Five

img_0812

Just marked the five year anniversary of my blog.  Wow… I can’t believe it’s been that long.  I’ve come a long way since I started this, although in some ways I still feel like I’m in the same place.  While I’ve finally shaken the albatross of virginity, my sexual experience is still frustratingly limited.  Another year has ticked by with little to show for it.  However I did have a flurry of dates after my experience with Jane.  Unfortunately they were all a bust and I consigned Bumble to the rubbish heap once again.

#44
First one up was a 37yo nurse.  85-90 percent of the women I see online are teachers, nurses or social workers, so she fit right in.  And once again I seemed to hit it off with someone older.  Only four years older, but still.  She messaged me saying my pictures were awesome, that I seemed like a fun/funny guy, and that she’d love to chat.  So we chatted, and before long things were pretty flirty.

We met a few days later during her work break.  I’ll be happy never seeing the inside of a Starbucks ever again, but it was quick and convenient.  We were also keen to meet and didn’t want to put it off any longer.  I liked her and thought we got on well, despite her dropping a bomb about being married before.  I had no idea.  She had to get back to work at the end of the hour.  She gave me a quick hug, and when I asked about seeing her again she said “we’ll see” and trotted off.

I knew what that meant.  Sure enough, she went from texting 24/7 to complete radio silence.  Didn’t respond to my follow up either.  Apparently that date didn’t go as well as I’d thought.  But I had an old violin I’d wanted appraised and the violin shop happened to be right across the street, so it wasn’t a wasted trip.  They told me they could fix it for 300, or buy it from me for 100.  I went with Option B, and that’s another item off my longstanding to-do list.

#45
I double-booked for the second time in my life.  A few hours after I met Nurse Ghost, I went out to dinner with a 32yo who worked for a nature conservancy.  It was nice to talk to someone with a unique career, and in a field of great interest to me.  We also had much in common with our musical and artistic backgrounds.

She warned me that she was shy and awkward, but that she was also very forward and didn’t have a problem making the first move.  Shy and awkward, but forward?  Uh… okay.  However when we met she was neither shy nor awkward nor forward – just disinterested, evidenced by several glances at her phone. I’ll admit my own interest was dampened when she disclosed that she was a single mom.

talk to girl with kids

Buzzkill.  I did my best to keep things light and fun, but I didn’t seem to be making any headway.  She asked little about myself in return, and by the time the check came it was clear neither of us was keen on prolonging the evening.  Afterwards we hugged good night went our separate ways.  By the time I got back to my car I’d already removed her from my contacts.  I’ve added and deleted more girls’ phone numbers than I can count at this point.

#46
I was almost ready to throw in the towel but I had one more lined up – a young hot 26yo.  I almost couldn’t believe she was interested in me.  She was a teacher (the number one profession of online daters).  We had a shared love of animals, the outdoors, being adventurous and trying new things.  We compared our to-do lists and decided to try an escape-room challenge together.

We settled on the “Killer Countdown.” She joked that she scared easily and might be clutching onto me.  Then she wanted to FaceTime to make sure I wasn’t a psycho before we got locked in a room together.  I’d never FaceTimed before.  It felt a bit weird but it was cool at the same time.   We chatted for ten or fifteen minutes and expressed our excitement about meeting.

The next night I met her outside the escape room place.  She came round the corner already looking less than enthused.  Turns out she reread the description online and learned we started the challenge chained to the wall, and she didn’t like that idea.  Before I could worry about that, we still had to figure out how to get into the building since the doors were locked.  I joked about that being part of the challenge, but she didn’t make a sound.

We ended up having to go around the back, and she was even more uncomfortable when she discovered we were the only ones there.  It’s common to be part of a group, but it was just the two of us.  You should have seen her face.  Well, I’d bought the tickets online and they were non-refundable.  There were five other rooms to choose from so I suggested we try a different one – maybe something less scary like the Game Room?

Nope, she didn’t even want to do that.  She grimaced at me and suggested we go somewhere and for a drink instead (which had been the plan for afterwards).  Sigh.  So I talked to the guy there and managed to switch our tickets to the next night, but I already sensed she wouldn’t be joining me.  As we walked out of the building she hinted that going for drinks would have been a better way way to get know each other than an escape room challenge.

I felt like a total ass when she said that.  Was this really a bad idea?  Then I was annoyed and bewildered, because I had included her in the decision-making.  This shouldn’t have been a surprise.  I didn’t spring this on her out of nowhere.  And what happened to all that jazz about being adventurous and trying new things?  What happened to the bubbly, energetic girl I had FaceTimed with?  She was walking along with a somber expression like we were going to a funeral.

