Don’t I Know You From Somewhere?
I was hesitant to try online dating as I always thought of it as a tool for people who can’t meet people in real life or for those that lack the most basic of social skills. But dating in general was semi-foreign to me. I had recently come out of a six year relationship, and if this is what the kids were doing these days, I figured I might as well throw myself in headfirst. After spending some time perusing the site, I went on a few dates and realized some real winners were online! My first few experiences all happened to involve professional or ex-professional athletes. I met an Angels player (who had to retire early because he went to jail for a year for assault), an LA Galaxy player (who was on the site to cheat on his wife in England) and an ex-NFL player (who raided my fridge after our first date and left with a “grapefruit for the road”). [Each of these men come with their own amazingly epic dating story, by the way.] Why, you ask, did I stay online after this? Well, I figure it can’t hurt to broaden your horizons and, as an actress, I mainly just meet other actors so I thought it would be nice to see what else is out there. I soon found out.
Which brings me to…My Worst Date In The History Of Ever. I had only been on the dating site for a smidge and I wasn’t yet up to par with the do’s and don’ts of online dating. One day, a very muscular, tan man (let’s call him “Bruno”, to protect the person involved) messaged me. I knew I’d seen his face before, but I couldn’t tell from where. I decided against messaging him back as I feared the reason he looked familiar was because I knew him through my ex. He messaged me again the following week and again a few days after that. On his third attempt, I figured I’d give it a shot, “If we happen to have mutual friends, it isn’t the end of the world.” and I messaged him back. We bantered back and forth online a bit and then took to texting and finally to chatting on the phone.
On one of our phone conversations he said I had to try his favorite restaurant and we made a date for the following evening. He was a bit cryptic with the information, telling me to drive to a specific intersection (on the Westside) and then to call him once there and then he’d tell me where to park. The next night, I drove to the intersection (Bundy and something) and called him and he asked what kind of car I was driving. I didn’t think that really mattered, but I answered “Blueberry” (my bright blue Yaris) and he said he was going to look for me and guide me into a spot. His version of helping me find parking was pointing me to a completely empty residential street where I could have chosen any spot I liked. Odd, but nothing ridiculous…yet.
He came up to my car wearing a sleeveless hoodie, distressed jeans and a large metallic rosary. His name was tattooed on his arm, he was very tan with spikey hair and looked a little more “intense” than his pictures portrayed. He gave me a hug, immediately took to calling me “Babe” and started walking me up to a building. I asked, “Oh…is this the restaurant?” He replied, “No babe, it’s my place. Let’s have a drink here and then we’ll walk over.” Now, let me reiterate — I was new to the dating world, especially online dating, and wasn’t privy to the “Don’t Go To A Man’s Home On A First Date” Rule, plus I didn’t know how I could decline the invite without hurting his feelings. Yes, apparently, I’m the girl in the horror movie who runs up the stairs.
As we walked up to his apartment, the walls were already vibrating from the bass in his dance music. He opened the door…and it looked like the Jersey Shore threw up in his living room! He had a framed Swingers poster on one wall, a framed Scarface poster on the other wall, a glowing Ed Hardy clock on the other wall and two red leather couches against them. In the middle of the room was a coffee table with a sculpture of a keg and a contraption where you hook up liquor bottles to do shots. He asked me what I would like to drink and all I could think was ,“How do I get out of this immediately?”, but I didn’t want to be rude and he seemed relatively harmless, a douchey actor of which I know many, so I asked, “What do you have?” He responded, “Well, I only have Crystal Light and vodka because they have no carbs.” I said that would be fine. I uncomfortably sunk into one of his big red leather couches and moments later he danced over with my cocktail.
He sat on the adjacent couch and started telling me more about himself…and more about himself…and more about himself. After a while, he got up to sit on my couch…to tell me more about himself. He then proceeded to inch closer and closer until we were smushed up next to one another. A few moments later, one of my best friends called and I was thinking, “This could be my save!” I excused myself and walked to the other side of the room to take the call.
My girlfriend screamed into the phone “I’M ENGAGED!!!” Now, I couldn’t be happier for her, but being in that room that reeked of Drakkar Noir and realizing my life wasn’t exactly where I would have imagined it at this particular point, sent me reeling into a bit of a panic. Plus, she totally ruined my “out” as he heard her excited scream through the phone, so I couldn’t exactly say I had to go help her out of an emergency.
