The Second-Worst First Date of My Life

Dating is fun. You get to meet new people and best case scenario, you’ve met your soulmate. Worst case, you’ve made a new friend.

Bull! I hear this all the time in blogs, articles, TV shows, books, whatever. It’s a bunch of horse hockey.

If I was honest, I would admit that dating can be fun. I love the butterflies in the stomach, the heart racing, forgetting to eat, mooning around like a calf…Yeah, it isn’t so bad.

Too bad it mostly sucks.

Case in point: I met a man at a dinner party a month ago. He was witty, easy to talk to, fun to be around. I made sure I was looking foxy. I was charming, witty and equally easy to be around. Though I slipped my number in his bag, he got my email through mutual friends. After two or three weeks of talking, texting and flirting like crazy I proposed meeting at a local coffee shop. He readily agreed.

I was nervous as hell all day. I was hoping I looked good enough, that he’d enjoy my company and this would be the first of many dates.

I got to the coffee house about 30 minutes before he did. I ordered a hot cider and found an old newspaper. I completed the crossword puzzle and he gave me a ring. “I can’t find a parking space. Want me to pick you up and you can come with me to the park?”

What kind of question is that?! Do I want to hang out with him while he parks? NO!!! “I’ve already ordered,” I said incredulously.

“I’ll be 10 minutes, then,” he grumbled.

Whatever. I settled back in and read some of the paper. I had just done the first two or three squares of the Sudoku puzzle, an activity I particularly loathe but desperately needed something to do, when he came in. I laid the paper aside and gave him my full attention.

I don’t even remember how he brought it up. The first thread of the conversation wasn’t the weather, how we were doing or how work was. He began our date conversation with, “So did you know when I was 16 I had a near-death experience in a car wreck?”

Um, this is not first date convo. Now, I’ve danced with the Grim Reaper myself, and unfortunately more than once. But I sure as hell don’t need to be talking about it on a date, let alone a first date. Talk about a Debbie Downer!!!

Trying to keep the conversation light, I asked why he had so much trouble parking. His answer, “Well, my car doesn’t exactly go in reverse.”

Huh. He hadn’t taken off his coat or ordered, and I asked if he was going to have coffee. “No, I don’t like coffee,” was the answer. I mentioned there was tea, cider, hot chocolate…any number of beverages. He just sat there.

It was pretty awkward. He was actually very hard to talk to because I didn’t get his jokes, he spoke too softly and he didn’t laugh when I cracked jokes. I could see early on it was going to be one of those cases of people clicking in a group but going nowhere when they were alone.

Still, I tried to keep the conversation going for 20 minutes when he grabbed the paper off the next table and started doing the Sudoku puzzle I began!

“Why are you doing that?” I asked, amazed at his lack of social graces.

“You started it; I want to finish it,” he answered.

“I hate Sudoku. I was just waiting for you.”

“I like it.”

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! I tried to joke about it, but I wasn’t kidding when I said, “Do you know what is more boring than actually doing Sudoku? Watching someone do it!

That didn’t faze him. He spent the next 15 minutes finishing the damn thing, even though I said, “I’m pretty sure Dante’s seventh level of hell isn’t a two-faced Satan eating Brutus and Judas for all eternity; it is watching someone do Sudoku.”

He didn’t get it. Whether he really wanted to do the puzzle, it was a coping technique for how nervous he was, or I was that bad of a date…there is NO EXCUSE for tuning me out like that. I thought I certainly deserved more attention than that, and I didn’t want to be around someone who had such pathetic manners.

Mercifully the date ended 45 minutes after it started because I had a pre-arranged girls’ night out. We stood outside awkwardly. No hug, no handshake, no “I’ll call you.” Nothing. I crossed the street and we walked two blocks on opposite sides of the street in silence.

My girlfriends and I had a good laugh over “Sudoku Boy.” I haven’t heard from him in two weeks and I think it’s safe to assume I never will. I’m fine with that. This guy, for all his charm, humor and wit, depressed me. He admitted he had no drive or goals in life and he couldn’t understood why I work three jobs, volunteer and I am writing a book. He said he was “happily drifting through life.” I think that is profoundly sad. I can’t stand the social company of someone who doesn’t have irons in the fire or at the very least supports the fact that I do. It is a pity this date was so epically awful but at least I can cross this frog off my list and continue the search for my Prince Charming.

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