I tried cracking another joke to lighten the atmosphere.  I’d stalked her Facebook and knew she was political, so I said, “meanwhile there’s a real life escape challenge going on in DC – they locked 100 Senators in a room and they have until midnight to prevent a government shutdown.”  Still nothing.  Tough crowd.  We made small talk and then we were accosted by a homeless person.  I didn’t understand any of his rambling speech except for his last sentence when he asked for some money.

I was in a charitable mood – plus she was watching me – so I fished out a dollar and gave it to him.  Then she gave him a 20-dollar bill.  “Wow, that was really generous of you,” I remarked as we continued down the sidewalk.  That finally animated her.  She launched into an impassioned speech about how she doesn’t judge people for their circumstances and it’s hard to ask people for money and why shouldn’t he have enough to get a meal, etc. etc.  Okay, I get it.  Just tell me I’m stingy then.

Before we met the homeless guy I was already wondering why I was bothering with this chick.  Apparently she was wondering the same about me, because she was texting every two minutes at the bar.  Each time I’d stop talking and wait for her to put the phone down.  I asked her about her teaching and her eyes lit up as she gushed about working with developmentally disabled kids.  Otherwise she was a bit clammed up.

Another text came in.  She picked up her phone yet again and I was stunned when she asked if I minded her friend Zachary joining us.  Apparently he lived in the area. Say what?  Were things going that badly that she needed the phone-a-friend lifeline?  I was so caught off guard that I didn’t know what to say besides, “um, no, I don’t mind.”  I figured she must have been really uninterested to pull a stunt like that.

In retrospect I should have just said good night, but I stupidly sat and continued talking to her.  I had a tall glass of beer I didn’t want to waste, and a small and silly part of my brain that thought I could still salvage things.  As soon as we finished our drinks she asked if we could cut things short so she could go meet her friend elsewhere.  Fine, whatever.  I waved her off, and erased her from my phone before she even reached the door.

Thus concluded one of the weirdest and worst dates I’d ever been on.  At least she bought her own drink and gave me the money for the escape room ticket, so I didn’t spend a single dollar on her ass.  I’ll give her credit for that much.

***

I was in a bit of a funk after three bad dates in a row, but a good night’s sleep cured all.  But upon reflection, many of my online dates went like that.  Either I thought they went well but apparently didn’t, or we got on well in text but there was a disconnect in person.  I’m sure most of those dates would have flopped regardless, but at the same time I can’t help think I should have had a little more luck out there.  Especially when I read about the online dates other bloggers are going on.

Of course, dating is harder as a guy.  I’ve also had more success offline than online, as I’ve noted before.  I’m still convinced that I’m better served getting off the apps and putting in the effort meeting people the old-fashioned way.  Half of what we communicate is through body language.  Chemistry is best figured out in person, without pretense or expectation.

So I’m shifting focus back onto the real world:  I went to another jam session, talked to some new people and may potentially join a new band.  I attended my old band’s fundraiser.  I’m getting back on the open mic circuit (I mean it this time).  I signed up for a Habitat for Humanity build.  I’m volunteering at my friend’s animal sanctuary next weekend.   I’m scouring Meetup for new activities.  Things are happening.

Kiwi

Fortunately my escape room tickets did not go to waste.  I had a do-over the following night with a friend visiting from New Zealand.  Second time was the charm for the Killer Countdown, and this time we were part of a group.  Of course.  And it wasn’t scary at all, nor did they lock the door or really chain us up (fire code regulations).  Not to mention we were on camera the whole time.  It was a hell of a lot of fun.

Afterwards Kiwi and I went to the same sports bar on the corner (returning to the scene of the crime).   It was trivia night and we got in on that after missing the first few questions.  (Too bad, because they were about musical instruments and I would have gotten them all right.)  Finally we went to a really cool place across the street for brews and board games.  I had a good time, but it was almost like being one of my online dates.  Kiwi said she had fun but seemed so flat and bland.

Was she always like that? Then again, this is the same chick I watched Planes Trains and Automobiles with and she didn’t find it funny at all.  A weak chuckle at most.  I’d asked her what she thought of it and she was like, “I thought it was annoying, but I understood the point it was trying to make.”  Jesus.  Between that and Bad Santa, I’m thinking I should compile a list of movies to watch with potential friends/girlfriends in order to vet them properly.

