Do you remember when you were little, and you’d do something stupid and your parents would sit you down and tell you that a wise girl thinks before she acts?
It turns out that I didn’t learn that lesson very well.
While there are many, many stories that provide evidence for this fact, the most recent involves a match.com date I went on a few weeks ago. Yes, after my recent move to my new big city, I decided that maybe internet dating would open my world to the plethora of tall, dark, and handsome bachelors that I was certain existed around every corner of my new city, just waiting for me to log on and create a profile. Unfortunately for my love life, but fortunately for my blog life, so far all that I’ve experienced have been dating doozies rather than dating dreams.
Anyway, a few weeks ago I went on a date with a guy that I had been e-mailing for a few weeks. Let’s call him Goofus. (Sidenote: do you remember the comic strip Goofus and Gallant in Highlights magazine? Man, I loved reading that as a kid. If you’re not familiar with the strip, it always had two side-by-side pictures in which two boys engaged in a similar task. Each week, Goofus would demonstrate the incorrect behavior, while Gallant would demonstrate the correct behavior. Seems to me that I tend to attract the Goofuses of the world, while I’m searching for my Gallant. But enough of my random side thoughts. Back to my date).
So, Goofus and I had been e-mailing back and forth for awhile. To be honest, I wasn’t sure we would be a match in the romantic sense, but he seemed like someone who could make a good friend. He seemed pretty funny and like a fairly nice guy. So when he asked if he could take me out, I happily said yes.
We had a nice dinner at a cute little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, and conversation flowed nicely. During dinner, we talked about match and our experiences thus far. While he was a nice guy and I had a nice dinner, it became clear that we might not be a perfect match. Realizing this, I blurted out something about how I was really only on match to meet new people in this big city (which is actually quite true) when he asked me what I hoped to get out of my match experience. He seemed to understand and even agreed with me that sometimes two people are just better suited for friendship rather than for romance.
Those of you who know me well know that I am in no way, shape, or form a girl who can easily tell a guy that I’m just not that into him. Just thinking about having that conversation makes my stomach scrunch up in knots. As a result, I often do whatever I can to avoid those actual words, and often times I come up with excuses or subtle hints in the hopes that the guy will catch on.
Those of you who know guys well know that they never catch on. They need the words, or else you end up with stage 5 clingers who text you every day to check on you despite the fact that you haven’t responded to a text message in over a month.
This is why, on my date with Goofus, I felt exceptionally proud of myself for stating clearly that I was only on match for friendship. ”Yay, Erin!,” I thought to myself. Like I said before, from my perspective it appeared that Goofus and I were on the same page. This made me happy, and I thought that maybe my match.com-for-cool-friends plan had actually worked. A happy Erin is an unguarded Erin, so when he asked me if I’d like to go next door for a drink, I said of course! Afterall, even though neither one of us actually said, “Hey Goofus/Erin, even though you’re a great person and I’m sure you’ll make someone very, very happy, I’m just not that into you,” we did say that we wanted to make new friends, and in my mind that was saying virtually the same thing.
Unfortunately for me (and I suppose for Goofus, too), what was in my mind did not quite match up with what was in his mind.
I just didn’t quite know that yet.
So, there I was, a newly-friended girl having a nice evening with a nice boy, not worrying at all that maybe he thought things were going to progress to a level that I was in no way going to let happen. Once we were settled in the 70s-styled bar with beers in hands, Goofus told me that he wanted me to go pick a few songs to play on the jukebox. He told me it was a test of sorts, to see what kinds of musical taste his dates have when they’re only given limited options.
Not one to back down to a challenge, I skipped over to the jukebox, money in hand, ready to show him that I am a bit of what one might consider a musical connoisseur. Haha, not really, but as I flipped through the 5 pages of available cds, I did think to myself that I was just going to choose any song that caught my eye that I genuinely loved. I wasn’t going to worry about whether it was cool or lame, because, again, who was I trying to impress? I was just having a beer with my new friend Goofus.
It is at this point in the story where I wish beyond wishes that I would have learned the think before you act lesson, for my first musical song choice proved to be a turning point in the mood of the night. As I flipped to page two, my eyes immediately honed in on a song that I listen to and sing fairly often (judge if you will, haha) and truly love. Without thinking, I put in my dollar, typed in song choice 0301, and started looking for my second song choice. Standing over the jukebox and searching for my next song, I heard the music begin, and soon Marvin Gaye’s soulful voice filled every corner of the stale-aired room.
Yes, friends, in a moment of utter only-Erin-would-make-this-mistake stupidity, I picked “Let’s Get It On” as my first song choice.
