Some of you may already know, but I was lucky enough to be a part of Moth to Flame’s new web-series “Bad-Dates,” (linked below) which is based on true dating experiences from actress Kelsey Pribilski.
It got me thinking back to some of the horrible, horrible dates I’ve been on in my life. I decided to republish a story I wrote for another blog a while back, which goes down in history as one of my worst. dates. ever.
When: My 1st Senior Year of college, 2004
I was going through a hard time. My roommate had recently gotten engaged and most of my friends had already graduated. I was overweight, uninspired, and didn’t have my usual friends around to accompany me to the bar to slam shots of jager.
On top of all that, we had avoided our Dish Network bill long enough that our cable had been cut off, and I had already watched all 9 seasons of “Friends” on DVD at least 3 times. I finally gave in and paid my long neglected late fees, and started frequenting my local Blockbuster.
At first, it was an innocent crush. The manager at the closest location was friendly to everyone, and I enjoyed his recommendations. He was older, handsome, and I was intrigued by his ear-spacers and his infinite knowledge of film. He was the type of guy who I imagined I would always end up with. You know… smart, unambitious, loves movies, is a little weird….
It got to the point where I was stopping by Blockbuster nearly every evening to see if he was working. Over the course of only a few weeks, I’d lost my status as “regular” at the local tavern, but could be found milling around the horror section every evening. I knew that if I stood there looking perplexed, it would only be a matter of minutes before he was by my side pointing out classics like “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” Sometimes, I would pretend that I hadn’t seen a movie that he suggested, even if it was a favorite of mine- just so that the next time I could tell him how much I enjoyed it.
At first our conversations revolved purely around film. We talked about the latest Spike Jonze project, and how “Anchorman” was bound to change the face of comedy. Soon though, we started talking about life, mostly mine. I noticed that he would drop whatever he was doing when I walked in. He would ask me about my classes, my friends, improv, and I felt like he had a genuine interest.
This is when the obsession began.
I started imagining how he would finally ask me out. I lived close by and would drive by several times a day, just to see if he was working. I talked about him constantly. I thought it was fate that we both loved David Cross and hated the Spiderman series. I imagined that together, we would have the best DVD collection in the entire world, and that we would walk down a red carpet on our wedding day.
When he finally asked me out, I was elated. Even though, of course -I had known, that it would happen. After as much effort as I had put into this, how could it not?
I had gone in real late one night, just before closing. I still remember putting on my “Jesus is my Homeboy” t-shirt and a jean skirt. I curled my hair all up in rollers and wore dangly crystal earrings. We talked for 30 minutes after the store was closed, and he finally asked if I would like to have dinner the next night.
I casually said that I was available, and we made plans to meet late the next night at a local restaurant.
As soon as I walked into my house, I did the celebratory “I got a date” dance, which actually looks a little bit like Elaine from Seinfeld.
The next evening, he was sitting at a table at the front of the busy restaurant when I arrived. I nervously sat down across from him and we got to chit-chatting about our day. After a few moments he looked around nervously, and told me he wanted to move to the back of the restaurant.
BB:”Ummmmm hey… we really need to talk about something.”
My heart immediately sank. I knew that tone. That was the tone that was used when people want to break up, that- or if they want to tell you that they have herpes.
I figured we hadn’t been on the date long enough to have the breakup talk, and we hadn’t even gotten through our first cocktail, so I didn’t think sex-talk would be appropriate- at least for him. I, on the other hand, have been known to bring up sex at the most awkward and inappropriate times, that’s how I roll.
Once we were settled in our single booth at the very back corner of a secret room in the restaurant, Blockbuster Boy took a deep breath and started his monologue. He spoke so quickly I barely had the time to even think a response.
BB:”First of all, I need to tell you that I’m 38.”
Ok, I’m 24, not that big of a deal…
BB: “Also, I have to tell you that I’ve never felt this way about someone in my entire life.”
I smiled. OK, go on.
BB: “I knew it from the moment that we met, that we had something special. I am so very much attracted to you. We have such a connection.”
Yes I know, we both love zombies and Kevin Smith.
Blockbuster Boy took another deep breath and started speaking at a speed that only dwarf mice can hear.
BB: “But here’s the thing. I live with my wife. We met back in highschool, and have no sexual relationship to speak of, we’re just friends really. I can’t leave her right now because she wants to have a baby, but in the long run- we’re not going to end up together…”
WHAT IN THE MOTHER FREAKING MOTHER HELL IS HE SAYING?????
BB: “So basically, what I’m saying, is that if you would be willing… I would love to have a sexual relationship with you. It couldn’t be anything more, but it would be perfect, I know it.”
I stood there for a few minutes blindsided, trying to piece together what he was asking of me.
On the one hand, Yesssss!!! The man I’ve been obsessing over thinks I’m perfect and wants to have sexual relations with me!!!
On the other, What the fuck? This man actually thinks it’s OK to have an affair? He wants me to keep this a secret? He thinks I’ll be alright with that? What would I tell my friends? What kind of person would I be if I agreed? WHAT IN THE FUCK IS HAPPENING?
I finally did what I always do in uncomfortable situations. If I see someone I don’t want to talk to, I run and hide. If an uncomfortable topic comes up in conversation, I slink to the ground and try to make myself invisible. In this case, I got myself out of the restaurant and onto the street as fast as my legs could carry me.
Once I was outside, I was able to gather my thoughts a little better. I knew I wasn’t the type of person who could be the secret lover, as exciting as the proposal seemed. I thought about leaving without an explanation, but I decided to give him five minutes so that I could at least say thank you. At the time, I felt it was the polite thing to do.
He finally came out and I let him approach me. He looked as defeated as I was confused.
I finally gathered up the courage to speak and apologized for freaking out, but said that I probably wouldn’t be up for that kind of relationship. He said he understood, and that he’d like to remain friends.
I never saw Blockbuster Boy again. I drove by the store a few times to see if his car was there, but I eventually opened up an account at Hollywood video. I was upset for a few weeks because I thought we were going to have something special. I was upset for a few more months because I had to drive all the way across town to rent a movie.
Perhaps I learned that when you’ve been heartbroken by a would-be adulterer who works at Blockbuster, the most productive thing to do – is to call when he’s working and ask if they have copies of “Unfaithful” or “Fatal Attraction” in the store. It makes you feel a whole lot better.
What I really want to know is -what did I do? How did I act , that made him believe that I would be open to a purely sexual relationship? The only thing that I can think of, is that I made myself completely available to him. I never asked him any questions about his own personal life, and that might have made me seem like I don’t care. Next time? I pry. I ask for details. I ask if he has any weird hairy moles I need to know about.
Also, I think dating men who are 38 years old and work at Blockbuster is probably just a bad idea in general.
Here is the first episode of Bad Dates! Check back next week for episode two!