Our next outing proved that it wasn’t me – at least as far as Kiwi was concerned.  I met her and her mother and her friend (also from NZ) and we went into the city together.  If it weren’t for me talking or asking questions, there would have been near silence in the car.  We were munching on pretzels when someone pointed out St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and I was seized with inspiration.  I did a bit on Jesus and The Last Dessert that I thought would have killed, but I was greeted with more silence.

Of course, stand-up comedy isn’t my thing… I know because I’ve tried that as well.  I seem to be funnier when I’m not trying.  On the ride home I kept my mouth shut, but they still said hardly anything.  When Kiwi’s brother called from Alabama, their mom put him on speaker phone and it was nothing but one-word/one-sentence answers back and forth for ten minutes.  Christ.  Are all New Zealanders like this, or am I just too New York for them?

But it was a nice change of scenery for a day.  And while Kiwi was here we went ice skating, to One World Observatory, and to the Shake Shack (it was awesome).  My goal for the winter is to cross as many things off my to-do list as possible.  Items keep rolling over from previous years and it’s getting rather lengthy, but I’ve been making good progress lately.  Next up I’m going to try some new recipes and burger joints, explore some local history sites, and do some painting.

Instagram Girl

Even after she flaked on our date, she’d message me every once in a while and we’d chit chat.  Eventually she made noises about getting together so I took that opportunity to ask what happened.

Me:  “I know we were supposed to go on a date a couple of months ago but then you said you couldn’t make it… I didn’t think you’d be interested in meeting me after that.”

IG Girl:  “I’m sorry, I have issues hahah.  I really overthink a lot when it comes to the opposite sex.  Negativity consumes me.  I always choke up at the last minute.  What if he didn’t like me?  What if he finds me annoying?  What if I’m not cool as he thought I was?  That kind of stuff.  I’m working on that, though.  My confidence with myself is slowly getting better.”

Then she apologized because her hormones were all out of whack and she was feeling lonely.  Good grief.  So I still feel like a dodged a bullet.  If nothing else she sounds like work.  I’d rather be involved with someone with more confidence and less issues.  Otherwise… been there, done that, didn’t work.

I haven’t heard much from her since, nor have I reached out.  I’ve moved on.  And that’s the round up.  So there’s nobody else on my radar, no prospects in the pipeline, and I look to be sexless and single for the near future.

But, as I’ve found out, things can turn on a dime.

Advertisements

Unexpected

#42
I lied.  Apparently I’d only disabled my Bumble profile, not deleted it.  I should have known that, given that the icon was still on the screen.  Derp.  But imagine my surprise when I was notified recently of a new match and message.  I must have swiped for her before I disabled things.  I liked what I saw, and I liked our conversation even better.  When an opportunity arose, I asked her out.  We met tonight.

I went into this date feeling good and without expectations.  I was neither pessimistic nor optimistic, and I didn’t breathe a word to anyone lest I jinx it.  I’ve been especially happy and confident lately, in the best shape of my life, and killing it at work.  There were the usual flutters of nervousness as I approached her, but they dissipated quickly.  We had the same nerdy and geeky interests, and conversation flowed easily and with plenty of laughter.  Unfortunately the place I’d chosen was hosting a “Wine Down Wednesday Karaoke Night” and it was noisy as fuck.

As we neared the end of our meal I suggested going somewhere quieter.  Most girls I’ve dated would take that opportunity to call it a night, but she didn’t.  She was game.  Another good sign.  We walked down the road to an ice cream place for dessert, and she treated me since I’d paid for dinner.  Bonus points.  Meanwhile I was admiring her from head to toe.  She looked good in her pictures, but even better in person.  Damn.  We strolled around town with our treats, eventually grabbing a bench to people watch and continue our conversation.  We swapped adventure stories, compared travel plans and talked about family.  It was relaxed and comfortable and felt right.

After two hours she called it a night.  She lived at home with the parents and grandmother, and since the parents were out she was worried about her grandmother being home alone late at night.  Hmm.  Okay.  I couldn’t stay out much longer myself – tomorrow is hell day at work and I need all the sleep I can get.  We bade each other goodbye and I gave her a hug, just as I’d greeted her.  We each expressed what a good time we had and a desire to go out again.  I promised to get in touch soon.

