My dating life before I met Mark was a disaster. A train wreck. No… a plane crash INTO a train wreck. I’m sure some of my readers can relate. Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince (or princess). So here are four stories about me getting dumped, and one story about being chased off by a crazy stalker. My Douchebag Meter was definitely broken…
#5 – Don’t Crap Where You Eat
Dating someone you work with is ALWAYS a BAD IDEA. Always. And even though I’d done it before and it had blown up in my face, when the company I worked for was bought out by Smart & Final, I agreed to go to lunch with one of the outside salesmen. He was super handsome with sky-blue eyes and we’d met at the trade show put on by our company. I figured lunch was a fine idea. (Famous last words…)
He took me to Mallards in Stockton, which was impressive because it was pricey and nice. We did the whole “So tell me about yourself” thing, and when it was his turn to talk about himself, the first thing he said was that he was married.
“You’re … married?”
“Yes, but I see other people. After my wife had our children she really let herself go. She got fat and she doesn’t take care of herself. So I deserve to have sex with other people. I told her that.”
Was this guy for real? And was I wearing a sign that said, “Open for business, married men welcome”? I swear, I was a married man magnet. They were always hitting on me at work, and I usually bounced them off my Wonderwoman-like bracelets! *POW POW POW* This time I was duped. I told him I didn’t date married men, which he didn’t understand at all because his wife was aware that she was fat and he didn’t want her anymore.
From that point onward I was more careful, making it a point to check men’s marital status. I’d like to say I never dated anyone I worked with again, but I’d be lying because I was a friggin’ idiot.
#4 – An Officer & a Gentleman
OK, this one is pretty sad… And not actually HIS fault, but “HER” fault.
When I worked at a produce distribution company I started photographing a local band and I was dating their manager. He REALLY really liked me and the only reason I went out with him was because he got one of my coworkers to invite me to one of the band’s gigs. He was a cool, nice guy, and very respectful. He didn’t treat me like a piece of meat like so many other men had.
Flash forward a month, I was shooting another gig for the band in a dark little bar with Barbie’s hanging in nooses from the ceiling. (Qquite symbolic of my love life.) During the set break I went to the bar to get some water and a girl with a lot of makeup and long fake nails said she wanted to talk to me.
She said, “I just want you to know, M. and I have been together on and off for a very long time.”
I shrugged. “OK.” M. and I were new, and although I liked him and he was a nice guy, I didn’t have that get-away-from-him-you-witch lust for him like she did.
“We talked about getting married. So we’re probably getting married. So back off.”
I nodded and said, “OK. I’ll back off.” After all, her fingernails scared me.
After that didn’t return M.’s calls. When he came into my work I blew him off. I mean, I pretty much thought he had made a decision between the two of us and he’d chosen her. I had to respect that.
I didn’t talk to him for about a year. Then one day I was walking into my office (a trailer on site), and M. walked up to me, decked out in Military whites. I grinned and said, “Hi! I haven’t talked to you in forever! How are you?!”
He looked … sad. Sad isn’t even the word. Supersad. He said, “I just wanted to tell you I’m leaving on tour. I joined the military.”
“Oh, good for you! I’m happy for you!”
“I had to say goodbye.”
“Why?” I was confused. Why did this guy I hadn’t seen in a forever show up out of nowhere?
“I just had to say goodbye to you.”
“Oh. OK.” After a bit of an awkward silence I said, “Did you get married?”
“What???” Now THAT was one confused dude. He had no idea what I was talking about.
“I met your fiancé. At the last gig I did for the band at X bar.”
“I didn’t have a fiancé.”
“There was a girl sitting at the bar with long dark hair. She said her name was S. She said you guys were getting married. That’s why I stopped going out with you.”
I swear, I thought he was going to cry. For reals. He was devastated. “She was my ex-girlfriend. We were never engaged.”
