Random Bad Dates from my 20s

I’ve been trying to throw things away to make room for more, but can’t seem to get rid of things like my old scrapbook of “Crushes, Dates, & Loves”. I should hand this down to my daughter, as I’m sure she could appreciate some of these stories. Some stories I barely remember – or not at all.

No Money Man:
This was supposed to be a weekend getaway, but it turned out that I couldn’t get away fast enough. Probably in my early 20s, I was invited to spend the weekend in another town. There was no chivalry whatsoever. He would walk at least 3 to 5 steps in front of me, sat down at the dinner table before me, didn’t bother to open car doors, asked me for money, “joked” by saying annoying, sarcastic, demeaning things, and would put his hands on me in public to show that I was with him. On top of it all, I ended up paying for dinner! Apparently, I never saw this person again. Why don’t I remember this person? Probably because I didn’t want to. He sounds like a total douche!

The Meat Packer:
He never became an actual date, but I saw him at least weekly, which made my grocery shopping more enjoyable. This guy worked at Publix’s  meat department, and we shared the same name. He’d flirted with me on several occasions, always making conversation, but he never asked me out. I was a single mom at the time, going to college and working a job or three. Meeting decent guys was difficult, because in those days “nobody wanted to date a woman with a kid (except maybe old men).” So I finally got the nerve to ask him out instead. His response: “I don’t think my girlfriend would like that very much.” I was pissed and embarrassed, so I started shopping at a different store. Sorry, Publix!

Stinky Pillow Guy:
Back before Tinder, Bumble, and Match, people used Yahoo Personals. I was in my mid to late 20s when I met a guy that lived about an hour or so away. He was very polite and very sweet, even in person. We got to know each other for a few weeks online and by phone, and when I met him, I liked him. Since he lived far and I didn’t want anyone at my house (it was also much easier for me to run far away!), I made plans to stay the night at his house – on the couch. Our date consisted of me giggling at the fact he didn’t have many table manners, but it wasn’t because he was rude; he was just inexperienced. We went to a sushi restaurant where he proceeded to wipe his face with the o-shibori that was presented to us at dinner. Then I watched him butcher sushi rolls with a fork, because he’d never eaten it before. We then rented movies that he talked through them the entire time. Finally, I prepared to sleep on his old pullout couch with an awful back bar that just about crippled me. Then he gave me a nice moldy pillow for my head, and I immediately suffered an allergy attack. Last, but not least, I guess he assumed he was going to sleep with me and took it upon himself to jump in bed next to me and put his measley hands all over me before he started snoring loudly. I managed to ease my way out and left in the middle of the night and never turned back.

The Pilots:
I live in an area where there are a lot of flight schools nearby, so whenever my friends and I went out, we’d always meet pilots. I was probably in my late 20s when I met a pilot from Venezuela. He was in his 30s, and we hit it off immediately. I thought he had a lot of class, intelligence, and was attractive – much different from the down-home Florida cracker types I was used to meeting. He’d told me he’d been divorced for 7 months, but hadn’t been together with the wife “in a long time”.

I was really looking forward to getting to know him better, but after the crooked married cop situation, I decided to do a little research. Lo and behold, there was no divorce. When confronted, he became defensive and thought I was being ridiculous. I told him to call me when the divorce was final. I got a call from him a few months later at the beginning of the summer, and supposedly the papers were signed. Then the asshole stood me up for a date.

At the end of July, I bumped into him at a club where he introduced me to his new girlfriend. Four months later, they were engaged. Fly away, birdie, fly away!

Another pilot I met at a Best Buy while we were both arguing with the jerk at the computer repair dept. He was sort of a foreign guy, seemed really cool, only a couple years older, and he was kind of hot. The first night we went out, he said, “I think I could fall in love with you.”

That was waaayyy too soon for a first date, and it completely scared me off, so I never called him again. I saw him around a few more times, and he thought I hated him. I didn’t hate him, but I was certainly not ready for the “L” word either.

Do you have any fun dating stories you’d like to share? Send them here!

