Most women like a man in uniform. I am no exception. Firemen in particular have always caught my eye, but there are few situations where I could meet one without being in mortal danger.
My opportunity to meet a fireman without the risk of burning to death came when I was asked to take photos of a safety drill for work. OK, I wasn’t asked; I volunteered, despite the fact that my photography skills are on a par with a 5 year old’s.
For the entire morning I trekked around with rugged men in uniform taking substandard photos, which I emailed out later that afternoon. The highlight of my day was briefly chatting with a cute, young firefighter who had accidentally smacked me with a HAZMAT suit.
The next morning, I had several emails of thanks in my inbox, luckily none of them pointing out that the vast majority of the photos were out of focus with my thumb in the way. Then I came across am email from the young fireman asking if he could take me out for a drink.
Of course he could take me out for a drink! I enthusiastically sent him my phone number, praying he would call that night.
Around 9 p.m., I received a text message from him. I’m not opposed to text messages from guys. They give me more time to compose a witty reply and in this case (because we barely knew each other) it made everything less awkward. Or so I thought.
His text message essentially said “Hey, how’s it going?” but with every word misspelled. I can forgive bad grammar and misspellings in a text message, but how does one misspell “hey”?
He asked me if I would drive 40 miles to visit him at the firehouse that very night. After meeting him in person for a total of 30 seconds, I declined. I was also already in my pajamas and enjoying some bad television. He then requested that I give him a “message.” I thought text messages were messages? I later learned that it was a misspelling of “massage.”
I’m not one for jumping into a relationship right away— or jumping into giving massages before the first date. Perhaps I have commitment issues. The text conversation lasted for about half an hour, each text more confusing than the one before since the casual misspellings were slowly degrading into a rapid succession of random letters and emoticon smiley faces.
I think I may be too old for 21st century text flirting.
I finally told him I needed to go to bed, at which point the only correctly spelled text message came through: “Good night baby girl.”
Lesson learned: When a man you don’t know calls you by a pet name —particularly one you find laughable and mildly insulting—it’s perhaps better to decline the date, even if he can save you from a burning building.
“It’s OK if you don’t have a date.”
People tell me this a lot. Attending events by myself is one of the burdens of being single. I’m not sure if single men feel the same pressure to always have someone on their arm when going to a birthday party, a wedding, a funeral, an engagement party, a bris, a 4th of July barbecue, a Christmas party, or a second cousin twice-removed’s bar mitzvah. But for me, I always note the slight excitement and anticipation people seem to get when they ask if I’ll be bringing a date. This is always followed by that trademark smile for the tragedy that is my singledom.
Unfortunately, it’s not just my social life that carries this burden; it’s also part of my working life. There are many networking, fundraising, celebratory work events where I am asked to bring a date. And for every one of these events I get the aside whisper, “Do you need your extra ticket?”
It’s assumed these days that I’ll be attending sans date. Of course, my coworkers and friends have every reason to assume this considering I never show up anywhere with a date. It’s not that I don’t ever date, but I’ve found bringing a near-stranger to a work event is a recipe for disaster. How do I know he isn’t going to get drunk in a corner and later vomit on my boss? Or worse, what if he’s a hypochondriac that knows I interact with physicians for work and drops trou at a dinner party asking the closest urologist if he should get that rash checked out?
Perhaps these are a little far fetched. I do have an active imagination. But I have seen many of my friends and coworkers bring a “new guy/girl” around only to be making apologies later. I would rather attend alone till I find someone I can be confident will keep his rashes to himself, even past the dessert course.
This month, I have two impending work events where I have been asked to bring a date. Of course, I have no one lined up, and hadn’t thought about it until today when someone said, “It’s OK if you don’t have a date.” Yes, I’m pretty sure it is OK.
Lesson learned: Misplaced sympathy for being dateless can sometimes get you free drinks from your coworkers/friends.
