Bad choices made, constantly



Adventures in Online Dating (kinda) Pt. 3

We caught up on Facebook one night in the dead of summer. The second to last time I saw her I was in a bar and the second she walked in I pulled my hat down over my eyes and let my friend know I had to leave. I didn’t want to see her. The last time I saw her it didn’t end well. We briefly dated years ago, stopped and then tried again a few years after that and now here it was about ten years later. We had a few things in common, some similar music tastes and ummm, I guess that’s it. She was beyond the partying type. Well actually, that’s all she really was. There was never really any way she could be your girlfriend as every time you saw her you ended up listening to her talk about getting fucked up, watched her getting fucked up or got fucked up yourself to avoid the fact that you were with her.

I have a lot of friends from different backgrounds. People I know from punk rock music, people I know from going to hippie shows, people I worked with, people I dated or my friends dated and people I know from the vast network of suburban marijuana dealers. These types were usually the type of people who you would never really want to spend much time with but often you found yourself sitting in some room surrounded by empty Mountain Dew bottles listening to a group of people half your age talking about deep things like “dude, mirrors are fucked up, like why does shit have to be backwards in them?”  This is how I knew Jessica. She was one of these people. Fun enough to spend some time with here and there, but not someone you want to take on a road trip (well, I would never take anyone on a road trip). We met because of marijuana and alcohol.

Jessica found me on Facebook years after we dated and we started talking and as it turns out things got a little…sexy. If you aren’t aware, a good amount of people on Facebook and social networking sites are chatting with old friends and old lover and sparks are flying. It doesn’t matter if they are currently married, were married or are about to be married, everyone does it. Your husband probably does it or did, as I’m sure your wife has. No big deal, they’re still going to make it home tonight and be with you. At the time Jessica and I were talking I was not working. It was the dead of summer we had been talking about a week and graduated from Facebook chats to text messages. We planned on meeting and hanging out on a Tuesday.

Tuesday rolled around and it was one of those disgusting hot-as-piss humid days we get here in New England. She was currently living in an apartment in Lynn, Massachusetts. The area of Lynn, Massachusetts was the area “down by 7-11”. If you know where that is, you know that you’re not seeing many Volvos parked around there if you catch my drift. If you do ever see a Volvo parked “down by 7-11” in Lynn, Massachusetts you should probably call the police as the car is probably stolen.

I arrive at Jessica’s house at about 1:00 PM and of course lock my car. Her apartment is in a two family house. These types of ugly complexes are everywhere in New England. They are truly gross looking buildings and hers was no slouch. Jessica greets me at the door and she is right, she lost a lot of weight. She is wearing a sleeveless t-shirt that is ripped way too low exposing her braless breasts. The back of the shirt has a series of holes ripped all the way from the bottom to the top, like gills. I imagine one would see this type of shirt at a 38 Special concert, biker bar or in a stripper’s closet. She also has a nice pair of jeans on.

Her apartment, which she shares with a 19-year old co-worker from the restaurant she works at, is a typical sad affair. Two mismatched couches, a reasonably sized HD flat screen. A shelf with all the Harry Potter books, all the Twilight books, a bunch of those books you see in bookstores that I assume goth chicks or chicks that shop in Hot Topic would read…and one Henry Miller book (binding intact). There’s a long wide hallway that leads to more rooms and a kitchen. The rug is filthy. There are no fans anywhere in the apartment. It is about 98 degrees here. We smoke some of my pot I brought over. She mentioned the night before we would “match, which basically means “you smoke yours and then we’ll smoke some of mine” She of course had none.