When Memories of Your Ex Dredge Up Annoyance

Sometimes you don’t notice things about yourself until someone else points it out. One of my friends pointed out that she’s noticed I have been mentioning a little about my ex husband more so than usual, mentioning things that he did that pissed me off. I guess I had been obsessing more with OC and anyone else in the past five years rather than concentrate on my divorce and the issues I had with my ex. But I didn’t see the need for it at the time, and I had pretty much doused my brain in alcohol to deal with it.

One of the things I mentioned to her the other day was the fact that my ex used to ruin things for me that I worked very hard to get. For example, when we were first married and had a brand new house, he decided he wanted a dog, even though he was working too much for the responsibility of one. So guess who ended up taking care of the dog, cleaning up shit and dirt and everything else that goes along with having a pet? Well, I’ll tell you it wasn’t him. The dog even tore up my things – sentimental things – and not his, which obviously made me fume. It actually made me resent my ex, because I thought it was unfair to put the responsibility on me when I clearly said I didn’t want a dog. (The dog turned out to be great, but that’s not the point.)

I was trying to run a photography business out of my home, but my domestic duties and caring for the dog was really getting in the way. My ex had no idea how to run or build a business and thought that since I was “home all day” I did nothing but “play on the computer”. (I guess writing two books, having a clean home and laundry, and doing everything else just magically happened.) I had created a portable studio in the house and was offering portraits for families, children, and women. For women, sometimes they’d want a maternity shoot or a boudoir shoot – something intimate and personal – and I wanted to be sure everything was professional so they’d feel comfortable, tell all of their friends, and I’d gain new business.

There was one woman that wanted a boudoir shoot for her husband, and she brought her friend with her, which I highly recommended as a safety measure. Since they would be coming to my home, I told my then husband he had to be gone when my client got there. It was imperative that when they arrived, they’d feel at ease without a male presence around, because from experience, sometimes that can be creepy. So what did he do? He stuck around until they got there and made sure he introduced himself to them. I let them know he’s leaving right now and glared at him to get the hell out.

I was super annoyed that he did that; it made it seem unprofessional to me. Looking back, he did all sorts of shit that sabotaged my career and a lot of other things I did. And now that I’m rebuilding everything from the bottom up and see him around town doing just fine and living the high life, I get angry, because I was there to boost him in his career.

Shortly after that incident, I found out he’d been searching my computer looking for the photos of my client, which really set me off, but I was very good at “hiding” the content under various folders, and he wasn’t as computer literate as I. But it made me mad that I couldn’t trust him, and I thought it was rude and creepy… and that I couldn’t even do my job without him interfering. I felt that he crossed a boundary, because my clients entrusted me to their personal needs. I feel that by him just being at the house when the other women arrived, it hurt my business.

I know that no relationship is perfect, and he had a lot of good things about him, but now that I’m divorced and sometimes reminded of things, I think why was I with this person? How did I not see he was either competing with me and one-upping me on everything (I’ll write about that later) or sabotaging what I was working to do? I guess I was blinded by love, because he was the only guy that I had dated at the time that was nice to me. But sometimes that “nice” is just to get what they want.

Viewing the Negative Side of a Relationship In Order to Move On

I have had to force myself to find the negative side of things that I haven’t been able to completely move on from. The negative side of OC, that is. Many things remind me of him, like every time I see a white pickup truck I look to see if it’s him. (Do you realize how many white pickup trucks are on the road?) I play a game that sometimes shows what appears to be a red kayak and someone on a paddle board – both things that remind me of him. It’s gotten better over time, but for whatever reason, it still hurts after a year and a half. I want to get over this and wish I had a year ago.

By now, just the fact that I was never given closure to the situation tells me he’s not a real man – but a pussy – and I already have one of those; I certainly don’t need it in a man. He should have given me an explanation and lived up to his word of not hurting me like he told me. He shouldn’t have led me on saying he missed me and he wasn’t ignoring me, that he was just busy with work… all the way up to two days before he dumped me. What kind of person does that? That is one hell of a character flaw.

I’m not a morning person by any means, but I absolutely love having coffee or breakfast with someone. Not every day, but often enough. OC never stayed for breakfast, even though he said he doesn’t eat breakfast, but every morning he would leave and “check the waves” for surfing and never spend mornings with me. At the time I was just happy to have any time with him, because he always had a lot of family and work things going on. It was odd, because after 2-3 months of staying the night most of the week, you’d think one morning would be in order, right? Well, it never happened.

