Dating Disasters

A funny, disastrous, Christian 20-something and her friends describe their funny, disastrous and sometimes not-so-Christian dates.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Smell of Smart

Another gem from Philomena, who I think should really start a blog of her own...

She writes:

Dear Disastress,

Since you are happily (and incredibly luckily) off the market, I feel like it might be my destiny to continue the awkward dating experiences. I've already sent you my mathematician. Here is the accidental dating adventure I would like to title "The Smell of Smart."


Since today is going to be quite taxing and I need to look my best for work, I decided to skip the gym last night, go home, do a small load of dark woollite laundry so I could wash my go-to black dress, and then get some sushi from my little local hole-in-the-wall place. So I went home, sorted out some dark clothes to wash together in the gentle cycle, put on my long-sleeved waffle-knit shirt with a sports bra, my slightly too big, but too comfortable to get rid of just yet knee-length jean bermuda shorts, and just braided my hair in pigtails. I threw my brown crocs on and slung my laundry bag over my shoulder and headed off to the laundromat that is a block more away, but is $0.50 cheaper a load. (We're in a recession, folks. I'll walk a little further if, on a big load laundry day, I can save $3.)

I got my laundry started, took a walk to peer in the window of the new wine bar that opened up just a few blocks west, went back and added my fabric softener. By this point, I just waited until my washer rinse and spin cycles were done so I put the clothes in the dryer on low and decided to go and grab some dinner. I had my book with me and about 30 minutes to kill.

NOTE: Please note that NOWHERE in the story so far am I looking for a date or even trying to talk to other people around me. Dating in New York City can kind of suck and I'm starting to give up on the idea of meeting a mysterious stranger when I'm out. And, there is a chance I have a date on Friday. Seriously, I just needed to clean my black dress and get some nourishment.

I went into Tokyo Sushi and my favorite little guy was working and he said "Order to go?" because normally I just pick-up dinner and head home. I said no, I'll stay this evening and he put me at a little table by myself.

As you probably know, I can be a bit of a creature of habit. When I order from Tokyo, I always order the Vegetable Tempura Roll, either a salmon or tuna roll, and occasionally if I'm especially hungry the Avocado Mint Maki with Plum Sauce. For some reason last night, my little guy brought over the menu and I was really trying to decide what I wanted and was TRYING to branch out. There was a man sitting at the sushi counter who was just paying so he walks by and sees that I am trying very hard to decide and he says "It's all delicious!" I looked up and said "pardon" and he repeated "It's all delicious!" I laughed nervously and hoped he would continue on his way. NO SUCH LUCK. He proceeds to say "Hi, I'm Mario. Can I sit down?"

I am so stunned that I just say sure and Mario sits down and orders himself a beer, eats my complimentary edamame, and proceeds to talk to me. Mario was born in the US, but grew up in Croatia. I am so confused that all of this is going on I am just sitting there in disbelief. Mario asks why I am making this face and I said "It isn't everyday a stranger asks to join my table." He then says "So, where is your boyfriend tonight?" (Ugh. Really?) I say I don't have a boyfriend (true) because I work long hours and it is hard to meet people in the city (true). He says:

"I can't believe it! I mean you're cute and you're confident and I was walking by and you just, you just smelled smart."


Mario the Croatian continues to make small talk and I continue to try and deflect questions about where I live or where exactly I work by making gross generalizations. I finish my sushi and Mario requests the check. My little sushi guy says "one check or two?" to which I say two and Mario says "ONE!" He insists on paying for my dinner (all in all, about $12) and says "So you're coming to the Beer Garden now, right?" I said, "No. Actually, I have to go and get my laundry. I just stopped in to have a quick bite while my clothes are drying and I was going to read." (Motion to the book.)
"Well, can I walk you to the Laundromat?"
"Um, no. But I will walk you to the Beer Garden."

So I walk Mario the Croatian to the Beer Garden. He gives me his number and says I should call him. (He does not get my number, real or fake. YES!) I walked to the laundromat, got my laundry out of the dryer, and walked a mile around my neighborhood with my laundry bag on my shoulder before going home, just in case I was being followed.

I smell smart and get free sushi.

The End.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Musician and the Mathematician [new guest post!]

An NYC-dwelling friend of mine -- let's call her Philomena -- recently filled me in on the ups and downs of the singles scene in the big city. Here's a story worthy of a DD post, to be sure.

I am smart. I am funny. But I am not the girl that normally grabs every man's attention in a bar. I kind of like it that way because I can sit there, enjoy my beverage with friends, and blend in just enough as to not get bothered by every meat head in a pub. I also can strike up pleasant conversations. These conversations go along nicely and then it comes up that I work (and enjoy working in and listening to) classical music and that can be a conversation killer. Either the guy assumes that that makes me boring and works himself out of the conversation or he thinks it is great and then says that he "used to play the trombone in middle school and wishes he stuck with it" or that he "loves listening to classical music when he relaxes/reads/studies" and when asked what he listens to it is something that I (admittedly on my high horse) judges as a cop-out way of impressing me with fake classical music knowledge. (Who really listens to "The Nutcracker" or the "Moonlight Sonata" all the time? Give me something off beat like "Jenufa." Or, if you're going to say Tchaikovsky, give me Pathétique. If you are going to say Beethoven, give me Fidelio or Waldstein.) I fully admit I'm a judger.