I’d wanted to go for the kiss, but the moment didn’t feel quite right and I didn’t see how I could do it without it being awkward.  That should have been a sign right there, and I had a funny feeling all the way home.  And I was nearly back home when the texts starting coming in.  Ping.  Ping Ping Ping.  I sighed and wondered what the story was going to be this time.  Finally I got a chance to read what she’d sent me, and I was right:

“Hey. Thanks again for a really nice evening. I want to be honest with you, because I think you’re a great guy… I don’t think seeing you again would be the best thing for me. See, my boyfriend and I broke up a few months ago, and I thought I was ready to start dating again. But as I walked back to my car I kind of just broke down and started crying. I miss him, even though I don’t want to, and I’m realizing now I’m not emotionally ready to see other people. I feel so bad, because I genuinely had a nice time with you – and I don’t want you to think I’m making this up, because I’m not. I’m more of a mess than I thought I’d be. My feelings for him haven’t gone, and I’m just really sad. I’ve deleted my Bumble account because until I get my shit together, I can’t be dating anyone. I’m so so sorry. You are really sweet, please stay positive about this dating crap we have to go through. Thank you again for dinner. It was fun talking with you.”

Christ.  Another long-winded way of saying “you’re a nice guy but you just don’t do it for me?”  Then again, maybe that really is the truth.  She did mention that I was her first Bumble date.  So who knows.  All I know is that I didn’t even bother responding.  I’m deleting her texts and number and moving onto the next girl… whenever and whoever that may be.  Disappointing, but that’s the way it goes.

Bumble

I just went on my first Tinder date.  She was a 29yo kickboxing instructor and aspiring teacher, and pretty cute.   I’ve been on Tinder for a week and I have 30 matches so far.  Half of them haven’t responded to my messages.  Conversations with the other half didn’t go anywhere but I did make some headway with The Kickboxer.  I even experimented by dropping in a few flirty/suggestive remarks, which seemed to go over well.  Then I saw an opening when she said she moved here from out of town, “but it’s a long story.”

“I’d like to hear it,” I said.  “How about over drinks?”

She accepted.  Game on.  We spent two hours sitting and talking over food and beer.  Eventually I ended up in the usual rut of work/school/family/travel/online dating stories… and then I simply didn’t know what else to talk about.  I didn’t think she was really feeling me either, so I called it a night before things got awkward.  When we parted ways I didn’t say anything about getting together again.  I simply told her I had a good time and enjoyed meeting her, and that was that.

Another girl down.

JBlondie told me that this is a bad time of year to be dating and that summer is the season.  I tend to agree since that’s when I’ve had the most success.  I’ve been experimenting on OkCupid with different pictures and profile tweaks. When the blizzard hit a few weeks ago, I took advantage of everyone being online and sent out a blizzard of messages.  I got a pretty good number of responses.  Most of them fizzled out, although I was casting a wide net so I expected to throw some fish back. Over the past few weeks at least a dozen girls even deleted their profiles in the middle of our conversations, one of whom I was in the middle of setting up a date with.

It’s been frustrating and my OKC profile is languishing.  I decided it was time to try something different, so I’ve gotten with the times and I’m on Tinder now.  I’m also on another app called Bumble (also a good word to describe how my dating attempts feel at times).  Bumble is basically a Sadie Hawkins version of Tinder.  When you match with a girl she has 24 hours to message you, otherwise the match expires and then it’s gone forever.  So far I’ve lost over 20 Bumble matches.

Between that and the non-responses on Tinder, I have to wonder why these girls swiped right for me in the first place.  Sometimes I wonder if being on these apps isn’t just an ego boost for some of them, or a matter of self-promotion since they all use their profiles to advertise their Instagrams.  Who knows.  I’m not really a fan of these apps because I find it much harder to start a conversation when all I have to work with is pictures.  At least on OKC there are profiles to read and match questions to compare.

Truth be told, I’m not a fan of online dating – period.  After 7+ years of on-and-off attempts, I’m starting to think that it just isn’t going to be my path to success.  I’d still rather meet someone the old-fashioned way, but right now I don’t have a better place to meet single girls in these numbers.   However I am making continued efforts to meet people organically.  I’ve been trying new activities and I’ve already made a new friend or two. I should have a better chance of meeting someone by expanding my social circle.

Recently I’ve started confiding in my existing friends about my dating struggles.  I’ve never discussed it with any of them before.  They don’t know I’m a virgin, although I’m sure some of them suspect it.  But I figured it might be a good idea to spread the word that I’m single and looking.  Unfortunately, it appears I waited too long to ask around.  My friends told me that the girls they know are either in a relationship, engaged, married, lesbian, crazy… or I’m simply not their type.   Meanwhile one of my friends jumps around like Daffy Duck, shouts obscenities and nonsense, and sends people defecation videos.  And today I got his “Save the Date” wedding announcement in the mail.

