Guys, I’m retiring. Not from my job, working out, knitting or any of the other stuff I enjoy, but from the thing I hate the most: dating. I don’t want a send off speech or a roast highlighting my greatest failures and I certainly don’t want to sit through a highlight reel of the same. I just want to walk away quietly. No Hall of Fame induction or pomp and circumstance.Just poof! Gone!
Maybe retiring is too extreme and I am taking one of those Michael Jordan baseball hiatuses, but that would mean that dating was fun and I was hugely successful. I guess I’m b-ball Michael Jordan then because I am far more successful and happier not dating, I think. Look, all I know is that whatever incarnation of Michael Jordan I am, Ghost Cat is Scottie Pippen.
Let me tell you how I got here. I’m no stranger to sharing the trials and tribulations that has been my dating life. I believe that sharing experiences and being honest about things can open up important discussions. I should preface this by saying that I’ve met some wonderful guys. Smart, kind, funny, but those didn’t work out and that’s fine. I’m not going to hit it off with everyone. I can be difficult, annoying, etc just like everyone else. It’s what makes the world great!
Last Friday night I hit my breaking point in this process. I went out with a guy who teachers at [ivy league school]. Prior to that he did his undergrad at [a different ivy league school], his masters at [another ivy league school] and spent the last few years teaching at [yet another ivy league school.]. He interrupted me constantly, judged me, ignored me and was endlessly rude, but it was hilarious. And I want to share some highlights with you. (We’ll get to that.)
I recently finished reading Aziz Ansari’s Modern Love. It was a fascinating study of how technology has changed how people date, their expectations and what they think they want in a partner. I loved it and most of it resonated with me as I have gone through this process. I don’t mind texting being the primary form of communication or even having to go through channels like okCupid and weeding out creepers. The problem for me is that the exchange of a few messages doesn’t alert me to the fact that my night is about to be ruined and I’m way too polite to walk away.
Anyway, back to this guy. Highlights:
- When I ordered a burger called “The Gronk” he condescendingly asked me if I knew who Rob Gronkowski was, so I decided to enlighten him with an extensive description of A Gronking to Remember. He did not care for that.
- He provided a lengthy monologue on why he orders his pickles from New York, which was fine. Eat what you love! What I did mind is that when he asked me what local food I liked he immediately interrupted me by saying “I GREW UP KOSHER.” Good for you and la de da. I will dismantle a lobster in front of everyone you love.
- He recently had a book published and showed it to me at the local bookstore, but not without briefly berating the staff about his inability to initially locate it and mocking all other faculty books about how they’re not true historians. (This is not the first time I’ve been on a first date where a guy has thrown an absolute shit fit.)
- He mentioned how much money he had and how little he worked. Constantly.
- He judged my job, my love of self help books and anything else I managed to actually get a chance to say about myself. Oh wait, I forgot that he was really interested in how my mom died.
- He would interrupt me to point out the buildings on campus he had permission to get into LIKE I CARED AT ALL EVEN A LITTLE. I’ve walked into many of those buildings multiple times because they have doors.
- I could not make a comment without an argument. Ex: “If you’re interested in learning boxing I go to this wonderful place where everyone is really supportive,” I said. “I told you I hurt my knee,” he said. “Oh, right. Well I’m not telling you go tomorrow,” I said. “GO HOME, DANA,” my brain said. I’m not a good listener (to either him or my brain, apparently.)
- I was subjected to a lecture about the Cold War because that’s his passion and I didn’t know it started in 1949. I also really don’t care.
- He’d lived in my city for one month and had terrible things to say about it and the people that live in it. Boston is great and I hope he leaves soon forever.
- All the possessions he had and what vacations he bought them on. Ex: “I bought this jacket in Iran, but if it wasn’t raining I would wear the leather jacket I bought in Italy.” He told me that two and a half times. I finished the story for him the third time.
It was exhausting. I shouldn’t have let it continue to a second, third or fourth location, but it was all worth it to see him almost get hit by a car. Of course, when I alerted him to said car and saved his life he yelled at me. Ultimately, it comes down to this: we’re not compatible and that’s okay.
This person, that I had never met before, managed to make me feel terrible about myself over the course of a night. Yes, he was an elitist academic butthole, but that still didn’t stop me from thinking that my life is garbage. I should travel more, have a better job and ship a gallon of pickles to myself from New York BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT HAD A PICKLE IF IT DIDN’T COME FROM THIS ONE SPECIFIC PLACE.
Wait a minute…No! This is one guy who was honestly trying to put his best foot forward and it was incredibly misguided. It’s forgivable. I believe that he is actually a good person that has different priorities and standards from me. We place value on different things. He sincerely thought that he was a good dude who was on a great date and I’m glad one of us walked away feeling as though it were a success (and that it wasn’t me.)
It’s hard to want to keep doing this when every fourth date is like this. I don’t want to go out for dinner and share the same things about myself. I have way more important things to do. So, it’s time I put my focus and energy into things that I love and are important like grad school, tracking Shaq’s every move through social media and watching ‘Scandal’ in real time.
The important thing to realize in these situations is there is no way to predict what is going to happen so you can choose to laugh or cry or both. It’s best to walk home from a bad date and call your friend and laugh about the insanity. Remember that it’s not about who you are as a person, but how others treat you and how that person makes you feel. So, if you take anything from this story, please walk away from a date as soon as he rolls his eyes at your description of A Gronking to Remember.