There were things he told me he would do for me and never did them before he broke up with me. That’s a peeve of mine. For instance, he was going to get me a container to use as a fire pit in my backyard. He was talking about doing some of the things to my patio area to make it nicer. He alluded to us going camping when the weather cooled down. Just do what you say you’re going to, don’t leave me hanging, and certainly don’t make it seem like there’s a future in front of us before you dump me by text and then ghost me forever. That’s just shitty.

The fact that he was still technically married (and still is!) and still living on the same property as his ex made it weird. (I did confirm they were definitely not together.) He referred to her as his “future ex-wife” but had to take care of some financial things first, and I was understanding of that, because I’ve had my own situations. But after he dumped me the way he did, I began to wonder if he ever had any intention of leaving, if he just ups and leaves every ten or fifteen years to have some flings and then goes back to try to work it out. Who knows?

Another thing that bothered me was that he had his ex’s name tattooed on his hip, and he had no intentions of ever getting rid of it or covering it up. He said no one will see it. I said I see it, and any other woman you choose to have sex with is going to see it. Duh. I should have guessed that he wasn’t ready to completely move on from her, either, and probably why he has dragged out his non-divorce for so long.

Then to top it off, he started liking some of my Instagram posts, yet still didn’t have the balls to say a word to me. He matched with me on Bumble last year and still never replied. It’s hard to know if he was just playing games or still too much of a pussy to say a word to me. Either way, I don’t get it at all. Nothing makes any sense to me.

One of the negative feelings I had with OC was the feeling of never really having him… as if there was this elusive free spirit vibe. That could have very well been my own insecurity, but it’s so confusing to not know what really happened. I figured maybe if I focus on the negative, I will realize how wrong we were together and perhaps find someone else to be happy with, because it’s obvious I will never get an answer from him. Maybe I should use the experience to write a fiction novel, but in the end, the lead character gets the actual answers she deserves.

Losing a Connection Can Be Devastating

Having a taste of something good only to have it suddenly snatched away is a real bitch. I think about how I felt about OC when we were together and how much I miss the things he brought to the table that no one else has covered. Besides the undeniable physical attraction, what was more important was having communication along with and common interests and values.

Being that OC was raised in a cult religion and I had my own fair share of religion shoved down my throat when I was a kid, neither of us believe in religion, but both of us are very spiritual. We both believe in healthy eating and keeping fit and active. We shared the same political views, although neither of us are very involved in politics at all. We shared a lust for adventure and exploring and nature and being outdoors.

When we were together, it felt like we were a real couple – affectionate and considerate and attentive and all of the good things that should be in a relationship. I felt completely comfortable with him and trusted him – another thing I find difficult. The way OC treated me was different than what I was used to. He took me out on real dates, and we did a lot of activities together. He didn’t rush me for sex, which really surprised me, and I liked the fact that his actions showed respect for me. We saw each other four or five days or nights a week. We took walks on the beach, went kayaking, and spent a lot of quality time together outdoors and indoors. He wasn’t the type of guy that hangs out in bars, and I liked that. I wasn’t used to having someone I felt so close to and connected with since I’d been divorced.

Maybe it’s another reason I liked OC so much; he treated me like I was his girlfriend and even introduced me to some of his family. All of this was so uncommon to me, so I felt special, and it felt great. All of my friends and family noticed how happy I was when we were together, how I had this certain light in my eyes when I saw OC. Everyone around me noticed it. They also noticed when the light was gone.

And now the light has been dimmed for nearly two years. I question the intention of every man I meet. I feel panic when I think about something like what I had with OC happening again – the panic of heartbreak and abandonment. The unknowing of whether or not I’m being played. I haven’t had that sort of connection with anyone since. I want to feel special again, but I have such doubts that it’s even possible.

Who Will You Spend Your Sundays With?

I was watching a cooking show the other day, and one of the contestants talked about dating or hanging out with a guy on Friday or Saturday, but the person she wants to spend her Sundays with is the one who is really special. I haven’t spent a Sunday with anyone since OC, mainly because I haven’t met anyone that’s available on Sundays (or any other day of the week for that matter), or they are too emotionally unavailable to do anything that involves real life.

