Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bad dates

When people ask about my bad dating experiences, I often wish I had better stories. I never went out with a sweaty, burpy guy, like my sister, or with a man who casually mentioned that he was planning to dabble in prostitution later that afternoon, like my friend M. My worst date was years ago, when I went out with a guy I met at a party in Williamsburg. He was from Maine, and an old friend of someone I met once or twice who seems like a decent person and is a bit of a celebrity in the progressive political world, plus I had beer goggles, so I thought he seemed great.

When we met a week later, though, I quickly realized my mistake. By the time we were ready to head out of my apartment for a walk, I was so horrified by the thought of spending an evening with him that I briefly contemplated putting his jacket in the hallway and locking my apartment door when he went to the bathroom (the bathroom was off a common hallway, tenement-style). As we walked next to the Gowanus Canal, he told me that he liked to hang out by the East River on Staten Island and throw tennis balls into the water. For fun.

He had just enough money in his bank account, he told me, to pay for movie tickets for both of us. But then he got hungry, so we had to stop at a store so he could buy chips. Then he only had enough money for one movie ticket, so I got my own. It was a long, painful evening.

I had a similar experience last week during my third and final date with the Hipster Librarian. He suggested a visit to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, a fine suggestion that showed sensitivity to my interests. However, once there a side to his personality came out that I had glimpsed once or twice before: He is an insufferable know-it-all, and he takes himself way too seriously. For instance, in front of a Sargent sketch: "Isn't it fascinating how the style is so different from his other works! I would hardly know it as a Sargent. It's positively Chavannes-esque." When we arrived at Rembrandt's self-portrait: "Ah, Rembrandt. Only 23 years old. At that age, he still may have had delusions of himself as a good-looking man, but not for much longer." I kid you not. Again, I had the urge to race out of the museum without looking back.

The next day, he added me as a friend on Facebook, and I looked through his photos and saw lots of artsy shots of himself looking pensive. And I knew I had to move on. So I sent him the Breakup Email and bid him adieu.

I think he'd appreciate the fact that I bid him adieu rather than just saying bye.

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