More often than not, internet dating is boring. It generally consists of awkward conversations with fairly-nice guys that are so vanilla that you want to bang your head on the side of the table just to create some excitement. It is not they are bad people but, for the majority of my dates, I found myself trying be interested, and be interesting, in something that I was pretty sure I was not. After a few of those dates, a girl starts to crave something outside the parallel lines, something completely out of the ordinary, and my next date, Ben, provided that in spades.
Ben initially emailed me and my first impression was that he was crazy cute. I have a thing for a guy with a shaved head and Ben pulled off his quite well. He lived near Seattle, was a big sports fan, could write a good email – all positive signs. And did I mention the shaved head? Sigh.
I have to blame being a little overwhelmed by Ben’s attractiveness because, after only a few emails, I agreed to meet him the following Sunday to watch some football. I realized as I walked up to the bar that, aside from the surface profile and introductory email details, I didn’t know a whole lot about him, like, oh, what he did for a living or what city he actually lived in. How did I not know those things? I was getting sloppy. But it was just watching football in a bar, something I had done a thousand times, so how bad could it be? I was about to find out.
Ben was sitting at the bar when I walked in and, man, even in person he was a good-looking guy. His pictures had not lied which can so often be the case with internet profiles. He got up (taller than me – nice!), gave me a hug (smelled good – excellent!) and we both sat down on our stools. I was starting to feel a little giddy!
The bartender came over and I ordered a drink. Ben, however, kind of waved him off and just pointed at his water. He then explained that he was in Crossfit training and wasn’t drinking. Before I could take that in, he ordered some lamb sliders but without the buns. He was also, he explained, not eating carbs. Looking like he did, he joked, took a lot of discipline. Did he really say that? Gag. It would have been more fun to have a drinking companion but, I tried to tell myself, maybe I shouldn’t complain about what he needed to do to look so good. We were off to an interesting start.
Things really started to get crazy when, still feeling embarrassed about my information-gathering skills, I asked Ben what he did for a living. “Oh, I am a cop.” Oh, no, no, no. Sometimes I hated myself. I have nothing against police officers – I know a few that are quite fine people – but, for me to date? I think it is safe to say that is definitely not my bag, baby. As I was trying to think of how to respond, Ben started in on a long story about the pot raid that he had participated in a few days prior. He laughed and giggled as he told me about all of the glass bongs that he had smashed onto the floor in front of the dirty hippies. Again, I hated myself. Hated.
At that point, I knew with certainty that my date was a officially a crime scene. I would just finish my drink, watch some football and try not to put my head onto the bar and cry. I tried to distract Ben from telling me any more horrifying law enforcement stories by discussing the game we were watching. All I recall about what happened next is that I said something less than complimentary about Brett Favre. The next thing I knew, Ben had grabbed me around the neck and put me into a headlock right there at the bar. My head was literally in his lap like I was some kind of criminal being detained. He didn’t leave me there long – what a gentleman! – but it was long enough. I am not sure I have ever been more shocked. Ever.
I saw the bartender look over at us and, from the shocked look on his face, I knew that it wasn’t just me that thought it was completely and totally inappropriate to use a detainment technique on a girl at a bar. He didn’t need to worry about calling the police though because, lucky me, they were already there! I just looked at Ben and said, “Don’t you ever do that again. Ever and I mean ever.” I should have been livid but I was just shell-shocked. Had that really just happened? A headlock? I barely even remember finishing my drink. I think Ben got the hint that he had crossed the line because, as I stood up to leave, he didn’t even offer to walk me to my car. I am not sure I would have let him.
As I walked back to my car I just started laughing to myself. A headlock! I had nearly been choked to death by my date! A cop, no less! How, exactly, had I managed to mess things up so badly? I was driving home, making a list in my head of all of things that I was going to do differently with men from then on, when I got a text from Ben. “What is wrong with me? Why don’t girls like me? I am just a failure.” Oh, boy, he was asking the wrong girl to talk him off of the ledge. I just texted back, “Thank you for meeting me. Have a good night,” and that was it.
I did hear from Ben a few more times but I didn’t even answer him. He seemed to be a dude in need of some good counseling and a lot of it. I felt like I had definitely dodged a bullet. I had to admit that my date with Ben was…exciting but it left me wanting nothing more than a nice, boring, bland date. I was more than happy to bang my own head onto the table.