I met Geologist on OKCupid a few weeks ago. He messaged me first and since his profile said he had a big boy job and seemed to like some of the same things I like, I messaged back, despite the fact that he didn’t look terribly attractive in his single headshot.
It was possible that he just didn’t photograph well, a recurring theme with men who date online; so I kept responding to his messages, though he wasn’t really leaving much of an impression and when he asked to meet, I figured I’d give him a chance. Then things started to get a little… awkward. I gave Geologist my phone number, figuring the communication had progressed enough to text message. Maybe then the conversation wouldn’t seem quite so stilted, because we’d be chatting in real time. The first text he sent me, however, was about how he was just going to continue e-mailing through OKCupid, because he finds letters to be more personal. I thought it was weird, but I also thought my death might one day be discovered only due to the downstairs neighbors complaining about the stain on the ceiling from the fluids evacuating my body, so whatev. I obliged. The conversations didn’t get any more engaging and I considered canceling our meeting, because this guy was dull and had a weird aversion to text messaging. Enter Gail.
While I tend to never give men a first chance, let alone a second, Gail has the opposite problem with… well people in general, but it was particularly prominent when she was dating. Gail would go out on a first date with a guy and come home with architectural drafts for the energy efficient home they would build together and information on domestic and foreign adoption. This was possible, because she completely ignored major turn-offs. Nine times out of ten, it was a highly entertaining disaster…
Gail: “Then, finally, he left the diary on his nightstand, so I figured… what the hell? I’m gonna read this fucker. So I open it to the last page…”
Me: “Wait, wait, wait… did you have to use a bobypin to pick the butterfly shaped lock?”
Gail: “No. It was leather. Anyway, the last sentence says ‘I don’t find Abigail to be particularly attractive, but I’m pretty sure I can get her have sex with me, so I will continue to date her.'”
This led to the purchase of a dollar store children’s diary filled with fake entries that went something like this…
Today, after I got out of the shower, I looked down and sighed sadly. But then I remembered that I am a beautiful (butterfly sticker) no matter how small my wings are.
You’d think that the tenth out of ten times would have been her boyfriend Terry, but no. The tenth time was the time Gail almost got supermudered by Post Office Mike, the man she dated for about six weeks and whose ex-wife may or may not be in stew. Post Office Mike was the only guy for whom she repeatedly ditched her best friend of ten years. For realz, y’all. I didn’t see Gail once for those six weeks and then she showed up on my doorstep covered in blood and cat fur.
Fine. I’m lying. But in all seriousness…
Gail: “So, he started yelling and I cringed away and he jutted his chest and shoulders toward me and screamed ‘Don’t act like I’m gonna fucking hit you!'”
Soooo… when I mentioned to Gaily that I was considering canceling on Geologist, she admitted the texting thing was he-has-a-secret-wife weird, but encouraged me to ask him why he didn’t want to text before canceling. His explanation was basically just that he preferred e-mail, because he’d been in the military and learned to appreciate actual letters. It was still weird, because, dude, I’m not showing my grandkids the OKCupid e-mails I’ve printed off and stored away in the cedar chest, but whatev. It was an answer that didn’t sound like he didn’t want his girlfriend to know about me. My stand-offishness leveled out with Gail’s everybody’s-made-of-rainbows-and-daisies horseshit and I met Geologist.
The first date really wasn’t bad. He was really awkward, but I assumed it was because it was a first date. Everything he said was new information on a new person, so he seemed interesting. Spoiler alert: wrong. It was actually a pretty good date with someone I had met online. He wasn’t terrible looking and I did a lot of the talking, because I tend to ramble when I get nervous…
Me: “… and I have my Gramma’s signature on my foot.”
Me: “It’s a tattoo. She doesn’t, like, come over daily and sign it.”
… but Geologist didn’t seem to mind and we made plans to meet again the next day, because he works two weeks on and one week off the oil rigs. That’s sort of a thing here in the Midwest and a ton of those guys date online. I eagerly called Gail to tell her I liked the guy and had a second date.
Date two was at a suburban bar on a Monday night, at 10:00, because I’d come straight from the library, and since it’s not football season, it was deserted. Geologist wasn’t a drinker and I’m a lightweight and just had water while we played pool. This time, I was careful to talk less and give Geologist a chance to speak… which was a mistake. Not only was that not just first date awkwardness, but the man was… well, really dull. What he was saying was so un-engaging that I found myself looking at him and critiquing him…
What’s with the hat? He was wearing the same one last night.
Neither of us had spoken for a while, when I blurted “What’s with the hat? You were wearing the same one last night.”
Gaily is gleeful, because this supports her “broken filter” theory.
Then he took off the hat…
That’s when I realized, it wasn’t an issue of being skilled or not at taking selfies. The guy just actually looked like that and the baseball cap concealed the fact beautifully. The conversation continued… sort of… while thoughts drifted through my head, along the lines of…
He is really unattractive. Should I ask him to put on the hat again?