I dunno.  Not sure what I’m doing wrong over here…

First dates:  29
Second dates:  3
Third dates:  2
Cancellations:  5
Stood up:  2
First kisses: 1
Sexual experiences:  0.6

Surveying

As you can see, I’m on a posting spree.  In fact, my output may increase even more.  My dad stories have always been a hit, so I’ve been considering devoting a second blog to that subject.  Then readers can follow my dating travails on this blog and learn about my larger universe on the other.  Would this interest any of you?

***

Things have been quiet on the dating front.  I’ve run out of things to say to Melody, and she never initiates any conversation with me.  So I think I’ve lost interest in her.  Even if I wanted to see her again, she says she doesn’t have any time.  So I guess that’s that.  Meanwhile I haven’t heard from The Babysitter since our walk in the park and she hasn’t responded to my second date proposal.  I guess that’s that too.  There were a couple of others I was trying to set dates with, but got nowhere.

The first one looked like Denise Richards and she gave me her number by the second message.  I didn’t even have to ask for it, so I considered that a good sign.  I texted her immediately and suggested going out Friday night.  I waited.  And waited.  She finally got back to me a few days later:

“Sorry for the late reply!  This weekend I have my best friends wedding, how does next week work for you?  I’m free usually after 6 on weekdays”

Okay, that sounded encouraging.  So I suggested Monday at 7.  And then I waited again. A whole week went by without hearing from her.  Ridiculous.  Finally I texted her:  “Hey!  I got back to you with a date and time and didn’t hear anything…?”

“Hey!  I’m so sorry, I’ve had 2 weddings in 2 weeks and have been struggling with my schedule.”  Right. And you couldn’t have said so?  So I told her to let me know when was good for her, and she said Friday at 6:30.  Then she didn’t respond when I contacted her Friday to confirm.  A couple of days later I texted the following:

“Well I didn’t hear anything from you again.  I take it you’re not interested then…”

“No, I am so sorry. I’ve been MIA, life has been very hectic (and then I got sick).  I have to go to my parents house tonight and help out because of illness in the family too.  I feel like such a flake and it’s not my thing I promise.  Rain check?”

Umm… nope.  I think I’m all rained out over here.

I’ll call the second girl Dog Girl.  She was very attached to her three dogs and referred to them as her kids.  That was a warning right there.  But she actually messaged me first with a “Hi handsome…” so naturally I thought she was worth a look.  I gave her my number after a few days of messages and she texted me, and I asked her out on a date.  That was where we ran into a spot of bother.  She was distressed that I wasn’t going to take her on a fancy date.  So you won’t go on a date unless I spoil you and treat you like a pampered princess?  Fuck off.

I didn’t actually say that, but that’s what went through my head.  Instead I just said that I thought that was too much for a first date.  She relented and agreed to meet for drinks, but I already knew that this wasn’t going to work if that’s her mindset.  Nonetheless I proposed the following night around 9 or 9:30, and she said she would have to check her schedule and let me know.  Yeah, okay.  Unsurprisingly I did not hear back from her.

And that was all she wrote.

With that I was left no choice but to go back on OKC and start prospecting again.  I’m meticulously combing through every single profile in my match results.  If I can’t find anything to start a conversation with, I hide the profile and move onto the next one.  It’s a real bummer, though, that the girls whose profiles really speak to me are precisely the ones that don’t respond to my messages.  Dammit.  So I don’t have anyone else in the pipeline right now. My current profile has yet to achieve the level of “success” as my last profile, but I’m still working out the kinks.

Meanwhile I’ve resumed dancing at long last.  We were left dance-less after Teacher skipped town on us back in the spring, but the other girls found a new place and I finally joined them there last week.  Saw Dancer Chick, Married Girl, and one new face.  New Face seemed rather interested in me, unless I’m imagining things again.  She asked what town I was from, how long I’d been dancing for, and was very excited when I told her about the other dance group I was with (before Director died).  All this before I’d even finished tying my shoes.  She looks super young though.  Although we’re all in the adult class, so she’s fair game.  In any case I certainly can’t wait to talk to her some more this week.  She has my attention.

Babysitting

Fresh off another first date.  We met at one of the local ponds, and the plan was to feed the ducks but I didn’t have time to get any food.  Instead we just walked among the waterfowl at the water’s edge.  It was an unseasonably warm day, but unfortunately the clouds and wind moved in by the time we got together.  The conversation was awkward at first, but after a few minutes we settled into a nice flow.  I wasn’t sure about her when I first saw her, but the more we talked the more attractive I found her.

We were only there for an hour as I had to get to band practice and she had to get back to her babysitting gig.  Her regular job is as a teacher.  Shocker.  A teacher on OKC.  Gee, I’ve never come across one of those before.  Seriously, that’s like the #1 profession of OkCupiders, followed by nurse, social/disabled worker, and vet.  And everybody rides horses.  What’s with all the horseback riders?

