Chapter 3: Why was my first online date a loser?
I get mad-mad (not angry) every time I think about this experience. Back in the late 1990s, online dating had just started. Yeah, people were probably hooking up on Blackplanet (Ah- took you back didn’t I?), but there wasn’t a real platform until then. I don’t think I was one of the early adopters, as I believe this particular site was online for a number of years before I tried it out. However, with me being in IT, the concept wasn’t anything new. Heck, in college we were always in chat rooms, playing SimCity (go Google that) or collaborating on something with people miles away.
Anyway, I developed a profile that is probably cringe-worthy if I saw it today. I chatted with this guy who I will call Mike for months before agreeing to meet with him. Mike was a stellar guy who dropped out of college to work at the local video game resale store. Quality. Mike was ‘cool people’. We had a lot of laughs and would talk on the phone all night sometimes.
Mike decided it was time to meet. There were no webcams back then nor the movie “Catfish”, so people meeting online were taking big chances. Also, cell phones were actually used for texting and talking. Ha-ha! I said texting… There was no keyboard back then so if you wanted to type the letter “c” you would have to hit the number 2 three times to cycle through the letters to get to “c”. But I digress.
Mike decided we would go to the movies. He wanted the movie to be a surprise and suggested we meet in a local parking lot and follow each other there. This should have been my first sign of disaster, but being naive to the whole process, I went along.
I took forever getting ready. I had to have the right clothes, right heels, and my hair and nails HAD to be on point. I jumped into my car and off I went to the meeting point.
Arriving there first, I had time to check my makeup. I was startled when this huge raggedy red truck pulled up next to me, honking his horn loudly. I watched as Mike leaned over to the passenger side to push open the door. Wait. He isn’t going to get out to meet me??
What the heck is this about? Confused, I got out of the car. Mike is still in his truck, engine running.
“Come on, let’s go!” Mike yelled.
“Uh, hello?” I stuttered, still surprised I am talking to this guy who seemingly refuses to get out of his car.
“What you waiting on? Get in.” Mike insisted.
Assuming this must be Mike by his recognizable voice, I decided to figure out what the rush was and what was going on.
“I’m not leaving my car in this vacant lot” I stated plainly.
“What’s the matter? I didn’t get out to open the door for you because that door doesn’t open from the outside. What are you too bougie to ride with me?” he asked.
“I don’t know you like that, playa. Isn’t this how horror movies are made?” I ask.
’Cause you know that is exactly what happens. Girl gets into a car with a strange man and the whole theater is in an uproar. DON’T GET IN THE CAR STUPID!!
Back to the story.
Mike ignored my question and told me to follow him and started to drive away. Yes, he pulled off before I was even back into my car. I hopped into my car. My smarter subconscious was begging me to go home right then, but who listens to her?
Famous last words.
We got to the theater parking lot. Mike was driving in front of me and I was following him. Mike drove to the front of the parking lot near the entrance of the theater. The parking lot was packed. I would later learn it was because all the movies had already started. Mike saw a parking space in the very front, inches from the front door. I watched his car speed into that space. I followed him, knowing there was a similar space for me. I looked around the packed parking lot. I drove a little further. Nothing.
The longer I drove the more stunned I became. Did this fool park in the only space available, leaving me to fend for myself? It was getting dark. I am still driving around. I finally found one parking space all the way in the back. I am literally in the overflow parking beyond the parking lot for the theater. I CANNOT believe this. And did my awesome date come to my rescue and walk me to the building? Not a chance. Mike was impatiently waiting for me at the door. It took me a while to even see where he was, I was so far away.
When I finally got closer, he urged me to hurry because we were late for the movie.
“You try rushing in heels, sir!” I exclaimed.
I arrived at the sidewalk leading into the building. Mike opened the door and rushed inside allowing the door to close behind him. I guess I am supposed to get this myself, I thought. Once inside, I became instantly appalled (even though this shouldn’t have been my first time being appalled). Mike is running to the box office, jumping over the ropes traditionally used to form the line. Mike is in a hurry. So much so, he blew off the people walking through the ropes (as you are supposed to do).