Stop being such a judgmental cunt. He’s being really nice… if not terribly interesting.
I don’t want him to kiss me.
… the second in the voice of Gail. I knew I was being unfair and, more importantly, I possessed the self-awareness to realize that I just do this with men. So I fought through it and chatted with Geologist… about nothing. He talked about being homeschooled a lot and told me how he was close to his family and I realized he’d said the same things the previous evening. The only people in his life seemed to be family. He even works alone in a trailer for two weeks at a time. Don’t get me wrong. I work in a public library. I’ve met droves of homeschooled people and many of them have great social skills along with superior intelligence, but Geologist explained that he’d lived in a rural town and was not a part of any teams or social groups. His whole world was only his family. He even told me his brother got his wife pregnant just because their sex education was so unbelievably lacking that they were using her mother’s old wives’ tales as birth control. That is not even homeschooling. That is intense isolation of the “MY LUCKY STARS: A NEGRO!” variety.
Listening to Geologist talk was like counting sand. Other than his family, he talked about credit and math and that is all. We’d already discussed the single T.V. show we both liked the previous night. While we played pool, he explained the geometry behind the game and seemed enthralled by it. I don’t even like pool or math and he was enthralled by the math of pool. Still… Gaily’s voice thrummed in my brain…
No one is going to be mad at you if you don’t like this guy, but give him a chance.
So at the end of the night, he told me to keep in touch. When I woke the next morning, I sent a hope-you-arrived-safely text, knowing he’d driven to the rig after we’d left the bar. He sent me an oddly formal text message…
Well, hello there. I hope you’ve had a good day. I did get to the rig safely, thank you for asking. It was lovely to see you before I had to leave town. I hope you’re well.
I assumed we’d text while he was out of town, now that we’d met in person. Then I logged onto OKCupid and saw his latest e-mail.
How’s your day going? It’s been an interesting day already for me, I’m not one to get lost easily but I admit that it was a little difficult finding the access road to this rig at 3 AM this morning. I could see the rig’s tower illuminated against the night sky my phone’s map app kept taking me to someone’s drive way. With a little time and doubling back once I was able to find the gravel road that lead to the rig. It’s by far the longest access road I’ve had to use thus far. Usually the rig is close to a main road but this time it was quite a ways off the beaten path. Also my monthly performance test arrived in my company email today. Aced it, though it was a little trickier than the others have been. I don’t think I’ve ever had a first date that I enjoyed as much as Sunday’s. Good conversation is hard to come by, don’t you agree? I would like to see you again on my next week off, I find you enchanting. How did the carpet cleaning go at your grandmother’s? Did the cleaner work fine after it’s tumble down the stairs? Off topic, do you have a favorite poet?
Holy shit. Even this guy’s e-mails are awkward and boring. I didn’t respond, because, frankly, who the fuck sends e-mails?!? I send e-mails for professional reasons and professional reasons only. Writing formal e-mails is a chore. Being with the guy was already a chore. I’d done enough chores. A day later I got…
I’m going to disable my account for now. Simply because I rather enjoy chatting with you and have no need for the account at this time. If you’d like to continue using email along with texting to touch base then my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope this email finds you well Belle,
I immediately thought that was creepy. I’d met the guy twice and the second time was about as fun as dropping a carpet cleaner down the stairs onto my own head. He responded to said meeting by deleting his online dating profile? Since then, I’ve told others this story and they’ve all agreed it was crazy early for that. Gail, however, insisted it was just “flattering.”
If I don’t like someone I’ve met online, after our first meeting, I’m pretty comfortable with no longer contacting them. If he’s not interested, I’d much rather never hear from him again than get a brushoff text. I’ll get the point and so will he. I couldn’t quite bring myself to this conclusion after date two, however, in part because of Jiminy Fucking Cricket in my head going by the name of Gail.
Gail: “I understand you no longer talking to them after the first date. It’s unbelievably rude after a third date, though. Really, it’s pretty rude after a second date.”
Through the Belle filter…
Ugh. Fine. The guy knows where I work. There may be a face-to-face confrontation.
In all honesty, I know I’m bad at this and I legitimately try not to date like an asshole. I want to be respectful of the people I date, as long as they aren’t a bag of dicks. I just freak out, act, and then realize there were better ways to handle things. So, I promised myself that if I didn’t like this guy after the third date, I would tell him so, nicely… via text message. Baby steps, y’all.
It turns out, three weeks was the perfect amount of time to talk myself into never seeing Geologist again, then decide that I’m just broken and he was nice, looks great on paper, and I need to give him another shot. One good date and one bad date even out. I needed something to tip the scales and our bland-as-raw-flour text messaging wasn’t doing the trick.
Maybe he’s just not a good communicator via technology… I thought optimistically.
No. He’s just not a good communicator, which I learned on date three.