Now, I’m sure that most of you have enough sense to realize what kind of message this might send to a date. But on the chance that some of you leave your common sense hats at home when you go on dates (like I clearly do), let me spell it out for you. If you are not interested in a guy, it’s probably not a wise choice to play ‘Let’s Get It On’ for him on your first date.
By the time I realized what I had just done, it was too late. Goofus had snuck up behind me and put his hands on my back, excitedly telling me that I sure do make “aggressive song choices.” I went into panic mode rapidly explaining that I was definitely not trying to send a message, but that I merely liked the song, and that I like it more for the way it sounds than for what it says (which is true!). Goofus just laughed and said that he likes my aggressiveness. Clearly he was a lost cause as he was in no way listening to what I was saying.
Not quite sure what to do, I decided to escape to the bathroom in hopes that some magical bathroom fairy might swoop down and save me. One did not, and so I had to once again go back out into the bar. We had been sitting catty-cornered to each other, with me in a chair and him on the adjacent couch, but when I came out of the bathroom, he had moved down so that now there was a big empty space between him and end of the couch.
Seeing that he had an arm around the empty space and being the considerate girl that I am, I kindly took my original seat in the chair. I naturally didn’t want to interrupt what appeared to be a private moment between him and his imaginary friend.
You can probably imagine how awkward the situation had now become. I had just played “Let’s Get It On.” Goofus had moved over and draped his arm around the couch in anticipation of me coming back from the bathroom to begin my song-promise of getting it on. I ignored this fact and sat back in my original chair, leaving a gaping hole between us. Awkward.
I did my best to continue conversation as normal as possible (“So, um, how about those football quarterbacks? Looking good, huh?” “I like pizza. It tastes good. What about you?”). He finally interrupted my crazy rambling and told me to move over on the couch with him because it was too far for us to lean forward and try to hear each other. I did, because, if you’ll remember, I’m not good at saying “no, thank you, I’m not interested”. As we’re sitting there (with his arm still draped on the couch behind me), he decides we should play the first-date question game (as in, “so, Erin, tell me what your expectations are for tonight and for me.” I hate this game. No metacognition on a first date for me.). After I said something stupid and evaded answering the question, he leaned in for a kiss. Oh no. I start panicking at this point.
Most normal people might stop here and say that they are just not interested in the other person or suddenly remember an important morning meeting and make a fast exit, but I am far from normal. And so, I made the situation worse by pulling back and giggling an exceptionally uncomfortable giggle. I can’t help it, it’s what I do when I’m uncomfortable. Goofus mistook my giggle for excitement and tried to go in for another kiss. I pulled back and started spouting out every excuse I could come up with (“Um, I don’t kiss on the first date.” ”I’m not comfortable with PDA.” “I haven’t brushed my teeth since we ate that garlic dish at dinner.” “Jesus appeared to me in the bathroom and told me that every time I kiss a guy, an angel dies, and as a result I’ve suddenly taken up celibacy.” Okay, so I didn’t say the last one, but you get the picture).
I underestimated Goofus’ persistence as he kept trying to lean in for a kiss. Finally he said that if I wasn’t comfortable kissing, then would I please let him give me a shoulder massage, as he has “masterful hands from years of trumpet playing.” Thinking that this would at least allow me to turn away from him, I agreed. Meanwhile, I had downed my beer in hopes that we could get out of there sooner, while he had taken maybe two sips. I literally kept telling him to drink faster and finish his beer. He just laughed and said that beers are meant to be enjoyed, not downed.
He’s clearly never been on a date in which he played Let’s Get It On for a girl he didn’t like. In those situations, beers are most definitely meant to be downed.
As he started massaging my shoulders, I stared off into space, creating my escape plan. I was just in the middle of telling him that I really needed to get going soon because I had an early day the next morning when all of a sudden he leaned in for a surprise earlobe attack. I don’t know about you, but I am not a fan of tongues in my ear. Not when I like you, not when I don’t like you, and definitely not when you sneakily tongue my ear from behind.
I whipped back around, told him again to finish his beer,and said that I had to go home and go to bed. He smiled and told me it was cute that I got so shy when I liked a guy. In retrospect, I have to give him credit for his ability to spin everything I said into something that was in his favor. Oh, Goofus.
The night couldn’t have ended more awkwardly, as I once again attempted to evade his kisses by quickly pulling away from his embrace and quickly opening up my car door. He told me that I should really start enjoying the moment and stop making my kisses so short. I needed to learn to kiss longer, according to Goofus. I told him thanks for the advice, but I had to go. I jumped in the car and headed home.
We haven’t been out since. He was a nice enough guy, but he just wasn’t right for me. Though neither a love match nor a friendship evolved from our date, at least it taught me to stop and think about the situation I’m in the next time I decide to indulge my love of Marvin Gaye.