There are absolute down sides and up sides to internet dating. A definite drawback is that a person can seem totally cool on the phone and by email and then be a presumptuous ass in person.  Dating with less personal investment does mean, though, that you can be on a date, realize that said date is a presumptuous ass and be on another outing within an hour. Sometimes it is all about speed and efficiency.

Matthew seemed very, very attractive by email. He had moved to Seattle from LA about a month prior and was looking to meet more people, preferably of the female variety. While living in LA, Matthew had worked for a very popular national music venue and his musical taste therefore, in my opinion, was top notch. Huge points. The company consolidated and Matthew got laid off but he had enough savings to travel around the world and play golf for a year. He finally got bored (it happens, right?) and got a job in Seattle working for the biggest software company in town developing their newest mp3 player. On top of being well-travelled, musically-inclined and seemingly wealthy, Matthew was a season ticket holder for the Seattle Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics. This was my kind of guy. He suggested talking by phone before meeting and, even though I am not a huge fan of a first meeting by phone, I agreed. I was already charmed by this guy.

Given a choice between meeting in person and talking on the phone I will *always* choose the former. Face-to-face is the full-meal deal and you are able to tell pretty quickly whether there is any attraction, any chemistry. Talking on the phone removes the whole aspect of whether a guy’s pheromones are going to work for you. I was green then, I tell you, so I was a little foolish. A phone call it was. Matthew called me on a Sunday night and, surprisingly, the conversation went very well. He was quick, easy, smart, had a good vocabulary and there were no awkward pauses or lapses in conversation. Matthew was an interesting guy. We talked about our families, careers, music, sports – the well of topics didn’t seem to run dry. While we were chatting, though, Matthew did suddenly gasp and swear. He had recently moved into a company-rented apartment in a trendy albeit sketchy neighborhood and  had, mid-conversation, stepped on a hypodermic needle in the carpet. Holy shit. This was a situation that I had not encountered. Matthew rolled with it, though, and asked, “Well, I was thinking of moving to a different location. I hope the Hepatitis I just contracted doesn’t make it hard to look at new places.”  Nice. I liked this guy. He asked if I wanted to meet for drinks, his treat, and I was totally, totally game.

Matthew was not that familiar with the Seattle area so I suggested a local bar/bistro for us to meet. I got there first and grabbed a table. Matthew soon walked up and I was not unhappy with the presentation. He was tall – probably 6’4” –, pretty cute and very nicely dressed. Check, check, check. He was a little heavy-set but he was able to pull it off with his height. He sat down and I could tell right away that something was…off. He disclosed, first thing, that he was sick, really sick, and had almost called to tell me he couldn’t make it. Lucky me, though, he decided to stick it out and make our date. Seriously? He looked like he was about to throw up. He was pasty and holding firmly onto the side of the table like he was on a keeling boat. Cool. This would be fun. I had experienced some pretty awful dating experiences but I had yet to have someone hurl in my lap. Internet dating – good times! Matthew was a trooper, though, and ordered a drink right off and asked to see a menu. Before I had even said more than five words, he flagged down the waitress and ordered macaroni and cheese and an order of mozzarella sticks. Well, this guy obviously had a way of dealing with nausea that was new to me. Grease! Cheese! Alcohol! Oh, my.

Regardless of the dairy, fat and carbohydrate overload, with a drink for the kicker, Matthew and I had a great conversation. Looking back I am not sure how he managed to pull it off. He was witty, funny, a little bit cocky and I was sorry to have to end the night. He managed to eat every single bit of pasta, too, and not a cheese stick was spared. In some way I was impressed. This guy didn’t mess around. Matthew walked me to my car, gave me a big hug (he also smelled fantastic) and asked if we could meet again that Sunday to watch a little football. Yes and yes. And yes. If he was this charming when he was sick I couldn’t wait to see him recuperated. And there would be NFL in the background? This was turning out quite well. Sunday could not come fast enough.

Matthew and I decided to meet at a local sports bar around 1 p.m. and, again, my experience with drinking early on a Sunday did not go well (see Trent).  From the moment I sat down there was nothing but awkwardness. I tried to make some conversation but it was clear that Matthew did not want to be there. He kept looking everywhere but at me and his replies were never more than five words. What was I missing? Was this the same guy? We both ordered drinks and I waited for the alcohol to set in. Maybe he just needed to loosen up, get a little relaxed. The libations did help him talk but it only succeeded in making him show himself to be a complete jerk. Within ten minutes, he proceeded to brag about all his fantasy football successes, the amazing amount of money he was making, the five cars that he was going to buy and the five cougars he had recently had to fend off at the Ruth Chris. This was early 2008 and the term for ‘middle-aged lady on the prowl for young man meat’ hadn’t yet come into the popular lexicon. I wasn’t sure how he had encountered jungle cats at a steakhouse but he quickly cleared it up. “I cannot go ANYWHERE without those old bitches swooping in on me from every angle!” I started to laugh because he clearly had to be joking but, no, no, he was serious. “Jesus Christ. They are like a plague. A guy has a little success, some money, good looks – I am just doomed.” Had this guy forgotten he was on a date? With a girl? I was absolutely speechless. To this day I think Matthew had multiple personalities. I know he was ill the first time we met but that simply did not explain this shift in behavior. Again, silence fell on the table and I quickly finished my drink and stood up to go. I thought I was going to have to come up with some reason for my hasty departure but Matthew didn’t even look at me. I said something about helping pay the tab and he, not even glancing my direction, said, “Don’t worry about it. That’s cool. Later.” I made a beeline for the exit and that was the last I ever saw of Matthew. He never called or emailed and I never saw him active on Match again. Maybe that Hepatitis did eventually take him down and was, maybe, responsible for the Jekyll and Hyde performance. That is what I tell myself.

If there is one thing that dating online is good for it is giving a girl some thick skin. Did I want to cry as I left that sports bar? Yes. Did I wonder if there was something inherently wrong with me that made it impossible for a guy to find me attractive or endearing? It may have crossed my mind. But the thing is you never, ever know what a prospective date is dragging along as baggage when they come into your life. Taking anything too personally is a sure way to end up in very lonely and bitter place that I did not want to be. So what is the answer? Move on, and quickly, and try not to get hurt feelings. Ethan, a medical resident at the University of Washington, had sent me a couple of emails and, just that morning, he had included his cell phone number along with a request for a cocktail with me sometime. I got in the car, erased Matthew’s number from my phone and gave Ethan a call. I asked if he would be up for that drink in about an hour and he agreed. Matthew? Matthew who? Maybe the cougars did get him in the end.

Published in: Uncategorized on August 25, 2010 at 4:42 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Your dating stories remind me of some of my own awkward dating experiences that I encountered here in the Seattle area. Though these stories are entertaining to read going actually through those experiences isn’t pretty. Thanks for sharing these stories.

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