Actually, there was nothing to contemplate; I knew it was too soon and I wasn't into it. I let him know, in the nicest way possible, that he was moving way too fast. I don't think he liked what I had to say but he didn't argue with me about it. I was quickly losing interest in him but still, I agreed to a third date.
I am a community educator specializing in violence prevention. When I work with little ones, I always talk about the "uh-oh feeling." I talk to the kids about trusting the feeling they get in the pits of their little tummies when something doesn't feel right. In grown-up terms, this is called instinct. The internal alarm that says "hey, don't eat those wild mushrooms" or "that bear is coming at me, I should definitely RUN!" is the same instinct we have when dealing with other people. The problem is, when it comes to the men I date, I have a tendency to hit the snooze button on my uh-oh alarm...
For our third date, Beer Can said he wanted to make me dinner. I thought it was a nice idea and I agreed. I drove to his house one evening and I can definitely say the gesture was very sweet. He had "Samba Pa Ti" by Santana playing on the stereo and he wore a nice shirt, tucked in. The menu... well, I guess it's the thought that counts. The menu was as follows:
- Salmon grilled on his Deluxe George Forman Grill
- Bag salad (with the option of ranch or Italian dressings)
- Instant brown rice
- Toast (yes, toast. No, not something like French bread toasted in the oven but sandwich bread toasted in the toaster)
- white wine
"Wow, have you been at it all day?" I asked, trying not to sound too accusatory.
"Yeah, it's my day off, so I thought, why not?"
Now, I enjoy a good, cold beer (or three) on my day off but the better part of an 18 pack was piled up in the trash can and it bothered me. He then drank most of the wine and polished off that 18 pack. In between all of this was conversation about our lives, our wants and our desires. He informed me that he was interested in a partner who was a homebody, like him. I, on the other hand, wanted (and still want) a partner who is social, community-minded and outgoing. After that night, neither of us put very much effort into pursuing a relationship, but we still hung out once in a while - I wasn't even contemplating the possibility of a relationship with him. Until the holidays, that is...
Something crazy happens to me around the holidays - all of a sudden, it seems like I really want a partner so we can snuggle up in front of the fire and build snowmen together and he can be my date on New Year's Eve. The holidays bring out the saffy in me and I become lonelier than usual. It was logical, then, that when Beer Can asked me to go out on a date, I said yes despite the fact that I didn't really like him and his drinking was an issue for me.
I talked to my friend C. (the same one who threatened me into internet dating) and let her know that I wasn't too keen on Beer Can. "You're too critical," she said, "I'm sure he isn't an alcoholic. Go on the date." Fine. We agreed to go to a movie, so I drove to his house. When I walked in, he was loading up beers into his jacket "for the movie," he explained. I was trying to take it all in stride. "Can you drive?" he asked, so he could -of course- knock a back a few before we left. "Sure," I said, because I was NOT going to go anywhere with him if he was driving. We got to the theater and it was too packed, so we headed to dinner at, you guessed it, Applebee's.
Once we arrived he left the beer cans in the car but he ordered a beer once we were seated. After dinner, we drove back to his place and while we were snuggled up, there was no fire, and there was no snow either. So much for my idea of bliss. Periodically, he would crack open another beer, and then another, and another. I had one, but I was pretty much over him and the idea of him by the time I reached the bottom of the can (I prefer bottles, anyway). We watched a DVD and I remember thinking "I gotta get out of here" so I got ready to leave.
Before leaving, I needed the bathroom. The guest bathroom was broken so I went into his bathroom. The shower doors were completely made of glass and I saw what proved to be the final nail in the coffin of our budding relationship: several beer cans piled up... in the shower! While in the bathroom, I reported this to C. (via text) and she thought I was being dramatic - she informed me that there are plenty of times she'll have a beer in the tub or the shower. There were at least 6 in there. Plus three in the trash can. Two on his dresser and one on the nightstand. I took pictures with my phone and sent them to C., and she finally agreed - it was a problem. Later, she admitted "I just didn't want him to be an alcoholic!" and the truth is, neither did I. Beer can is a nice guy, I was never afraid of him and we had some good laughs, but in the end, he wasn't the one for me.
I didn't need to find the beer cans to figure out that he wasn't right for me. I figured this out early on, but in my quest to just be in a relationship, and because of my loneliness, I was determined to make it work. I wasn't worried so much about the fact that it already wasn't working; I was just so sick of being alone that any sort of contact was better than nothing. I wasn't looking at how problematic it would be later on; I just wanted someone right then and there.
Interestingly enough, Beer Can and I are still friends, and while I'm still single, I like to think that I've learned a few things about myself, and relationships... if things don't feel right, they aren't. If the uh-oh alarm is going off, listen to it, because it's going for a reason. While I'm still lonely, it's better to be alone than to be in a situation that would have only made me un-happy.
That, and I should have taken the beer cans and recycled them - I woulda made a mint!
Next time: Who's on First?