We scheduled date three for this past Friday. He wanted to take me two-stepping, which he’d mentioned during date two. I thought this sounded potentially astronomically uncomfortable, in the instance that I really just wasn’t feeling it, so I asked if we could do something else. When he asked for a suggestion, I mentioned dinner and a movie. He told me a late movie time and said we’d meet 15 minutes early to get seats. Okaaaaay. I’d mentioned dinner, because I figured it’d give us the chance to talk and recapture whatever connection we may have had, but didn’t want to press and appear as if I just wanted him to buy me a meal. I didn’t tell Gail about the date, because I figured it was best to remain entirely neutral and not freak myself out with her expectations and the requirement that I report back.
On the way, I told myself I’d exaggerated his unattractiveness and that he was just technologically awkward and we had the possibility of really hitting it off. Then I saw him and the first thing I thought was…
I felt like an ass for thinking it, but I’d psyched myself up to believe that he wasn’t terribly unappealing only to realize that… well, I was wrong. I just was not attracted to the man and that hat must have belonged to Frosty the Fucking Snowman, because Geologist looked like a totally different person wearing it on the first date. I had initially described him as “well, you wouldn’t pick him out of a crowd, but he’s not bad looking” and now I’m astounded by how much the dude looked like Gollum, because I’ve never even seen The Lord of the Rings and still placed it.
Feeling like a superficial bitch, I was really friendly and charismatic and tried to get the conversation going… to no avail. The guy had to have had conversation cards or something, because he’d bring up a topic and then jump to a completely unrelated one, just like in his e-mails. For example…
Geologist: “How were your interviews?”
Me: “Oh, they were were good. I had one on Monday and one yesterday. I didn’t get the one from Monday, because of scheduling and I haven’t heard back from the other.”
Geologist: “I misunderstood when my benefits would kick in.”
Geologist: “Yeah, it’s not until July 1st, so I’ve had to wear broken glasses for a couple of months now.”
He just didn’t respond to any conversational cues and had nothing to talk about, because he spent two weeks alone in a trailer in the sticks. The movie started and Awkward Turtle over there had speed walked into the theater, not giving me the chance to grab any kind of refreshments, so I spent the movie thirsty. I would’ve gone to get something, but I really didn’t trust myself to come back. That’s how done I was with forcing something that just was not there. Halfway through the movie, I was dreading the end of it and simultaneously hoping time would go triple speed, because I wanted to be home, but knew the walk to my car would be tense. After, I tried to start up some conversation, while keeping my hands occupied so he couldn’t take one of them. He barely responded and speed walked to the car (I struggled to keep pace), which I hoped was because he was done as well, but no… he was just that much more of a reason for me to Google synonyms for awkward.
I showed Geologist my front end damage and thanked him for the movie. I gave him, what I intended to be, a quick hug, but he clung and started rubbing my back.. for an oddly lengthy amount of time. I had deliberately turned my face away to avoid a kiss, but in all his finesse, Geologist still leaned in a bit as I turned away from him. He, quite sincerely, told me he really enjoyed himself and I thought WHY?!?!
Then, I had my own moment of finesse. I was just searching for something to say and blurted…
Me: “So, when do you leave for work again?”
SHIT! Now he’s going to think you want to see him again in the next few days!
Me: “Oh. Um… you… uh… have a good time… with… that… and all.”
Geez, Belle. Seriously? You might as well scream “MY PRECIOUS!” and run, you ungainly twit.
Then I drove away as Geologist speed walked to his vehicle. I texted Gail, but she was asleep, so I recruited the reinforcement I should’ve recruited after bad date two… Jane.
Me: “I give up on dating. Clearly I just want to turn down nice guys and die alone.”
Jane: “Haha, aw. You’re not broken. He is. Someone you can’t have a conversation with, without wanting to stab yourself in the wrist, is not the guy for you. You can’t want to die alone. You enjoy talking too much. That isn’t a jab in any way, by the way. He sucks for you. That’s all there is to it.”
Gaily pretty much agreed, at this point. She said I’d given Geologist a fair chance and it was okay to not be into him. She even agreed with mine and Jane’s conclusion that a fourth date would imply some real interest in moving things forward. I wouldn’t want to lead him on in my desperation to not be a ceiling stain one day.
Gail: “So, are you going to tell him you’re not interested?”
Me: “I’m pretty sure he got it. I mean, if he texts again, I’ll let him know, but there’s no way he could not get it after my exit.”
Sunday night, via text…
Geologist: “How was your day, today?”
Me: “It was good. I worked. I should be honest with you and tell you that I don’t really feel a connection. It was nice getting to know you, though.”
Yes, it was a text message, but the only other option was apparently e-mail. Seriously, what guy, who works out of town for two weeks at a time, expects to carry on a relationship without texting?!?!
Ahem… It’s an improvement, though. This guy got a third date and an explanation. Considering my original idea was to stop talking to him, because I’d likely get a new job soon, I’d say I’m improving.
What did he say in response? Oh, I don’t know, because I marked his number as spam to avoid any unnecessary discussion or confrontation, before realizing that there was a better way to handle it. This is why I am an asshole.
“Really. It smells bad and it’s dripping. We need Maintenance, yesterday.”