ – eh?”
I started laughing. A bit too hard, maybe, because after a short second of my giggling, he looked at me with confusion, like “it’s not that funny.”
I stopped laughing.
“Oh, uh… err… pegging is slang for something.” (Before you click, please note that I did not go to that link, and there may or may not be pictures or drawings. It is likely NSFW, and… you may be able to figure it out from the context below.)
“Is it sexual?” he asked.
I nodded, uncertain I should continue.
“That’s weird, I spend my days around high schoolers. How do I not know that one?”
“Um… I think this is out of most high schoolers’ purview.”
“Are you going to tell me what it means?”
“Well. *clears throat* Um… it’s, you know. It’s (I can’t type these words here).”
“Okay…” he didn’t look too put out, just confused still.
“No, I’m not explaining it fully. It’s… when a guy has it.”
Still not quite the reaction I was expecting, he sort of nodded, with only a slightly homophobic twinkle in his eye.
“But… a girl does it to him.”
Now, the look of horror and revulsion I expected from someone with such a narrow mind crossed his face. He looked disgusted and put off. I didn’t say anything while I let that sink into his brain, until finally he said, “How do you know so much about that?”
Knowing the definition of something is knowing a lot about it? K. I just looked at him and said “I have guy friends who tell me about things like this.” Which is the truth — I learned that word from a friend. I didn’t ask my friend how he knows it.
Conversation eventually continued somewhat normally. I note that at one point, tacos were mentioned and he repeatedly told me how he’s eaten so many tacos because “my ex wife is Mexican, I ate tacos all the time” – something to brag about? I guess? A little more subtle racism?
Eventually, the check came and he waved off my offer to pay for my snack. Instead, he pulled out his Friday’s Frequent Diner Card and then two gift cards. He asked the server to charge one, and if it wasn’t enough, to put the balance on the second one. When she came back, she told him that there was more than enough on the first one, and the second one – for $100 or $150 – was untouched.
Honestly, the evening had gone perfectly fine – conversation was easy enough and flowed, he was obviously intelligent albeit fairly ignorant about what race is or means to people who aren’t white like him. Though I told my best friend later that I had to figure out a polite way to decline any further dates with him, that wasn’t an issue as he never contacted me again.
I breathed a very audible sigh of relief.
***This is amazing. I just Google’d the details of what I’ve shared to make sure none of you can find him based on what I’ve shared – I’m keen on protecting the identities of my bad dates – and stumbled across a website describing him as ‘particularly hard on minority kids’ with regard to his role as an educator. I guess the headline will stand.