Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guest Blog: Why Optimism Isn't Always Rewarding

Welcome to our third Guest Blogger, and my bestie, Miss Brie! After I started doing guest spots on here, I called Brie and told her that she simply had to write this story—I think it may take the cake for worst date ever. It is, however, quite instructional—she’s included several date tips throughout. Unnecessary side-stories brought to you by me. 


I graduated from Texas A&M with only one ring, and it was on my right hand instead of my left.

After graduation, I entered the workforce as a teacher—buildings full of women and the occasional man who is usually married and almost always an arrogant ass.

Sidebar (Brie): If you are a male teacher that does not fit these criteria, I apologize. If you do fit these criteria, then stop being an ass.

Since I had made a rule to never mess around with coworkers (ladies and gentleman, you should make the same rule), my chances of meeting Mr. Right were quickly dwindling, as much of my time was spent at work with teenagers, women, and of course, off-limits, arrogant, asses. So, on a whim I joined this website called CatholicMatch.com. (link)  I wanted to at least narrow the online dating world to those who were Catholic and perhaps shared the same morals and values that I did.

Sidebar (E): Funny story. I got on Catholic Match too, for the hell of it. Overall, it’s a good site, but naturally, they want to approve anything you write and any photos you want to post. My written profile passed without a hitch, but they definitely denied one of my pictures because my dress was “too low cut and/or revealing.” Thanks, CM, for making me feel like a dirty whore.

At first, I joined out of curiosity and then it was kinda fun. I spent a few months emailing different guys, then it moved to texting and phone calls, and eventually we would meet up. I dated a few of them ranging from a week to a couple of months, but as soon as I realized I wasn’t into him, I would break it off. No sense wasting my time, or his.

I started emailing one fellow, Stephen, right before Spring Break. And since I was going out of town and would not have computer access, he asked for my number so we could text, a sneaky way of getting my number. All week long we talked—he even sent me “good morning” notes each day.

Date tip: Some girls find that sweet; I, however, find it a little creepy—I had only been talking to him for about ten days. I may be in the minority, but guys, give it a little time before being all cute and “coupley.”

Sidebar (E): This is why Brie and I are best friends—sometimes I think we’re the only girls in the world who get totally skeezed out by this kind of stuff. And yes, I said “skeezed.” We’re making it a thing.

I was scheduled to return to town on a Saturday and he wanted to meet up before he had to leave for work in Huntsville on Sunday morning. At this point, I was still thinking that he seemed like a nice guy, very gentlemanly, funny—so I thought “Okay, why not?” We made plans to stay in with dinner and a movie because I was tired and not really in the mood to “go out.”

We met up at Taco Cabana, which was totally fine—I wanted low key. We had a nice meal, good conversation, and he was still making me laugh. There were times that I thought he was a little socially awkward, but I thought it had to do with the fact that it was our first date and maybe he was just a tad nervous, so no big deal. After dinner, we decided to go and planned to hit up a redbox on the way to his place.

When we walked out, he asked, “Do you just want to ride with me and I’ll bring you back to your car later?”

Date tip: It’s always a good idea to drive yourself, especially in the beginning (and definitely if you met online)…it’s just safer if you don’t know him very well, and you always have an out.

I must tell you about this car. There was a crack running the entire length of the windshield. It was about seven different colors from patch jobs over the past three decades. I could see “stuff” in the backseat that was overflowing into the front. The doors didn’t quite hang even. He jumped on the hood and said, “It’s a piece of crap, but it only cost me $200.”

The thought crossed my mind to leave right then and there, but I honestly felt like I was being judgmental and materialistic, so I said, “I’ll just follow you, but thanks for the offer.” I climbed in my own car and breathed a sigh of relief. We stopped at a redbox and got Inception, which neither of us had seen before.

Date tip: Get a short movie unless you are sure you want to spend the next several hours together.

We headed to “his place” or what I thought was his place, though it turned out to be his brother’s apartment. Stephen did not actually have a place of his own since he was working in Huntsville. That explained all the “stuff” in his car. He toted around all his belongings so he could just stay wherever he wants whenever he’s in Houston. I don’t think I need a sidebar here as you probably know what I was thinking.

