This was a Cyber Monday surprise for me this morning! Enjoy.
Hello, dear readership of LNE! “Someone” here.
I thought I’d take the reins for a short time to give our illustrious narrator a break from meticulously documenting her life and regale you with a story of my own.
I have read most of the unfortunate/traumatic dating stories that Laura has recounted on this blog. They weren’t always easy for me to read, especially while fighting a growing urge to punch someone I’ve never even met for transgressions visited upon someone I didn’t even know at the time.
But reading them forced me to think on my own past, and how there’s a funny symmetry between her dating history and mine. You see, before Laura met me, I also withstood a whole slew of DOA dates, middling meetups, and caustic characters. While they don’t necessarily surpass hers in awfulness, they are still worth mentioning. I hope that it will give you some insight into the background of this blog’s supporting cast, and further convey how lucky I am to have found her amidst a host of less-than-reputable studies.
Date 1: “The Bait-and-Switch” OR “The Pretty Woman”
Don’t let the secondary title get you too excited; she wasn’t a prostitute. However, it was one of my first-ever blind dates in the DC metro area, and it was an eye-opening experience that taught me never to take anything at face value.
To set the stage: It was summer or fall 2010, and I was finishing up my grad school thesis. It had been some time since I had gone on a date in earnest that wasn’t with someone I knew. A year had passed since the end of my last serious relationship, and I felt ready to reach beyond bar-acquaintances and my personal network – so I joined the dating site OKCupid.
(Shameless plug: It’sgreatandIhighlyrecommenditthat’showImetLaurasoitworksprettywellImustsay)
After a few back-and-forths with a promising young woman I had met on the site, we agreed to meet for drinks on a Saturday afternoon in Silver Spring. We hit it off fairly well over copious amounts of beer, and as the hours passed I really thought how lucky I was that I found someone on my first online dating foray with whom I seemed to connect, albeit over mostly boilerplate niceties and shallow exchanges.
After finishing up at the bar we went to her apartment, and what I found there suggested to me that an integral piece of her profile had been omitted. A photo of her in a wedding dress, arm-in-arm with another man, greeted me right as I walked in. I assumed, albeit apprehensively and with a bit of hope-led rationalizing, that she was a particularly young divorcee. The entrance of the same dude from the bedroom dispelled that notion. She seemed surprised that he was home. He looked at me wordlessly, nodded acknowledgment, and went back into the bedroom.
I’m an open-minded person, but I felt a little uncomfortable. She said not to worry as she poured me a glass of wine. I asked, awkward, whether they were married. She said they were separated but still living together. Although relieved that the second guy wasn’t part of her original plan, I was still put off by the atmosphere it generated. She told me that she understood if I wanted to leave.
I really considered staying and following this to its conclusion. Maybe another version of me would have. But at that point in time, I wanted no part in a drama that didn’t concern me. So I left, but not before politely and very platonically staying with her on the couch to watch a half-hour of “Pretty Woman.” I don’t know why I stayed for that short time, but it was probably a combination of tipsiness and feeling sorry for her. And the wine was really good.
I never saw her again, but it instilled two valuable lessons: Don’t shy away from talking in detail about relevant dating history on a first date. And secondly, on most online dating sites, someone saying that they are “available” does not necessarily mean they aren’t married, let alone living with a former partner.