Thomas gets the lone distinction of being the only person that has made me afraid that he knows where I live. After meeting 70+ men, I have come up with some general guidelines about the dating process. Because I like being alive and there are some weird people out there, I never, ever, ever invite someone over to my condo on a first date. That would be just plain stupid. But, starting out, I didn’t see any harm in inviting someone over on a second or third date. Oh, how naive I was. There are so many hidden meanings to having someone over that hadn’t even crossed my mind. I was unaware, for instance, that inviting a man to your house or agreeing to go to his place is the same as saying, “Yes, I will have sex with you.” Granted, I don’t think that and I know there are men that wouldn’t cop to thinking that but you kind of know the thought is there. It is the elephant in the bedroom, if you will.
The reason Thomas freaked me out wasn’t that I was fighting off his advances but that he turned out to be emotionally unstable. I met him for the first time at a fairly nice seafood restaurant which I had never been to. Thomas suggested the ceviche which I was not so sure would be something I would like. It turned out to be delicious so he at least gets some props for introducing me. He was a good conversationalist and seemed to have a good job as a database engineer at a fairly big company. I remember that he wooed me most with his traveling tales which is why I must have agreed to meet him again before we even left. I kind of regretted it when, on the goodbye hug, I realized I was a couple of inches taller than him. In flats. Shit. New rule = never agree to anything before seeing someone stand up. I should also mention that he had braces. They were clear and unobtrusive but, combined with his height and spiky hair, they made him look a bit like a teenager.
For the second date, we met at another seafood restaurant in the town I live in. He insisted on picking me up so I had to spill my address. Since I live in a secured condo complex, the worst thing he could know is I am one of 400 units. How bad could that be, right? I met him at his car and we headed out to eat. Somehow, on the previous outing, I had failed to notice that Thomas had some severe food issues. This became clear when he ordered his steak and potatoes but hold the potatoes. I asked if he was low-carbing (even though he was a skinny, small guy) but he just said that he doesn’t eat any white carbs. At all. At his house, he continued, there was nothing that wasn’t organic. He looked down at his steak and shuddered at the thought of all the hormones in his beef. He ate about half of it. He also assured me that the only thing he would even touch for breakfast is a cup of blueberries, organic of course. I love, love, love to eat and go out to restaurants and eat food full of chemicals and pesticides so this discourse was a serious red flag. We managed to get through our disgusting dinner, though, and he then proceeded to invite himself back to my house.
The hardened dating veteran that I am now would never agree to such a thing and would certainly not feel obligated or rude for not agreeing to let Thomas come over. I was new to the game, though, and felt somehow impolite for taking two meals from this guy and then telling him to just go home. So I agreed which was a bad, bad move. It all started out fine as we sat down to watch some Sopranos but then Thomas spit out, “That Tony Soprano is a FAT PIG!” Uhhhh, got some fat issues do we, buddy? I was totally realizing at this point that I was so not into this guy and that kissing a guy with braces, for this girl, was seriously unpleasant. Luckily it was a work night so I was able to get him out fairly early. As he kissed me goodbye (please no!), he offered to cook me dinner at his house sometime. Nothing good can come from turning down someone in person so I always wait for a phone call or email to finish things off. It sounds selfish of me but I always think that getting the brush-off is easier over a phone line or internet cable than face-to-face. Easier on the ego, I believe.
The official dinner invite arrived via email the next day and, if I wasn’t sure before (I was!), this would have done it. He had planned a whole menu, with wine pairings and then an itinerary for the five things we were going to do after eating. I am not kidding that the list included both a museum and art gallery – in one date! After dinner and wine! I sent back a very nice and polite email explaining that I had enjoyed our dates but I just didn’t think that the connection was there. Not 5 minutes after I hit the ‘send’ button, my phone rang and it was Thomas. Why did I answer?? I did and it was him, calling from the aisles of Home Depot. He had just gotten my email and he was soooo bummed! Was I sure that I didn’t want to at least try *one* more date? He had bought all of the food! He had cleaned the house! He was at Home Depot getting supplies to finish up his bathroom remodel so it would be perfect for me! Why? Why did this keep happening to him? Why? I pictured him wailing on his knees in the plumbing department and just told him that I was sorry but, yes, I was sure. I felt awful but so relieved I hadn’t gone to this psycho’s house. I got several more pleading ‘if-you-change-your-mind’ emails from him which made me very concerned that he knew where I lived. I was lucky, this time, but I didn’t make that mistake again.