April Fools #5: Want to hang out?
I am guilty of a sin that I’m sure everyone has committed at least once in his or her dating life: I double-booked. This is a terrible mistake to make, because instead of just one crappy date per evening, you can have two.
I met Martin on Match.com (natch) and when I replied to his initial email, he replied back within minutes. That’s always a good sign. Or so I thought. We emailed back and forth on a Friday in late June and I suggested that we meet for drinks that night. He went so far as to suggest that we have a small barbecue at his place. Now, conventional dating wisdom says that you shouldn’t go to a guy’s place right away, but I’m of the mindset that that’s a little paranoid. Where do you reach the point when it’s magically OK to have dinner at someone’s house? Someone can be just as much of a murdering rapist on the third date as on the first. Not all psychos are easy to pick out. Let’s not forget that Ted Bundy was a really fucking charming guy who wasn’t bad-looking.
Just in case, this was the start of my habit of leaving a note in my apartment with the contact info of who I am meeting, along with when and where. I don’t have a roommate, so I figure that doing this will at least give the police a clue if I wind up dead in a ditch somewhere.
Right after Martin suggested cooking dinner for me at his place and I replied that I’d be up for it, Tim, another Matchelor that I’d been communicating with, suggested drinks at the Harvest Moon that same night. We’d been trying to find a convenient time for over a week and that night was the only opening I had. My friend’s band was playing in East Windsor at midnight that night, and I’d already let Martin know that I’d probably go to that afterwards, but didn’t extend the invitation to him. That way I had a built in “out” if I needed to bail on either guy. So I agreed to meet Martin at 7 and Tim at 10:30.
Martin lived in Princeton and Google Maps gave me extremely screwed up directions to his condo. I was almost an hour late and thus felt a little rushed. I arrived at his door and felt like I should hit a stopwatch and tell him we had exactly two hours to get this date done.
Martin had a lovely British accent, but based on his voice on the phone (I’d called him when I got lost), I knew instantly he wasn’t what I had thought he might be. I met him at his door and he was cute…in a chipmunk sort of way. That sucked that his pictures were a bit deceiving (again, mugshots, people. They save everyone a lot of time and heartache). I wasn’t terribly attracted, but I liked hearing him talk. He made me apple and chicken sausages on the grill and we ate Whole Foods potato salad and an olive and roasted red pepper salad. A good dinner, but not the real cooking he’d promised. Anyone can scoop stuff out of deli containers onto a plate.
After eating, we sat on his couch, talked, and sipped a bottle of red. Martin admitted it was terribly dorky of him, but he wanted to play board games. Sorry! is his favorite. So he busted that out and we played but didn’t finish the game. Instead, he showed me some funny videos on his laptop and he smoked a couple of cigarettes. He kept playing with my hair and flirting, and I must have had some wine goggles on, because he did get a bit more attractive. Enough so that when he kissed me I didn’t try to avoid him.
I had to get out by ten to make it back up to New Brunswick to meet Tim, who had texted that he was on his way. So at 5 to ten I made my escape, giving Martin the excuse that friends had wanted to get together at the bar before seeing the band play. Which was entirely true. I just wasn’t going to that. He tried to get me to stay, but obviously, I didn’t. So in itself, the date with Martin wasn’t altogether unpleasant. I had enjoyed myself and was considering seeing him again.
I hustled back up to New Brunswick and waited outside of the ‘Moon for Tim. The place was packed for an event, and I checked my phone as I waited. Already two texts from Martin telling me he had a good time. The first was sent at about the time I was pulling out of his parking lot. I looked up just in time to see Tim coming from across the street. And before he even opened his mouth, everything about him read GAY. It was in the way he walked, and when he talked, there it was. His mannerisms, voice, everything was setting my gaydar off.
Tim’s company wasn’t unpleasant either, but I just couldn’t imagine dating a guy who was so effeminate and stereotypically mincing. I don’t think I was his type at all, but I don’t think he knew that. Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.
I didn’t make it to my friend’s band’s show. The mental exhaustion of two dates wiped me out so I went right home and into bed. When I checked my email the next day, Martin had sent me a message asking if I wanted to “hang out” and watch a soccer match at 11 a.m. Considering it was 2 p.m. by that time, I figured he knew my answer was no. I emailed him back thanking him for dinner. He emailed me back four more times. Once to tell me we didn’t finish our game of Sorry!, once to find out what I was doing that night, then replied to me saying that “we should hang out” if my planned poker game with friends ended early, and then once to know if I wanted to come down to Princeton Sunday morning to watch a soccer match with him and his mates at the pub. I didn’t get that last one until about 1 the next afternoon, far after it was over. Then he emailed again, wanting to know if I could come down to “hang out” and celebrate the win with him. The only way this wouldn’t have been annoying was if I was as completely enamored of him as he seemed to be with me. And I wasn’t. Nice guy, but OMG, give me some space.
A few minutes after checking my email Sunday afternoon, Martin emailed to see if he could cook for me again that week. I was inclined to reply telling him I was busy and not to email me anymore. However, I wanted to couch it in terms a lot softer than that. The constant emails had ruined any attraction I might have had to him.
That Monday I went onto Match to check my messages. I saw that Martin was also online and I immediately logged off. Two minutes later I got a new email:
How are you? What are you up to? I’m working from home today…want to hang out?
Oh, sweet Jesus. This was email #11 in 48 hours. I’d replied to his email about cooking for me the day before by writing “Hmm…I don’t know. I’m booked every night through the 4th of July. If anything changes, I’ll let you know.” Was that too subtle? Apparently. I figured I had to be more direct:
Martin! Dude! Stop it already! I have a very busy life and can’t just drop everything to “hang out.” Subtlety is obviously not working here, so let me just say it: Your many emails are annoying the fuck out of me. I had a good time the other night but it’s been completely canceled out by your barrage of messages. I have a busy work life as well as a busy personal life. You’re not the only person I’ve seen lately, and your neediness is putting you at the bottom of the pack. I’m a very independent person and don’t like to be bothered that much. So please, leave me alone. You blew it.
I hit “send” before I lost my nerve. I’m aware that made me a bit of an asshole, but when a guy causes you to cringe every time you check your inbox, something has to be done. It worked. I never heard from him again. At least, not until he tried to add me as a friend on Facebook a year ago. That was one request I was more than happy to ignore.