2 Lessons From The Bad Lychee Date…

The Lychee Nut…

Lychee Nut An odd and truly unique flavor. A flavor that until a few years ago I had never tasted. And more importantly for this story, a flavor that will forever be tainted with a disaster date. A date so bad it caused me to dramatically re-evaluate two important dating assumptions.

The story unfolds…

It’s 4 years ago. And much to chagrin of my future self, I think that posting dating ads on Craigslist is a good way to meet women. (No this is not one of the lessons I learned from the date that follows unfortunately.)

A quick aside: Craigslist is good, even great, for many things.

  • Finding great apartments for rent: Check!
  • Finding furniture: Check!
  • Finding non-crazy individuals for dating: Ugh, not so much…

In any case, I’ve just written and posted one of my personal ads. And I like the responses I’m getting. An email comes in from “Jill” (honestly I really don’t remember her name). Her response is passionate, intelligent and intriguing. She mentions that she is Chinese-American and seemed very eager to learn and share more about her culture.

(A bit of background: at this time in my dating life, I rather foolishly believed that I didn’t need to see a photo of someone before I met them in person. This hypothesis was founded mostly on the fact that I was tired of getting emails from Craigslisters with one sentence “Do you have a pic?” So my goal was to try to focus on who the person was outside of a photo. As you will see, this was not a good idea…for both of us.)

We move from talking over email to the phone rather quickly. The problem quickly becomes that she doesn’t seem to want to do more than talk on the phone. Herein approaches the first lesson the lychee date taught me.

(At this time, I really didn’t have a problem spending a long time on the phone with someone before we went out. That would change utterly.)

Everytime I say, “when can we actually meet?”, she says, “I’d like to talk more on the phone…is that ok?” I agree and our conversations are pretty good. She tells me about her recent trips to China. What real Chinese food is like. What lychee nuts are and how they taste. How they have holes in the ground for toilets in the rural areas where she stayed. Really interesting stuff.

Six weeks (I wish were kidding) pass. I really feel like I know this girl and that we have great chemistry. Of course, we haven’t exchanged pictures and we haven’t met in person. But then, miraculously…

…the date arrives.

The foundations of lesson #2 are laid while setting the date up. Jill says that she leaves near me and she can pick me up. Hmmm. Sure. Why not?

The time of the date arrives. I’m waiting outside my place. The car pulls up. A Honda with a sullen Asian girl inside, it stops. The driver, Jill looks over at me. Honestly I was definitely feeling disappointment. I didn’t find her attractive and from my reading of her, the feeling was mutual. The passenger door props open.

I walk over. Sit myself in. Before I can shake her hand, give her a hug or even put on my seatbelt, the Honda jerks forward and is off. I steady myself and belt up.

“Hi. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” I say, trying to make the best of it.

The radio is on. She turns the music up.

How bad was it?

Have you ever had a date that you knew was going south in the first 3 minutes? Did you say something?

A minute after she turns up the radio, the level of awkwardly leveled disgust coming from the driver of the car prompts me to say, “If this doesn’t seem like a good fit, we can turn back around.”

She speaks, “No. No. I just need to focus on driving. I brought you some lychee nuts.”

I stare straight ahead and try to ignore the fact that the next 2 hours are going to the dating equivalent of waterboarding. (It’s the same feeling you have when your friends talk you into see Patch Adams and you know it’s gonna suck; you just don’t know how much it really does. Two hours later, you’re craving a bulk erase tablet for the night.)

The date continues…

She speaks to me during the drive to the restaurant as often as someone for whom words are very expensive and sentences even more expensive.

She puts the Honda in park. Awkwardness. Anger. Hostility. They’re all boiling up inside of me. Once again, I try to end it mercifully. “This doesn’t seem to be working. Why don’t you drop me back home?”

“Oh no. Now I’ve parked and I don’t have to focus on driving.”

I think to myself, “please kill me now or God, give me the power to fast forward.”

None of those happen. The next two hours, spent at the most awesome restaurant in San Diego, she manages to ruin it up. It takes real work not to enjoy yourself at this restaurant but somehow she does it with great aplomb.

For the next two hours, very few works are exchanged and I truly feel the misery that is the life of the unhappily marrieds. The folks who sit at Denny’s or Hometown Buffet and whose glares of contempt bore through each others skulls. I feel the misery of a truly God awful date.

The merciful end…

The Honda pulls up pretty much exactly where it had at the beginning of the night. I flee the car as fast as I can. I don’t say goodbye. A voice comes from within the Honda as I sprint to my house…

“Don’t forget your lychees.”