Jessica suggested we got for a drive and she would drive her car. This was good news as I was pretty much out of gas. We drove to her old town where she grew up and walked the beach. It was far too hot and she was still wearing that horrible shirt. We must have looked like some sort of fucked up biker/pimp and hooker duo walking the beach. She then mentioned her dad recently had the house done and we should drive by it. I was a little reluctant. Why would I care about your dad’s house? I hate houses. Fuck houses. We drive by and low and behold his car is there so she wants to stop in and visit him. She wants to go visit her dad while dressed in that shirt with a dude that looks like a biker. Great. I’m still pretty high from earlier and I look like the “creepy guy that’s gonna have sex with your daughter later cause she’s wearing that shirt and, well of course” I also grew up in the town we were in. I have family there who are pretty prominent around town so I decide to play that card with him. He is a pretty normal looking dad, looks like he just got in from playing golf. He offers me a beer but I take some lemonade. I mention my family and he of course knows them and I somehow make it known that Jessica and I are just friends with a lot of “yeah isn’t she crazy?” type comments. I somehow make it out of there unharmed.

I hadn’t really been smoking that much at the time, and with the addition of the weather I felt pretty gross. We went back to her place. Her roommate soon came home with a nice young lady and Jessica mentioned we were “looking for some weed” I had no idea we were. I had twenty bucks on me. It was now dinnertime so Jessica cooked us some “ziti with meat sauce” that was basically ground turkey sautéed with some jar tomato sauce. If I hadn’t been starving and high I probably would have judged it more than I did. I had two bowls.

If you’ve ever hung out with someone who works in a restaurant listening to him or her talk about working in a restaurant can be amusing and informative. You get inside tips, generally the same anecdotal stories from anyone in the business. If you’ve ever hung out with two people who work in the same restaurant it can be one of the most painful things you can endure. They’ll spend hours talking about what this one did and that one did. The remainder of my “date” was spent hanging around this apartment with Jessica, her roommate, his “date” while they talked about work and made various phone calls trying to find weed. I felt like I was seventeen again!  The whole scene was depressing and made me resent “fucked up” people more than I generally do. Sitting around a living room getting high and talking about different times when you were high and future times when you will get high is not for me I guess. I left Jessica’s place around midnight and have not seen her since.

Although this wasn’t necessarily an “online date” we did meet up again online. Jessica reminded me of the first date I wrote about in this blog, just a bit younger. A sad mess of a girl who still had the same tired “drive” in her that she had ten years previous, to get fucked up as many nights a week as possible. I can’t live this kind of lifestyle at this point, and I find it actually makes me a bit angry when people are like this. Life is awesome and should be experienced in full clarity in my opinion. Every time I’ve dated for long periods of time I have spent most of the time sober as I always tell women “I want to remember these moments with you” Why would I want anything less?

While I haven’t had any crazy dates to write about like my first two I wrote about, I do have a number of old ones like this I have looked back on and without embarrassing myself too much I guess I can talk about on here. I love meeting people, even if I have nothing in common with them and nothing is ever going to become of a friendship or relationship. I find the less I have in common with someone the more interesting the experience. I write just about every day so memories are always a bit easier to access, and well, I have made some pretty poor decisions when it comes to dating and women in general. The only thing I can do now is look back and laugh.

Adventures in Online Dating Pt. 2

My second date began with a simple message from “Karen” that read “I keep coming back to your profile and you seem interesting” I looked at her profile: one kid, 50 years old, into outdoors shit, music… I had never dated anyone older than maybe three years older than me so 50 years old was a little out of my comfort zone. Dating itself is a little outside of my comfort zone though so why not? As with a number of profiles I have stumbled upon, Karen only had one photo, which leads me to believe…Well, I’m not that shallow. Or maybe I am. I think I might actually be kind of a jerk. I don’t think I did anything wrong with Karen. I don’t know if I deserved a passive aggressive final message from her that read “That’s ok. We just spent a long day together and then…silence. Good luck with your search” This in response to my “Sorry I didn’t feel anything romantic, sorry you thought I was hard to read”

So Karen and I wrote back and forth for a week or so. She seemed kind of boring, but nice. I’ve dated plenty of boring and nice women in my lifetime. I’ve also bored women to death throughout the years making them sit through concerts and films they didn’t want to, browsing bookstores and record stores but hey that one time I did go see the Sex in the City movie in the theater with my girlfriend. My life is pretty boring right now. I have a set routine that basically consists of me going to work on three or four hours of sleep, coming home and going out for a few hours to either write on my laptop in a chain coffee shop or grabbing dinner with a friend, going home and falling asleep ten minutes into a book/movie/tv show/donut. Adding dating into this mix is a little scary but it’s mixing things up for me and I like meeting people even if it’s only for one time, never to be heard from again.

