I get that the whole idea behind dating is that you meet lots of people, get to know them, give them a chance and hope that somewhere, in all of that energy, you find a good one. This is the same logic that causes people to pan for gold, bent over and knee-deep in a river. Or pray, just in case there’s a heaven.
I am neither a gold-digger nor a magical thinker. I just want some no-drama good times that include good sex. But that voice that says, “give him a chance, be nice” wins over now and then. And that, my friends, is how I wound up on a date with a Teletubby. Wishing it would end.
We had gone out before, once, and it ended with a pretty great kiss. That whole night I had been on the fence. A really nice guy, for sure, so I was trying to keep an open mind. Truth is, the moment he sat down and I smelled cologne, I wanted to end it. There is no way that a cologne-wearer is a good match for me. That was enough for me. But no, all my socialization about being generous and keeping an open mind won over and we wound up kissing and agreeing to see each other again.
Then he did the totally unfair thing and sucked me in with tickets to a sold-out concert. That I really wanted to go to. So off we went. Dinner first, then a show. By the time the night rolled around, I was pretty psyched. Maybe a nice guy was what I needed. Perhaps a little “dull” was just what the doctor ordered, and a little “needy” would feel like “valued.” You never know. I did ask him not to wear cologne.
I arrive at the restaurant just as he’s stepping out of a cab. The moment I saw him, my stomach shot to my throat and then dropped to my toes and all I could think was, “is this over yet?” Half a block away, the anti-chemistry was taking over. No.
Some of it was instinct. Some of it was his shirt. This weird-fitting, brightly patterned, long-sleeved t-shirt that would look awesome as a onesie on a toddler. It was all psychadelic looking, because, you know, that’s a good look for middle-aged men. And his thinning hair was gelled into some spikey do, like a baby bird having been licked clean before being fed worms. This is not working for me, at all. No matter how nice you are, a grown man with brightly colored polka dots on his belly and weirdly spiked hair will look like a Teletubby. And not in a good, ironic way.
He tells me I’m really hot, and I spit up a little in my mouth. I pictured what he was picturing. Shudder.
But I’m in. I’m being nice.
We sit at the restaurant and right off the bat he informs me that he took a cab so he can get wasted and rage. Because, you know, middle-aged men sound cool when they talk like that. And sure enough, a double-strength vodka drink is ordered. Obviously, the rational response would be for me to do the same, to dull the pain. But I have a paradoxical reaction to such things and want to stay stone-cold sober when I’m around people who clearly have a fucked-up relationship with substances. I order a beer.
Half way through dinner he orders a double-strength tequila drink. I nurse my beer, wishing it to have magic powers that no beer could have.
I start talking, incessantly, about how stressed out I am about so many things. (This is not true, and I realize that I am laying the groundwork for a rapid exit, if need be. My life, as I hear it coming out of my own mouth, sounds dire.) I then start talking about how silly it is that people take dating so seriously, have all these hopes and expectations, I mean, it all gets down to chemistry, right? You can’t take chemistry personally, right? That would be like taking the weather personally, and that’s silly, not everyone can heave chemistry, right?
I could not be laying it on any thicker.
He says stuff, I don’t know what, because all I can see are the dots on his shirt moving around, and his words sound like cartoon words. Partly because he’s going on and on about minutia of bands and musicians and concerts and using words like “epic.” Often followed with “dude.”
“It was epic, dude.”
It’s funny when my kid and her friends say that. But it’s funny because they’re in 6th grade trying to sound older than they are. It’s stupid when he says it, because he’s in his 40’s trying to sound younger – and cooler – than he is.
I want to leave, but, the concert!
The check comes, he whips out his card, and I throw mine on top. “We’ll split it, cool?” He looks at me askew, “I was going to take you out for an epic night.”
“I know.” (No thanks.) Honestly, if I am in a rush to pay my part, you should know there is no chance you are getting any action. I will not let a guy pay my way unless I think he’s going to be duly rewarded at the end of the night.
We get to the venue, hit the bar. Another drink. More stupid stories. Another drink. More stupid stories and a lot of star-gazing, looking for celebrity musicians and stuff. Seriously, I don’t care. I couldn’t pick a celebrity musician out of a line-up because I use my ears to listen to music, not my eyes. And I’m also smart enough to know that just because their music is awesome it doesn’t mean THEY are awesome. Because I’m a grown-up, grown-ups know things like that.
We head up, oh, there’s another bar. Let’s have a drink. Oh yes, let’s!
Look, he’s a nice guy, I swear. But a drunk teletubby who is spitting on you when he talks and constantly trying to grope you and tell you how amazing you are is just not…. shudder.
I could have been home all night. Working, hanging with my kid, painting my nails….
From now on, I’m paying attention to my gut instincts. No cologne-wearers, they are the Dr. Jekyll to the Teletubby’s Mr. Hyde.
We left the concert early. I repeated that I was stressed out and just had stuff to do. He walked me to my car, though I tried desperately to get him to stay at the show. I remarked that it was a good thing he took a cab. He said something about thinking I could drive him home, see his place.
The Teletubby theme song sprang into my head. “Tinky Winky, dipshit, ha ha, NO. Teletubby, Teletubby, say, hell NO!”