With Valentine's Day looming and seeing that I will not have a Valentine this year, I decided to look back on ghosts of dating past and determine if I really am worse off.
It reminded me of one particular date I went on a few years ago.
As a relatively young, single professional woman who spends countless hours working, I realized it had become hard to meet potential suitors.
When you work most of the day it's difficult keep in touch with friends, let alone meet new people. So at the suggestion of my sister, I decided to update a profile on an online dating site and see what happened.
It wasn't long before I was interacting with a couple of men, sending messages online and chatting on the phone. After a week or so, one man, who we will call Cleetus (this may or may not have really been his name), suggested we catch a movie. I thought, why not? This is why I joined the online dating site after all, right? To go on dates.
But do remember that I am a journalist. After getting his first and last name I ran him through the Maryland Judiciary Case Search (which came back clean) and gave his contact information as well as the time and location of my date to my sister for safety purposes.
(Shameless plug, my sister co-wrote a book about dating online and our method was highlighted in the safety chapter. Check it out if you're interested: Don't Do What We Did! A Conversation About Online Dating With an Ex-Not-Quite Couple Who Met on the Internet.)
We met about an hour before the movie was scheduled to start—it would have been an hour-and-a-half had he not been about 30 minutes late—and walked to a nearby pizza shop to grab some food. Aside from his tardiness, everything was normal.
It wasn't until we started chatting over our pizza that I started to worry. The first issue was that he didn't make eye contact with me the entire date. He would look at his hands. Or at his food. Or over my shoulder. It really lived up to the stereotype of online dating sites being filled with socially awkward people who couldn't get a date otherwise. I like to think I do well in social situations (those who know me can chime in). But with his behavior, I was concerned.
He began to tell me about himself. His most recent ex-girlfriend moved from Maryland to Boston almost a year before our meeting and cheated on him and got pregnant by another man. He, however, stood by her and it wasn't until she became addicted to cocaine that he thought it best he cut it off.
Then came the kicker. Those who know me know that I am bi-racial. My mother is black from New York (though we have many ethnicities mixed in on my mother's side, ranging from Puerto Rican to Irish) and my father is from India. Cleetus was of Portuguese descent. Cool, I thought. My cousin is married to a Portugeuse woman.
Boy was I wrong. Cleetus proceeded to tell me how it was his goal to sleep with someone from every ethnicity and had checked off quite a few boxes on his personal census form.
I was floored. How was I supposed to react to that? Did he think he would get two-for-one with me since I am bi-racial? Did he think I would say, "Hey that's a great idea, let me help you check off another box?"
All I could do was nod politely, sit through the movie—with my skin crawling through the entire thing—and thank him for the date, walking off completely mind-blown by what I'd just encountered.
I'm sure you guessed I never saw him again—I did not give him the double-census check he seemed to be hoping for.
So as single women everywhere lament the fact that they will be alone, I can honestly say it could be worse.
But now, I wonder how Cleetus is coming along with his goal?
Have you had a horrible first date experience? I can't be the only one. Tell me about it in the comments (and feel free to change the names of the innocent, or not-so-innocent).