Back when I was meeting guys on the internet, email was still a relatively new thing. People didn’t have four hundred pictures of themselves on Facebook. If you tried to email someone a picture of yourself, it would take about ten minutes to load, and it would come up line by line, like some weird game where you try to guess what something looks like before you see the whole picture.
I wish I remembered the password to my old AOL account, because I would totally dig up the names of my old internet dating conquests and find out where they are now.
Wait. I just called them conquests. That implied I slept with them.
Ick. I did not.
This one guy wanted to meet at Barnes & Noble in Annapolis, then we’d see if we hit it off, and we’d possibly get dinner.
Ding, ding, ding, sounds like a winner, right? I’d chatted with this guy online for a few weeks, he sounded all right, and hello, he wanted to meet at a bookstore. A bookstore. That’s like asking if I like money or if I’m sure I want to have a second helping of french fries.
I got to the bookstore early. I’m like that. (Or I was before I had a kid.) I was sitting and reading in one of the comfy chairs, casually looking up every time a guy walked into the bookstore.
This one guy walks in wearing old jeans, and an honest-to-god stained gray sweatshirt. He looks like he hasn’t showered in the last 24 hours. Actually, the last 48 hours looks sketchy.
I say to myself, Please don’t be the guy. Please don’t be the guy. Please don’t be the–
“Excuse me, are you Brigid?”
Yeah, he was the guy.
But you know what? I’m a nice girl. (Or I was before I had a kid.) I decided to give the guy a chance. Maybe he had to work all day. Changing oil or something. On a tractor. On a farm. Where they didn’t have showers.
It could happen.
We talked. He was okay. A little keyed up and shy, but he was okay. He actually seemed shocked to be talking to a girl. We were both young, and I had awkward moments too, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt. When he asked if I wanted to go across the street to Outback, I said yes.
You know how sometimes people will make that high pitched sound of a bomb dropping, then a big crash at the end? Imagine me doing that.
So we’re sitting at the table, and the waitress comes to ask for our drink order. He asks for water.
Nothing wrong with that, right?
But he specifically says, “Can you bring me three glasses?”
The waitress shifts her feet. “Of…water?”
He says, “Yeah. I have a condition–“
Interjection: if you’re on a first date, and the other person at any point says, “I have a condition,” that’s your cue to leave. There’s nothing wrong with having a condition. You’re a hypochondriac? Bring it on. An irrational fear of lampposts? I can work with that.
Leave it out of the first date talk.
Save it for the second date, probably after a cocktail.
Anyway. He had a condition where he was always thirsty. THAT was his condition. Not something medical. He was just always thirsty.
So she brings him three glasses of water and lines them up in front of his plate. He proceeds to drink them all.
Seriously, he drains all three glasses like someone opened a spigot of the nectar of the gods over that table at Outback, and he can’t get enough. I hadn’t even looked at my menu at this point. I was mystified by this guy’s behavior. Maybe this is why he didn’t have time to shower: he was constantly drinking and peeing.
Then again, maybe he’d be right at home in a shower.
I digress. (Again.)
Throughout the course of the meal, he drinks 11 glasses of water. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. God, I wish I could find this guy’s name. He lived in Huntingtown, Maryland. Do any of my 26 followers know a guy in Huntingtown who can’t stop drinking? Water, I mean?
But he also gets a steak, a salad, sides, dessert, the whole schebang. I do the same (minus the water). I wasn’t going to sit there and stare at him while he ate.
Now, I’m a modern girl. I did NOT expect him to pick up the tab.
Apparently, he didn’t expect to pick up the tab either. Any of it.
At the end of the meal, the long, bizarre, freakish meal, he stares at me and says, “I don’t have any money.”
Not like, oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-I-forgot-my-wallet.
More like, lady-you-better-have-a-credit-card.
It was completely deadpan, too. I don’t know if he just had no sense of societal conventions, or what.
We ended up dating for two years.
No! I’m completely kidding. I never saw him again. He called me incessantly after that, and I think I made something up about him being too good for me. I seriously don’t think he’d ever gone on a date before going out with me.
Here’s where I’m going to reiterate my loathing for all-girls schools. Or I’m going to insist that parents make sure their daughters get socialized through sports, or outings, or camps, or whatever I should have been doing. I never learned about dating in high school. I should have.
Maybe those nuns should have spent a little less time talking about how using a tampon meant you were having sex with cardboard, or maybe they could have skipped chastising me for sitting on the floor next to a boy (not touching) at a high school mixer. Those things didn’t really help me later in life.
But I could have used a lesson or two on figuring out things like mentioning a “condition” of being “thirsty” might not bode well for a first date.