More than anywhere else, I have found that dating apps and websites tend to have the majority of emotionally unavailable men (and on the other end of the spectrum, extremely needy or desperate men). What I don’t understand is why men who don’t have time for a relationship continue looking for one and pursue women when they can’t possibly commit to anything. They work too much or they have other obligations or commitments and no time for a woman except at their convenience… so what exactly are they doing pursuing someone that is looking for more? It just seems to me they’re looking for someone to fill in the little void they have… or a fuck buddy, because since they don’t have time for anything real, what is left? You can’t get to know someone that is never there. Even President Clinton had both a wife and a girlfriend, and he had a pretty busy job…

Emotionally unavailable men leave women guessing what they’re up to, because they never seem to be around either physically or emotionally. Oftentimes emotionally unavailable men are full of compliments and attention at the beginning that reels you in and makes you feel special, so it can get confusing when their behavior suddenly changes. On the other hand, if a man is spending more time looking at his phone than at you, yet doesn’t take the time to send you a text in a timely manner, take that as a big hint that he’s not interested in you. Personally, I don’t want to waste Sunday or any other day of the week on anyone that leaves me guessing. Consistency is key.

So how do you want to spend your Sundays? I want to spend my Sundays with someone that cares enough about me to want to spend quality time with me – have breakfast together, cuddle, take it easy, go kayaking or do something fun. Just be together. I want to spend my Sundays with someone that is truly into me as a person and goes out of his way to show it. I want to spend my Sundays with someone that doesn’t leave me guessing as to how they feel about me. It doesn’t seem like asking for much, so why is it so difficult to meet someone that also wants something real?

Does he really like me, or does he just want sex?

Dear Susanna,

I met this new guy but I’m not sure if he really likes me or is just another player. How do I tell if he’s really interested or just wants to get laid?

— Aly

Dear Aly,

I’m sure most women can relate to this question, and sometimes it really is difficult to know if a man really likes you or just wants to lay it down. While some guys are easy to weed out, others play the cat and mouse game and will wait for sex… and then promptly dump you. It seems there are fewer men that act like gentlemen anymore, but they are out there! (Just don’t ask me where.)

When a guy is truly interested in getting to know you as a person, he will ask questions about you, show concern for your well-being, act considerate, take you out and treat you like a lady, and keep a healthy amount of communication. Oh yeah, and doesn’t string you along, because interested people act interested, period.

If everything is going great and there is chemistry (there should be if it’s something you want to pursue), and perhaps your bodies may want to have sex but in your mind you know it’s not time, he should accept that. If he gets angry like an Irishman or gives off some weird negative vibe or later ignores you or ghosts you, then he doesn’t respect your needs or feelings. Then you can just label him as a douchebag.

Once you get to know someone’s character enough to know for certain that the relationship is moving along, then use your best judgment as to whether or not you want to give up the cherry pie. Sometimes you never truly know, but the longer you wait, the better the chances are that he truly does care.

Hope that helps!

— Susanna

Have a question? Send it to me here

Ex Boyfriend Says He Loves Me, Then Doesn’t Respond

Dear Susanna,

I’m in my 40s and trying to reconnect with my boyfriend from high school. He seems interested but not very responsive all the time, and this has been going on for years. Either he’s intense telling me he loves me or simply doesn’t respond. He’s single, never married, and living in L.A. This has been going on for several years. I always wanted to move to Cali, but first I want to see if there’s still a connection. But I feel like when he doesn’t respond something is up. I also suspect he’s an alcoholic. What should I do?

— Up North

Dear Up North,

First and foremost, if he’s an alcoholic, run far and run fast! More than likely when he’s not responding to you in a reasonable manner, he’s out drinking or passed out. Having any sort of relationship with an alcoholic usually results in failure, unless maybe you’re an alcoholic, too.

I would also suspect that he’s probably seeing other women, especially given the distance and the fact that you haven’t actually reconnected… in years? Where exactly is he when he’s telling you he loves you? If he were truly interested in you, he’d have found a way to reconnect in person instead of calling or sending messages at his own convenience… unless you’re this woman, of course.

It doesn’t seem like he loves you like he says, because it sounds like he doesn’t even love himself. I would move on.

— Susanna

Need advice? Send your questions to me on my contact page.