3 years ago1,000+ Views
Because if first impressions are everything - sometimes that everything is worse than nothing - it's just bad... bad... bad...
In the photo above - taken a LONG time ago - I was on what would become the most epic bad first date in the encyclopedia of bad dates... man. Hind sight is 20/20... I really must have been some kind of "special" (and in special I mean mega-retarded) that I actually went on a second date this infinitely disturbed young woman. It all started with a visit to a place I never went - the cafeteria of my college...
Her name isn't important - what was important to know that first day of winter semester 1991 - was that she was one of the most desired and sought after girls on campus; from jocks to geeks and every guy in-between. She didn't just play "hard to get". She was a fortress - locked down and in tunnel-vision mode. No guy was going to derail her plans to be a doctor. She didn't have time for dating. She didn't care about social distractions. For that I respected her and honestly, even though we were in the same pre-med classes semester after semester - I never attempted to hit on her. I was in that day, my own fortress. What I had no way of knowing was that I was the ONE guy on a campus with about 3500 other guys that did turn her head. In retrospect I think because I wasn't interested in her. I didn't trip over myself and fawn and gush. I was like, "Hey." without looking up from my books when she walked by. I hate cafeteria food. Seriously. It's pretty freaking gross the majority of the time. But I had a friend who was ex-military - he was in a wheelchair because of a car accident - who really wanted me to go with him to the cafeteria. He hated sitting there by himself. So I was OK with braving the one building I'd never stepped in during 3 years of college at that campus to keep a friend happy. We were seated and everyone's eyes moved to the doors and in she walked. She was wearing this matching black leather mini-skirt and motorcycle jacket... I swear she dressed that way just to drive all the guys on the campus nuts. She walked right over to us and asked if she could sit down. This was a Tuesday. She bantered with my friend, Martin, for a few minutes while I listened half interested. I have never been a drinker. Ever. In any way. No wine, beer, liquor... nothing. Ever. The best way to avoid a trap is to know that it's there. My mother has struggled with alcohol dependency her entire life. My father had a brother who drank himself to death. Both my grandfathers died young from alcohol induced liver failure. To say there is a significant history of alcohol abuse on BOTH sides of my family is an understatement. I don't judge, I simply choose to find other things to do with my time than think about the next time I can get plastered and then later brag about it. HINT #1 THAT THIS WASN'T GOING TO GO WELL - I found out that her 25th birthday was on Friday. She talked about how she has always been good and never really allowed herself to be out of control. And she was thinking that 1/4 of a century was an interesting birthday milestone and she wanted to blow off some steam. I pointed out that 1/2 way to 50 sounded much less like a milestone... just to see if I could get her irritated a little. Really sexy girls who are completely aware of how sexy they are can sometimes be really boring in conversation for they always find a way to make the conversation about themselves and eventually how sexy they are. I was testing the waters to see just how high on herself she was. She'd never really seemed that way in class. But this was the first time I'd really talked with her outside of class. She did something totally unexpected at that point, she challenged me to take her out for her birthday and show her a great time. It was a moment right out of a John Hughes movie... the cafeteria went silent. People were starring... Wait... did she just ask HIM out? Wait... he didn't ask her (and get shot down like everyone else whose tried)... she ASKED HIM? Long before there was the wonderful abbreviation, "WTF?!?!" - on the campus of Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia - there was a massive WTF moment in the cafeteria. I said "Sure... why not." In my typical disinterested way. Because I could write a book about just how awful this date turned out, let me just break the timeline down into bullet points - presented chronologically. • Make reservation to the nicest restaurant in town - prepare to spend my entire month's discretionary funds to make a good impression (because truth be known I thought she was a goddess and I was crazy about her - smart - driven - pretty - and funny - in my 21 year old mind she was the perfect - older - woman). • Arrive early to pick her up only to find that she's ultra tortoise-y when getting ready to go out. • Find that her dad was a scary redneck guy who judged his daughter's potential dates based on the car they drove... Ford is good. Chevy is bad. Foreign is Evil or Homosexual. • Loose control of my car taking a corner onto the freeway a little too fast - because we were going to miss our reservation - skid off the onramp down a big grassy field and thankfully didn't get stuck in a big muddy ditch - but I did about give us both a heart attack. • Get to the restaurant with no time to spare and get seated - where she proceeds to order the messiest thing on the menu - BBQ ribs - REALLY? In a beautiful dress and outfit with hair an makeup that took hours? WHY did such a nice restaurant even PUT something like that on the menu? WTF? Seriously!!! She proceeds to smear BBQ sauce all over her face and the tip of her nose each time she took a bit. AND BTW - this girl could pack away some food! I mean 5'6" tall and 115lbs - lean and in great physical shape and she ate twice as much as I did. • She wanted to go to the fair afterwards. Again... I'm in a suit. She's in a really nice dress. WTF. I didn't say anything about the 3 White Russians she had with dinner. I don't really understand how to gauge a person's alcohol tolerance. But it looked like she was drinking milk with her ribs. Which was pretty freakin' gross to me. But it's the South. Whatever. • We get to fair - I get mud all over my dress shoes. And to be clear it wasn't the "REAL" fair. That was in the previous fall. This was a traveling carnival. The kind that sets up in the K-Mart parking lot for a week and then disappears. She so wanted me to pay $20 for the ridiculous photo above. Which I did. Now my entire semester's discretionary funds were blown. • She drinks about 5 more beers in cheap plastic cups. Now she's starting to act drunk. No Freakin' way I'm going on the Gravatron with you. HECK NO! • At midnight I really strongly suggest that we call it a night. She's walking bare-foot - in 55 degree weather (winters in Savannah are often mild) - she's totaled her hose... and she's pretty sloppy drunk. • About 1/2 way to her parent's house she drunkily tells me her dad is going