the blind date continued....
I have to admit, that from across the parking lot, the guy looked alright. He was driving this incredibly large, incredibly awesome pickup truck. Extended cab, extended bed, blacked out windows. I'm not "into" pickup trucks, but this guy was a building contractor and so his choice of vehicle made perfect sense. Besides, I tend not to make assessments nor to be impressed with a man's "ride", but it did give off the impression that he had his act together.
Before I proceed...let me revisit the whole idea of hearing this guys voice and the fact that he was obviously a heavy smoker because it was my first sign that I should have just bolted. I can't stress how bad it was. He sounded like he might cough up multiple hair balls at any moment. It's the sort of voice that engages that sympathetic clearing of your throat reflex. I'm real bad that way, if someone has allergies and their nose tickles, my nose tickles. If they have a coughing fit, then I'm right there with them...clearing my throat in solidarity. I just wasn't looking forward to a date with a guy who would only be thinking about when he could escape for his next smoke. Was I being absurd thinking this way? Stay tuned and find out....
As much as I was kicking myself for going out on a blind date, I went ahead and planned an alternate location with the Marlboro Man. I couldn't bring myself to ditch him there in the parking lot. I knew he was a nice guy from our email conversations, but I was seeing all the signs that this whole night was going to be a bust. Did I talk myself into hating it ahead of time? Of course I did!!! One of the greatest things about being single again is the freedom to do what you want and when you want. I felt no freedom at that moment. I felt locked in and bound to my sense of propriety and social etiquette. (damn sense of propriety! damn you social etiquette! I hate you both!...lol....)
Remember how that I mentioned earlier in this story that I didn't want to go to dinner? Guess what? He suggested a steak house and I found myself driving to spend dinner at a restaurant with a guy I already determined I wasn't going to enjoy spending the night with. And, fun fact: my intuitions may not always be right, but I do enjoy a high success rate. My intuition was telling me to just turn around, pick up a 3-count chicken strips meal from the Chik-fil-A drive thru and go home, put on my jammies, pop in a good movie...and call it a night.
No such thing occurred.
Instead, I pulled into the parking lot, saw him get out of his truck (he still didn't know what I was driving or that I was there...spying), and I COULD NOT believe HOW SHORT he was. Judging from a distance I put him at 5'4". I remember dropping my head to the steering wheel in distress and beeping the horn, which then gave me away. He stood on the front steps of the restaurant, "smoking" a cigarette and he turned in my direction when I beeped. Damn horn!! lol.
So, here I was...face to face with the moment of truth. I went to open the door and my feet felt heavy, like they were blocks of cement. It reminded me of all the times as a young girl that I had to go places against my will. I had to go because my mother "said so". One of those places I hated going was to get my hair cut. I always wanted to grow my hair long and my mom always wanted me to keep it short...especially in the Summer because I swam competitively. We would pull up in front of The Hair Barn in New Jersey and I would exit our 1972 pale yellow, Country Squire Station Wagon with trendy fake wood siding, with feet that felt heavy....like they were blocks of cement. And here I was in the year 2010 having the same experience. It felt just as awful as it did when I was a young girl.
O.K., from this story, you might gather that I'm really, really picky.....well, maybe so....but really, who among you isn't picky when it comes to dating? You want what you want what you want. I wanted what I wanted what I wanted. And what I wanted at that moment was to rewind the tape and go back to the day that I accepted a blind date so I could smack myself into reason because as I walked up to the front of the restaurant and surveyed him further, I saw that he had a mustache. No big deal. I've dated guys with mustaches before. Hell, I'm from the Northeast and I think it was a law back in the 80s that all Italian men were to have a mustache (fun fact...law or not...a ton of Italian women had mustaches too!!)...so I dated men with "stashes", but nowadays if you sport a mustache or a goatee, etc, you groom it. You thin it out. It's not the 70's dudes!!! Unless you're like a mountain man and you don't really give a flying leap about style and fashion and you just let it grow wild and untamed...then you groom it. And Hey, mountain man... good luck with that!!!
We made our introductions and went in to sit down. Not only was this guy like 5'4", but I'm 5'6" and I was wearing platform shoes, as I am wont to do...which probably put me at around the 5'7" mark...thereby making me about three inches taller than this guy. Yes, let's be seated....quick...!!
He was a very nice mellow guy. He hailed from Jersey, as do I and so we had a lot in common to talk about, but I couldn't concentrate on what he was saying because I couldn't get past his nervous mannerisms. To begin with, he was four or five years younger than me, but he looked older...number one, because of the mustache, which naturally ages, and number two, because of the effects the years of smoking had on his appearance. As he talked, his hands were constantly moving about. First he would part his bushy, untrimmed "stash", then he would straighten the collar on his shirt, then he would fiddle with his silverware, then he would straighten his napkin, then he would touch his mustache again, then he would fix his sleeves and then...as dinner was winding down (not soon enough in my book)...he did something which totally grossed me out and I made the move to pay and excuse myself. All the while that he's talking; he takes his finger and digs in his right ear.....like he's prospecting for gold....and he pulls out his "find".....he looks at it.....and he then wipes it on his shirt.....and then parts his mustache and then puts his finger to his mouth.
I could tell that he had no idea what he just did and I'm not sure that what I was feeling on the inside registered on my face...because if it did, he didn't show any signs of picking up on it. I figured it was probably because ever since we sat down he had only a few words going on in his brain ......."I need a cigarette"....."cigarette....cigarette...cigarette....gotta have a cigarette....".
We got up to leave and he picked up a few mints on the way out and a toothpick. That's sort of the thing down here.....you prove how "hick" you are by talking with a toothpick in your mouth. So, the guy starts digging in his teeth while we are out on the front steps saying our goodbyes. He then offers to walk me to my car, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he popped in a mint and ditched the "pick". He seemed to be gearing up for a goodnight kiss, but I dodged that bullet by getting into my van.......sitting down....saying a quick thank you and goodbye and closing the door and peeling out. I did notice in my rear view mirror that he lit up a cigarette the moment I pulled away. I never saw him again.
Moral of this story:
Don't do blind dates unless you know someone who knows the other person and you trust that person's judgement with your whole heart and and whole soul....otherwise, you too might find yourself watching a grown man (or woman) pick crud out of their ear and wipe it on their shirt in total clueless fashion.