This trip down memory lane is inspired by a book I’m reading….or was reading…..it wasn’t that good so I stopped reading it. It’s about a guy who went out on a bunch of dates and then wrote about them. I thought I read somewhere that he gave a man’s perspective on why women don’t get called after a first date but it really didn’t offer any insight. Who knows? Maybe I’ve spent too much time reading books on social engineering and profiling over the years. I guess I was expecting this guy to write about his observations. Something like this: based on how she dressed, over-enunciated her “S’s” and ordered her salads, he believed she was hoarding the bodies of all of her ex-lovers inside of her mother’s sauna and that’s why he didn’t call her back. Four chapters into the book, all he seemed to say was the same thing: she’s attractive and well-educated, dresses nice, has a great body. Sometimes they have sex. Sometimes they don’t. Things didn’t work out. She married his mailman. They’re all really great friends now.
The one good thing about the book was that it reminded me of some of my more humorous dating experiences that took place after I divorced my first husband.
Every guy I had a date with who I didn’t really care for had a nickname. And this guy, the center of today’s topic was dubbed Smelly Guy.
I met Smelly Guy on an online dating site. He described himself as having a bachelor’s degree and currently employed. There wasn’t anything too exciting about his profile. The only thing missing was a profile photo.
We talked on the phone a couple of times before meeting in public. Nothing he said during our initial conversations set off any alarms. We agreed to meet a few days later at the Starbucks inside of Barnes & Noble. The location was my idea. There was a well-lit parking lot that was always bustling with a lot of people and the store inside had lots of video surveillance. I figured if this guy was a serial killer and I was his intended victim, I’d at least get the guy’s face on camera for the police.
I arrived at the Starbucks ten minutes early, pulled out my notebook and starting writing my Last Will & Testament – just in case. 45 minutes later, I was still trying to figure out who to leave my collection of mismatched socks to when I looked at the time and realized he was late.
Ten minutes later, Smelly guy arrived.
He was wearing an over-sized baseball cap. Long, greasy hair fell down to his shoulders. His glasses were caked with water spots and fingerprints. He also wore a denim jacket with white leather sleeves. The blue denim was faded with a yellow discoloration and smelled like cat urine. The white sleeves were dirty. At the opening of the collar on his jacket, there was a nice puff of greasy chest hair poking out through the tee-shirt underneath. His face was covered in greasy stubble.
I wanted to die. Is that mean? I never wanted to be one of those stuck-up girls who’d take one look at a guy and run the other way because he wasn’t that good-looking. Then again, I’m a stickler with personal hygiene and a firm believer that if a man wants a woman to go to bed with him – the goal of most men who go on dates – he needs to bathe on a regular basis.
“Sorry I’m late,” he said as he sat down at the table.
I closed my notebook and placed it on the chair next to me.
“I changed before I got here because I didn’t want to intimidate you,” he continued.
“So what do you do?” I asked, not sure I wanted to know the answer.
“I’m a Fed.”
“Uh huh,” he nodded. “Normally I wear a suit and tie but I felt that was a bit much for a first date.”
Actually, I thought it’d be an improvement but I wasn’t going to say that out loud.
“So…what exactly do you do?”
“I work in the Federal building.”
Was he being evasive or did he not understand the question?
So here’s the thing, based on my experience, “Fed” generally implies federal law enforcement: FBI, DEA, ATF, Secret Service, etc., etc.. I’ve never known anyone who works in federal law enforcement to refer to themselves as a “Fed.” Normally they say, “Hi, my name is [Dick, Jane, Bob, Sally, whatever] if it’s informal. If it’s formal, they use their job titles: Special Agent Bad Ass of [whatever agency.] At this point, I have serious doubts about Smelly Guy’s claim. However, I’ve also known a lot of people in law enforcement who are careful about telling people where they work because there are a lot of haters out there who would take a shot at them just because they work in law enforcement. So the fact that he didn’t tell me what agency he worked for wasn’t necessarily unusual. But then why tell me he was a Fed?
“Okay. What exactly do you do inside the Federal building?”
“I’m an IT supervisor.”
“Oh. Okay.” I wasn’t sure how that made him a Fed but then my assumptions about what a “Fed” was could also be way off base. “So you’re not law enforcement?”
“No.” he chuckled. “Why would you think that?”
“Because you said you were a Fed?”
“Oh. Well…yeah….I work in the Federal building.”
Understanding occurred. He classified anyone who worked in the Federal building as a Fed. Mystery solved. I didn’t agree with that classification system but figured he was trying to impress me.
I made small talk with him for a little while longer and then feigned exhaustion. His body odor was just too much and his dirty eye glasses were driving my OCD nuts.
“You look tired,” he said. “Maybe we should go back to your place.”
“Or, I could go back to my place and you could go somewhere else…”
“Oh, come on. We’re having a nice time and I want to get to know you.”
“Not at my place, you’re not.”
“Fine,” he said, leaning back into his chair. “How about we go back to my place?”
“No.” I shook my head.
“Why not?” he sounded annoyed.
“Well, let me put it to you like this,” I said. “I’m not having sex with you, which is clearly what you’re expecting with your suggestion that we go somewhere private.”
“Whoa! Has anyone ever told you that you’re paranoid?” he asked.
“I’m not paranoid. I just have rules.
“What rules?” he asked.
Implementing the 30 Day Rule
“The 30 day rule.”
Fun fact: There was no 30 day rule prior to this encounter. I made it up.
“30 day rule?”
“Yes,” I began. “We have to have dates outside of our residences over the course of 30 days before I’ll consider letting you into my house or going over to yours.”
“That’s not going to work for me,” he said. “I’m not made of money. I can’t afford to go out to places.”
-A funny thing to say considering that Starbucks and Barnes & Noble don’t charge admission prices.-
“Sorry.” I shrugged my shoulders. “Those are the rules.”
I’ve had Smarter Moments
I got up to walk out to my car and Smelly Guy insisted on walking me out. I really did not want this guy walking me out to my car but I didn’t know how to get out of it. Instead, I kept a tight grip on the pepper spray that I carried on my key ring.
I should backup and mention that it was February and the city just recovered from a major snow storm. So my blue car was covered in white muck: salt, snow, whatever. I worked long hours, came home mentally drained and, quite frankly, getting my car washed was not a priority, although I was well aware that it needed to be done.
“Is this your car?” he asked.
“It’s really dirty,” he said. “You need to get it washed.”
“Hop on the hood. We’ll kill two birds with one stone,” I thought to myself as I nodded at him, got into my car and locked the door.
I mean, seriously? He shows up to a first date looking and smelling like a gutter and he’s criticizing my car? Really? Does anyone else appreciate the irony there?
That was the last I ever saw of Smelly Guy. If I could do one thing over, it’d be the part where I let him walk me out to my car. I’m not sure what I would’ve said but I do know this:
Calling all readers! Do you have any dating disasters you’d like to share? How about tips for future readers? Tell me in the comments!