It wouldn’t be healthy living without a good laugh occasionally, and for that, I turn to my dating life!
I got divorced several years ago, ending twenty-two years of marriage. The thought of dating again was horrifying to me. At the time, I was in my late forties. I couldn’t imagine meeting someone new and starting all over and even if I wanted to, how and where? I’m not big on the bar scene and I don’t have many single friends to go out with anyway. Eventually, one of my friends talked me into joining an online dating site. I suddenly found myself back in the dating pond, fishing for a good catch.
I’ve used online dating sites off and on for several years and I’ve started calling it the shark tank instead of the dating pond. It can be brutal out there! It reminds me of the TV show, Shark Tank. People bring in a product they’ve invented or an idea they are trying to sell and they try to get the business tycoon “sharks” to agree to finance them. If the sharks don’t think the people have what it takes to make the business work or the product doesn’t seem like a winner, they give the person an explanation and then say, “And for that reason, I’m out!” So I read someone’s online profile until I find something that just won’t work for me and then I say to myself, “and for that reason, I’m out!” Sometimes it takes meeting them or even a date or two before I say, “I’m out!”
I’ve had both good and bad experiences online but one bad date that goes down in my record book as the worst date I’ve ever been on, was with a guy I met on OKCupid. He was fifty-seven which was a little older than what I was hoping for but I liked what I saw in his profile. I had some of my friends check out his profile and they all agreed he seemed like a good possibility. After messaging back and forth on the site a few times we exchanged numbers.
The first time we talked on the phone he mentioned he had just come in from chopping wood. Oh my, I thought, he must be fit! He told me he was retired, had several grown kids and even a few grandkids. He likes bicycling, gardening, refinishing old furniture. It seemed like we had similar interests and he sounded nice so I agreed to meet him the next evening for ice cream.
He was kind of handsome for an older guy. He looked to be in good shape, his arms were toned and tan and he had a full head of salt and pepper hair. His teeth were clean and white and he had hazel-brown eyes with long dark lashes. I was pleasantly surprised! He definitely seemed like a possibility! We sat on a park bench and ate our ice cream and chatted.
We shared a love of gardening and he told me about tearing up the patio at his mother’s house and how he built her a retaining wall using the broken pieces of concrete from the patio. He said he had also dug up and transplanted a bunch of plants around the wall. I couldn’t help but think what good shape he must be in to do all of that! (And let’s not forget the wood chopping the other day!) I was definitely interested. I even had a hard time focusing on our conversation at times because I was busy thinking about whether his mouth looked kissable and admiring his lovely dark eyelashes! I couldn’t help the big smile on my face while he chatted away. Who cares if he’s a few years older, right???
Eventually the conversation rolled on to other subjects such as his back problems. He injured his back while he was working at a warehouse and that eventually led to having back surgery. He said he had never fully recovered and hadn’t been able to go back to work after that. The warehouse let him go and he’s been unemployed for two years, (not retired, like he told me before). It was right about then that I started to think maybe he was a little too old for me! No worries about his income though, he said, because he’s in the process of applying for disability. The images of him chopping wood, bicycling, busting up a concrete patio and building a retaining wall were flashing through my mind. If that qualifies for disability, sign me up! Silently I tried to sort out when it was that he said he had become disabled, was it before or after the patio project? Through the jumble of thoughts in my head I heard him asking me if he had mentioned that he lives with his mom? I think that was probably the point where I fell off my unicorn. 😮
As we were finishing our ice cream cones he casually asked if I was looking to eventually live with or get married to someone again. Eeeeekkk! (That was my mental brakes screeching.) Who brings up the “M” word at a first meeting? I told him I didn’t have any specific agenda in mind. I prefer to just let nature take its course.
Being somewhat of a newbie at dating I wasn’t sure what to think of him. He was kind of cute and we did have a lot of similar interests. But he lives with his mom, and when did his back injury happen? Was it after he dug up the patio? I hate to judge someone who may just be going through some tough circumstances. When I thought about it, if I lost my job I could end up living with my mother.