I freeze. Should I get them or not?

I walk over. Snatch the lychees out of the passenger seat.

Get into my house. Take said lychees to the trash receptacle in the garage. Throw said lychees in the trash.

Lessons Learned…

The lessons for me for the lychee date that I learned immediately after, were and still are:

  1. Don’t talk on the phone for more than 1 time. Real chemistry is only determined in person.
  2. Never, never, never, never have someone else drive you to a blind date. Ever. Ever. Ever.
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Is this how they date in Eastern Europe?

“It’s weird. Isn’t it?”

You know something is truly unusual when it requires you to confirm with more than a few people that it really is weird. I mean there are things you encounter in life that really are beyond your area of expertise.

Like my second date with an Slovakian girl I’ll call Natasha.

The Beginning…

I had been matched to this girl on Chemistry.com.

Slovakia Flag

Slovakia Flag

She had a lot going for her. She seemed really intelligent, very attractive and we had a good conversation on the phone.

The first date went well. She was very attractive in person. While I couldn’t tell if there was complete chemistry, there seemed to be the beginnings of a nice sexual chemistry. And I enjoyed myself.

I was keen to see her again on a second date.

The wonderful oddness begins…

I voicemailed her almost immediately after the date and told her what a wonderful time I had. 3 or 4 days later, I got an email not referencing the voicemail but instead asking if I’d like to go to a party with her.

This struck me as well, odd. For 2 reasons.

  1. When you’re interested in someone, it seems to me you should make it clear by a quick response that you’re interested.
  2. A party seemed a very odd second date. There’s no privacy. I didn’t know any of the folks who she knew at the party.

It either spelled disaster or a really great story. So after confirming it was weird with all of my friends that it was indeed strange, I decided to go for it.

Her house…

I drove to her condo. Parked. I called her as I left my car to get my bearings as where her house actually is. She directed me to the place and then gave me her security code to get into her house. Yeah, this is the second date and she tells me how to get past her security system. More weirdness but certainly not the last of it.

When I walked up the stairs to her place, she let me in and introduced her friend who was staying with her and would be joining us at the party. The night had started out peculiar and this was just one more bit of oddness. Basically, there was no chance of anything at all happening with her friend around but at this point, I was already committed.

As we left, somehow, I got roped into driving. The two girls seated themselves in the Mini. And it was a pleasant enough ride up but a little awkward.

Fast forward to…

…the party and more weirdness.

Ok. So when I get to the party, Natasha introduces me to her friends. The weird moment comes when they tried to determine what I am to her…

“So are you guys going out?”

I said, “Um, this is our second date.”

I think they were just as puzzled as I was so they moved on. Now to be fair, these were very nice people. I didn’t have much in common with them but I get along easily with people.

The key thing was though as the minutes became hours, Natasha…

…was running hot and cold.

That’s right. I got more interest and conversation from the partygoers who I had just met than the girl I came with. Throughout the night, she would occasionally make phsyical contact but really she seemed more interested in catching up with her friends.

And it was kind of confusing me and annoying me at the same time.

After a few hours where I thought I could leave without offending someone, I started planning my exit. The final moment where I knew I needed to leave was when another partygoer, who was well in his cups and otherwise very nice, started referring to Barack Obama as “Obama Bin Laden.” I was and still am a big supporter of the president and this kind of pissed me off too

The final oddness…

After I finally got out of there, I still had to drop off Natasha and her friend. Her friend was drunk. Not buzzed. Drunk. And she needed to pee. She kept talking about how much she needed to pee. While she was sitting in the back seat of my beautiful Mini.

The combination of the reminders of her drunkeness, her impending bladder load, and my OCD thoughts of cleaning up some idiot’s urine in my back seat was a source of major tension.

I finally arrived at Natasha’s house. Because friend had to run (to pee of course), both of them ran off before saying a short goodbye.

When Natasha called me a few days, I let it go to voicemail and didn’t call her back. To answer the question I was asking my friends, f*** yes it’s weird. Very f***ing weird.

The man with the $30,000 pencil: an analogy…

Yesterday, I found myself a familiar emotional spot as a direct result of dating. Let me explain…

…it starts with an exciting eHarmony match.

A few weeks ago, eHarmony matched me with a girl, who I’ll call “B.” B was really attractive, had a great profile and seemed to have a great deal of introspection. Fast forward to last Wednesday.

I was really excited about meeting B. I had even mentioned the date to a few friends, which is saying something. In any case, I went to the Starbucks where we were supposed to have our first date. It was supposed to be at 7PM. 7:05PM rolled around and I called her.

