Before I get into the story of my horrible date and expand on why the prospect of meeting someone new is occupying way more mental space than is rational, let me first say that San Francisco was lovely. The weather was impeccable, the sea lions adorable (and smelly), and Alcatraz creepy. Minus some small glitches, it was a great week. Once I'm home and have downloaded all of my photos, I'll try to share some of them with you all*.
Anyway...back to dating. Over the Christmas holidays, I found myself experiencing prolonged moments of boredom and loneliness, so against my better judgment, I returned to the online dating site. Not surprisingly, there were plenty of other bored and/or lonely people on the site, so it didn't take long for me to find someone to meet. Not someone of quality, of course....someone with very little in common with me and with a number of red flags that should've sent me running screaming in the opposite direction. But they didn't. And so the universe rewarded my lack of judgment with literally the worst date I've ever been on. (In case you needed reminding, taking over the number one spot in my dating world is a major challenge.)
In order to understand why this was the worst date ever, you'll need a bit of back story. See...ever since I was about 16, I've been losing my hair. Gradual, progressive, unstoppable hair loss. Basically the female equivalent of male pattern baldness. There isn't anything medical behind it; it's just one of those little bits of cosmic bad luck that everyone gets stuck with in their life. For me, it's not surprisingly been a huge blow to my self esteem, and it's particularly annoying when it comes to meeting people online.
So back to the date. We met later in the evening at a quiet coffee shop, and it took me about seven seconds to realize that I'd made a terrible mistake. My date was a loud talker, had absolutely nothing even remotely interesting to talk about, and put her gum ON THE TABLE. (Not her pack of gum. Her already been chewed gum.) Not the love of my life, or even someone who exists in the same universe as the love of my life. But, I'm a polite human being, so I resigned myself to exactly one hour of awkward conversation before I could excuse myself and return home to my pjamas and wine.
About 15 minutes into the date, the conversation was getting really strained, and both of us were desperately searching for something to talk about. At which point she said to me "Your hair is really thin."
Ummm....yes? Thanks for pointing that out? I hadn't noticed?
I mumbled something about genetics and bad luck, assuming that she'd drop it. But of course not. She followed her first comment up with a second one for emphasis: "No...it's like.....reeeealy thin."
One of my friends, who is very experienced with the online dating world, told me afterwards that this was the point where I was allowed to say to hell with being polite and extricate myself from the date. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this, so I stuck around for another 45 of the most excruciatingly painful minutes of my life. To add to the experience, the coffee shop had a singer-guitarist who was performing sappy Beatles love songs right next to us. Think Yesterday and All You Need is Love and In My Life to get a sense of what it was like. At one point, I was so struck by the absurdity of it all that I started laughing and couldn't stop myself.
And then I went home and cried. Because honestly, there are few things that make a person feel as low as being on a date and having the other person point out the thing that you're most insecure about. Particularly when you know that you have to keep putting yourself out there, thereby leaving yourself vulnerable to exactly the same thing happening again.
Which is where I am now. I'm in transit from San Francisco, thirteen hours away from my next online date, and there's a huge part of me that wants to back out so that I don't risk a repeat of my last date. Instead of being excited that I'm meeting someone who seems intelligent and kind and interesting, I'm feeling nauseated and uncertain.
Stupid online dating. If anyone has any dating mojo to spare, please send some my way. I could use it right about now.
(One photo of sea lions in love. Awwwww.)
*I say that now, but I think I'm probably being too optimistic. Crazy work mode takes over as soon as my plane lands, so I likely won't have time for posting photos. But I will think of it! And that counts, right?