Later, I talked it over with some friends. They pointed out the fact that maybe his mother was ill and he was living with her so he could help take care of her. Well, that would make him a sweetheart, wouldn’t it? They also suggested maybe he could have retirement income from a former job that he’s scraping by on since he’s been unemployed. They all thought I should get to know him a little better before I just wrote him off. I have, since then, decided that my friends encourage me to do these things because they secretly enjoy the crazy story that is sure to follow!
Garbageguy (you’ll understand the name after I tell you about the date) called and invited me out to dinner at this great little place in town that had an outdoor patio and live music after dinner. I accepted the invitation. He didn’t mention anything about paying separately but considering Garbageguy’s circumstances, I was fully prepared to pay my own way if he asked. I hoped his mom wasn’t paying for the date!
He suggested I come by his
mom’s house and we could ride to the restaurant together since he lived on my route to the place. I agreed (rookie mistake). He was waiting in the driveway for me when I arrived and just jumped in my car when I got there, never offering to take his car the rest of the way. I had to assume maybe his mom wouldn’t let him borrow the car that night or something. 🙄
I asked him how he had spent the day and he said he’d been out picking up cans along the road. He told me he likes to do his part to keep the roads clean. (I immediately pictured him in a cape and tights, strutting down the side of the road picking up cans like a superhero.) He said he gets pretty hot and sweaty, even admitting he sweats a lot and he’d worn a black shirt that day which made him sweat even more. Good to know! Who doesn’t love a sweater???
He gave me an earful of driving instructions from the passenger seat on our way to the restaurant, including which route to take, how fast I should go and once, when the light turned green he shouted, “Goooo! Go, Go, Go!” If he’s such a great driver then why didn’t he just drive himself? Then he had the nerve to ask me if I know what they say about women who drive little red cars like mine? He said you’re just trying to say “Here I am! Look at me! I’m sexy!”
At this point I’m pretty pissed and we’re only ten minutes into our date! I am an Irish girl but my Irish temper rarely makes an appearance. In fact I imagine that most of the time my Irish temper is slung across a chaise lounge in the back of my brain, wrapped in her bathrobe, drinking wine, completely clueless of the fact that we should be pissed off about something. But after he made that statement my Irish temper slammed her glass of wine down on the table and cocked her eyebrow. 😡
After my driving lesson was over we arrived at our destination (in one piece, I might add) and chose an outdoor table on the patio. I ordered water, he ordered a Captain & Coke. He had told me at our first meeting that he rarely drinks but apparently he felt the need to calm his nerves after that terrifying drive to the restaurant. He immediately launched into a conversation about his roadside can collecting that dragged on for about a half-hour. He wowed me with heroic tales of how he saves the highway department money by picking up cans and saves drivers who could get flat tires by driving over those sharp pieces of metal. I also learned that a 50 gallon garbage bag full of cans is worth $5 to $7. This heroic man has turned in at least 50 to 60 of those bags! Do the math people!
No, that’s not all, not by a long shot! He also rides his bicycle around town and digs through dumpsters looking for cans and metal and other items that he cleans up and sells on Craigslist. Tools, dishes, anything that looks like it would sell. He recently found some Mickey Mouse cake pans that he was able to sell for $40. There was a long list of items but I’ll spare you the details in case you’ve made any Craigslist purchases lately! He passed on a little tip to me that I will share with you just in case you want to do a little dumpster diving yourself. The dumpsters at the parks are loaded with cans! He said he just dumps the bags of garbage out in the dumpster and picks the cans out of the garbage and scoops what’s left back into the bag. (Apparently he likes to keep a tidy dumpster.) Easy-peasy! It amazed me that riding his bicycle, climbing into all those dumpsters and bending over for hours at a time picking through garbage didn’t bother his back. I was blown away by the fact he would even spend the extra time to scoop the garbage back into the bag! Hero!!! The thought of him wading about in bags of bathroom waste and rotting food was a complete turn on. And what a bonus that this heroic and lucrative work doesn’t bother his back like any other type of job would. I’d hate to think he didn’t have any way to earn an income. And doesn’t this sound way c̶r̶a̶z̶i̶e̶r̶ easier than having a real job? I kept glancing at the neighboring tables out of the corner of my eye, hoping they couldn’t overhear this conversation.