Me: “Hi B, Was our date at 7PM or 7:30PM?” (My diplomatic way to see where she was.)

B: “You didn’t get my text? I couldn’t make it tonight.”

She went to apologize and it turned out she had texted that she couldn’t make it to my cell phone. Except she had misdialed.

This was disappointing but I find it’s best to give someone the benefit of the doubt and my excitement was a little dampened but still strong.

We made plans to meet Sunday night. I was eager. Excited. Talked more to my friends.

Fast forward to Sunday @ 2PM. A text comes in on my cell phone. This time she had gotten the number right.

The text conversation (exactly as it happened)…

B: “Tim. Dont think I can make it tonight. Not quite ready 4 this. So sorry.”

I had a salad roll in my mouth when this came in. It took strong mouth muscles to keep this from falling to the ground.

Me: “You have to be kidding me. You have a lot of nerve. I’m disappointed but more than that this is just rude and especially after the other day, quite frankly inexcusable. Really disappointed. Do the next guy a favor and only start the process if you actually want to go on a date.”

B: “Didnt mean 4 that, honestly. Grandma just passed and it hit me very hard. thats why I was in Colorado.”

Me: “There are much better ways to handle these type of situations. Please close me out on eHarmony.”

And any way it went on for a little bit but, to say the least, it was disappointing. Which brings me to the main point of this blog post…

…the man with the $30,000 pencil.

My Dad used to tell this joke/parable about business. A man has a stand at a crowded outdoor market. A huge sign is unveiled in front of his table.

“Pencils. $30,000.”

A would be customer comes up to the pencil salesman and says, “Are you crazy? $30,000 for a pencil?”

The pencil salesman says, “Ah but if I just sell one.”

The point being…

I think that so much of my dating life and just dating life for single people is just like being a man with a $30,000 pencil. You hope to sell just one.

It’s a mad, crazy, foolish dream but on the off chance that you find someone wonderful, spectacular, amazing, inspiring and all that other good stuff, you put up with situations like I had with B.

In short, sometimes, it’s only crazy faith in something you have no rational basis to believe in that keeps you in the dating game.

A gem of a bad date from someone else…

This is just a quick story I heard from a girl I dated briefly. It’s just amazingly bizarre and odd.

A disaster date…

So a few months before this girl (let’s call her Laura) and I had met, she had gone out on a few dates with this guy (let’s call him Bill). Bill seemed to be interesting enough and there seemed to be a decent amount of chemistry.

They were on their fourth or fifth date. He had just made dinner and things were going well. They were sitting on the couch, on the verge of a major makeout session. Or so it seemed…

The date takes a turn…

He leaned in close to her on the couch. She readied herself for a kiss. Instead his lips glided next to her ears.

“Tell me your darkest, deepest secret,” he said.

“Excuse me,” she stammered as she recoiled from the couch.

He kept his position and with a sly smile on his face repeated the demand, “Tell me your darkest, deepest secret.”

Her face twisted and contorted trying to figure out what the f*** he was talking about.

Laura finally managed to get out, “Um. No. We’ve only known each other for a few days.”

The point of the awkwardness…

It was then, that Bill finally came out and decided to reveal himself someone into…

S&M HandcuffsThat’s right. Bill’s awkward, creepy and vaguely menacing request was his way of seeing if Laura was into S&M.

And not only that but he was so clearly not reading her reactions (disgust, confusion, disquiet) that he continued on in gory detail about how his ex-girlfriend had loved to tie him up. How his ex-girlfriend had loved to be tied up. How his ex-girlfriend loved to be whipped. And so on and so forth.

Bill was so concentrated into describing this great relationship that he barely noticed as Laura had made her way to the door.

Before she closed the door on his apartment and any chance of a relationship, she said, “Never, ever call me again.”

Disaster Date # 1: The anti-Semite alcoholic (Part II)…

(Part II of the anti-Semite alcoholic story started here)

She proceeds to describe both of her brothers-in-law. First…

Brother-In-Law #1

She started in, “My youngest sisters, she married an awful man. He’s really pushy. Really disrespectful.”

Then the first brick fell loose in the wall that was our date.

“He’s an arab.”

At this point, my oddness senses were ringing a little louder.

Really loud in fact. I mean, I guess you could describe someone as an arab but most normal people wouldn’t. It’s a very weird way to describe someone.

Then she came out with the doosie of the date. The thing that puts the “bam” in the date.

Brother-In-Law #2

“I really hate the other guy my sister married. He’s terrible. So pushy. So opinionated. And cheap. Really God damned cheap.”

I think you can see where this is going.

