I’m pulling into the parking lot of the Starbucks coffee shop where I have agreed to meet my date. I’m a little early because I always like to be the first one there so that I can see what she really looks like when she arrives and gets out of her car. Online dating profiles, very frequently, have pictures that are either ten years old or aren’t even the person that posted the profile. So if I see her, and she doesn’t look like her profile pic, at all, I might just consider canceling the date and taking off. I’ve never done that before but I would consider it.
I’m a little apprehensive about this one for several reasons. First of all, she didn’t have any profile narrative whatsoever — always a red flag. If she can’t take the time to write a little bit about herself, then she isn’t trying very hard (swipe left). That’s RULE #1. Secondly, I usually like to start up a chat online to get to know the person a little before we meet. This one said that she didn’t believe in a lot of online chatting and that we should just meet and get to know each other then. RULE #2, always get to know a little about your potential date before you meet her. And of course, there’s RULE #3. If she only posts one pic and it’s a professionally done headshot, swipe left. That’s the case with this one. She only had one headshot pic and it looked like a business card pic. So, as I’m sitting in my car, I’m wondering why I agreed to the “first contact” meeting when all my rules have been thrown out the window? Two reasons — I haven’t had a date in over 6 months and she looks awesome in her pic!
It’s 10 minutes past our arranged time to meet. I’m kind of relieved because now I have an excuse to leave. But as I begin to turn the ignition, she texts me and asks for another 15 minutes. I agree because she seemed sincere and now I’m really curious to see what she’s like. But 25 minutes go by and she still hasn’t arrived. And now I’m getting a little angry. What a waste of time. I should have known better. And then an old Ford Taurus pulls into the parking lot. It might be her. She parks her car, and after five or six minutes she finally gets out with a cigarette in her mouth and a pomeranian in her arms. If it is her, there goes RULE #4 and STRIKE #1 — no cigarette smokers and bringing dogs on dates. I put my glasses back on to get a good look at her. It might be her but the hair color is different and the length is a lot shorter. I say to myself, “There’s no way that’s her. I’m just gonna take off.” Then she texts me “Hey, I’m here, where are you?”. Ugh…I let out a heavy sigh as I text back, “I just pulled into the parking lot” instead of “Sorry, I just can’t make it today”. I’m still clinging to the hope that my date somehow slipped by me and she’s been here all along.
I walk into the Starbucks, holding my breath for a miracle and I don’t see anyone. I walk out to the patio and there she is. The smoking pomeranian girl, waving at me and asking if I’m there for her. I paused for a second, contemplating telling her a lie, that I worked there and was just checking the patio for trash. But, I just couldn’t do it. She asked me if it’s ok to sit on the patio because of her dog and her smoking habit and of course, I said yes. As I sat down, I was smiling on the outside and being very cordial, but on the inside, I was beating myself up for breaking all the rules and wasting my time. It was obvious that the pic on her profile was old. She looked at least 10 years older and 20 pounds heavier (STRIKE #2). She had a tattoo of a man’s name on her shoulder (STRIKE #3), and she told me that her actual name was “Peaches” which wasn’t the name on her profile (STRIKE #4). For the next 60 minutes, she talked only about herself and her aspirations to become a dental hygienist and her ex-boyfriend who was a loser ex-con (STRIKE #5), all while her little ankle-biter barked at everyone that walked by on the sidewalk (STRIKE #6). She excused herself to go to the restroom, three times and had me watch the dog while she was gone (STRIKE #7). If I had not been entrusted with the dog, I might have left a couple of times when she went to the restroom. I kept thinking how stupid I was agreeing to a date and that this was 60 minutes that I would never get back.
Finally, as she stopped talking to light up another cigarette, I said “Well…I gotta get going. I have things to do.” Her answer to that was “Oh no…I thought we could spend some more time together.” I almost laughed out loud at the prospect of breaking RULE #5 — never agree to extend the first contact meetup. You can make plans for another date but the “first meet” is just that. So, I stood up and thanked her for coming. She said that she was going to sit on the patio a little longer as I walked away.
Without question, my worst date ever! Seven strikes when traditionally three is the limit. But I learned a valuable lesson. Stick with the rules of the first date possibility criteria! Breaking one rule might be acceptable, but not all five! Stupid me.
By Mike C
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