Simply Solo Spotlight: Tale Of The Tattooed Grandma
Happy Tuesday! Today’s Simply Solo Spotlight is written by Mark from Mark My Words. When he suggested that he write a guest post for Simply Solo, I couldn’t wait to read it. Mark’s a great writer, and the stories he tells cracks me up. I also love that his mom comments on his blog too! Hope you’ll enjoy this dating horror story as much as I did. This is one for the record books.
Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: email@example.com.
Tale Of The Tattooed Grandma
It’s been a real joy and pleasure reading Catherine’s blog. I discovered her when she was Freshly Pressed and have been hooked ever since. Even though I’m currently in a steady relationship, it’s fascinating to read about the dating scene, both through her eyes and those of the many people commenting, because I have been through it all myself – not too long ago. I married my high school sweetheart, and when our marriage went south in 2006, dating was a new concept to me. She had been my first and only, and when I suddenly found myself thrust into the dating world at the ripe old age of 37, I felt like a fish out of water. I’m not into the whole “bar scene,” and didn’t have any friends or coworkers attractive enough (or single enough) to date, so naturally I turned to the internet.
Back then, OK Cupid was all the rage. Well, all the rage for people who didn’t want to pay big bucks for a subscription to match.com or eHarmony. OK Cupid was free! So I wrote an online profile, and waited to see what would happen.
A woman named Jennifer happened. She read my profile, messaged me, and told me I was “cute.” Game on, baby.
It was obvious that the dating rules had changed a lot since the late 80s. Jennifer was very forward, for one thing. She boasted that she gave great head. I asked her how she could be sure, and she replied, “One guy went into a seizure when I finished. And he wasn’t even epileptic.”
Naturally, I was intrigued. So we arranged to meet up. Taking the advice of a friend, we decided to get together at a Starbucks in the mall on a rainy evening in November. This was a very big deal to me: my first date in 19 years. Right off the bat, however, I could tell that it wasn’t going to be as great as I’d hoped.
We’d agreed to meet at 7:00. The mall is just a few minutes from my townhouse, so I left at 6:40, giving myself some extra time. It was dark, and pouring rain, and I couldn’t wait to meet her. The minute I arrived, Jennifer texted me, letting me know she was stuck in traffic and running late, so could we make it 8:00 instead? Well, I was already there and didn’t want to go back home, so I wandered the mall for an hour. I felt hopelessly out of place. It was a Friday night, and packs of teenagers roamed through the place, making me feel old. Finally – mercifully – Jen texted me that she had arrived, so I made my way to Starbucks.
“So, have I aged much?” were the first words out of her mouth as she pulled up a chair beside me.
Holy freakin’ hell, yes! I wanted to reply, but I bit my tongue. She’d posted a picture online, but had warned me it was ten years old. In reality, it was probably more like twenty. She had been fresh-faced and reasonably pretty then. Now? Her wrinkles resembled a roadmap. Destination? Old Town. I was learning – on the fly – the Rules of Dating in the 21st Century. Rule # 1: Make sure you have a current picture of your date.
She sat down, and I caught a whiff of her scent. Perfume? Nope – cigarettes. She reeked of smoke, a major turn-off. When I looked at her profile again later, under the Smokes? header, she had written N/A. Which, apparently, meant Nicotine Addict. Rule # 2: Learn all you can about your date’s personal habits beforehand. Even though my first instinct was to bolt for the nearest exit, Jen had just spent 90 minutes on the road, so I figured I owed her an hour of my time. Plus, she was paying for our drinks. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m all for women’s lib, so I didn’t put up too much of a fight.
Our initial topic of conversation? The fact that she had lost 300 pounds. Honestly, she looked like she had another 200 lbs. to go to reach her goal. Now, I have nothing against women with a little meat on their bones. I’m actually attracted to that. But when Jen mentioned that she’d contemplated buying an electric wheelchair to get around, I think I recoiled in horror.
Attempting to steer the conversation toward more comfortable territory, I asked her where she lived. I was expecting her reply to be either “an apartment” or “a house,” so when she said “with my parents,” I was aghast. Rule # 3: when dating somebody your age, make sure they live on their own, or at the very least, with a roommate. It’s not cool to be shacking up with your parents when you’re pushing 40.
She told me about her 21-year old son and her 14-year old daughter, all living together under one roof with her folks. To make matters worse, she dropped another bomb by informing me that she was a grandmother. She delivered this blow with what sounded like pride. I was in my 30s – I didn’t want to date a grandma! Before I could wrap things up, she had pulled up her pants to show me the sprawling dragon tattoo that covered most of her leg. Overcompensating much? By now, I’d had enough, so I walked my date – this chain-smoking, obese, wrinkles-under-her-eyes, tattoo-sporting, still-sponging-off-her-parents grandma to her car. Only, her car was nowhere to be found.
We scoured the parking lot for ten minutes, getting drenched, searching for her car that wasn’t there. “Oh, shit,” she kept saying. Oh, shit, I kept thinking. I envisioned a long night in the rain, police reports, waiting around for paperwork to be filled out, and then of course I’d be obligated to drive her home. To her parents’ house.
“Maybe you parked on the other side of Macy’s,” I prayed suggested helpfully. Which, of course, is exactly what she had done. At long last we located her car. She unlocked the passenger door, which I took to be my cue to get in. Sigh. I did so, and she drove me to the other side of the mall, where I’d parked. I leaned over, gave her a quick hug, said “we should keep in touch,” and took off.
Ten minutes later, she was texting me.
Is it just me, or is a hug and “keep in touch” the kiss of death?
I’m a nice guy, so I responded politely that I’d enjoyed the conversation, but hadn’t felt a connection. And asked if she’d expected a kiss or something.
When a person says she doesn’t have to work the next day, Jen responded, it means she could have kept you up VERY LATE.
At that point, I nearly swerved off the wet road. The text was accompanied by a little smiley face with devil’s horns, making the implication clear. This self-professed “oral sex goddess” would have screwed my brains out that night had I given her the chance.
It took me a few minutes to decide whether the quick goodbye had been a good thing or not, but I decided that – promises of free sex aside – I had, indeed, made the right decision. She was as far from my “dream girl” as anybody could ever hope to get. I heard from her once more, right before Thanksgiving, and then never again. Soon after, I deleted my OK Cupid profile. Fortunately, better dates followed, and I even managed to fall in love again. But for a few days after, I was so soured on the prospect of dating that I actually contemplated joining a monastery, where I could practice my Gregorian chanting skills and bake fruitcakes in peace.
I still wonder if I could have gotten out of it sooner and skipped the whole oh-no-is-my-car-stolen? part. What strategies do you have for excusing yourself from a really bad date?