By now in my life, I have been in enough pubs that I can kind of assess situations like when I or one of my friends is being checked out by a sketchy person, when to intervene... etc. You know, the usual. So one evening, a group of girl friends of mine went out to one of our favorite little no-frills bars to catch up since we hadn't seen each other in a month or so. At some point, I realized that I was being shadowed by a kind of nerdy, sketchy guy and I just was not in the mood to mingle. I was out with friends and enjoying their company, so I went into avoidance mode. Somewhere along the way, I lost track of where my shadow was and turned around only to come face to face with him.

Now, in this split second, I thought, "I need to shut this down." I came up with a plan, thinking that I could just lay out what is usually one of the deal breakers (boring classical music) and point blank said "Listen, I'm really boring. I work in classical music." I was so proud of my quick thinking for a hot second until my plan backfired.

Without hesitation he said, "I'm a mathematician."

(Touché. Far more boring than I will ever be.)

And I was stuck talking about fractals for the rest of the evening.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Have you got a boyfriend? A real one?"

Just as Bridget Jones must assuage even her own father's incredulity, I keep having to assure my loved ones -- and myself -- that I am in a real, non-disastrous relationship. As part of my self-reassurance and in keeping with ethical behavior, I must take a hiatus of undetermined length from blogging about my dating life.

But don't worry -- I intend to keep Dating Disasters going strong. I encourage my readers, whether personal friends or blogospheric fans, to send me their own narratives of disastrous dates and/or relationships. (If you don't know my e-mail address, simply tell us your story in a comment below.)

Happy dating!

Monday, June 2, 2008

So what if he's not a Christian, at least my boyfriend doesn't do THIS:

In this recent installment of the New York Times column Modern Love, a college student writes about what seems to be a Perpetually Disastrous Date.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Miss Disastress: finding love (or something like it) in unexpected places.

It's been nearly a month since I updated this now-neglected blog, and my, these times they are a-changin'.

I am now most definitely dating Mr. OkCupid #4, and all is going pretty swimmingly.

As for the fact that I am a Jesus Freak and he is not, I'm not going to lie -- while it's an occasional frustration, I'm not going to pretend that it has proved monumentally disruptive in our short-term, agno-Christian relationship. (Maybe this observation is evidence of immaturity in my faith, but for the purposes of this blog, I aim for honesty rather than false piety.)

At least I haven't fallen into the trap of dating someone solely for the purpose of converting him.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mixing Business With Pleasure -- or at least Trying Not To

Well, this week of OkCupid adventures has certainly topped all expectations -- both of results and of my own ability to make poor choices. Here, dear readers, is the series of events exactly as they happened:

last Tuesday: I get a message from a guy who, in his words, doesn't like Jesus as much as I do, but does like pretty much every interest/hobby I have, and isn't looking for a relationship right now anyway. He's pleasant and witty enough, so I absentmindedly start chatting with him.

fast forward to Monday: We have been chatting for nearly a week, practically non-stop. I agree to go out with him for dinner on Friday.

: I need to hire someone to perform a service for an event at work. Every lead I follow is a dead end -- until I remember that Mr. OkCupid #4 has the necessary qualifications. So, I hire him. Yes, I hired him before I met actually met him. Poor Choice #1.

7:00 - The Sort-Of-Maybe-A-Date has been transformed partially into a Working Dinner, and now feels very much like a real date.

9:00 - After a predictably awkward but very pleasant evening, I am really kind of smitten -- smitten with an agnostic who, for all I know, could be one of those guys who finds chaste women to be alluring challenges. Poor Choice #2.

And now I have to keep seeing him for the next three weeks, regardless of the outcome. Well done, Disastress.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

When You Wish Upon a Starbucks

Depending upon the exact location, walking into a Starbucks can be an adventure for the young, single, middle-class-with-upper-class-pretensions woman who is at least mildly educated. There are always at least a couple of guys sitting alone or waiting in line, and if she's having a good day and is at least average-looking, one of them might check her out when she walks in the door, or turn his head when she places her order. If she's in a college town or on a university campus, there is the inevitable collection of corduroy-clad grad students, tomes in hand, spending their meager stipends on caffeination. (Those who prefer men with a more financially stable future should head toward the java joints located near law or med schools, as I discovered this morning.)

Starbucks stores located in urban areas are preferable, as there is one on every block anyway, so the sheer turnover of customers in one day is exponentially higher, both in number and in variety. Instead of being limited to the new generation of literati or up-and-coming moneymakers, she can also meet Usual Guys With Usual Jobs, or someone altogether different.

But if she lives in suburbia, as I do, picking up a fella in Starbucks is far riskier. She is generally limited to two characters: Moved-Back-In-With-His-Parents-After-College Guy, ie. the barista; or, far more often, The Middle-Aged-Man With A Business Suit And Wandering Eyes [often divorced but even more usually married]. Mr. Business Suit will oh-so-graciously hold the door for her, or even allow her to cut in front of him in line, trapping her in his net of smooth but not-so-witty banter and surprise over their newly discovered mutual love of coffee.

I know all of these things when I walk into a Starbucks, a Panera, or any other place selling legal addictive stimulants that's been deemed hip. Yet I'm still always surprised when something like this happen, as it did this morning: