I don't like speaking ill of another person, even if just to share a bad date experience, without a better intent. For instance, a lesson learned from the negative experience. Give me a few minutes and I'll come up with something.
If memory serves I was about 35 and he was about 40. We met on eHarmony. Now, for the record, I have met several excellent men off eHarmony. And this guy is only a little bit of an exception to the rule.
I don't really remember his name. I remember my brother called him Julio, but I don't remember why.
Online, before we met, we seemed to have plenty in common. We went through the eHarmony "steps," emailed through the site a few times, texted, and had a few phone calls. It all seemed to go well. He was divorced with a daughter, and a stepson that he had not adopted, but still considered to be his son and cared for. I was impressed with that. He was well educated and had a job with a well-known company.
We followed all of the rules for the "first-meet" date. We arranged for it to be at a public place, and had exchanged just enough personal information to feel safe. (No last names.) The public place was an outdoor mall in Utah.
Now this outdoor mall has dozens of nice restaurants, one sub-par food court, and exactly one very average chain deli. When he suggested we meet at the deli, I figured he thought it would be mostly dead (seeing as it was suppertime on a weekend), so it would be easy to spot and recognize each other. I never actually entertained the idea that he meant for us to eat there. Because who does that?
One of the few perks to getting old and dating is the dates get better. Right?? We're no longer college students at BYU without cars, stuck going to the food court for dinner. Dating Older means we have money! We can go on real dates! Good dinners! Real activities! Dating Older means nice restaurants! And actually getting to be impressed!
Things that do not impress- Jason's Deli.
Seriously, not just a deli, but a mass chain cafeteria style deli. When speaking of a date with a 40 year old man, there might be few things less impressive. But wait for it, he still had ways of lowering expectations.
The first thing he said was that I looked even younger than my pictures. Yeah, I know. I'm the anomaly of internet dating. I actually look younger in real life than my pictures. Not much I can do about that. My first impression? He looked much older than his pictures- so, basically, right on target for internet dating.
I was still trying to get comfortable and confident in those first few minutes of meeting someone in real life for the first time. It's always a little awkward, you know? And then there's just "be polite first date jitters." So when he suggested that we go into Jason's Deli and held the door open for me, I didn't think to protest.
Let's be clear. I was expecting a dinner date. Why wouldn't I? It was dinnertime! We entered a deli that had the chairs turned upside down on top of tables while someone swept and mopped the floors, in spite of the fact that they would not close for at least an hour.
He offered to buy me a drink. (For those keeping track, this is the second guy in my life who "took me out for drinks" by buying me a large soda fountain drink with a straw in it.) He got me a Sprite. (My "drink" is a Dr. Pepper, or at the very least, a Diet Coke.) Again, not really impressive.
He was a fairly stocky, big guy. Not fat, not fit, just a big guy. He took a seat at a booth (again, all of the chairs were on top of tables). In the third completely unimpressive move, he never took off his windbreaker.
Fourth unimpressive move? Not facing me at the table. I sat down across from him with my [disgusting] Sprite. He sat sideways, his feet and knees out of the booth. He sat back, one hand and his drink (a Coke, I think), on the table. He did have the decency to turn his head to look at me.
The conversation was about as dull and boring as two incompatible people can suffer through. The date lasted less than an hour. Nothing inappropriate was said. Nothing horribly stupid. Nothing I can even recall.
Finally, the one person still that still worked the dinner shift at Jason's Deli made it clear she wanted to go home. We did not hesitate to jump up and get out of there. Don't ask me why, but I do distinctly remember that he insisted on ever so politely throwing my drink out for me. (What a gentleman!)
We get outside the door, and the girl locks up and practically runs away. And then "Julio" actually tries to give me a hug. Considering he was much larger than me, I couldn't dodge it fast enough. But he doesn't give me a 'date hug.' He does the guy thump- just one thump- on my back.
And that's it. Nothing else. No further contact ever.
Sometimes bad dates are just the non-event first dates. The kind that makes you wonder why you even bother trying.
Hey You! Check out my new novels, "You Heard It Here First" and the sequel "This Just In!"