I laugh in the face of normal
One of the creepiest dates I ever had, was one that didn’t actually include a meeting. Sometimes, in online dating, you get chatting to another person and find out you’ve a few things in common, even though you’ve not considered a date. Perhaps you like similar music, you have similar careers, or perhaps you both would like to see your ex dead and one of you is prepared to take the rap for it. Whatever the pull towards a friendship, an often unlikely one starts. Although it rarely leads to a date, it often serves as a source of comfort that you’re not the only sane one out there in a world where most people think it’s acceptable to photograph their hairy bits with mood lighting.
I’d exchanged cheery hellos online from time to time with one particular guy and we would often ask each other how we were getting on with the dating scene. I don’t want to sound like I spent my lifetime on there but, as I’ve said before, it does get a little addictive: check your facebook, check your twitter account, see if anyone wants you for a dowry, that kind of thing.
One night he messaged me to ask how I was and suggested we meet for coffee. As he said, we’d been chatting for so long, the least we could expect was that we would get on and you never know. No pressure, he assured me, let’s swap numbers and chat to arrange it. So I agreed. Silly, silly me. It’s that kind of behaviour that means you have to change your mobile number and possibly your identity.
The first bit of the ensuing conversation went fairly well. I lie; it was pull your own teeth out dull. It was the kind of conversation that made me want to put my head through the front window just to cause a distraction. I don’t remember much of it because I had a little nap, but I do remember him reading to me from a recipe book after asking me what I’d had for my tea. His recipe was better than mine, he insisted. The second bit of the conversation took an even stranger turn, when he asked me if I minded that he’d had his hair cut. “Why should I?” I laughed, “I’ve not met you yet. Even if I had, it’s your hair.” “Oh,” he replied mournfully, “What’s your hair like?” I swear I could hear a pen on paper at the other end as we spoke, scribbling notes.
However, he seemed buoyed by the coffee idea and my weak side took over. I knew I’d never date him, but I had agreed to the coffee beforehand, and I felt terrible about cancelling. We agreed to meet the following evening in a busy shopping area.
I got there and I waited. And waited. And waited. Against all the odds I gave him half an hour before leaving and ran out at a rather unladylike pace. I wouldn’t have to listen to a recipe reading tonight, no sirree. I drove home singing so loudly to the radio that I didn’t hear the repeated texts and phone calls that bombarded me. As I got out of my car and threw myself into my house the phone rang again. “Where are you?” he eeyored, “I’m here now.” “I waited half an hour,” I explained, “I’m home now.” “But I’ve made your tea, PROPERLY,” he moaned, “I was late because I was cooking what you had yesterday well, so you could see how nice it was.”
My jaw dropped to the floor.
I resisted the urge to tell him I’d rather have kept the petrol money and eaten my own clearly inadequate creation, but I stayed calm and tried another tack. “Oh dear, perhaps it’s just one of those things, it wasn’t meant to be. I’m in for the night now, you eat it.” And, after a little persuasion, and a minor bit of rudeness on my part, I put the phone down.
The next day, the textual bombardment began in earnest. “I’ve made stuffed vine leaves,” the first message offered, “I know how much you like them?” DO YOU? WE’VE NEVER MET I screamed in vain at my phone.
I ignored it. I was well versed in this kind of strange behaviour now to know replying doesn’t work at this stage of advanced fantasy, it only makes it worse. I’d been married to a fantasist for fourteen years; the odd Mediterranean delicacy wasn’t going to throw me.
The most worrying of all arrived at lunch time “I think I know what road you live on; tell me the number and I’ll just drop them off.” After my heart had calmed down I realised he couldn’t (could he?) but it was just a ruse to get some sort of response. The messages carried on for three days. Towards the end he was clearly getting to the end of his Heston Blumenthal book and he changed tack. “I knew you were this kind of woman when you told me your views on partners’ haircuts,” he implored, “I would never get mine cut in a way YOU didn’t like.”
I contemplated sending a picture of me bald. I nearly was bald.
I sent him a text pretending he’d got the wrong number and eventually it stopped. The moral of this tale? Leave a man’s lunchbox well alone.