Karen has a son who is 22, he lives in the living room of her apartment which is kind of a coincidence as I currently reside in the living room of my mother’s house as well, on a couch. Yes, I’ve resorted to that. It’s not really a long story, but it’s not very exciting and anyway it’s temporary. I told Karen this as well as my last date. Just in case it ever got to the point where we were going to “take it back to my place” they wouldn’t think I was married if I said “Oh, we cant do that” She mentions he has an actual bed set up in the living room and plays “his X Box”. For a brief moment I feel a little jealous of Karen’s son! I then remember I am practically twice his age and saw Kiss live in 1977, saw The Smiths live three times and was at the game when Nomar Garciaparra hit two Grand Slams and a home run (on his birthday) something he will never experience so fuck him and his bed and X-Box.

In trying to remember all the details of this date, which was way less eventful than my first one with the Kid Rock lady I have gone back to the text messages her and I were sending that week. On one particular evening she was on the deck at some bar and we had this brief exchange

“I am on the patio at Murphy’s listening to some acoustic music what are you up to! <Karen!>”

“I just bought a couple of Ozzy Osbourne CD’s, and a Twisted Sister one”

“Great! I am almost ready to leave. Waiting for a better song. Ugghh the doors. Used to like them. But then my ex listened to ONLY the Doors <Karen!>”

Normally this is where I would write something sarcastic like “wow, great story” but I didn’t. Over the week I noticed Karen would write “three days left”, “two days left”, etc. Also the last text message I have from her came at 1:26 PM, a half hour before I was supposed to meet her “Are you still coming? <Karen!>” I probably should have replied “not if you keep signing your fucking text messages like that!”

Karen lives in Manchester, NH and her name isn’t Karen. I was meeting her on Saturday at 2:00 PM, and again she wanted me to just come to her house, something I really think women should be more careful with.  Both women I’ve met said “I can tell you’re okay by talking to you on the phone” On Sunday I was going to meet some friends for an early lunch and walk in a nearby town in New Hampshire so I figured I’d make a day of it and book myself a room in Manchester. The older I get the less I like driving late at night and besides, any night I can get off the couch I take it. I love staying in motels and hotels.

I checked into my room early at 1:30 and called Karen. On my way to her place I took some mental notes of what was in the area for my inevitable late night disgusting meal. I briefly got lost on my way and when I called her and mentioned the rock I passed that read in bright orange spray paint ‘FLU SHOTS CAUSE AUTISM” she knew right where I was.

When I arrived at her place and she came outside my initial thought was “oh my”, but not a good “oh my” I shook her hand and we got in my car. I safely played the Rolling Stones (I don’t really like to play the Rolling Stones around women I am serious with or may get serious with just in case things go bad and I “ruin them” for me. I pretty much knew from the get go that this would be a friendship “date” so it was okay). She suggested we eat and said there was a good Chinese place down the street. We arrive at a strip mall and it looks like a ghost town, giant parking lot with a bunch of empty spaces, a Building 19 and this Chinese restaurant. I half expected tumbleweed to roll past us.

My first clue that this would not be a good Chinese restaurant was there were no Chinese people working here. My second was it was in a strip mall and my third was they brought us out a plate with two chicken wings when we sat down.  Who does this? If you ever want to feel awkward around a person you just met try eating chicken right off of the bone in front of them.  The food was disgusting and I have to say eating with a complete stranger less than an hour after meeting them is a little hard. She barely ate her food and I’m pretty sure she just ordered what she did to give to that little spoiled brat of hers in the living room with the bed and the X-Box. My fortune cookie asked “How can you have a beautiful ending  without making beautiful mistakes?”