I love scary movies. If there’s a trailer for anything that involves large explosions, screaming teens or flesh-eating zombies, it’s pretty much guaranteed that I will want to see it. Combined with my career in health care, I’m no stranger to gross. I think I find it cathartic. However, there are a few exceptions to my love of gore.
And when I do come across one of those exceptions, I pass out.
Ninety-nine percent of the time, my fainting issue it isn’t a problem. But there is always that one percent and since I never know what will send me face first into the floor, movie dates can be a gamble. My fainting was particularly unnerving for a single dad I dated about two years ago.
When we met, he was a central character on a little-watched reality TV show. We couldn’t be spied in public during the show’s only season due to a contract he had signed with the network, so most of our dates involved pizza delivery and movies at one of our houses. On this particular date, we were at my house where I was dazzling him with my cooking/defrosting skills while we watched a “Resident Evil” marathon.
After the zombie action ended, I suggested a movie I had been dying to see: “The Ruins.” Teens, gore, man-eating plant life; it was a version of “Little Shop of Horrors” that I could actually get behind.
I perched on my couch, clutching my glass of wine and waiting for the first splash of blood when I saw my date’s hand moving out of the corner of my eye. He was going to put his hand on my knee. I should have been ok with this. But as much as I tried, I didn’t like this guy, and unfortunately for him, I have no poker face. At his approach I launched out of my seat with the excuse to get more wine.
And then something terrible happened.
I looked to the screen where a sobbing main character was ripping off her upper thigh with a Swiss Army knife. Should this have bothered me when I had spent the week before researching flesh-eating bacteria for work? Probably not.
But it did. And of course, I fainted.
Luckily, in my last moment of consciousness, I set my glass of wine down on the counter before I went sprawling across the floor. To give him credit, my date was nice about it, though I think he was more upset by my aversion to touching him than my header into the living room rug. I spent the rest of the movie lying face down on the carpet while mumbling to myself and sweating. I’m pretty sure the movie ended with Jenna Malone being smacked by an evil plant and me getting smacked back into consciousness by my date. We didn’t work out.
Lesson learned: It is far better let someone you aren’t attracted to put his hand on your knee than to try to explain the rug burn on your forehead.
Like any normal person, I loathe going to the dentist. They usually want to “fix” a slightly crooked front tooth that I happen to like. It gives me character. I’m of the opinion that not everyone needs a mouth full of chicklets.
This was a new dentist referred to me by a coworker. I sat through the rather painful cleaning and X-ray portion when, ding dong, in walks Handsome Man, DDS. He set my chair back and immediately began to talk to me about football and the tragedy that is the Chargers. My heart beat faster as he looked in my mouth and told me I had a pretty smile.
Was it strange that I was oddly excited that he found a cavity? It’s a chance for me to see him again!
He exited the room without a goodbye, but I’m sure I left a lasting impression. I mean, he complimented me, he gave me a toothbrush, we had a nice chat, and he tried to stick something in my mouth. It was practically a first date.
Sometimes I wonder if my friends secretly hate me when they set me up on dates. If the matches were not so blatantly horrifying, I might not feel this way. But I suspect, in certain situations, they set me up with the worst possible people as a form of entertainment.
When I was in college, a close friend of mine introduced me to a tall med student with uncontrollable hair that vaguely reminded me of Wolverine. A potential doctor who was smart, would probably be successful in his future endeavors and had a resemblance to a cartoon superhero; I was helpless to resist.
Our first date was on Valentine’s Day, which should have been a little awkward, but I was so starry-eyed and ridiculous that it didn’t seem to matter. He pulled out all the stops: flowers, hand-holding, he even opened the doors to his dilapidated car for me. This was primarily because the door was practically rusted shut and I couldn’t open it on my own, but it was still romantic to me.
