In going out on dates with over 100 guys, I have met some socially-questionable and awkward people. Trent was the first guy that I encountered that I really thought was insane. I am still not convinced that he didn’t escape from a local mental hospital just so he could have a date with me.
I got my first email from Trent while I was out of town for Christmas. I was visiting a friend’s family in Nebraska which is the only explanation I have for why I answered Trent in the first place. The Midwest is very flat, very slow and I needed something to occupy my time. His picture passed muster. Shaved head, attractive facial hair, slim and fit from the mid-torso up – nothing too objectionable. Trent’s email was very enthusiastic with lots of smiley faces and exclamation points. He also liked parentheses and would follow every comment he made with an aside (almost like he was having a conversation with himself). He did have some interesting things to say, though, about sports and books and movies so, after a few more almost-one-sided emails, I agreed to meet Trent for a drink.
Almost as if I was subconsciously trying to continue the trend of bad decisions, I agreed to meet Trent at 2:00 p.m. on a Sunday because, obviously, that is a perfect time for drinking. I am not sure what I was thinking. When I walked into the bar, Trent stood up from a booth and shook my hand. Oh, my goodness. I think that he found a GQ from 1985 that advised a guy how to dress on a first date because Trent was about 20 years behind. He had on a smokin’ leather bomber jacket, pressed acid-washed jeans and a loud-patterned sweater. Even though I felt like I was maybe unwittingly in a ‘Back to the Future’ movie, I sat down across from Trent. Those first few minutes, before the alcohol arrived, were quite possibly the most awkward I have ever endured. Trent looked so nervous I was waiting for him to throw up at any minute. He sat there, with his jacket still on, furtively looking to the left and the right and tapping his fingers over and over on the table. He also repeatedly, perhaps 20 times, cleared his throat, shaking his head vigorously each time. I think some words were exchanged but I seem to have blocked what they were from my memory. A drink, please, waitress, to get me through?
Watching Trent drink his first cocktail I was reminded of footage I had seen of marathon runners hydrating during a race. He practically threw it in his face almost as if getting some in his mouth was second to splashing some over himself so he could cool down. The waitress walked by literally a minute after dropping off the drinks and looked down at Trent’s glass. She looked at the table, at his lap, then the floor as if trying to figure out where the liquid could have possibly gone. Oh, lucky me, my date was going to be drunk in about five minutes. Trent tapped his glass on the table and asked for another round.
The alcohol did seem to loosen Trent up. In the ten minutes I had before he blacked out we managed to have a little conversation. Even though his profile said that he was a ‘product developer’, he actually worked part-time as a mail sorter at the local post office. Easy mistake – I can see how he got confused as the professions are almost interchangeable, right? Trent also still lived with is ex-girlfriend although, he assured me, it had been a long time since there had been any hanky-panky, heh heh. He actually winked at me as he said this.
Trent had actually done a fair bit of travel so, during his fourth round, we managed to talk a little about places we had been. I had recently been to Ireland and, when I mentioned that, I got to see the crazy up close. Trent’s eyes got wide, he poked his head up, scanned the bar and then leaned in close. In a whisper, he asked, “Did you see any demons?” Taken a bit aback I asked if he meant ghosts. “No, no, no,” he said, “Not ghosts! Demons! Demons!” I didn’t know how to respond as this conversation had suddenly gone into territory I had not yet explored. Was he serious? Was he putting me on? Was I about to get chopped into tiny pieces? Because I was in a bar with lots of people I felt it was safe to ask the difference between demons and ghosts. At that point I was just curious and fascinated and horrified, almost like driving by a car accident. Trent leaned in again and, talking behind his hand in a furtive whisper, informed me that ghosts are dead people still hanging around whereas demons are just malevolent spirits that were never alive but exist solely to perpetrate evil. How did I not *know* that? He went on to explain the whole history of demons in Europe, how they walked among us, etc.; Trent was a demon expert.
Sensing imminent disaster, when Trent paused in his lecture to order a fifth drink, I looked at my cell phone and feigned disappointment. “Oh, no,” I told him, “I am going to have to go. I need to go take care of something at the office. Right away.” Normally, this is not how I roll. I don’t have girlfriends call me saying they are at the hospital or set up phantom texts so that I have an excuse to get out of a date in a hurry. I always make sure I have an activity planned after our date so, even if it is going well, I have a set time I have to leave. That technique has saved my bacon more than once and it eliminated the need for me to be rude. Trent, though, was obviously a special case. I needed to get out of there and fast. His face fell and he looked crushed that I had to go but he stood up, gave me a hug and refused to take money to help with our (now quite substantial) bar tab. He asked if he could see me again and, desperate to not create a scene or end up injured, I hastily said yes and darted out of there. Trent sent me an email that night, very exclamation point-heavy, about how much he had enjoyed meeting me. I very politely told him that I was afraid that I just didn’t feel a connection but I wished him luck. I never heard from him again. I went back and read through Trent’s profile and emails thinking that I had missed some glaring indication of insanity but there was nothing that stood out. Apparently, just like demons, crazy potential dates just walk unnoticed among the rest of us.
I hope you enjoyed this blast from my dating past. This story, along with others and some of my best online dating tips are featured in my book, ‘Dates With Kate: Tales and Tips from an Online Dating Veteran’. Click here to check it out!