We made our way down to a river and walked around an empty parking lot until I found a bench that wasn’t below a swarm of flies like the others. We talked for an hour or so and she treated me to some intense stories like the time her and her boyfriend at the time hitchhiked across country in 1980. While she was telling me some of these stories I was trying to do the math in my head of what a 50 year old person experienced: “could she have been at Woodstock?”, “was she a teenager during Vietnam?”, “Could black people vote when she was 20?” Apparently 50 years old isn’t that old, in fact it’s nine years older than me.

Her son works at a Dunkin Donuts and I suggested we stop and get a coffee and she said we should go to the one her son works at. She guided me to a drive through and after I made the transaction I asked if that was her son. It wasn’t. Apparently she was joking when she said we should visit him at work. Thank God as for the brief four-minute drive to Dunkin Donuts I thought I was going to have to meet the son of a woman I certainly wasn’t going to sleep with but who probably would have judged me somehow. “There’s mom bringing another bearded tattooed dude by the house again!”

Driving around New Hampshire (or New England in general) used to hold my attention for long stretches but lately it’s grown tired to me. We spent another couple hours or so driving around talking and I have to say I generally liked Karen but there was no attraction and her personality probably wouldn’t have worked in the long run. I need to feel like I can just be myself around someone before I can be myself in his or her presence. Holy shit, I think I just figured out how relationships work.

Karen suggested we go back to her place and figure out a plan for later. It was 7:30 PM and I was now thinking about how the Boston Bruins were about to play Game 2 of the Stanley Cup and I had a nice air-conditioned hotel room waiting for me up the road. Also, I was hungry.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in the apartment was the smell. It smelled like a bed, a bed with sheets that hadn’t been washed in months. There it was in all its glory, the bed. A single.  Unmade, facing a small 20 something inch television unusually high and at an odd angle. There are stacks of X-Box games on a shelf next to the bed. Tons of them! On the floor leaning against the bed was a giant framed Simpsons poster, the frame was too big for the poster and I wondered if that’s why it was on the floor. Perhaps it fell, or Karen took it down knowing I might be coming over and it looked “trashy”. In her haste to get all dolled up for me though she forgot to move it creating an even more trashy looking atmosphere! Karen sat on the couch and I decided to sit on the slightly small (for me) wicker rocking chair. She was sitting to my left at ten o’clock, directly in front of me was a computer desk or what I liked to imagine “where the magic happened”. There was a big uncomfortable iron outdoor chair they evidently used as a computer chair.

She created a playlist on her computer  (and went on Facebook for a minute!) which I should have expected since earlier when I asked her what her favorite concert ever was she replied “Tool”. 50 years old and Tool was your favorite concert? There weren’t enough red flags in the world that could have gone up at that moment. She must have seen like one awesome Yes show in the 70’s or something, come on. Tool. I hate Tool. Fuck Tool. So the playlist comes on and we hear some kind of modern hard rock type stuff and then that “It’s been a while…” song comes on. Staind. I need to get out of here and soon! It’s probably 2nd period by now!  I wonder if there is a Taco Bell near the hotel, I certainly didn’t see one.

She informs me her son gets out of work at 10:00 PM and then rides his bike home; once we start getting over to the rock and roll side of 9:30 I start getting ready. At about 9:51 PM she suggests we go out to see an Allman Brothers cover band. I fucking love the Allman Brothers so this is tempting but then I remember it’s not the actual Allman Brothers so I say

“I should probably get back to my room as I am meeting my friends early tomorrow”

At exactly 10:00 PM just as Karen’s son is taking the last bag of trash out to the dumpster behind some random Dunkin Donuts in New Hampshire I stand up and let her know I’m going to leave. She walks me out to my car. She gives me a longer hug than I was ready for and then kind of stands waiting for a kiss. I walk away and say goodbye.

I’m again reminded, “flu shots cause autism”. I snake my slightly melancholy self back to the hotel through some dark winding roads I’ll most likely never see again. Karen was a nice woman but not for me.

