For a 29 year old, I’m pretty experienced with dating. I don’t know what that says about me, but I’ve mastered the art of escaping tortuous ones.. or so I had thought.
This particular date occurred about two years ago. I had met this gentleman, we’ll call him Tom, through an online dating site. We had been talking for a few days: he lived about 20 minutes away and asked if I wanted to meet up for drinks on a Saturday night. Upon our initial meeting, no red flags were waved. You couldn’t get into the door of the bar we initially chose due to a college basketball game being televised, so we opted to walk to another bar a few blocks down (which unfortunately for me is one my friends and I frequent. This is vital to the story).
We sat at the bar and grabbed a drink, starting with normal first date banter: where we grew up, what we did for a living, etc. Immediately off the bat Tom started talking about what we would do on our future dates: batting cages, the movies…. where we could go on our vacations. I was flabbergasted to say the least. Friends and family can tell you there are few times in my life my mouth is not moving, but it caught me off guard. I veered the conversation into talking about whatever sports team was playing on the television around us and prayed that comment was just first date nerves.
A friend of mine spotted me at the bar and came over to say ‘hello’ which was a relief. I introduced Tom, and explained that she was getting married in a few months, asking her how the planning was going. The conversation was brief and she left. I told Tom that I had known my friend and her fiance since before they were a couple, and it was incredible to watch their relationship fully blossom into marriage. His reply, “She will say that about us on our wedding day.” — like Shelly Duvall at the end of “The Shining” I knew I had to get out. I’m not proud to say it, but I have seen enough Lifetime movies in my day to know that this was bad news bears. I had met the only man on earth who was more obsessed with me getting married than my Mom.
I turned to my right and a group of my friends entered the bar. Normally, this would be celebrated, but I needed Tom to leave… about 20 minutes ago. They all came over to say “Hi” as Tom introduced himself as my boyfriend much to the surprise of my friends and myself. I’m not sure what Tom’s relationship timeline is, but apparently an hour of conversation constituted a relationship. I went to the bathroom and told my friends of my predicament; we all agreed he had to go. After I returned, I pulled Tom aside to tell him that the date was over. He told me he would drive me home (even though I had driven myself there) assuming I was leaving for the night. I clarified to him that although he seemed like a nice (manically overbearing) guy, I didn’t think we were compatible. Just when I thought things could not get any weirder or worse.. it did. Tom took the news worse than me the first time I saw “The Lion King” as a child, which was not well.. at all. He cried. He didn’t just cry, he SOBBED. In front of the ENTIRE bar. In front of EVERYONE. He mumbled something about our future together as I stood there in shock. Completely unprepared for this reaction, I gently patted him on the back and escorted him out the door. He walked to his car crying while I returned to my friends inside. I sat down at the bar only to realize that Tom had opened his own tab, ordering one of the most expensive beers on draft. I paid both of our tabs and went home.
Below is a picture one of my friends took that night. Everyone having a good time with me in the background….