He continued to talk about himself throughout our entire dinner. He never once asked anything about me or my life. He criticized his ex-wife and ex-girlfriend for their numerous faults and blamed much of his current situation on them. He even had the nerve to bash his mother a few times. The mother who was letting her fifty-seven year old son live with her after he lost his job and his girlfriend and had no place else to go. I’m sure she’s a horrible woman and isn’t it about time this poor man catches a break in life???
Garbageguy also follows astrology so he checked out how we stack up on the zodiac chart. I am a Gemini on the cusp of being a Taurus and he is a Sagittarius on the cusp of being a Scorpio. We are complete opposites which somehow makes us a great match! He also told me he loves our chemistry and is perfectly happy not to see anyone else. You mean to tell me I blew away the competition already??? I was sure there was a long line of women clamoring for his attention. It was amazing to think I could make that big of an impression in the first hour of our first date! It must be true love!
Garbageguy proceeded to order five Captain & Cokes over the course of the two hours we were there. Only top shelf liquor for this unemployed man who rarely drinks! I couldn’t wait to see what the bill was going to add up to at the end of the date. Did his mom give him enough allowance to cover it? Would he expect me to pay? Would he leave the waitress a bag of recyclables for a tip? I think she did have a red shirt on and you know what they say about women who wear red shirts!
Let’s face it, most women are just crap! Where would we be without great men like him? I felt like such a fool sitting there with this scammer. I prayed that no one I knew would see me there with him. He was just a lunatic trying to con a woman into taking care of him. He was applying for disability when he was very obviously capable of working. Besides being a liar, he was a rude, clueless, bitter person and I would have to say his marbles were definitely rolling to one side!
I think there should be warning flags on the dating site for guys like this. Sort of like customer ratings on consumer websites. I was polite enough to sit there and endure his lunacy but couldn’t wait for the date to end so I could get away from him. I thought about going to the bathroom and not coming back but I just couldn’t bring myself to be that mean. When the waitress handed him the bill his eyes popped and he gasped, clutching his chest as if he were having a heart attack! I’m sure everyone around us heard him and I wanted to slither under the table. I was mortified! I offered, red-faced and utterly disgusted, to pay for mine and he begrudgingly said no. All he would have had to do was let me know when he made the date that we would each pay for our own or he could have told the waitress when she took our order that we wanted separate checks. I was laughing on the inside because I knew the reason his bill was so high was because of all of those Captain & Cokes. Dummy! Blew his whole dumpster pay-check in one night! 😂
I dropped him off at his
mom’s house and sure enough he leaned over and tried to kiss me! Eeeuuuu! No thanks Garbage Lips! I avoided it by turning my head the other way and leaning towards my door. Think he got the hint? I thanked him for the dinner and sped away into the night, thinking to myself, Goooo! Go, Go, Go!
The next day I sent him a text: “It was
not nice meeting you but it just wasn’t a match for me. Good luck in your search you’re gonna need it! He responded with some hateful messages about how awful women, like me, just use men to have a free night out and how I let him spend $50 on me when I knew I had no intention of seeing him again.
He may have spent $50 on Captain & Cokes but my salad and drink came to less than $15. I told him I would give him $20 to cover the cost of my dinner. I hate to think there might be a lunatic dumpster diver out there looking to seek revenge on me!
I met Garbageguy in the parking lot of the same restaurant we had dinner at. A friend, fearing for my safety, drove me there and waited while I handed over the refund to my angry and less-than-satisfied date.
The lessons I took away from that experience were many. First, trust your initial instincts when you meet someone! If you find yourself questioning anything, walk away and don’t look back! Second, meet your date at the restaurant, don’t pick him up and don’t let him pick you up! If you drive separately you can always make a quick get away, and don’t be polite like I was. Just get the hell outta there!!! Third, find out up front if you will be paying your own way to avoid having to meet him again for a refund. And last but not least, I learned that I’m really not that lonely and so…