Yes, this fool is jumping people in line to get to the box office first. Rude. I rush to the front and beg him to allow the people he jumped in front of to go first. Reluctantly, Mike stood aside allowing those people to purchase their tickets. When it was our turn Mike said proudly, “One adult and she is a student”.
I looked around. Surely, he wasn’t talking about me. I am one year out of college. Are you really trying to get the student discounted rate off of me??? Why can’t YOU be the student, I thought.
I stood in shock. I don’t believe I got over all the other ridiculous behavior I experienced for any of this new stuff to register. I knew that I was getting angrier and angrier. At this point, I am thinking about my exit plan. I am not going to make it without cussing this guy smooth tf out.
After we got the tickets, he dragged me inside. We stopped at the concession stand once Mike realized he knew one of the employees there. He greeted his boy and proudly introduced me as his guest. Ewe.
Concessions guy was really nice. He asked Mike if there was anything he could get Mike. Mike leaned back and looked at the menu.
“I’ll take a small water and a small popcorn” Mike said.
Concessions guy looked at me in confusion and immediately left to retrieve the items. He passed them to Mike, shook his head and left just as quickly as he came. Mike began to walk to the movie theater.
Wait… was that it? Was anyone going to ask me if I wanted anything? Surely we weren’t supposed to share that dixie cup containing two sips of water! And Mike grabbed my hand pulling it towards the theater, so I guess I don’t even get to order anything either. This is some bul--
“Come on we have to go!” Mike exclaimed, interrupting my thoughts.
The theater was packed and the movie was actually already in progress. Yes, we missed all the commercials AND previews. That’s how late we were. The only two seats left in the entire theater was the very first row. I plopped into one of the seats and contorted my neck to see the screen. My goodness, I thought, shaking my head. I looked over at Mike who was smiling a huge grin. Why is he smiling? I wondered. Before I could gather my thoughts, Mike leaned over and whispered:
“Are you enjoying yourself?”
My stomach started to turn. I was about to vomit. Like real vomit. His breath smelled like… Death. WHY IN THE HELL IS HE WHISPERING? IS HE TRYING TO KILL ME? He has to know his breath is on fire.
My whole body went into survival mode. Suddenly, I had to pee. And throw up. My nose is on fire. I wanted to scream in the theater for help but I would probably be arrested for yelling “Fire” in a crowded theater.
“I have to go to the bathroom” I managed to say.
I stumbled out of my seat and made a straight line to the bathroom. I am looking too cute to mess up my outfit. I quickly looked for the sign that said “Ladies”. Panicking, I speed around the hallway and finally see it. Thank goodness. I don’t know why I suddenly have to go so urgently, but maybe once I take care of this, I can think my way out of this jam.
I cross the threshold into the Ladies bathroom and I feel someone behind me. I turn to look and it’s MIKE. Mike has followed me INTO the Ladies’ bathroom.
“What the hell are you doing in here?!?!” I yelled.
“I thought you were going to leave me, so I followed you” Mike said plainly.
“Do you realize you are IN the ladies bathroom?”
“Oh” he said pausing. “My bad”.
Mike went back in the direction of the theater and I continued into the bathroom. Once I finished, I slowly emerged from the bathroom. Before leaving that area, I had to check to ensure the hallway was clear. Once verified, I high-tailed it out of the door.
I was walking so fast, I may as well have been running. As I passed the concession stand, Mike’s friend stopped me.
“What’s wrong, where are you going?” Concessions Guy asked, seemingly concerned.
“I have to get out of here.” I said.
“Damn, that was quick. What happened?”
I looked at Concession Guy. My look must have spoken volumes because Concession Guy seemed to understand everything at that point.
“I’m sorry that happened to you, you wouldn’t be interested in going out with me? I know how to treat a woman…”
“Sorry, gotta go!” I interrupted and ran out of the theater and headed home.
Why do I have to have bad dates AND a beard? May I add that question to the list? Please?