It’s been a while since I’ve told a dating story. I almost forgot about this one because it’s pretty mild compared to some of my encounters with the true psychopaths of OkCupid, but I was at a dinner party last week and told this story to a group of my married friends and they seemed to think it was funny so I thought I’d share it here as well.
I woud like to state for the record that I don’t believe there was anything inherently wrong with this man. He was actually really nice, just a bit too eager to find ‘the one’ if you know what I mean. Because he was so nice, in a sad, nervous sort of way, I’m almost hesitant to write about him. Then again, he’ll probably never find out so…
Things with Morty actually started out pretty well. Though he was late for our first date which is lame, especially since we were meeting in his hood.
[Side bar: I’ve talked to several women who do the online dating thing and many of them choose to date exclusively within their own neighborhoods because they don’t want to be inconvenienced if things don’t go well…or worse, if they do and they wind up dating someone who lives an hour and half away (which is a very real possibility in this city.) I take a different view on this issue. I would much rather meet as far away from my neighborhood as is possible (without having to transfer trains more than once, of course.) This is due, in part, to the fact that I live in West Harlem and there isn’t a whole lot to do around here – unless you like crappy Mexican food, going to barber shops, or playing dominos with the old Dominican men who hang out on the Broadway Mall (that little strip of greenery between the east and west sides of the boulevard). Also because I’m a little bit paranoid and I wouldn’t want any of these freaks to know where I live.]
When Morty finally arrived, he apologized for his tardiness and led me to a small table at the back of the posh LES bar where we had agreed to meet. He was very polite. We ordered drinks. It was awkward. We must have been telegraphing first date vibes all over that place because not five minutes later, the bartender sent over two shots of something pink, on the house.
Morty looked at the shots with suspicion, so I wound up taking them both. In hindsight, that was probably stupid. We were in Morty’s hood after all… He and the bartender could’ve been in cahoots. I could’ve been roofied and woken up in an abandoned warehouse missing a kidney!
But none of that happened and fortunately, I am wiser now. This whole dating thing has required quite a learning curve.
Anyway, the conversation got a lot easier after that. Turns out Mort is somewhat of an avocational musician. I can’t remember what his actual career was, but I think he was working as a temp or something so it doesn’t really matter all that much.
We talked about music, movies, politics… He seemed interesting and reasonably well informed. As it got later and the bar got louder, we moved on to a jazz club a few blocks away. He’s nuts about jazz. I think jazz is fine. All in all, I had a pretty decent time and at the end of the night we agreed to meet again later in the week.
I don’t know what happened in the intervening days between dates one and two, but the nice, seemingly normal guy I’d had drinks with had disappeared and been replaced with an awkward, mildly irritating character from Family Guy.
We met for dinner this time. I told him in advance that I had to make it an early night because I had an audition the next day. He wanted to meet anyway because scheduling had been an issue that week and he was anxious to get together again.
The restaurant was an Italian place and right away he asked if I wanted to split a bottle of wine. I declined because it’s usually not a good idea for me to drink the night before I have to sing. Well, he jumped all over that topic.
‘Acid reflux?’ he asked with a knowing grin.
‘Yeah, a little bit,’ I conceded.
‘Me too!’ he replied, with much more enthusiasm than one might expect.
Then he went into a litany of all of his dietary/digestive ailments…including his irritable bowel syndrome.
[Sidebar: Guys – don’t ever do this. Seriously. Over sharing about gross bodily functions at the dinner table is NEVER a good idea, especially not while eating carbonara.]
Once I’d navigated the conversation out of the bile-filled waters of Mort’s lower intestine, he started in on religion. I explained that I was Irish Catholic, but not in the churchy sense. I don’t agree with much of what the church has to say about, well, anything really, but I do rather enjoy tradition. Plus, I’m a sucker for a good stereotype.
Anyway, he launched in to how he was Jewish (very Jewish) and it was important for him to marry someone who was also Jewish. Then he started talking about the fact that it was cool that I wasn’t terribly into my religion. That’s when I started to freak out a little.
Apparently, taking alcohol out of the equation with this guy was very telling. I’m super thankful for whatever audition I was abstaining for or it could’ve taken me weeks to figure out that Morty wasn’t the guy for me. (As I mentioned earlier – I’m a little bit stupid when it comes to dating.)
Then it got worse.
He started talking about how great it was that we had so much in common and how incredible it was that out of all the people on OkCupid we had found each other. He actually used the words ‘found each other.’ That’s when I decided to be done. I tried to pay my half of the check, but he insisted. He is also a lousy tipper. I hate that. Too many of my friends have worked in the service industry for me to be anything but an over-tipper. So that was annoying, but I didn’t have any cash on me so there wasn’t anything I could do about it without bringing it up which I absolutely didn’t want to do. I needed to get out of there.
He insisted on walking me to the bus. As we walked, he was outlining plans for our third date, which I had not agreed to attend. He didn’t even ask. Just assumed it was all systems go. Ready for this? Third date: he suggested we go see Titanic in 3D. I mustn’t have been a good enough actress to hide the look of you’ve got to be kidding me that I’m sure was written all over my face as I said, ‘yeah…maybe,’ because that’s when the date officially went the way of the Titanic. There was a brief hug-and-pat-on-the-back type situation before I ran on to the bus.
Fortunately, he seemed to get the hint after that and I never heard from Mort again.