Anyway.

I really liked her and told her I wanted to get together again, and she agreed.  I’ve texted her since then with a second date idea, but as of this writing there’s been no response.  Bummer.  But we’ll see.

In the meantime I’m still making chit-chat with Melody.  I’m still not sure what to make of the whole “friends first” thing.  The way I look at it, if there’s mutual attraction/interest, then why can’t we skip the whole “friends” phase?  And friends for how long?  How long am I going to have to hover around until she can decide how she feels about me?  And then how exactly are you supposed to go from being friends to being more than friends?  I don’t know, the whole thing just sounds like a one-way ticket to being friendzoned.  Some of you have already commented about this on my last post, but I’m not sold on the idea.  Further thoughts, anyone?

First dates:  25
Second dates:  3
Third dates:  2
Cancellations:  3
Stood up:  2
First kisses: 1
Sexual experiences:  0.6

Crazy

“You wanna be my boyfriend?” she demanded, cornering me in the library and fixing me with her bug-eyed, deer-in-the-headlights stare.  I was too scared to say no.

She was 17.  I was 15.  She was a bi-polar, manic-depressive hemophiliac.  I was a skinny little nothing who never had a girlfriend before.  So naturally I squeaked out a “yes” in reply.  And thus began a seven-week journey into hell.

We only saw each other in school during that first week, after which I arranged our first official date.  A pizza date.  The nearest place was a mile from her house, and since we were car-less teenagers we had to bike there.  She couldn’t ask her parents for a ride because they both worked.  And I couldn’t ask my parents because I was embarrassed by her.  She had the sex appeal of a school bus fire.  Not to mention she was batshit crazy… but up until that point I was still unaware of just how much.

I quickly found out.

She met me outside her house wearing a helmet, shin guards, elbow and knee pads, leather gloves, and a protective vest.  For a minute I couldn’t remember whether we were supposed to be meeting for pizza or a football match.  But I shrugged and figured that was just typical hemophiliac attire.

Or perhaps it was simply because she was clumsy as fuck.  She crashed her bike every time she hit a pothole, a patch of sand, or an ant.  I had to stop several times to fish her out of bushes and empty garbage cans along the side of the road.

bike

By the time we finally arrived at the pizza place she looked like a bruised banana.  She didn’t bleed all over the place, which was a plus.  She also kept her helmet on the entire time we were inside.  Apart from that our meal was fairly normal.  We grabbed some ice cream after that, and started to bike back to her house.  Halfway there she freaked out:  her wallet was missing.  At first I thought she lost it either when she flipped over that mailbox or when she careened head-first into that parked car, but she said she’d had it with her at the pizza place.  We raced back there at breakneck speed (miraculously she didn’t crash once) and I dumped my bike on the sidewalk and dashed inside.

Apparently she’d left it on the table next to the napkin holder.  Fortunately it was still there.  Phew.  I snatched it up and gaily went to present it to her like a true gentleman.  Unfortunately, the sudden panic-turned-to-relief proved to be too much for her.  She clutched her stomach and swayed back and forth moaning, “I don’t feel so g-”

She never completed the sentence.

She pitched forward onto her hands and knees and vomited all over my feet.  I froze in horror as two slices and a Coke and a scoop of ice cream spread over my sneakers and onto the sidewalk around me.  Worse, everybody in the shop had seen and ran to the glass to gape at me.  Even the chef stopped flipping pizzas and came to the window in his apron to have a look.

She rolled back into a sitting position with her head in her hands and her elbows on her knees.  I was still frozen into position, feeling the warmth seeping into my socks.

“Can you get me some water?” she finally croaked out.  I nodded dumbly and duck-walked back into the pizza place, trying to ignore the SQUISH SQUISH sounds emanating from sneakers.  It was as quiet as a church inside.  I went up to the counter and asked the guy behind it for a cup of water.  He handed to me, grinning so widely I thought his ears were going to fall off.  I turned around and saw people in the shop snickering and shoving their fists into their mouths.  Yeah, fuck all you.

Outside I handed her the water.  She drank half of it, and then decided it would be a good idea to fling the rest of it onto her pile of sick on the sidewalk, splattering my jeans in the process.  Then she leaped to her feet, yanked her bike towards her, jumped on it and sped off like a maniac.  I tore after her, but she was really moving.  Of course, halfway down the road she crashed for the twentieth time, this time into another garbage can.  BAM!