Now, where the fuck is there a Taco Bell? I find a Dunkin Donuts and grab a cup of coffee. I pull up Google on my phone and find a Taco Bell, less than a mile away. I figure how much more depressing of a day can I have than eating Taco Bell in a hotel by myself on a Saturday night?

Well…I get back to my room just in time to discover the Bruins are about to go into overtime. I get settled at the little desk and open my first item of 8% meat wrapped in some sort of tortilla and game play begins!  Eleven seconds later the game is over. Ouch.

The next afternoon at my friends place I get a message from a new girl. It reads simply “You’re cute, how was your weekend?” I assume this is some sort of spam or joke but I write her anyway. We spend the rest of the day writing back and forth. Perhaps that fortune in the cookie was true.

Adventures in Online Dating Pt. 1

I recently decided to try online dating for the first time. If you thought it was just cold in New England temperature wise, you should try meeting people here, they’re all just as cold.

I won’t name the site I used for this, but out of the few I checked it seemed the best. I assume they are all about the same. You can see who is viewing you, it’s free and you can send vague, brief messages to women similar to what I used to do when I was a teenager.

The mere thought of going on a date with a woman I chatted with online once or twice and maybe spoke on the phone for an hour with is a truly frightening thought, but I ended up diving head first into this…twice.

I put my profile up on a Thursday night. My profile is pretty generic, but to the point. I hate boring women, I love music, humor and travel. I have a few pictures up some of me smiling, some of me with a guitar. From what I understand chicks dig dudes with guitars. Since I’m kind of a creepy looking guy, the rare pictures of me smiling seemed to help.

I looked around and saw a few ads that seemed interesting and sent a brief message. Most responses I got were pretty generic and as I learned over the next couple of weeks, most women on there have no idea how to hold a conversation. At least with me, if I wasn’t interested in someone I just didn’t respond to message(s) they sent. One message I got out of the blue from “PatsFan122” read “Want to chat? You came up in mututal (sic) match” That’s all it said.  As it turns out, most people on here don’t read your profile. No surprise. I read the majority of the profiles unless they were too wordy or not wordy at all. I’m not going to lie though and say I just pass right by profiles of women I don’t find any physical attraction to. Anyone who says otherwise is lying. I think it was Bob Dylan who said “life is too short for ugly women” Or maybe it was Dylan McKay from Beverly Hills 90210.

A week or so later, on a Sunday afternoon at 2:07 PM, the day before a holiday I get a message from a 43 year old divorced mom “with kids”. We write back and forth for a good hour or so, there are a few grammatical errors in her brief replies. She then suggests we talk on the phone and just sends me her phone number.

She has a pretty thick Massachusetts accent, which is kind of a bummer, but I knew this was coming. We talked for about an hour, and then she invited me over to her place to “watch the Red Sox and drink some beers” So the minute this woman started writing me I pretty much knew there was nothing in common, she clearly did not read my profile too well and I wasn’t necessarily attracted to her but she wasn’t hideous or anything.  If anything this would give me some practice hanging with a complete stranger, even if said stranger was COMPLETELY FUCKING CRAZY.

Here is a complete rundown of my three or four hours with “Donna”

I arrive at her Section 8 apartment building about twenty-five minutes after talking to her, about five hours after receiving my first message from her in my inbox. There are two ways to get into the building and I call her on the phone a little confused as to where to go. She looks pretty much like she did in her photos. She is short, thick, dyed blonde. She opens the door and immediately says “oh I told you to go to the other door” These kinds of “bossy” comments happen throughout the night. Her 11 year old son is with her dad for the evening, her 22 year old son does not live here anymore. She has obviously been smoking and drinking for most of the day. There is an ashtray full of thin white cigarettes on a messy coffee table that also is covered in bills, three or four remote controls and three Bud Light cans. For whatever reason apartments of single women always have some sort of sad quality to them. She suggests we go get some beer. I don’t really drink beer that much, and although I’m far from a beer snob I’ll drink semi above average beers when I do. She says she will drive us to the liquor store. We get in the car and drive to the liquor store that is literally about 70 yards from her building. I could probably hit a golf ball with an aluminum softball bat further away than we just drove. She asks what kind of beer we should get and I of course immediately answer “Budweiser” I get us a 12 pack of Budweiser and pay for it on my debit card. I briefly think I should have paid for this with cash so there is no paper trail and then I remember I am not married. She buys herself a pack of cigarettes, some cheap brand called “Maverick Lights”

