The Importance of Screening

I had been talking to Ben on Tinder for a short period of time when he asked me to have dinner with him and perhaps see a movie.  A movie for a first date was an odd suggestion coming from someone over the age of 13 (this guy was 31), but I tentatively agreed.  Obviously if he turned out to be a freak I wouldn’t be spending 2 hours in a dark cinema with him.  We organized to meet one Friday evening and it wasn’t till a couple of people asked me in the lead up what he did for work, that I realized I didn’t actually know a lot about this guy.  But that’s what a date is for, to get to know someone better and at least we’d have heaps to talk about, right?

I’d almost reached the bar when he rang to ask what drink I’d like.  Major points for that one Romeo, drink on arrival, impressive!  Luckily he was standing at the bar with our two drinks because his pics on Tinder were all surfing shots taken from 26km away except for one which was dark and grainy… It was practically a blind date.

He was tall, dressed well and wasn’t channeling Quasimodo released from the bell tower so we were on track for a great date…or so I thought.  We took a seat in the cocktail lounge area and the conversation turned to his recent move to Sydney.  He had moved around a bit and I asked if this was related to his job.  That’s when the first bomb dropped, “I was previously married… well technically I’m still married but we’ve been separated for over 12 months”.  I’m thinking ok, well whatever… we’re both in our 30s… people have pasts… it’s not the end of the world…  I let it slide.  He then dropped a second bomb, “I also have 2 children”.

Via giphy.com
Via giphy.com

MAJOR deal breaker!  Definitely something you should mention before the first date.

Me: “Why wouldn’t you tell me that?”

Him: “I usually do bring it up quite quickly but because we hadn’t been talking for very long, as I was telling you just now I realized it hadn’t been discussed.”

I asked him how old they were… 3 and 6 so it’s not like they were even close to being able to take care of themselves!  I started rambling as to why him having children wasn’t going to work for me:

  • I’m not maternal at all
  • I don’t know if I want kids
  • I can’t even take care of myself let alone raise another human being

Do you know what he said?  “Well that’s the perfect answer.”  I was like:

Via giphy.com
Via giphy.com

Perfect answer for what exactly?

He asked me if we should just call it right there and end the date which in hindsight I probably should’ve but felt like a total bitch to just be like, “Cya round”, so we continued the date and he bought us another round of drinks.

I asked him why the marriage ended and he told me that he found out his wife was cheating on him.  After he’d found an incriminating text he apparently “snapped”, moved states, unknowingly signed over both their properties, his ute etc. to her and basically lost everything overnight.  He hadn’t seen his kids either.  Now at this point I’m thinking; there’s more to this story than what he’s telling me.  So I queried his use of the word “snapped”, what did he mean by that?  Did he mean that he had anger issues and was going to hurt somebody or what?  That’s when the third bomb was revealed: he had STAGE ONE BI POLAR.  Oh good!

Me: “Sooooo, you’re medicated?”

Him: “Oh nah I just manage it with diet”.

Me: “What, really?”

Him: “Nah I’m kidding, I’m medicated”.

He was turning it into a joke??  The only laughter heard was from me nervously trying to laugh it off like it was nothing.  He explained that his diagnosis was characterized by anxiety and depression, which let’s face it, are fairly common practice these days anyway, and with that he ordered more drinks.

I actually felt bad for the guy… Cheating wife, losing everything overnight, not being able to see his kids and now bi polar?  He seemed like a lovely guy, he had definitely been well trained in terms of being polite and attentive; he’d just had a bad run.

He had paid for every round without hesitation but I was kinda thinking well, so he should after basically misleading me.  I’m not sure how the next bomb was brought up; it’s like it came out of nowhere.  I had navigated the date like a minefield and it wasn’t over yet.

“I should probably also mention that I have Lupus”.

Via giphy.com
Via giphy.com

The first thing that came into my head is: this is a serious illness, like on the level of MS, but I couldn’t quite remember what it was.  He explained to me that it’s when a person has too many white blood cells which means that they heal really fast if they cut themselves but the downside is chronic pain in their day-to-day lives.

Funnily enough I saw a program later that week where a woman couldn’t get out of bed, go in the sun or go to work because she had Lupus.  Obviously this guy wasn’t suffering too badly seeing as he was getting around on a surf board and holding down a job but still, most people aren’t signing up to be a caregiver on the first date.

