I’ve always taken a sick delight in saying the wrong thing. Once, while serving as a Best Man, I gave a rehearsal speech so off-color that I was heckled by the groom’s family. (“If he’s the Best Man then I’d like to see the Worst Man,” they said, which, admittedly, is a pretty good line.) Then, not to be outdone, I offered a toast at the wedding the next night which was so bad, so profanity-filled, that the video is still passed around gleefully by my friends, like my own personal Zapruder film. Occasionally I say the wrong thing by mistake, but usually it’s just that I can’t keep my dumb mouth shut. A situation presents itself and instantly my mind searches for the least appropriate thing I could say, then obsesses over what would happen if I actually said it. Often before I can come up with the answer, I’ve already said the damn thing out loud. At a fancy shmancy party a few weeks back, when standing amongst countless strangers, a friend asked me if I knew what she and our mutual pal Ethan did last night? Before I knew what was happening, I said “explored the benefits of anal sex?” really loud, then looked around in delight. No one else was delighted. Not even one little bit. It turns out most people don’t bring up anal sex willy nilly at black tie affairs. Especially not Ethan, who was now standing next to me, with a new girlfriend he brought to the party. And you know what the fucked up thing is? I’m still smiling! I think it’s a great story, even though I got caught and humiliated and looked at by more than one person as very possibly having Aspergers. The point is, this quality can make me a real terror on first dates. And if you pair me up with someone who has the same issue – well then we’ve got a blog post waiting to happen.
The minute I met Gail, I knew she was going to be one to remember. Everybody’s number one complaint about Internet dating is that people don’t look like they’re pictures, and they’re right. I’ve been burned by it, I get countless emails about it, it’s totally legit. Young Gail was no exception, she looked very little like her pictures. The difference? She was much better looking in person. Like much better. She was so foxy, she would make foxes insecure to look at her. I was actually a little speechless when I first saw her, which for me, can be a good thing. I ushered her into my go-to date bar, and tried my hardest not to say anything stupid.
After a few drinks, two things became clear. 1) Gail was Quirky with a capital Q. Her sense of humor was strange, perhaps even stranger than mine, which I was into, but noted with some concern. 2) Gail was wildly out of my league. When the waitress came to take our order, she looked at me, looked at my date, then looked back at me with some combination of shock and horror. I actually have a picture I snapped on my iPhone…
The other lady is a second waitress who came over when she heard the commotion. They were not, however, the only ones to take notice of Gail. A table of guys sitting next to us began to openly ogle her, and talk back and forth about, no doubt, vanquishing me and having her to themselves. It was like having drinks next to the Cobra Kai. I knew I would soon have to go to the bathroom, but didn’t want to give these guys the opening they were craving. Faced with the choice of either getting up or peeing on myself, I fled to the men’s room, and sure enough, when I returned, four of them were asking her how she liked her salad. Gail said it was fine, which seemed to stump them in a way they didn’t expect. Turns out, the Cobra Kai are idiots. Again, she was all mine.
Amazingly, miraculously, the date was going quite well. She was laughing at my jokes and I was laughing at hers. It’s time like these when my love of the inappropriate is most dangerous - when there is the potential of actual success. Anybody can say something dumb when a date is already spiraling out of control, that’s child’s play. The real men make asses of themselves when the future is on the line. And I, most certainly, am I real man. (In this one regard.)
Gail: What age range did you list on the site? Am I too old for you? I think I might be too old for you…
Me: No, I wrote up to 35.
Gail (playfully): Well maybe I’m too young for you then…
Me: I think you’re just right.
Gail: What was the bottom of your age range? 18? 25?
Me: No, I think it was zero. I like my women to be zero years old. -1, if possible.
Gail: Oh, uh…
Me: I didn’t mention that in my profile? I kinda have a thing for babies
Gail (starting to look uncomfortable): Um…
Me (unable to stop): It kinda sucks, when I move into a new neighborhood, I have to go around and introduce myself. But it’s totally worth it for some baby action.
Gail (now quite uncomfortable, really): That’s…
Me: Sorry, too much? That might have been too much. Just ignore me.
Gail: That’s not funny.
Me: I know. Agreed. I’m sorry, let’s change the subj-.
Gail: I was molested when I was a kid.
Gail: By my Dad.
Aaaaaaaaaaand BOOM. She said that, then I looked at her, I said:
To this day, I don’t know whether Gail was joking. I’m 99% sure she wasn’t, because it didn’t seem like a joke, and it’s not really funny of course, and at no point did she say “gotcha about that whole molestation business!” But, I mean, who talks about that? On a first date? When you’re sitting next to the Cobra Kai? I guess the truth is I’m 100% sure she wasn’t joking, but I’m able to talk 1% of myself into thinking that maybe she was so I can feel a little better about things. I feel, of course, incredibly badly for her on all accounts. For her experiences, and for having to deal with my jackassery in relation to her experiences. I’d say I’ve learned my lesson, that I don’t broach awkward topics on dates, even in jest, but we’d all just know I’m lying. So…perhaps we should bring this to a close.
There was not, of course, a second date between Gail and I. Actually, I tried, but not surprisingly, she didn’t return my call. Perhaps for her that’s equal to heckling. I certainly deserved it…