I've been on a bit of a bad-dating tear lately, so I figured I'd do a sort of public-service announcement so that you, the reader, can take yet another lesson on "How Not to Be" from my life.
I'd known Mark (fake name!) for years and had always had a crush on him. His sporadic drunken leg-humping behavior led me to believe he was similarly smitten. Of course, when Mark wasn't rubbing up against me, trying to slide his hands down my shirt, he was ignoring me (red flag No. 1).
The first time he asked me out, he was quite drunk. Actually, he's drunk a lot of the time (red flags No. 2–29). Anyway, he told me he'd always wanted to go out with me, but he felt like he was too big a mess. Then he asked me out. I demurred—all proud of myself for heeding his warning. A month or two later, he asked again. Inexplicably, this time I said yes.
Now wait a minute. Here I'm getting ready to tell you what kind of idiotic crap Mark pulled, but really—who's the moron? The guy who warned me he was a mess or the dizzy broad who ignored all 10,000 red flags? Because there are about 9,971 flags and sirens that I haven't mentioned. (That's the beauty of writing about your life as opposed to being on an episode of Candid Camera—you can edit to make yourself look like less of a moron than you actually are.)
So anyway, we're on our second date when I said something along the lines of how weird it would be if this turned into something.
Mark sort of half-laughed. "Judy, I know within five minutes of meeting someone whether or not it's going to be a big romance, and I've known you for years—it ain't gonna happen." He went on to reveal that he'd seen me around for even longer than I'd remembered seeing him and said I'd always given him dirty looks. Huh? I yelped that he was wrong—that I'd had a crush on him forever! He insisted that I'd always glared at him like he was shit on my shoe.
But, but, but—I started to protest. Anyone who thinks they know they're in love after five minutes is either insane or in college.
Then I shut my mouth, sat back, and considered the situation. He had warned me that he was a mess. Messes generally have unrealistic expectations of life, which is why they do things like drink all the time. So I did the first smart thing I'd done since meeting him and decided to be glad I'd figured this out after two dates and not two years.
Lesson No. 1: Heed the warning signs and trust your gut.
Then there was the foxy filmmaker I went out with. Midway through our second date, he told me he lied about his age so his friends, who are mostly in their 20s, wouldn't "look down" on him. Oddly, he's far from the only guy I know who does this. (When did men turn into the Gabor sisters?) Now, I don't volunteer information like my age (or weight, for that matter), but I'd never lie about it! Plus, he was my age, but his lie made him younger! Not fair!
Lesson No. 2: Never date a man vainer than you.
The third lucky fella was perfect. I met him online. He was creative, smart, cute, and lived three hours away. In town for the winter, he was leaving in two weeks. I was OK with the idea of a brief affair until we spoke on the phone. He was so charming that I got ahead of myself and started planning the logistics of our long-distance, big-time love relationship. Which in itself isn't so bad. When we met, I discovered he was even hotter than I'd been led to believe. I didn't want the night to end, so I drank way too much after eating far too little. Gulp. We're laughing and making out at the bar, and then I tell him that I actually like the idea of having an out-of-town boyfriend. Yep. I used the B-word on our first date.
He was polite enough not to call me an idiot, but I know better.
Lesson No. 3: Learn to keep your big, gigantic yap shut.
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