She rested her nearly finished vodka martini on the bar. Leaned in to make sure no one else could hear. She spoke in hushed tones.

“He’s a Jew.”

At this point, my oddness senses were screaming. The date was over. She may not have known it yet but it was over in my mind.

The she leaned back, took a final sip of her vodka martini and said inquisitely, “You’re not a Jew are you?”

“Um. No I’m not.”

She couldn’t leave it well enough alone. “I have nothing against Jews mind you. I mean I think they’re God’s chosen people.”

I just want to summarize and put on the table what issues she had revealed at this point:

  1. Problem with alcohol and/or discomfort with it.
  2. Dislike of arabs and a desire to label people based on their ethnicity.
  3. A love/hate relationships with Jews. She thinks they’re cheap and obnoxious but God chose them. If she really did feel they were God’s chosen people, one has to ask why she wasn’t a Jew. (Don’t think about it too long. It will hurt your head.)

One last gift of weirdness…

I really just wanted to be polite at this point and speed through the rest of the date as quickly as possible. I paid for drinks. We were about to head out for La Jolla Cove when she asked, “Do you feel comfortable with me driving?” (Again with the drinking.)

“Sure. You know if you’re ok to drive.”

She: “Oh yeah. I drive best when I’m drunk anyhow.”

My head almost exploded. WTF?

Me: “I’m driving.”

I made sure our jaunt to the cove lasted 10 minutes and I vowed to never see her again.

PS

This was in the days when I thought giving unasked for feedback was a good idea. It isn’t and I wouldn’t do it again. But foolishly I wrote her an email explaining how her constant tension over alcohol made me uncomfortable and also how her anti-semitism was very disturbing.

Her note back: “I’m sorry you misunderstood my comments on drinking and Jews. I think they’re God’s chosen people so I don’t bear them any ill-will.”

Wow. Wow. Wow.

Disaster Date # 1: The anti-Semite alcoholic (Part I)…

Ok. So in my experience, there are four distinct ways a date can go…

  1. Super, crazy awesome–a date like a Van Morrison song. You’re attracted to her on a deep, meaningful level. She’s attracted to you on that same level. The prospect of a second date keeps you up at night with excitement and the good kind of “nerves.”
  2. Respectable–this is a date where you’re not “coo coo for cocoa puffs” but it was nice. You both enjoyed yourself. Maybe there’s a really strong intellectual, emotional or physical connection and you’re down for a second date.
  3. Boring–one or more of the people on the date just aren’t feeling it. You’re both nice people but there’s no spark, physically or emotionally. This is the way most dates play out.
  4. Complete fucking disaster–so horrible, so scarring, so debauched that you really need to not go out on another date for week or two after. Really fucking terrible. Very few dates rise to this level but when they do, they’re great stories. I repeat GREAT STORIES.

Which brings me to my current tale…

…the anti-Semite alcoholic.

Rewind to four years ago. I was doing speed dating every. Speed dating is a decent idea on paper; in reality, it’s a bad idea. Ineffective. Poorly run.

What Is Speed Dating?

For those of you who haven’t tried speed dating or heard about what it entails. Here goes…

…there are x number of men and x number of women at each event. Ostensibly they are single. Every x minutes (usually 5), a buzzer is rung and men have to switch tables and sit next to a different woman. Within these 5 minutes, you’re supposed to make up your mind about whether you’d like to go out with this woman and she with you.

At the end of the night, you create a little tally of the folks you’d like to see again and submit it online or with the person running the event. With that explained, I’ll explain how I met the anti-Semite alcy I have built up so much.

“Hey, why not?”

A lot of very bad ideas have started with this premise and my encounter with Ms. Alcy was no different.

You see, I had met Ms. Alcy once before at another speed dating event. When I tallied my matches, I had decided not to mark her as a “yes, I want to see her again.” Nothing visibly wrong. I just didn’t feel a chemistry.

After seeing the list of women who matched me but that I hadn’t matched, I saw her name. She clearly felt more strongly than I did.

The next speed dating event…

I arrived at the next speed dating event and lo and behold, she was there. The conversation was pleasant and I said to myself, “Hey, why not?”

I marked her as a “yes” and she did as well. We went for a quick lunch on a weekday in Old Town. I have to say, honestly it was pleasant. Nothing odd. Nothing unusual. But pleasant. We made plans to grab dinner at TGI Friday’s and then hang out in La Jolla Cove. I was looking forward to it. She seemed to be as well. Little did I know that…

…the second date would turn in a titanic-style disaster movie.

In the week following our first date and before our second date, she had called me and said, “Hey can we skip dinner and just do drinks. It’s been a tight week financially.” A very reasonable request.