“Oh…” I felt like a giant jerk face. I know I should’ve asked him about it when she talked to me, but I don’t like confrontation and so it was easier to just walk away. And I’d been cheated on in the past, so I didn’t want to be the other woman.
So because I didn’t confirm her story with him, but instead blindly listened to a crazy white female, I hurt a very nice guy. Honestly, we weren’t right for each other, and I knew that, and that’s part of the reason I just … left. But we could’ve stopped dating with a conversation and closure instead of me just dumping him on his butt. So that gig at the bar was one of the worst dates ever.
#3 – Bush or Bust
I did some online dating when I was younger (see #5), and I met what seemed like a nice guy from Reno, who we will call Mr. Bush Douchebag. We talked for hours on the phone and had great conversations, and when we met in person we got along well. We both had tickets to the Bush concert in San Francisco, so my friends and his friends met there. In an instant, the guy turned into an octopus. I’m not sure if it was the music or my leather pants or what, because he didn’t do that the first time we met. But at the concert, he groped me the entire time. We went out to the bar to get fresh drinks, and he was grabbing me and trying to kiss me, which I thwarted. I barely knew this guy, and I’d made mistakes in my past that I was determined to not make again.
I could tell that his two female friends didn’t like me and I had a feeling something was going to go awry. I was correct. The next day he called me to tell me he didn’t want to see me anymore because I was too pretty. Oh yeah, you read that right! He said he liked really plain girls, like one of the girls that was with him at the concert. Did she have a problem with him trying to get with someone else? Or did he dump me because I wouldn’t let him make out with me on our second date? Or was it a combo of the two? One of the great questions of our time…
Here’s to you Mr. Bush Douchebag! Last I heard you were still single!
#2 – The Italian Job
This one is particularly humiliating and guaranteed to make you feel better about your dating life…
I had been set up with a cute Italian guy by one of my friends. On first meet, at a casual get-together at a friend’s house, it was kind of awkward. He kept making sexual jokes about things being “ribbed for her pleasure.” Being the young girl I was, I ignored this red flag. You know, because I was a freakin’ genius.
Even though things didn’t go swimmingly, he decided to “give me another chance” and we set up a date to go into the city and eat in North Beach. We met at my grandmother’s house and went from there, which was a BAD idea because I was stuck in a car with this guy.
Dinner was actually really great. We talked and laughed and there were no lulls in the conversation. I thought we were getting along well. Although I was put off by his description of an ex he had dumped… “She got REALLY FAT. Dodged that bullet.” We went across the street to a bakery for tiramisu (because when in North Beach, you must do so). As we were eating our desserts, he proceeded to tell me that oral sex was a requirement of whoever he married. It was not optional and had to be a regular thing. I thought, ‘Gee, that’s interesting first date talk…’ I was turned off for sure. But the kicker, the thing that REALLY hurt my feelings, was when he said he didn’t want to see me again, then, “Really, what I want is someone with a perfect body. Wouldn’t it be nice to have that in your bed?” That is a direct quote. I’ll never forget that as long as I live.
I went into the cramped little bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror, every flaw quite clear. I was a size 8, and in my mind, clearly overweight. When I came out we left and I sobbed the whole half hour back to my car.
The following Monday at work, he contacted me on messenger and said the way I looked had nothing to do with why he didn’t want to be with me. He didn’t want to be with me because I had a horrible personality and he thought I was a big B. Then he gave me a list of psychiatrists and told me to call one because I was emotionally unstable.
He married a flight attendant who gained 100 pounds after having their first child.
#1 – The Night the Lights Went Out in Austin
And the NUMBER ONE worst date of my LIFE … (drum roll please) … Was the time a guy flew me to Texas and then dumped me while I was there!
This one is a pretty long story, but I’ll try to hit the high points. I met Mr. Artist online and we became quick friends. I liked him a LOT. We talked every day for three months, and when I was sick with bronchitis he sent me flowers. I wasn’t talking to anyone else and he wasn’t talking to anyone else… So I thought we were dating. Especially when he came to visit from Austin and he took me out on several dates, or what I THOUGHT were dates.
