tonight i had one of the worst dates. to clarify, i don't mean just one of the worst i've had; i mean one of the worst dates to have ever occurred, right up there with one of Joran van der Sloot's dates. tonight's date was even worse than my previous reigning worst-date-ever, when a date arrived stoned out of his mind, spent the evening putting money into a jukebox and ignoring me, and then asked if he could come back to my place. (no, i didn't let him.)
and the sick part is, i saw tonight's disaster coming. when the guy -- who we'll call "Squealer," for reasons that will soon become clear -- called me this afternoon to figure out the details, i got my first warning sign. he made some crazy statement -- i can't even remember what it was because it was so nonsensical -- to which my response was, "Um... I don't know what that means." and then came the scary part, his response: "Well, GET READY because that's just the first of MANY QUIPS I've got planned for you tonight [insert squealing laughter]."
you know, i used to pre-game dates (just one drink!) out of nervousness. tonight i pre-gamed out of necessity. because after that very short phone call, i knew i'd need to be at least buzzed to deal with this guy. when Shaunice came home from work to find me drinking a glass of wine, i explained, "I just talked to my date on the phone. He has a lot more... energy than I do..." she gave me an understanding nod. i should've canceled then. why didn't i cancel then? "He's really cute, though," i told my roommate. told myself, is more like it.
when Squealer finally arrived at the bar where we were meeting, i was livid. why? because i was waiting outside in the humid, disgusting air; he was 25 minutes late and hadn't bothered to call or text. Okay, Matthew, he's taking the train. Public transportation is unreliable. Be patient, i told myself. He'll surely apologize.
as he caught my eye and walked toward me, my heart sank. Please don't be him. Please don't be him, i thought as a hipster walked toward me in the skinniest of circulation-cutting-offest jeans i've ever seen on a purported male of the species. worse, this thing was wearing a beret - A BERET!!!!!!! - and a flannel shirt that looked like something my grandma wore (yes, it was definitely a woman's. no doubt.) in the '70's. even disregarding the woman's shirt, it was 100 degrees and humid out. who is this person? and -- oh god -- why is he walking like a fashion model? Oh god, why hast thou forsaken me...
my mind raced. Is there some way I can get out of this? Can I pretend to not be me? But I waved. I can walk away and text him something polite. Too late. we said hi. shook hands. i waited for his apology for being 25 minutes late. he never apologized. for any of it. for being late. for himself. no apology.
It's fine, i thought. We can grab one, quick drink and say good-bye. Didn't work. Oh well! NEXT! but then, "Do you mind if we get a table, I haven't eaten anything." no, that wasn't the plan. that's why we-rescheduled for an hour later than planned, so that we had time to eat beforehand. Weren't you listening?? he later explained to me that he hadn't eaten anything for 36 hours, because he was on a starvation diet. i can't criticize him for this; the guy is 6'3" and skinny, so it's obviously working.
as we walked across the bar to a table, i suddenly wanted to cry. because Squealer doesn't walk. Squealer dances. Squealer bounces. Squealer saunters like he's on a catwalk. i thought for a second that he was doing the robot, or that maybe he was moving to the beat of some song i couldn't quite hear over the din of the bar. but then his arms began to swing like he was going to clap them for no reason. Oh god, don't clap. This is a straight bar. The Phillies didn't score. i was mortified. i was not smiling.
at this point i should add, for my readers who have never met me, that i'm no Russel Crowe or Sylvester Stallone. i am, in fact, a gay man. i'm not exceptionally masculine, and i don't try to be. however. i'm also not Christian Siriano (no offense, CS), whose effeminacy does not even come close to Squealer's. after much thought, the only comparison that comes close is the SNL character Stefon, played by Bill Hader. the similarities are astounding. i wish i were kidding. i really, really do.
i wasn't happy, yet i didn't want to be rude. so i did the only thing i know to do when i'm in distress. i drank. three Ketel One and seltzers in less than an hour. that's all the time it took for Squealer to devour a mound of nachos meant for three or four people (he actually squealed and clapped when the nachos were delivered to the table, and the idiot server encouraged him, saying "Yummyyyyy!"), and for me to ask the server for our check when Squealer wasn't paying attention. it wasn't the one-drink-and-ditch that i wanted, but i got us out of there quickly!
i'm skipping over a lot for the sake of brevity, but the highlights included Squealer telling me that he hates his parents ("I sssssecretly hate my parentsss."), that his family never supports anything he does, that he has to cry for an hour or two after work because his job is so emotionally stressful, that he hasn't met "anyone but lunatics online," that he has met only "guys who are only after one thing" (i asked him, "What 'one thing' are they after?" at which he squealed and laughed so loudly that the entire bar could hear him), and that he loves dancing all night at clubs and going to after-hours clubs (read: meth dens).
for most of this conversation, Squealer was sitting sideways in his chair, rather than facing me, so that i was looking at his right side profile. it's all i could do to not get up and walk out, YET i was polite. i just keep telling myself, I was polite... Good karma, I was polite. i also didn't have cash to pay for my vodkas, so i had to wait and pay with my card. that was an important deciding factor.
the interesting part about this entire mess was that squealer seemed to be just as unhappy as i was. he hadn't asked me many questions or smiled or even looked at me much. maybe he hated me right back! he didn't look like a psychotic hipster queen on his OkCupid dating profile, so maybe i didn't look like myself in mine -- "like a Republican," he later told me. yeah, after his second glass of Merlot he told me that i "look like a Republican." maybe he found me repulsive. and i should admit here that Squealer was objectively very attractive. if only he were mute, and a quadriplegic, he'd be quite tolerable.
as we left the bar, i explained that i needed to get home "before the rain." there were some clouds in the sky, and i really didn't think he'd mind, as we obviously hadn't hit it off. maybe Squealer wanted to ditch me just as much as i wanted to
yet as i was writing this, i received a text from Squealer. it says, and i quote, "Hope we can get together soon again :)"
i am changing his name in my phone: first name "Never Answer." second name "Ever."
i really wish i were making this up or at least exaggerating. i have to go cry now, and possibly delete my online dating profile.