You know what is fun? Going to a Mariners game. You know what is not fun? Going to a Mariners game with a guy and having him not utter more than one-word replies for the whole game. In case you are not a sports fan, baseball games are 3 hours long.
I had my highest hopes yet for Daniel. His profile was witty and written like one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ books I used to dig in elementary school. If you want to fight the tiger in the cave, turn to page 56. If you want to take on the tribe of cannibalistic warriors instead, turn to page 88. Daniel used that idea and wrote a really fun adventure for dating. If you want to take long walks on the beach, snuggle and dine by candlelight, scroll to the next profile. If you want to have a decent conversation, catch a cool flick and explore Seattle, Daniel just might be your guy. His photos were black-and-white shots of himself holding cue cards that said fun things like, “Nice guy who brushes and flosses regularly. Maybe.” He definitely stood out from the ‘here-I-am-on-a-northwest hike’ crowd. I sent him the initial email which was not my normal modus operandi. My fancy was definitely tickled.
Daniel emailed me right back and his emails were articulate, contained no spelling errors and made me laugh out loud. We both loved sports, Keith Olbermann and Thai food. He worked at Microsoft, the first of MANY of my dates, and had recently moved to Seattle from the east coast. I was intrigued that he and his brother had made the trip west in a car even though he brought next to nothing with him. What is that saying about hindsight being 20/20?
We both agreed that the best next step was to meet in person. Daniel offered to come my way and I suggested a tasty local Thai restaurant. This was before I had my rule about no meals on the first date. We met at the restaurant and he was very cute and had no obvious deformities. As we perused the menu I got the strong impression he had bluffed about loving Thai food. The only thing he would even consider ordering was the phad thai with no stars. Did they make negative stars and could he get it without sprouts or broccoli? Ok, so we were not going to be sharing dishes. I had never heard Daniel speak before and he had a strong east coast accent and was a HUGE Steelers fan. There were two things I wasn’t used to but I was able to roll with it.
After we ate, his treat, very nice, we strolled down along the waterfront and then went to Starbucks for a cool beverage. We started to talk about traveling and Daniel confessed to a dislike of flying. I *love* to travel so I asked him to clarify this a little bit. Oh, not only did he not do cartwheels over air travel but he hadn’t flown since pre-September 11th, 2001, and intended to keep it that way. We were sitting with our coffee in late 2007. It looked like we had less in common than I originally thought. I got home from that date and, unbeknownst to me, I had mascara smeared all over my face and he had not said a word. I think my overwhelming sense of embarrassment caused me to say yes to his offer of a baseball game the next week.
The game turned out to be on a weeknight so we thought it best to meet at the stadium after work instead of driving in together. He was very gracious and bought the tickets and we headed to the seats with our beers. Everything started well , the spark was there and he began talking about his parents. They had been married for almost 50 years but seemed to hate each other. I stupidly (must have been the alcohol) offered up that it was sad when people settled for living with someone they didn’t truly love. Why, the ex and I were so lucky because we had decided to call it quits while we were still friends and had managed to remain really close. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Daniel tense up and take a big swig. In fact, the ex was at that very baseball game with his new girlfriend. I wonder if I could see him from where we were sitting! At the time I didn’t see saying this as any big deal – the ex was there with his *girlfriend* and I was on a date with another man. It was quite clear we had moved on. Daniel didn’t seem to see it that way.
This train wreck happened in the bottom of the first inning. Daniel went completely silent for a good inning and a half. I kept talking and he didn’t utter a word of reply. F*ck. By then I had realized the error of my ways but I didn’t, and still don’t, think what I said was any big deal. I became so incredibly uncomfortable that I told him that I saw he was obviously upset and asked if he wanted to talk about the ex. “No, I am fine. I just want to watch the game.” That was the longest freaking game I have ever sat through in my life. Daniel then insisted on walking me to my car – what a gentleman! – and even went for the hug goodbye. Hello? He hadn’t talked to me in 3 hours. A hug? I think he needed to hug a counselor.
I was so relieved, yet disappointed, to have that date over. Imagine my surprise when he emailed the next day and wanted me to go golfing with him that weekend. Come again? Did he have split personalities? Daniel knew I had never been golfing and I now know it is one of the hardest sports on the planet. I am quite sure he just wanted to humiliate me on the links. I declined his offer – duh! – and told him I just wasn’t ready to date. This, again, came back to bite me in the ass two months later. I got an email from Darren at midnight, probably post-drinking, after he had seen my profile still online. Wasn’t I lonely? Was being alone really better than giving him a third date? No to the first and hell, yes!, to the second.