Upon arriving back at her place she suggests we play on her son’s Playstation. She wants to play her favorite game, Jeopardy. She is “awesome at it and never loses” Before this happens though she needs to make a phone call…I mean three phone calls. She first calls her son who apparently was out playing dodge ball with some kids while his mom was home with some man she met an hour ago. She then needs to call her mom for some reason. She puts her mom on speakerphone and talks to her for forty five minutes. They are shooting the shit about “Cathy” and “that new restaurant” and whatever other boring shit women in their thirties talk to their mothers about. Thankfully the Red Sox game is on and they are winning.  She then calls her best friend “John” and puts him on speakerphone and lets him know she is hanging with her “friend Chris” He sounds as bored as I am sitting there. He just returned from a day out fishing. He didn’t catch anything aside from a nap before she called.

My intense first date with Donna finally resumes and in an attempt to set a mood for us she decides to play some music.

“Do you like Kid Rock?”

“Are you fucking kidding me, of course I do!” is my answer. Me, the guy whose profile clearly states that I love The Clash, The Rolling Stones, Bad Brains, The Specials, Wilco and The Smiths.

Of course the Kid Rock is on the loudest volume possible about four feet from my left ear. In my life I’ve heard a few Kid Rock songs. They usually show up on a radio I have no control over. On this night I got to hear a whole hour or so of his music. I guess I still don’t consider myself a fan of his music after hearing a whole record. In fact I think I would rather listen to a drunk guy (with mittens on) try to play Blackbird by the Beatles on an out of tune acoustic guitar every day for the rest of my life than listen to a minute of Kid Rock again.

We then get our Jeopardy on. To say I beat her would be an understatement. I think the final score was something like $9100 to $250. At one point in the game there is a question in the “Art” category.

“ooh I hate aht, you into aht Chris?”

“Nah, aht is gay” I tell her

I realize I might be getting a slight buzz from the three Budweisers and four or five shots we have taken up to this point. I’m still able to beat her by correctly answering “What is Impressionism?” to the clue “ “19th Century art movement in Paris….” She answered “Mona Lisa”

I think I’m in love.

Even if she’s smoked about eleven cigarettes by now and clearly has drank me under the table.

Donna now decides we should listen to more music seeing as I have beaten her at Jeopardy. She starts going through those music channels on her TV set and playing a minute of a song and then changes it. Lady Gaga. Bruno Mars. Cee-Lo. Justin Beiber (really).The volume is at a level where we can’t really have a conversation. She does this for about forty five minutes in this bizarre blur of attention deficit disorder and this weird regressive childlike manic episode. I begin to think of a way out.

“Donna, I should probably go home soon, it’s getting late”

The conversation before the music came on somehow turned to politics and she of course did not like Barack Obama because he was black and would “probably vote for Trump if he had run” There were a few pretty bad racist comments made as far back as our first phone call.

I guess the main reason I went on this “date” was out of curiosity and just because I pretty much knew how surreal it might be. Stepping into this world I normally wouldn’t ever go to; drinking Budweiser and blaring Kid Rock with my racist date.  I chalked it up to a funny experience I could write about and tell people about. I always talk to anyone who approaches me, sometimes much to the dismay of people I am with.

On my way out I told Donna that she really should be careful whom she invites to her place. It’s really none of my business, but obviously there are some sick people out there, but also I guess there are men out there who would have been perfectly comfortable on a date like this.

A week later I had another date. It went relatively better than this one did, but there was no click. Actually, it didn’t really go well either. I’ll get to that one next.

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