Trying to date a geriatric liar was mentally exhausting and it did not get any easier when I found myself with not one but two more men on the scene named John. Keeping the details straight on three different guys was hard enough without them all going by the exact same name. I was going to have to put some sort of classification system in place. That much was clear. Wild John earned his moniker because, well, he was crazy, but Johnny made it easy by telling me that was the nickname his friends gave him because he could be a little ‘out of control’. Excellent. I was going to be lucky enough to date two mentally unstable guys! John number three, however, ‘Jonathan’, despite his boring nickname, turned out to be so obnoxious I declined the chance to even meet him.
I got an email from Johnny, an engineer for one of the biggest companies in Seattle, and, even though he was a bit out of my age range, it was only by a year and he seemed pretty cool. He was well traveled, had good taste in music and movies and was, like myself, a bit of a sports freak. We emailed quite a bit before we actually met and I formed a mental image of what he looked like in person. Johnny told me he was ‘kind of crazy’ but responsible and his emails backed him up. He would often make dirty jokes and swear but he also seemed very kind and considerate. He appeared to be, in a lot of ways, like my perfect balance.
The first time Johnny and I met, I thought the wrong guy had walked up to my table. I looked back down at my book and almost chocked on my Americano when he stuck out his hand and said, “Kate? Johnny. At last we meet.” He looked barely anything like his pictures – I never would have guessed they were the same guy. Sometimes personality really comes through in pictures and I thought I had accurately gauged Johnny, but, in person, he seemed totally, totally different. He wouldn’t look me in the eye and I had to keep asking him to speak up and, when he did, he barely said more than two words in reply to anything I asked. I was on a date with a wallflower! After some time, though, he did loosen up and I had a pretty decent time. He must have enjoyed himself, as well, because he asked me to take a walk with him around a nearby lake.
Johnny did seem to relax but, man, trying to get conversation out of him was almost a chore. He may have been the only guy I have ever seen laugh without moving any part of his body. He just kind of… shook. Was he just incredibly, painfully, awfully shy? Socially awkward to an exponential degree? When he did talk, I really did like what he said so, when we finished our walk and he asked to meet me again, I agreed. I walked back to my car wondering what the hell I was doing. I went from a guy that seemed determined to kill me on a motorcycle to a guy that I wasn’t absolutely positively sure had a pulse. But maybe Johnny just seemed boring after the sheer insanity that was my previous date. When Johnny emailed me with plans to go to a showing at the International Film Festival followed by a barbecue with his friends, I almost got excited. Friends! He had friends! He must be somewhat socially engaged! There was hope.
Johnny and I agreed to meet near his house and carpool to the movie. I knew that the film festival was very popular so I suggested that we get there early since we didn’t have tickets. Johnny insisted, with the most passion I had heard him express, that it would definitely not be crowded and, if we were there 30 minutes before the movie started, that would be plenty of time. I thought he was probably wrong but he seemed to have very strong feelings about the subject so I let it go. We arrived at the theater and I just laughed to myself because, guess what, Sherlock aka Johnny? The line stretched and stretched and stretched. We finally got in the theater about five minutes before the movie started and the only two seats left were in the very front row. And the movie was in subtitles. I kept waiting for Johnny to somehow acknowledge that he had messed up, maybe even apologize or show some remorse for my sore neck, but he didn’t even seem to notice. Ok, fine. Fine. Perhaps I was a movie-going snob. There was a barbecue in my future that quite possibly involved copious amounts of alcohol so maybe not all was lost.
We were in the car, headed to the party, when Johnny mentioned that we were responsible for providing dessert. He swung into the parking lot of Whole Foods and, as we walked in, told me his plan was to get the makings for strawberry shortcake – strawberries, whipped cream, sponge cake. It was summer and that seemed like the perfect warm-weather dessert. We got the strawberries and the shortcake and then headed to the dairy aisle for the whipped cream. I saw a can and went to grab it when Johnny barked, “No. No. I want Cool Whip. Only Cool Whip,” and went rushing off. Uh, did he remember what store we were in? Cool Whip contains pretty much nothing but chemicals and I didn’t think Whole Foods would let it within a mile of their store. I found Johnny in the frozen food section, looking around desperately, and I told him the same thing, that we were probably not going to be in luck in this store. “Well, you are wrong,” he said as he walked over to a store employee. I just stood there in a daze as that same employee haughtily explained to him that Whole Foods did not carry that type of product. Johnny stalked back to the dairy section where he picked up two cans of whipped cream. What the hell? Johnny apparently didn’t take well to alternate theories, which, since I was only trying to be helpful, did not really sit well with me. This barbecue was going to be SO fun.
Johnny chilled out a little as we headed to the party and I actually had a fantastic time with his friends. I couldn’t really say how my time was with Johnny because he was all but silent. Had I misunderstood? He did know these people, right? He wasn’t talking to them at all. They were a funny, engaging, cool, awesome crowd but yet another red flag was raised when I went into the kitchen to grab some more wine. The hostess filled my glass and said, “You know, it is so great that you came with Johnny. He is on my softball team and, well, no one has ever seen him with or mention a girl. He is so quiet but, well, he is a tad bullheaded. Well, more than a tad. Ha!” I stood there a bit speechless but, before I could form a sentence, Johnny came rushing in. “Kate. I am ready to go. Let’s go.” What was WITH this dude? He almost seemed mad that I was trying to socialize with his friends. The hostess caught my eye as we rushed out and just shook her head and whispered, “Good luck.”
I tried to make conversation with Johnny on the return trip about his friends, the movie, our awesome shortcake – anything –but he just remained quiet. I had somehow gotten on his bad side and he just dropped me off at my car, said a terse goodbye and drove away. The whole drive home I just laughed at the absolutely unbelievably bad day I’d had. I was shocked when, not an hour after I got home, I got an email from Johnny telling me what an excellent time he had and when could he see me again? He was insane. He was obviously insane. I sent him an email back telling him, thank you, but I didn’t think we were probably a good match and that was the last I ever heard from him. Looking back it is a little hard to even believe he existed. Sometimes online dating seems to take place in the Twilight Zone – too bizarre to be believed.
Up next – Jonathon, the only guy who has required a phone interview before he would meet me. And, lucky me, I didn’t pass.