Again, the thought crossed my mind to leave, but I repressed the feeling and tried to be optimistic.

Then, I walked into the apartment.

Sights: Empty beer cans, half-unpacked boxes against every wall, “things” on every surface including the floor, with a small path carved through the junk that pretty much went from the front door to the refrigerator and ended at the couch.

Smells: Stale beer and weed.

Sounds: What could have only been the thumping of the neighbors engaged in what sounded like some really great sex.

I was less than impressed.

Sidebar (E): Now why on earth would you be less than thrilled with the romantic scene Stephen presented you with here? I mean, is there anything that drives a woman wilder than the sound of enthusiastic intercourse coupled with eau de Mary-Jane?

He forged ahead and kicked things out of the way to lead me to “his room”. We walked in and all I saw at first was a mattress on the floor. Not a low bed, but a bare mattress with no sheets or blankets or anything. Oh, and there was a TV against the wall hidden somewhere amongst more half-unpacked boxes.

Date tip: Don’t bring a girl back to an unclean apartment. It doesn’t have to be professionally cleaned, but seriously? You are supposed to be trying to somewhat impress her.

Sidebar (E): We promise not to bring our white gloves if you ask us back to your place, but you should at least toss the dirty clothes into your closet, wipe off the counters and wash any dishes in the sink. A Glade plug-in is also a nice touch—just make sure it’s something manly(ish), like Clean Linen, and not Sweet Pea and Lilac. Not that I know a guy who did that or anything…you know who you are.

What floored me the most was that he thought it was totally acceptable to bring a girl to a room with a bare mattress on the floor. I started to think to myself, “Did he think I was that desperate to be with someone that a first impression didn’t even matter?” Again, the thought crossed my mind to leave and to be honest I don’t know why I stayed—maybe the adventurous side of me wanted to see what would happen next.

I told him, in what I hoped was not a condescending tone, that I would need a blanket or something, so he pulled some sheets from the dryer (I assumed they were clean and I don’t want to imagine otherwise), and laid them on the bed. I reluctantly sat down while he got the movie set up. He was still being a nice guy, so as I was sitting there, I was thinking, “Okay, I don’t know his situation or circumstances, but this apartment does not define who he is, so just breathe, don’t touch anything, and you’ll be fine.” He got the movie up and running, turned out the lights, and sat down next to me.

I honestly don’t remember anything in the movie because things started to get really awkward fairly quickly. He tried the whole “yawn, put your arm around the girl” move but since I was leaning against the wall, I had to lean forward to make it work, AKA not very sly.

Sidebar (E): Guys do that outside of back-episodes of “Boy Meets World”?

He took my arm into his lap and began stroking my wrist (I thought this was weird, but it is an important detail for later) Since his arm was against the back of my neck, I really wasn’t comfortable, so I pulled my legs up, wrapped my arms around them (partially to get my arm back from the awkward wrist-stroking) and leaned forward to rest my chin on my knees.

Date tip: Learn to read body language: this is the sign for “do not touch me.”

He didn’t read it that way; he thought I wanted a back massage. Seriously? I am not really a touchy-feely person anyway, add that to the fact that I am already feeling creepy-crawly just being in that apartment…the massage wasn’t a good idea. Still not reading the body language very well, he went in for the kiss. I thought “Hey, if he’s a good kisser, then at least the night won’t be a total waste.”

…He wasn’t.

Sidebar (Brie): I do remember at one point, he asked me how many guys I had kissed and then he said he was hoping he was my first…um, yeah. I believe my reply started with a laugh and ended with, “Definitely not my first.” Good thing it was dark or he might have been offended by the eye-roll that immediately followed.