We got along really well while he was here, even though he was a total music snob. We always had to listen to his CDs from Iceland or Romania or another weird place in the car, and the one time I put in a CD, he rolled his eyes and two songs in said in a very snobby way, “Are we done with this?” as if I was a child. What??? Who doesn’t like Player!? I should’ve known he was shady…
He went home without any conversation about if we were going to continue seeing each other or not, but we kept talking every day. We decided I’d come visit him in Austin about two months later, and he even purchased my ticket. We had a great time too, except when he insisted he show me the capital and I had zero interest in seeing the capital. Or the dead botanical garden in July. But he paid for all of my meals and when we were at the River Walk and I was buying gifts for my friends, he purchased a bracelet for me. He even had framed photos of me in his apartment. I’m seeing these as all good signs! But the next day is when things really went awry…
It was my last day there and we’d had no conversation about our relationship. We went to an art gallery and he was aloof. We went to lunch at a hip café and I knew I had to bring it up because my flight was in three hours and he clearly wasn’t going to. I asked him where we were going from there. He stammered…
“What are we?” I insisted. I’d invested six months in this guy and I couldn’t sit around and pretend to be a piece of furniture in his life any more.
“I… uhhh… Well…” he stammered.
I knew what was happening… He had waited until we were in a public place to dump me. Why do guys love to dump women in restaurants? Regretfully, this wasn’t the first time this had happened, and you know what??? NOBODY PUTS BABY IN A CORNER!!!
I slammed my hand on the table and shouted, “Open your mouth and say the words!” The crowded restaurant looked at us and I swear I heard crickets.
“I think we are better as just friends,” he said.
I brought up the six months of talking, the flowers and all the gifts, and him flying me out to see him. His answer was, “We were never dating. We were just friends.”
The past six months had been a figment of my imagination. That tunnel vision thing happened and when the waitress came back and saw I’d only taken one bite of my food she awkwardly asked if I’d like it boxed up and I said no.
On the ride back to his apartment Jeff Buckley was in the CD player and I immediately started to cry. Then at his apartment I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for an hour and a half. When I came out he was crying too. I know he felt terrible, but it would’ve been nice if he’d thought about that like five months before. Before he flew me to Texas and paid for all my meals, given me a bottle of wine, and bought me a bracelet.
He drove me to the airport and I cried the whole way to Denver, the capillaries in my eyes bursting from the pressure. I think people on the plane thought someone had died.
He emailed me the following Monday like nothing had ever happened and I told him to leave me alone. A week later I saw that he was using a photo of us, with me cut out of it, on his web site where he met girls. I emailed him and said, “How do you think that makes me feel?” He took it down.
I spent four weeks going from work to my bed and back. I was humiliated and just wanted to crawl under a rock and die. But even now I blame myself for this. I ignored the red flags – his talking about his ex girlfriend constantly, his lack of physical affection, and how when I arrived in Austin no one but his best friend knew I existed. I’m such an IDIOT! And I had a hard time trusting anyone again, including Mark when I met him.
The Bottom Line
I didn’t want to be all Debbie Downer today, so I wanted to share the BEST date of my life! It was, of course, with Mark. He flew in from Kansas City and I took him to San Francisco after I picked him up at the airport. It was our first official date, as we’d been talking on the phone for two months straight. He’s Italian also, so we went to dinner in North Beach. He snuck a pair of diamond stud earrings under my napkin while I was in the bathroom, and I still wear them every day. After dinner I took him to the Palace of Fine Arts, which is SPECTACULAR at night. I’d wanted to get married there since I was eight years old. We shared our first kiss under the rotunda, where we were married the following April. Eleven years later, and I love him more than ever.
It’s OK that I dated a lot of frogs, because if I hadn’t been dumped by them, I wouldn’t have met my prince! I love you Mark!