This gave me the opportunity to catch up with her.  She sat there in a tangled heap and pulled her helmet off and flung it away.  I dropped down next to her, trying to catch my breath.

“You know, sometimes I still think about killing myself,” she said suddenly.  I gaped at her, but she was already back on her bike and off in a flash.  Holy crap.  Now I was in the Tour de Prevente Suicide.  I raced after her but she had a ten-speed and I didn’t, and I was anxiously waiting for her to swerve into the oncoming traffic at any moment.  She didn’t, but once she got back to her house she ditched her bike on the front lawn and ran inside.  I found her in the kitchen, holding an especially sharp knife.  I grabbed it from her and dropped it back in the drawer just as her mother came home and walked in the door.  All I could manage was a quick “hello-goodbye!” and I beat it the hell out of there.  I figured if her mother was home, then she would be safe.

“So, how was your day?” my mother asked when I burst through the back door a half-hour later.  I didn’t answer her.  I couldn’t.  Imagine trying to handle all that when you’re 15.

The next morning at school I found a note stuffed into my locker that looked like it was scrawled by Stevie Wonder.  After an hour of forensic analysis I finally determined it was from Crazy.  She apologized for her behavior and promised that she was all better and could I please please please come over after school because she wanted me to please please please finally give her a kiss.

::shudder::

But it didn’t stop there.  The notes kept coming throughout the morning until I finally met her in the library as usual during our free period.  It was then that I acquiesced, and later that day I biked over to her house.  She was running around like Pac-Man while I sat on the living room couch.

“You want to see my scrapbook!?” she asked excitedly.  I’d barely answered and she was already running off to get it.  However, her prowess at walking was no better than her ability at safely navigating a bicycle, and within three steps she’d caught her knee on the corner of the coffee table and face-planted into the carpet.

“OW THAT WAS MY KNEE!” she shouted.  Before I could react she was up and running again, and ten seconds later I heard a loud thud in the hallway, followed by “OW THAT WAS MY FOOT!”  Crazy was back almost immediately, a binder under her arm.  She pulled it out and handed it to me, and I opened it up expecting to see family photos and mementos.  Instead I saw nothing but doctor’s notes, prescription forms and hospital bracelets.  And her discharge papers from the county mental institution.

Holy shit.

I didn’t know what to say after that revelation, so I was just like, “Um… so you wanna see what’s on TV?”  She face darkened and she stood up and loomed over me.

“I’M TRYING TO SHOW YOU SOMETHING AND YOU WANT TO WATCH TV??” she shrieked, yanking the scrapbook out of my hands and Frisbee-ing it into the next room.  Then she spun on her heel and stomped away, nearly tripping over her own feet in the process.  Thirty seconds later she reappeared in the doorway grinning and laughing.  She sat back down and put her arms around me and buried her face in my chest.  “You know I can’t stay mad at you,” came her muffled voice.  “Especially now that we’ve been going out for eight days, four hours and thirty-seven minutes.”

“Uh… you mean you’ve been keeping an exact count?  That’s a little weird,” I observed.  She blew another fuse and was on her feet yelling at me again.

“WHY IS IT WEIRD THAT I WANT TO KEEP COUNT?  WE’RE GOING OUT AND IT’S NICE TO KNOW HOW LONG IT’S BEEN.  BESIDES I KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING,” she shouted as she paced around the living room.  In addition to how long we’d been going out for, I also listened to a litany of the following:

-How many days until summer.
-How many days of school left.
-How many days until she visits Florida.
-How many days until she sees her Dad again.
-How many days until she has her braces taken off.
-How many days until her birthday.
-How many days until her little brother’s birthday.
-How many days until her sister’s birthday.
-How many days until her mother’s birthday.
-How many days until taking her SAT.
-How many days since she’s been out of the hospital.
-H0w many days since she last tried to kill herself.

From then on, I received daily updates on each item – usually several times per day, along with any new items she wanted to keep track of as things went along.  But after an hour I finally couldn’t take any more of her mood swings, so I decided to call it a day and go home.  She followed me outside.

“Are you going to give me a kiss?” she demanded, nostrils flaring.

“Um… next time,” I mumbled.  Then I hopped on my bike and got the hell out of there.  My thoughts were a tangled mess as I pedaled home.  First I thought that whatever medication she was on, her doctors either needed to up the dosage or cut it in half.  Then I thought maybe it was just me.  Maybe she was flipping out on me because I was unwittingly doing everything wrong.  That was certainly a possibility.  Before I’d met her, I’d almost never talked to a girl before.  And not only had I never had a girlfriend before, I’d never had a female friend, period.   So maybe I just needed to try harder.

