The Tale of Shallow Hal

Disclaimer: The author of this post is not at all shallow; in fact, he’s a really nice guy who was simply dealt a hand of shit dating luck. The title was selected by the (evil) editor because she thought it was funny, given the circumstances. 

And now for a completely different perspective, not often seen on Dbag Dating: the ultimate date horror story from a guy’s point of viewTo make it even more of an outlier for DD, this is the perspective of someone who, at the age of 42, falls just outside of this site’s primary age demographic.

A little background on myself, I’m (obviously) single, have never been married, and, until very recently, had never availed myself to the intriguing world of online dating.  In early December 2013, after my girlfriend and I broke up (i.e., she dumped me), I joined a dating site specific to Greeks because, duh, I am Greek and figured that, since I’ve had no luck meeting “that special someone” on my own, maybe it was time to take the leap.  Well, I did meet that special someone alright – the girl who soon would get voted into the “Worst Dates Of All Time” Hall of Fame.

A little about “Helen.” She messaged me in mid-December saying that I looked like a “normal guy” – a refreshing change, as she was sick of meeting creeps and crazy people on this site. I sort of knew what she meant. Since joining, I had been inundated with messages from women in Greece, Slovakia, Russia, the Ukraine and other semi-remote parts of the globe, promising me that they were the one. I presume by “the one,” they meant the one who could get them a Green Card for this wonderful country.

Helen’s profile was nice: 35, never married, no kids, and a number of pictures where she looked better than nice. Not thin, but healthy and normal. I work in finance and had been  hoping to meet another professional and established individual, however I thought it was great that Helen spoke about her career as a make-up artist with such gusto and enthusiasm.  We had a lovely phone conversation shortly after these first email exchanges, and she seemed as vivacious and extroverted as in her profile. And so, we made plans to meet in early January, after I returned from Christmas break in Florida. 
The day before our date, Helen called me with bad news: she had just left the doctor’s office, where she had been diagnosed with strep throat. She was going to be on antibiotics for ten days and wanted to be in perfect condition for our date. I sympathized and we rescheduled for the third week of January.

Of course, the day that we picked was the same day that eleven inches of snow fell on New York City. Helen lived in New Jersey, so I offered to drive and meet her there instead. However, she insisted on having the date in Astoria, Queens, explaining that she had many friends there and would make a day of our date. We rescheduled for the following Sunday.  

Come Sunday, Helen called with more bad news: she was having gall bladder issues and needed to reschedule once again.  Now, I know everyone has a gall bladder, but I honestly have no idea what it does, or how someone even realizes they are having gall bladder issues.  In any case, who was I to question; this poor girl obviously wanted to meet me and was willing to drive in from New Jersey to do so.  We postponed once again until the first Sunday in February.

On the Thursday before our newly rescheduled date, Helen sent me an excited text, asking if I was available to get together that night. I excitedly agreed. The plan was to meet at 7:30 pm at a romantic, out-of-the-way Brazilian restaurant in Astoria. At 6:30 pm, I left my office and dutifully texted her that I was on my way. 
By the time I got to the restaurant an hour later, Helen still hadn’t texted me back. I peeked inside, only to find the place empty, with the exception of the owner.  I texted again, telling her that I was there and was looking forward to meeting her.  I went inside, sat down at a table and waited. By 7:45, there was still no return text, so I decided to call her.  After a number of rings, it went to voicemail, so I left a humorous voicemail saying that I hoped everything was ok, and that more bad luck hadn’t befallen her.
At about 8:00 pm, I finally received a text, which said (and quoting verbatim) “I’m leaving now call u in a few.”  Hmmm, I thought, is she leaving New Jersey now, or was she visiting a friend in Astoria?  I asked her this, to which she replied, “Don’t hate me just left won’t take long.”  I wrote her back telling her to forget it and suggesting that we meet another time. She immediately wrote back that she would be there in 25 minutes.

As I’m sure anyone who lives in the NY/NJ area will attest to, it does not take 25 minutes to get into the city on a Thursday evening, especially with all the snow we’ve been having recently. Suffice to say, she didn’t arrive until 9pm. By then, I had witnessed two full sets of customers come in, order their dinners and desserts, pay their bills, and leave!  

When Helen finally arrived, she was apologetic.  She was also a lot larger than in her photos.  A lot.  At 6’ tall and 220 pounds, I’m a big guy, but she must have been pushing 240.  At this point, I was coming to the realization that this was possibly the worst date of my entire life.
As we sat down, she continued her string of apologies, finally admitting that the reason she was late is because she had fallen asleep. I’ll repeat that, she had fallen asleep. When I asked her if she had worked that day, she informed me that she had recently cut back a lot on her work schedule, as she was all burnt out from proms and weddings. Basically, she now worked one to two days a week. When I curiously inquired how she got by, she explained that she lived in her parents’ basement, allowing her to save on rent.
Looking to change the subject, I quickly asked if she was hungry. I was starving and had managed to memorize the entire menu, including a number of delicious-looking appetizers.  Helen told me that I should go ahead and order whatever I wanted, however, she had gastric bypass surgery a year ago and hence her appetite was limited.  I racked my brain trying to rationalize this.  In her photos, she was, while not skinny, much thinner.  How could she be so big a year after this surgery?  When I asked why she had done it, she hit me with another medical surprise : it turned out that she had been diagnosed with MS about 2 years ago.  Now, I don’t want to sound like a heartless ghoul, I was (and am) sympathetic to her medical plight, but we had spoken on the phone more than once, including a discussion about her illnesses that were causing cancellations. I just thought that would have been a more natural time to mention either one of these issues. No, I guess it was better to surprise me with both a mere 5 minutes into our date.  For the record, she has a mild, very treatable form of MS, and you would never know she has it.

It only went downhill from there, I asked her what she thought about the dating site and she proceeded to matter-of-factly tell me she had been using it on and off since she had gotten divorced.  Excuse me?  Repito por favor?  Since she had gotten divorced?  Surely she could NOT have forgotten that her profile read “Never Married.”  When I inquired about her wedding, she proceeded to tell me how she had married a guy “from the homeland” who had apparently used her to secure legal status in this country, then got the hell out of Dodge. I suddenly felt an immense connection with this guy.  I never did bring up the inconsistency in her profile.

Could it get worse?  Oh, it sure could.  About 5 minutes into the appetizer that only I enjoyed, she launched into an anti-Semitic attack on her brother’s Rockland County neighborhood.  Good thing something like wouldn’t upset me: I mean, I only live in New York and have Jewish friends, co-workers, and even relatives!  

The next hour was a blur as she spoke on and on about herself.  When there would be a lull, I’d ask another question. I have never been on a date and spoken so little about myself, nor have I ever been on a date where I was so miserable that I didn’t want to talk about myself. Her lack of self-awareness and irony collided when she made the following comment about her last date “This guy and I spoke on the phone 2 or 3 times and the conversations were great.  But then during our date, he didn’t say a word!  It’s nothing what you and I have right now.” I suddenly felt a kinship to a second man in her life.

I had mentioned on our phone chats that I have to get up around 4:30 am for work. To her credit, she remembered, and suggested we end the date around 10:15pm, to which I agreed, feigning polite regret.  She offered to drive me home, but I insisted on walking, despite the fact that I lived 5 train stops away and it was about 15 degrees that night. She said she hoped to see me again to which I ambiguously replied “this was nice.”
 And with that, the worst date in my personal history was over.
To summarize: 90 minutes late, had conveniently left out a very long medical history, had lied about being married before, and anti-Semitic. Top that ladies!

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