to kick my ass - that she has a midnight curfew - it'll be after 1am by the time I get her there. Then she proceeds to puke all over the door of my car. BBQ ribs I might add. • Her dad was standing in his driveway when I pulled in. I got out, walked over to her door. Opened it like a gentleman. Helped her out. And her dad came over and asked. "Are you two drunk?" I looked at him and said, "No sir... only she is. I've not had anything to drink my entire life." He helped me carry her inside. She had passed out - but not before saying, "Oh hi daddy, don't kill him... it's my fault." • I sat down and her dad and I had a long talk. I told him how disappointed and shocked I was at how she had acted. That I had respected her and thought she was pretty much the most perfect woman I'd met - until realizing she was really unbalanced. He looked at me and said, "Why didn't you stop her?" I looked him in the eyes and said, "With all due respect sir, you mean to tell me she's never shown this type of bull-headed, devil may care behavior before tonight? I don't think so. I think you know exactly why I couldn't stop her. The same reason you can't stop her. She's... She's..." And as I struggled for the right word he said, "She just like her dad and none of this is your fault son. It took a man of character to stand up in my driveway and help her out like a gentleman. I saw how gentle you were helping her. You're alright son. Why don't you go into the guest bedroom and get some rest. You two will have a lot to talk about in the morning." It was an hour drive back to my apartment. I lived near the beach - on the other side of the city. I accepted his offer. The next morning she was hung-over and in serious pain. And I never showed her any mercy. I talked really loudly to her - which made her mom and dad chuckle. Her younger sister thought I was "cute". And sadly, I didn't drive away and never ask her out again. My divorce from her was final 11 years ago. We spent 14 years together - 12 of which were spent as husband and wife. The moral of the story is in all truth - people are never so simple or lacking in complexity that one date or one moment can define them. The corollary to this statement is that people will choose to act in ways that are the basis of a pattern for the rest of their lives. After 14 years the getting drunk and showing her less than noble side got so tiring and old. In the balance - using a scale where on one side there was this beautiful, intelligent, caring woman who after witnessing a horrific car accident ran without a thought of her own safety towards a mangled car full of people to help them and ultimately save their lives - the woman who would become a critical care nurse instead of a doctor... who cried when her patients died or when she saw the pain of their loved ones... this amazing person was also the same person who drank to excess and would often become violent. Who hurled the most foul and venomous insults and accusations - unfounded and unfair - at those around her who cared the most... who physically assaulted me on numerous occasions but I never hit her back. I always walked away. The woman who chose her own self-loathing and denial over the love of someone who I believe is pretty great at loving people (me). And in the end the good just couldn't undo or outweigh the bad when I took a step back and looked at the scale. The most difficult thing I've ever done was choose to be the bigger person and end the cycle of abuse by filing for divorce and moving 3000 miles away. Do I regret my relationship with her? Yes. And no. I am who I am because of what I chose to experience with her. But could I have chosen better. Yes. WE CAN ALL CHOOSE BETTER. The trick is knowing that there is a choice to begin with. I CAN SAY - sometimes we can't really value the beautiful, amazing, and special love we have or can have until we experience the pain of an ill-thought relationship - you know choosing to love the person who takes joy in reaching their hand down your throat to crush your heart. I am so much better prepared for an amazing love that will come to define my life - and the whole 14 year experience with her is now a minor footnote. In the end I have to say regarding my ex-wife - I truly came to love and respect her dad. He has an amazing heart - something that he openly shares with anyone who cares to look past his gruff, tough exterior and see. I don't miss my ex-wife. But I do miss her dad. He is a good man. A really good father.
@allischaaff, @alywoah, @jordanhamilton, @ButterflyBlu, @danidee, @buddyesd, @paulisaverage, @marshalledgar, @TessStevens and @falcon4daisy I am really looking forward to hearing about the worst/funniest first date in your experience!
I read this a lot earlier in the day on Tuesday, but I wasn't where I had time to respond properly. This was a fantastic card. It was so well written and engrossing. I enjoy the way that you tell a story. :) You are very wise, patient, and loving man. I don't know many people who would have come around for date number two. You not only did, but you married her! That's just brilliant. I like that you used all of the negatives to learn more about yourself and other people. We should all be so wise. :D @danidee even our dads are the same!!! Lol! Crazzzy. <3
@JonPatrickHyde, you are the BOMB!! This is a lovely card, and I really enjoyed reading it. Like @jordanhamilton, I got sucked right in. I think you've got such a wonderful perspective on what turned out to be a rather negative life experience – you are right to look at the positive, and focus on how it has changed you, prepared you for the beautiful experiences ahead! I see reading this what a wonderful person you are. :) And i'm glad you seem to have a good handle on that too – "someone who I believe is pretty great at loving people (me)"! You ARE pretty great at loving people – you do it all the time here on Vingle by giving us your incredible advice and sharing your stories and wisdom with us, and for that i am very very grateful :) thank you so much for sharing, and look forward to my response sooooon! :D
You're living a good life man, can't imagine what other stories you may have.
@ButterflyBlu Bahaha, that's probably why we're so similarly minded. Our parents were similar too!
MAN. You have had quite a life, sir. Whenever you share a story about your past, it's like this whole new layer comes out, which makes you sound like either an onion or an rather complex Photoshop project but anyway.. ANYWAY.. I feel like you've gone through a lot, between this and battling cancer and all the other stories you've told me, but it seems you've also learned so much from them. You are WISE. And I could see her dad being awesome btw. He sounds a lot like my dad. He was always this big burly intimidating guy who always disapproved of the guys his daughters were dating, but when you got to kick back with him and talk, he really loved other's company.
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