After two weeks in, she was just getting crazier and crazier.  She’d fill her schoolbag with disposable cameras, and she would take pictures of me anytime she saw me in the hallway, in the cafeteria, and especially when we were sitting together in the library.  Snap. Snap. Snap.  Pictures of me reading a book.  Pictures of me picking my nose.  Pictures of me getting something out of my schoolbag.  Pictures of me staring at the ceiling.  Pictures of me looking at someone who just came through the door.  Pictures every second, but somehow never any pictures of us together.  Eventually she had at least two shoeboxes of nothing but photos of me.

After three weeks I wanted to pull the plug, but I just didn’t know how.  After four weeks we’d already met each other’s families.  After fives weeks I feared I was digging myself a hole I would never climb out of.  She was only growing more and more attached to me, even though I’d still managed to avoid kissing her.  I was afraid if I did she would imprint on me like a duck looking for it’s mother.  And I still didn’t know how soon you were supposed to start kissing when you were going out with someone?  Was five weeks too soon?  Were you supposed to really get to know each other first?

Hey, I didn’t know any better…

By six weeks I was psyching myself up to call it quits, but I didn’t know how to do it exactly.  I sure as hell wasn’t going to go to my mother for advice.  Ew.  Not even though Crazy had told me how suicidal she was after her last boyfriend dumped her and how she still thinks about hurting herself.  Great.  Another thing I had to worry about.  But I had to do it.  I couldn’t take her violent mood swings, her clingy neediness, and the fact that I felt more like a therapist than a boyfriend.  It was too much, way too much to handle.  Especially at 15.

After seven weeks (“seven weeks, five hours and fifteen minutes” to be exact) I biked over to her house for the last time.  We were sitting in her room and I told her, “we need to talk.”  Right away she fixed me  with that creepy, blank stare of hers.

“This isn’t working out,” I said.  “It’s not you, it’s me.  I just don’t think I’m ready for a relationship right now.”  That last part was true. I really thought my experiences with her were indicative of what being in a relationship was like.  And if that’s what a relationship is like, then I wanted nothing to do with it.

She didn’t answer.  She didn’t even blink.  Even when I moved out of her line of vision, she kept staring straight ahead without moving.  Suddenly she stood up and marched out of the room.  I was right on her heels, afraid of what she might do next.

“I’m going out,” she called to her mother, who was in the kitchen.

“Are you okay?” I asked her once she was outside.  She ignored me and kept her back to me as she retrieved her bicycle from the side of the house.  Without a word she hopped astride it and pedaled away as fast as she could.  I just stood there watching her go, unsure of what to do next.  I decided to just go home.

Later on, I learned that she indeed tried to kill herself again.  She rode her bike directly into oncoming traffic, just like she did the first time she attempted suicide.  And once she recovered, she went back to the mental hospital.  Phew.  At least I didn’t have to worry about seeing her around school anytime.  But the whole situation weighed on my conscience for a long time afterwards.

I was completely put off of girls after that experience.  I never wanted to date again.

And that held true.

For a little while…

Nineteen

Despite the fact that I’d taken down my profile and was fed up with the whole dating scene, I finally landed a date with the 19yo.  We were already talking on the phone by that point, so I figured I’d see where things went.  Stars and schedules aligned and we finally met.  And there she was – the youngest girl I’ve ever gone out with, as well as the first black chick I’ve met.  Woo, diversity!

I’d sworn off coffee dates, yet that’s precisely where we ended up.  It was just the easiest thing to do at the time. We sat and talked for over two hours, long enough that we ended up getting kicked out of the shop because it was closing.  Before we parted ways we made plans to see each other again, granted that our schedules line up again.  I straight out asked her what she’s looking for – a conversation I’ve neglected to have on most of the first dates I’ve been on.  She’s still new to this, I’m the only guy she’s met so far, and she’s one of these I’m-not-really-sure-what-I’m-looking-for types.  Basically just friends with the potential for more.  Okay.  I was honest with her and said that I’ve been looking for a serious relationship and that hasn’t been coming together for me.  Right now we are both on that same page of “friends and maybe more.”  We greeted each other with a handshake, and we left with a hug.

However, after my last post I came to a decision which I will discuss further in my next post.  I promise that this time I will finally tell the story of how I met a fellow blogger…

In the meantime, I wanted to touch base and keep everybody updated.  I’ve also been remiss at responding to some of your comments.  Gotta get on that…

First dates:  20
Second dates:  2
Third dates:  2
Cancellations:  3
Stood up:  2
First kisses: 1
Sexual experiences:  0.6