Sidebar (E): Bahahahahaha. I mean, no, Brie totally doesn’t need extra hands to help her count her list or anything…

At this point, I had decided this would definitely be the last time I saw him and my plan was to get out of there as quickly and painlessly as possible. However, I was still worried about offending him—I’m not a total bitch. But, of course, we rented the second longest movie EVER after The Ten Commandments and I was racking my brain, trying to think of ways to avoid what might happen next. Eventually, he got up to go to the bathroom…he was gone for quite some time. I tried very hard not to think about what was happening in that bathroom. But I took the opportunity presented to me…


So, what do you do if you find yourself in this type of situation? Luckily, Brie had a simple, yet efficient, contingency plan for this exact occasion. Find out tomorrow what she did to avoid any more romantic overtures from “Needs a Clue” Stephen.


  1. Folks,

    Yeah another person who doesn’t get it…

    Our would be E here made several comments about the ridiculousness of the car, and the apartment situation. I would argue that her comments were directed at a symptom of a much larger problem: Maturity. Here is a reasonably social, funny guy, with a job, but is living out the back of his car and in a frat-tastic apartment. I understand life can be tricky and sometimes you do what you have to do to get by…Then play to your strengths and keep her out of your would be apartment and agree to meet a spot that will not require her to see your vehicle. Let her get to know you, explain your unusual circumstances and go from there. Most importantly, show her you have a plan that you’re sticking to get out from behind the 8-ball. After all you should already be self-sufficient, i.e. mature, when you enter a relationship. Only then can the relationship be greater then the sum of its parts.

    On the other hand, if you’re a guy looking for that quick score, from the chick at the bar who is too drunk to notice the 420 smell in the living room and thinks the empty beer cans create a nice decorating effect, then great, go for it. But if you’re on a catholic website, designed to get people hitched, then perhaps you should show that you’re beyond your toga party years and are worthy of being hitched too.

    Now there is a lot to be said on the subject of first date protocol. But the short of the long of it can be generally summed up in: Don’t touch her. It’s that simple. If she’s into you, she’ll find a way or reason to touch you. (She’ll sit just that much closer, she’ll laugh, turn and touch your arm or she’ll find away into your into your personal space.) If she’s not, grouping her is soooo not going to help.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it here: First dates are interviews. Does the person you are going out with for the first time meet your minimum qualifications (regardless of how high and unreasonable they may be/seem to each other?) This means a first date needs good conversation (i.e. ask open ended questions that she can talk about while you smile and nod.) It does not mean, cop a feel, steal a kiss or anything else along those lines that you watched Corey and Shawn try to do to Topanga and company. As so much in life is, it's all about timing. Give the girl a few hours (at least 1.5 to two dates worth) of one on one time before you make a physical move to allow her to figure out how far she’s going to take things with you. You’ll never loose your chance for a long-term relationship with a girl because you didn’t kiss her on the first date.

    Girls are all about the emotional intimacy. Work on creating that first, and then the physical intimacy will follow in spades.


  2. Mark-I like you! You are so insightful! And I must agree with the talking and not invading personal space. I still get teased, but on my first date with my now husband, I shook his hand at the end (we were work collegues). It was awkward, but now gives us plenty of laughs and didn't put too much pressure on making it work right away.
    As an aside-Mark are you a psych major?? You have too much insight for a young man your (assumed) age :)
    -E's sister

  3. "...but is living out the back of his car and in a frat-tastic apartment..."

    dude, no self-respecting frat-daddy would ever live in a place like that.

  4. One of E's Many Sister,

    Thanks...but i'm no psych major. I'm actually an engineer by trade, back at school working on my masters in EE. But I am an avid people watcher and have done a bit of dating, reading, and traveling. So, i've picked up what I can, from as many different sources as I could. My ramblings are the world according to Mark and are really just meant to be food for thought or starting points for discussion. (How does that saying go, advice is just experience pulled out of the trash can, polished a bit and passed on as something of value.)

    As to my age, I'm only 27(which to those under 20 may seem like almost thirty, which is close enough to 40, and might as well be 50, and that's just old.) But I like to think i'm closer to 25, which is really one's early 20s and therefore still young enough to be in college.

    We all have our strengths and weakness. I'm pretty good at keeping a girlfriend, but I have a lot of issues (i.e. i really suck) at the cold approach and getting that first date from a perfect stranger. So I write about what I know, and leave the bar pick up techniques to the professional cufflink toting, two color shirt wearing, loaded professionals. ; p