I recently received a DM request from a man on Instagram who had somehow come across and read my blog. He boldly reached out to me with, “Blessed evening….saw your blog and there is no way your single, your beautiful but if you are so am I….prayerfully we can continue texting.” I say boldly for a couple of reasons. Number one, because that dude just read my blog, where I either make fun of first date fumbles or outline paths to self empowerment that require some serious bushwhacking.
I have had more than one friend say to me, “Are you sure you want to bash these guys? Who will ever want to go out with you after you publicly humiliated the last guy?” I don’t give a shit.
“What exactly is it that you are trying to accomplish by pummeling these poor chaps?” I honestly don’t know, except to release it and hopefully connect with some women and guide some men with stories of what not to do. Hahaha.
I say boldly secondly because he’s got no chance. Those of you that know me well know that I would have a really difficult time getting past that many grammar errors in so few sentences. But the real reason is because, although I admire his boldness, I think his compliment “your beautiful” is shallow and meaningless. It does not capture or even match what he read in my blog. Some may say that my desire to take a red pen machete to his incompetency in writing a grammatically correct sentence is shallow. I accept that. We care about what we care about. Compliments sum up this concept of Men are From Mars and Women Are From Venus in the dating world.
And the fact that he employed the words “blessed” and “prayerfully” has gotta go too. Those words do not enhance a pick up line but rather fill the air with smoke signals spelling out “RUN!” The Bold and the Beautiful just aren’t cutting it.
I know, blasphemous. How can I not love to read “your beautiful” and “blessed” and “prayerful?” Such lovely words and sentiments and such innocent grammar errors.
Well. I went out on a date with a man who verbally attacked me with compliments and promises of a life filled with religion and God and him. ON THE FIRST DATE. How dare he?
The religion part wasn’t that surprising. We had done some texting prior to the full face to face meet up. And most of his texts had some connection to church and religion. “Sorry, I didn’t respond, just got out of church.”
“Yes the church crew had a luncheon.”
“Then the church group had a Bingo event.” Super sus to a non church goer, such as me.
“Yup, the church crew and I just wrapped up bowling.” All I kept hearing inside of my head was That one time at band camp… Was “church crew” code for something else? Or was it just as it seemed. I felt unsettled with either answer. But I ignored it just like Jim in American Pie.
And so I showed up to a fun downtown spot, all dressed up and ready to enjoy a night out on the town. He had already arrived and reserved us the amazing table right next to the fire place. Perfect. He stood up to greet me and his eyes lit up with excitement and anticipation. YES. The feeling was contagious, and I felt my excitement ramping up as well. Then he spoke. “Wow, I love your glasses.'” Pause. “And look at those earrings, adorable.” Awkward pause. “You are just adorable.” Screech. I didn’t even know what to say.
I tried my very hardest to once again squash the judgment urging my instinctual need to run. We began talking and sharing after I finally mustered up a reluctant “Thank you.” He worked at a local college. “Wait, what? I want to be a adjunct there,” I tell him. Then I share my dream of traveling the US in a Winnebago, teaching classes at universities and colleges while professors take their sabbaticals. “I need to add some college level teaching to my resume. Tell me more about the work place” He then spends the next thirty minutes describing a hostile work environment where he has been the brunt of bullying and left behind for promotions due to this pugnacious place. Terrible place to work. “But I just want to be an adjunct. ” Then inside of my head, Don’t you want to hear more about my dream retirement? Wouldn’t that be more fun than this bitch session? A real compliment would be to ask questions and show interest in what I just said. My earrings? My eyeglasses? That one time at band camp…
Now he was ramped up. He began to calm down as he shared that his escape from this horrible work place is his church. And the friends that he has there. Here is my chance. “YES, I noticed that you did quite a bit with your church crew last weekend.” That one time at band camp…
“Oh yes, you will absolutely love it there. Well, assuming we stay together, which feels highly likely right now to me…” WHAT? More terribly ineffective pick up lines. “You will just love it and my friends.”
“No I won’t. I won’t ever know because I won’t go. I have done my years of church searching and have come to peace with the fact that organized religion just isn’t for me.” And I just don’t care for being told what to do OR what I will or will not like. I said the part in italics quietly inside of my head. But I can only imagine how loudly my facial expression was expressing those sentiments.
“Well I like that spunk. hahaha You will really love it,” his attempt at slicing through the impenetrable tension.
“No, I won’t,” I repeated. Why didn’t I say anything about the “feeling stronger about staying together part?” I tend to focus on the wrong stuff, but the insistence about the love for a church was distracting me. This one time at band camp… I felt the need to assert myself and not be told what to do, but I was ignoring the much bigger picture. This is the woman’s version of planning a wedding, in her head, while still on the first date. Men are From Mars and Women are From Venus….those two planets feel so close to one another right now. So similar and yet both so foreign to me.
Then he said the thing. He clinched his craziness. “Well I used to drag my ex-wife kicking and screaming, so I definitely I won’t make you.” As if he learned a lesson or something and that would soothe me? Nope, I was terrified. And ready to go.
But I don’t know how to do that. Just leave, simply carry myself out of there. I don’t know why I still allow myself to be uncomfortable in order to avoid making others feel so. So I played nice. Or I tried to shut down the look of shock on my face when, there it was, the Hail Mary, that ultimately saved me from myself, the tension, and my need to people please, ugh.
A text came through from the ex. “TJ just got put in the game.” Our son is a college lacrosse player, a back up goalie, just waiting for his chance to shine. And here it was. His chance to play and my chance to leave. I looked at Mr. Religion and said, “Look, I’ve got to go. My son just got put in the game, when they are down 5-4, I have to watch.” It was being streamed and I wasn’t about to miss it. So I stood up and left the tension behind me. Losing my religion…
That one time when my son got put in to save the game…saved me from any more of that one time at band camp.
Lesson: Make the compliments meaningful. What is the most shallow OR meaningful compliment you have ever received?