I ended the call, thrilled for my friend and not-so-thrilled for my current situation. I asked, “Should we head to dinner now?” wanting to speed this painful process along and make it home in time for Modern Family. He said, “We’ll go soon, but first I want to show you something.” Then, Bruno whips out his computer and starts playing…his REEL. I tried to contain myself, but I let out a tiny chuckle at minute three (although he was so enthralled with himself, I don’t think he noticed). Just when I thought things couldn’t get any worse, he confessed to me that I may recognize him if I watched [insert ridiculous VH1 show here], [another absurd VH1 show here] and [yet another mindless VH1 show here]. He followed with the statement “Yea. I’m kind of a reality tv celebrity.” GASP! That’s why he looked so familiar!!! He then started playing me his REALITY TV REEL along with a few videos from his “Bruno TV Youtube Channel”. At this point, I started to tune out and question God’s game plan for me.
After a few videos played he said “Okay babe, let me give you a tour of my place and then we’ll go to dinner”. I’m thinking “Tour?!? You live in a one bedroom apartment!” But, he brought me over to his washroom — which was all done up in red and white and then he pulled me into his room. Above his bed hung a huge black and pink satin Playboy Bunny Head and next to his bed was an empty Playboy picture frame shaped like a corset. Bruno explained he’s waiting to put his future girlfriend in that frame and if I’m lucky enough, it could be me. Joy.
Bruno opened his closet and I stopped him and suggested we film this for his YouTube channel (mainly because I wanted this documented and I didn’t think any of my friends would believe me when I recounted this date later). He responded, “No babe, this is my private life.” Fail. He continued to open his closet and the rod where you hang your hangers was labeled. Yes, you read that correctly. Labeled. It read “Muscle Shirts”, “V Necks”, “Hoodies” and “Sleeveless Hoodies”. “Sleeveless Hoodies” had their own section! Then he opened a drawer filled with his underwear to show me how “neatly they’re folded”. He held it open long enough for me to spot a florescent pink and a florescent green pair of Dolce & Gabbana briefs. He then gave me a headache from spraying six or seven different colognes into the air, explaining that he “collects” them and has over sixty.
Next to his dresser was a shelving unit with three large compartments. One was filled with sunglasses (which he proceeded to model for me); another held all of his rings, cuffs, bracelets and necklaces; and the last shelf was completely devoted to bedazzled belt buckles. He was kind enough to demonstrate how you pop them onto your belt. There was one that was shaped like a jeweled cowboy boot, one that was shaped like the state of California and yet another that was in the form of handcuffs…
Now that I had gone on the “Full Bruno Tour”, he was finally ready to take me to dinner. You may be asking why I was still there and hadn’t bolted for the door the moment I walked into his place? Sadly, the answer is I’m simply awful with confrontation, terrible at saying “no” and probably too worried to hurt another person’s feelings. I immediately put myself in their shoes and think “I’d be devastated if they did that to me!” It’s made for some arduous outings, but some great stories, too.
That said…back to this one: We walked over to a little hole in the wall that sat about ten people, max. I would’ve been fine with the establishment had I been on a date with someone I was into, but the fact that I drove all the way out to the Westside to see a glowing Ed Hardy clock and now having to continue with this dinner was getting to me. Although, the plus side was no one I knew would see us there. He ordered food for the both of us, very conscious and vocal of the carb content of each dish. I was trying really hard to get through dinner with a positive attitude, but his bedazzled belt buckles and florescent undies kept dancing around in my head. Halfway through our meal, he told me he felt that we had a very real connection and that he’d already told his mother and his grandmother about me. He waved his fork in between us and said, “You feel this. You feel this, right?” I didn’t know quite how to break it to him that all I felt was a tinge of nausea, so I just smiled. After dinner, he suggested we finish up at his favorite dessert place (a generic fro-yo shop). I told him I’d have loved to, but my throat felt like it was closing up, my head felt hot and I thought I’d better get home before I got really sick. He walked me back to my car, all the while trying to get a good-night kiss. I said I’d feel awful if I got him sick, thanked him for dinner and speedily took off in little Blueberry. Over the next two weeks, he proceeded to call, email, text, IM and picture message (photos of him in his tightey whiteys, of course) until I finally received a text that read, “I thought we had something, babe. But whatever.”
After a few more crazy encounters, I have made it a rule that we either have to Facebook or Skype one another before I will go on a date with you. I just can’t handle another reality tv reel.