He didn’t really go into all the symptoms, just the boosted healing power, chronic pain and said it was an auto immune disease.  I also suffer from an auto immune disease (ulcerative colitis) so I jumped in with that, again trying to make light of it, laugh it off and not make it awkward but internally I was starting to panic.  How do I get out of this date??

We ended up moving to the bistro area to get some food – thank god because I was drinking on an empty stomach and was starting to get tipsy.  He was also getting drunk and quite frankly, a bit annoying, saying childish things and starting to rub me the wrong way.  He wanted a chicken Caesar salad under the guise of it being a “healthy” option which I laughed at and pretty much bullied him into getting a steak.  First of all; what man orders a salad, and second of all; a Caesar salad was potentially the unhealthiest choice on the menu.

He got up to go and order our food saying, “Oh I’ll get this,” but he didn’t seem happy about it.  Oh no was I supposed to offer to pay?  Great, now he’s got the shits!  I’m feeling really uncomfortable about the whole situation so while he’s up at the counter paying for our order I’m literally scanning the room judging how far away the door is.  Could I make a break for it?  But no, that’s totally mean.  Him turning back to our seats and I’m just gone?  LOL.  Ok, I’m lying.  If the door had been closer I would’ve done it.  I wanted OUT.

He came back to the table and got out his phone saying, “So are we going to see this movie?  I should check the times…”  I couldn’t believe this guy was still thinking the date was going well enough that we would continue it for another 2 hours!!  I looked at him with a pained look and shook my head.  He said, “So you don’t want to see a movie with me?” I tried to let him down gently but it didn’t quite work.

Him (bitterly): “Oh, so I’ve just paid for your dinner…”

Me (babbling): “No that’s fine, I’m happy to pay for my meal… look I’m not having a terrible time I just don’t think I want to see the movie.  There’s been a lot of new information to process on this date but at the same time you’re new to Sydney, I have quite a few connections, we could still be mates”.

Meanwhile there’s no way in hell I was ever seeing or speaking to this man again but I didn’t need him flying off the handle at me in a public place.  He did anyway, standing up to say, “Well that just shows how pretentious you are.  Enjoy your meal”.  And with that he WALKED OUT!  I was sitting at the table actually laughing, I could not believe how this had panned out.

I ran up to the kitchen window to cancel our meals but it was too late they would be ready in 5 minutes.  Fuck, what do I do now?  I saw a guy seated near me and his mate was approaching with beers.  I walked up to their table and said:

Me: “This is really random, but have you guys eaten?”

One said yes, the other no.

Me: “Reason I ask is that I’ve just had a Tinder date go terribly wrong and I was wondering if you guys wanted our food?”

Guy 1: “Please sit down and join us!  We need to hear this story”.

So I filled them in on the date and we had a good laugh.  I ate my schnitzel while the boys shared his steak saying things like, “This steak is too well done, I didn’t order this!”  We had so much fun and held great banter.  One of the guys even gave me his number under the premise that I’d send him the link to my blog once it was up and running.  I doubted this was the only reason seeing as his friend kept mentioning that he was single and even took a picture of us on his phone saying, “Cute couple!”  So not only had I turned the date from hell into an enjoyable experience with complete strangers, but I now had another guy’s phone number as well.  #winning!

steak

I received a text from Ben during dinner:

“You know so many people, but your on Tinder…. Good one”

I read it out to the boys and we laughed at his incorrect use of ‘your’.  Another text came through minutes later.

“Your beautiful by the way!”

LOL was this guy serious?  Obviously that’s the bi polar coming out?

I’m not sure if your phone does this but when I add new numbers to it, it syncs with Facebook and brings them up in your “People You May Know” section.  The guy who gave me his number soon pops up on Facebook and guess what?  He’s far from single!  Every pic is of him and what I assume to be his significant other.  What a dickhead!  Does nothing to restore my faith in men, let me tell you.

I also received a further text from Ben at about 7am the next day saying; “Thanks for lastnight, thus is how it ended” (spelling errors on point), with a picture of a pokie machine.  At first I was confused thinking – is he saying I drove him to gamble?  But then I looked closer and realized he’d won over a grand so then I didn’t feel so bad for letting him pay for everything!

Heart better than nothing

Signing off,

CVC

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