The night of the second date. We arrived at TGI Fridays. We sat at the bar. I ordered a non-alcoholic beer because well, I like non-alcoholic beers. And I didn’t really want to drink too much. The moment the words slipped my lips about my choice of beverage, she said, “Boy you’re going to hate me now.”

My head spun a bit and before I can ask for clarification, she ordered a vodka martini. I asked her for clarification but she demurred and didn’t really answer the question. At this point, my oddness sensors were buzzing on vibrate.

But the conversation went on. I noticed that there’s constant references to alcohol. And there seemed to be some tension about it. I made a mental note about it and went on with the date.

Then the topic of her two younger sisters came up. She clearly disapproved very strongly of their choice of mate. It was with these two revelations where the date went from…

…boring date to complete fucking disaster.

It’s a bad date when….

There are several ways to tell if a date is not going lead to a 2nd date.  If any of the following things are happening while you are on a date, get out of there – fast.  If, like me, all of the following things happen during just one date, learn from this and RUN, run like it’s Kansas during twister season!!

The initial meeting

He was running late but he called to tell me he was running late, so that evens out.  However within 10 minutes of meeting this man, he informed me that he lied about his age on his profile.  He is several years older than he stated online.

To this I simply ask “why?”  because I still would have met him if I had known his real age.  And he gives me a long answer about keeping the older ladies away.   I remind him that when one is dating ONLINE there is no obligation to meet anyone in person that you are not interested in – even if they are too old.

This is a minor red flag.  But if the actual age is still age-appropriate for you, it’s forgivable.  For me the actual age was fine, so I ordered a beer.

He “thinks” he’s funny!

The conversation is going ok, we laugh and then he asks, absurdly, about other men I have met on this site.  I feel like this is irrelevant.  Why would he want to hear about my other dates, unless he wants to bond over miserable dating experiences – and I don’t want to do that.  I’m here to learn more about him.  But he asked and then he asks if any other meetings had been “successful”.

Before I answer the question, I think to myself  “Obviously not too successful seeing as how I’m on a date with someone else right now”.  But I decide to go with the more absurd answer.  I said “Well, the last guy I met told me that I was hotter than my picture, so I consider it a success”.

To which he replies “Did you pet his dog?”  And I don’t immediately get the incredibly funny joke he is telling.  So he explains that blind people have dogs.

PARDON?!?!?!?!?! This man (if we can still call him that) has just basically called me ugly within 1 hour of meeting me.

My mouth hangs agape as he laughs and says he’s joking and tells me I’m adorable.  Based on the fact that I had a full, ice-cold beer I stayed to finish it.  Which brings me to…

The drinking

By the time I am ready to leave, I have had 2 beers.  He has had 2 top shelf vodka on the rocks and 2 beers.  He goes up to the bar to pay the tab (which is 80% his own alcohol) and when he comes back, he announces “Next time, drinks are on you”.

To which I laugh and say “Oh, really?”  And he says “Or dinner or something”.  So he has basically told me that if I were to see him again (he obviously hadn’t realized that ship had sailed) I was to be the one paying for his heavy drinking habit.  To which I think to myself  “Exhale buddy – that ain’t gonna happen”

So we leave the bar

We get up to leave and I think he still thinks he might see me again.  But that doesn’t compel to be a gentleman in any way.  Which is evidenced by him opening the door, walking through and letting it go – leaving me inside standing in front of a closed door.  Soooo Classy!

Then he offers to walk me to my car.  And I accept.  I was parked 3 blocks from the bar – which is pretty close in La Jolla.  After one block he complained about how far it was.  I graciously relieved him of his duty and told him I would be fine walking the rest of the way myself.  He kept walking with me.

At two blocks, he asked how much farther.  I, again, assured him I could make it back to my car just fine without him.  He kept walking with me.  When we finally did get to my car I stopped walking.   (Sidebar – my car was a 1993 Chevy S-10 pickup and it was 15 years old at the time – so it looked a little rough but it ran well so I was still driving it)

He saw my truck and promptly replied “This piece of shit is your car?”  If he hadn’t won me over by then, I was completely smitten by that gem of tenderness!

Follow up

I was 100% certain that I would never see this guy again.  But he wasn’t.  I got an email from him the following week asking me how I was and how my week was going.  I suspect he was fishing for me to offer to take him out and buy him drinks (like a sugar daddy with a new, hot, young mistress).   So, I responded by telling him my week was going great and asked how his was going?

Funny, I never got a response to that email.

It’s crazy how both people can eventually tell when it’s not working out.