We talked about everything that night, although, he kept bringing the topic back to fiber and how important it was in my diet. He was very interested in how many times per day I evacuated my bowels, a question I had never been asked on a date. At the time, I attributed this to his future career and thought perhaps he was interested in becoming a gastroenterologist. When I broached the subject he assured me he had a future in gynecology, a revelation I took to be bizarre form of flirtation.
He became a little clingy as our romance continued, but I didn’t care. When you grow up being ignored by most boys, stalking is somewhat entertaining. There were daily phone calls, love notes delivered to my apartment—in short, I was living out the fairy tale I had pictured since I was a child, with a side of thorough explanations about the merits of Metamucil.
And then one day, it all stopped. The lovey-dovey phone calls and dates came to a screeching halt. He stopped returning my calls and left me in a limbo of wondering where I had gone wrong. Was I not eating enough fiber?
Perplexed by his sudden avoidance, I talked to a mutual friend (and his former roommate), as any college-aged girl would do. My friend broke the news to me: my potential doctor had moved in with his ex-girlfriend.
As I was about to erupt with rage and run him over with my car, my friend calmed me down.
“There is something you might want to know,” he said.
I thought perhaps this “something else” would be that his formerly ex-girlfriend had syphilis, which would have been some consolation for me.
My friend turned on the computer they had shared when they were roommates. He opened a file the doctor had left behind on the desktop. It was filled with pictures of. . .
Apparently, everyone who had conspired to set us up was aware that Dr. Fiber was actually Dr. Fecalpheliac. I don’t know that all the fiber in the world would have made me ok with that.
Where is he now? Married with two children.
Lesson learned: Being set up is occasionally really shitty.
Technically, my first kiss occurred at a Baptist preschool outside of Atlanta when I was 4 years old. I’m fairly sure his name was Michael, and in his ardor, he spun me around and attempted a very passionate kiss. Unfortunately, being 4, he was clumsy and ended up French kissing my right nostril. We didn’t work out.
My first real kiss that managed to land on the lips didn’t happen for another ten years and it was just as awkward.
It was my first month of high school and I was infatuated with the boy who played the glockenspiel in the marching band. At this point in my life, I was still traumatized from middle school where I had lived in a shy state of perpetual nerdiness. In other words, I had no friends and for boys . . . well, I was the brunt of many a joke about the ugly stick.
But in high school, I blossomed. I was no longer painfully shy. I had friends, I had a life, and probably most importantly, I had boobs. True, I was in the marching band, which took away some of the cache of my new found state of cool, but I didn’t mind. It gave me an excuse to get out of going to P.E.
All of this was probably why I had a massive crush on a greasy and somewhat unattractive boy. He was the first boy (aside from young Michael) who had ever shown interest in me.
We had been flirting clumsily for about a week when the band was asked to play at a “carbo load” the night before a charity run. It was a full pasta dinner buffet for the runners along with a silent auction, and of course, live music from the high school marching band.
After entertaining the audience with renditions of the school fight song and “California Dreamin,” we were allowed to eat. I was nervous, of course. I knew that night would change me forever. I had been dreaming about it since I was ten. We would kiss. We would fall in love. We would get married and have 2.5 kids and live in small but well decorated two-story house in the suburbs. What can I say, I was 14 and all my experience came from PG movies.
Lucky for me, my daydreams didn’t happen.
What did happen:
After dinner, my 17-year-old suitor asked me to go outside and get some fresh air with him. He led me around the side of the warehouse where the event was taking place to the most romantic spot he could find: the dumpster. Ah yes, the romance of rotting garbage. I began babbling incoherently in my nervousness until finally he stopped me and leaned in for the kill. And it was . . . disgusting.
Aside from the aroma of the dumpster, he had eaten his weight in garlic bread and was attempting to lick my stomach via my mouth. I started to choke and pushed him away. This was not the romantic moment I had always envisioned. I asked him, politely, if he could not put his tongue in my mouth, a question which greatly offended him and he stormed off, leaving me alone with the dumpster.
Lesson learned: Sometimes daydreams are just garbage.