Sometimes something happens to you and you wish that it could be documented in something other than your memory. You just know that when you tell the story to your friends that words just can't do it justice. The people who hear the story will not understand the depth and importance of this very moment you experienced. That does not mean you don't tell that story over and over. You can't help but share these moments because they are unbelievable. I had one of these unbelievable moments at a Boston Pizza on a first date. I've probably told the story a hundred times and it just never gets old.
I can't remember the man's name, so we'll call him Joe. The fact that I can't remember his name but I can remember every ridiculous thing he said is just one more thing I love about this memory! Joe and I met on Plenty of Fish, a dating website, and exchanged a few messages before making plans to meet at Boston Pizza one Saturday night at 8pm. Joe sent a few text messages around 6pm telling me he might be a little late because he was out of town, but that he would text me when he was in town. No problem. Until it's 9:30pm and he finally says, "How about 10pm?" I was dressed and starving by this point, so I called a cab and met him at the restaurant.
He looked relatively normal and had even worn a dress shirt for the occasion. We had the initial conversations about our jobs and gave our drink orders. When the server came back to take our food orders, I ordered an appetizer and he ordered nothing. "I ate on the way back into town around 8pm," he said. So here he was, drinking a glass of water and I had a strawberry margarita and cactus cut potatoes. I told myself it's fine, but I still picked at my appetizer so his first impression of me did not involve watching me hoover down a plate of fried potatoes. A delicious plate of fried potatoes. The best part of the evening, aside from the hilarious things that came out of Joe's mouth.
Joe asked me about some of my interests on my dating profile, including my love of cooking. "I don't even know how to cook," he said. He told me he mostly eats take-out or convenience food at home. I talked about some of my favourite things to cook and told him I preferred to cook at work because of the larger kitchen and great kitchen utensils.
"Oh, I have a wonderful kitchen in my condo," Joe said. "I may not cook, but I always buy the best of everything. All my pots are Paderno and I have chef's knives and blah-blah-blah. You would love to cook at my place."
"Sure," I told him. "It does sound wonderful." I tell him about my hand-me-down pots and pans from my mother and grandmother. They work great, but I really do enjoy cooking for other people so preparing meals at work is fun.
"So you could do all the cooking for me and my roommate and I could clean up! I love to clean," Joe explained.
"Roommate?" I let the part about being a personal chef to a man and his roommate go. That shit was just too much.
"Yes, I bought my condo and my 45-year-old friend needed a place to live. He moved in and pays rent- almost pays my entire mortgage!"
"You don't split the bills?" Nice guy, this Joe, ripping off his friend.
"No, he doesn't know. He's a good guy. I don't have a car so he's going to pick me up tonight."
"That's really nice of him. Sounds like a good guy," I said.
"So, I want to try something different tonight. I'm just going to lay everything on the table and see how you take it. Is that okay?"
"Sounds interesting. I'm game!" I said, terrified at what he was going to say but also intrigued, like a driver slowing down as he passes a car wreck on the highway.
"Well, I have O.C.D. Are you familiar with this?" Joe asked.
I explained to him that I had worked with clients with O.C.D. and had studied it.
"I've got a real issue with things being clean and neat," Joe explained. "Like, the blanket on my bed has to stay on my bed. I would never take it out to the living room and use it on the couch. And my walk-in closet. Everything in there is clean. I can't have anyone go in my closet."
"Fascinating. There doesn't happen to be a locked crate full of knives in your closet like on 'Dexter?'" I asked facetiously.
"No, I just don't want anyone in my closet," Joe laughed.
At this point, I want to mess with that closet so freakin' much. I imagine cooking him and his creepy old roommate a delicious meal just so I could sneak into the closet to see what's in there and then poop on the floor in the closet. I mean, I would never poop in someone's closet, but you know my mind goes strange places. I'm really curious at this point and I want to see this closet. Is it really just a closet, or is the pole to the Batcave in there? Is it really just a closet, or it is a panic room like in that Jodie Foster movie?
"Any other things you are particular about?" I asked, still smiling about what I would do to this man's closet.
"Can I just say that you are curvy like Katy Perry and I really like it?" Joe replied.
Katy Perry, if you're reading this, I'm so sorry about this comparison. We are not shaped anything alike and I'm sorry he went there. It made me laugh out loud. I didn't gently blush and say thank you like a lady because that is the last thing I am.
"Bwahaha! What?" I exclaimed.
"No, really!" Joe said.
"Well, thanks," I said, trying to get a hold of myself. "So what else are you particular about, Joe?"
"I don't like cats, and I know you have a cat, so we would never spend any time at your apartment. I hate cat hair getting on my clothes. I always have to have the best of everything. I told you about my pots and pans- I spend money and get the very best. I buy the best clothes and the best shoes. Your engagement ring would be the biggest and most expensive of any of your friends' rings," Joe smiled.
No shit. Not "my future fiancée's ring." My engagement ring. Most bizarre comment a man could come out with on a first date which, quite honestly, is awkward as hell so far. He's not eating, was two hours late, won't let me in his closet, and wants me to cook for him and his roommate. I responded the only way I knew how.
"This necklace I'm wearing I bought at Wal-Mart for $9. I'm not the kind of girl who wants the best of everything," I told him.
Joe was genuinely bothered by this statement and tried to explain why I deserve the best. We fumbled through the rest of the conversation and though he called the next day to make plans- and I really wanted to see his closet- we did not see each other again. It was for the best.
I'd have terrorized that man- intentionally and unintentionally. I would never have pooped in his closet, but I would have left things in there, like an orange or a box of tampons. I would not want to hang out at his condo and cook for him and his roommate, even if Joe did the dishes. I would buy cheap flip-flops and those items from the meat department that are 50% off because the "best before" date is tomorrow. And the cat hair- oh, the cat hair.
While I respect his method of laying it all out, I've got to say I prefer the usual way of dating: where you're both on your best behaviour on the first date and not plotting ways to explore and defile his walk-in closet. This is the only first date I've ever been on that I wish had been videotaped- I'm sure I didn't convey even 50% of the awkward and hilarious nature of this date with these words. I sometimes wonder if he was even serious. Maybe he took one look at me, decided I wasn't a candidate, and thought, "I am going to give her a great story to tell her friends!" I've never thought this way on a date, but I've often thought it a great public service to do something so funny or odd that strangers go home and tell stories about me that start with, "You won't believe what this woman did at the gas station today!"
Wherever Joe is today, he should know that this was, hands down, the weirdest first date in my dating history. I still wonder what's in that damned closet.