Dating Biases

So, went on a coffee date again tonight. Different person, same place. Thank you Priscilla’s in Burbank for being open late!

We had talked about maybe getting together tonight, among other nights, but hadn’t decided definitively. The last email he sent me, he kept calling me by another name, not my name, when I had signed my name previously, and they were there above the email he sent, like on Facebook, where all the previous exchanges are visible. That irked me enough, I didn’t answer immediately about possibly getting together tonight. So when he called, it saved me the effort of deciding how to respond to his email and correcting his mistake. Joking, sarcastic, annoyed, ignore the mistake, gently correct it and move on, ?

And as I prepared to leave my apartment, I realized I would have liked a little more notice, as I now didn’t have time to shower, like I had wanted to earlier in the day. Not my best foot forward. I could have said no, but it didn’t look like we could meet until the next week otherwise. In future, make arrangements in advance and stick to them. I do take the time to brush my teeth before leaving, as I had just been eating dinner when he called.

Am I too picky? Am I expecting too much? I really don’t think so.

The first topic of the conversation was about his health concerns, not any actual health problems. He was coming from a doctor’s check up, and told me that as an executive at Disney, he gets a certain amount of extra money each year to spend on any extra thing he wants to help maintain his health. So he’s opted for extra tests, because he can. Okay, he’s a hypochondriac. A lot of people are, particularly men, I have noticed. He talks about colonoscopies and his fear of having one, and why. In detail. Uh, couldn’t that have waited until maybe a third or fourth date? And maybe not in a public place like the cafe we were in?

Then we talked about our work. Besides a full time day job at Disney, it turns out we both are tutors for the No Child Left Behind program, administered by LA Unified School District. He tells me in detail what he has to do. I nod yes, state yes, that is exactly the same protocol I follow too. (As in, yes, I know the drill. You don’t need to tell me in detail exactly something I know how to do already. You could stop once I indicated this, and move on to another aspect….) Perhaps he didn’t hear me. I try to be generous.

I notice he isn’t actually looking at me when we talk. When he talks. He looks elsewhere. Okay, I do that sometimes too, but usually to indicate I am not interested in the conversation, when answering someone. Not when dominating the conversation and having total control of the conversation topics! It reminds me of something a neighbor of mine said, when talking about someone else, that I shouldn’t trust them, because he doesn’t establish eye contact, and that is a common sign of schizophrenia. (It was funny at the time, since he who was telling me this was not looking me in the eye!) It is the look of someone reciting from memory of the past, rather than engaging in the present – the person seated across from him.

At a certain point, he actually asks me a few questions. I begin to answer, and before I finish, he starts telling me his knowledge of what I am talking about. Often, it is something I already know. I can feel myself starting to get irritated. I try a different conversation topic next chance I get. Same thing happens. And again.

Here’s an example: He knows I lived in Portland for many years, and that my family used to live in Upstate New York, and my parents now live in Montana. We are talking about the weather, and how he likes Southern California’s winter weather best. Fine. Opinion. Great, we are conversing. He then proceeds to tell me what the weather in Portland is like during the winters, never having lived there himself, that it snows there, while it rains in Seattle.

“Uh, it rains both places,” I say.

“It rains a lot in Seattle,” he says.

“It rains a lot in Portland too,” I say.

And what the weather in Montana is like during the winter; again, never having lived there himself, (nor have I) but I do have the conversations with my parents and talking about the weather every time we speak, the entire time they have lived there for years now, and knowing that my parents chose the city they live in specifically BECAUSE the weather was more mild than where we lived in Upstate New York. That’s just one example. I tell him about my father’s dissertation on an archeological dig, involving the ancient Mayan culture, and then he proceeds to tell me all he knows about the Mayan culture and its contributions to the world. After telling me he had no idea that what my father dug up (an ancient ballgame court and possibly how it was played and its relevance to Mayan culture) existed. So what else doesn’t he know but thinks he knows everything of importance already?

I give up. I am being lectured to. We are not having a conversation. He tells me what he knows. It would be different if he asks me, and I get to finish what I am talking about, and instead of telling me the facts he knows in response, he gives his impressions or personal experiences of what we are talking about instead. That would be more of a conversation. 

There are pauses as he searches for more things to talk about. At this point, we are re-hashing things we have already discussed. That’s a bad sign that we have exhausted our topics.

He has bad breath. (We are drinking coffee, it happens sometimes.) I take a box of mints from my purse, take one myself and offer one to him. He refuses it. Okay, he doesn’t want a mint. It wasn’t until very recently that I heard someone say, as a social convention, if someone is offering you a mint, they may be suggesting you have bad breath (right then). So take it! As I said, I had only recently heard this, so perhaps he didn’t get the memo yet. See, trying to be generous again in how I am interpreting our interactions.

He tells me all the music he likes is from the 1960s and 1970s. Not a deal breaker, as I’m not that much of a music snob that I insist someone I spend time with MUST like the same music I do, but I’m always concerned for someone who stopped taking any interest in anything after a certain point in history, especially when decades have passed.

He starts digging out his dried ear skin (ear dandruff?) and picking it out of his fingernail, to fall on the floor and some on the table.

Looking at the clumped skin flakes on the table, I notice my phone has turned itself off again, so I turn it back on, find I have a couple of messages, see the time, and decide I should call someone to find out if I got hired to start working tomorrow. I say I need to make a quick call, that it will only take a minute, and he offers to step away. I tell him not necessary. I literally take a minute, don’t reach the person, leave a message, hang up and put my phone away. Sure, it was a little rude, but considering that it was about where and when I needed to be the next day, very essential. I don’t take the time to listen to the messages I have been left. That would definitely be rude.

We hang around for another 45 minutes. It is painful at this point. I don’t really see that we have anything in common, other than a lot of knowledge and facts about the world, interesting trivia, nothing more, and as I see that we have been at it for two hours, I now can think of other things to do. Other things I want to be doing. Talking with him is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, and exhausting me, for not being able to finish saying anything of import. I feel like I gave it a decent chance, this interaction. Two hours is plenty of this.

I end the dilemma by saying I need to go home. He seems surprised that I would want to end this delightful, enjoyable conversation so soon. He walks me to my car, unasked. I shake his hand goodnight, as he chatters away about how he has never been in an automobile accident, but instead his car has been stolen over five times. He promises he will elaborate on this the next time we see one another. I already know there will be no next time.

Am I being too harsh? Expecting too much? Comments please.

4 Responses to “Dating Biases”

  1. Mimi Says:

    Hilarious. You lost be at ear dandruff.

  2. steve Says:

    You were a saint for sticking it out that long and for doing it gracefully. No, you’re not being too harsh to end it there. Just… wow.

  3. redroomsalon Says:

    Thank you sane people, it is good to get others’ feedback as to what is reasonable.

  4. Carol Elaine Says:

    Not even close to harsh. The man was inconsiderate, self-important and gross. You would’ve been well within your rights to cut out of there much earlier. It’s one thing if the guy was nice, but conversation was difficult. I’ve had those dates and I’m willing to stick it out. But that guy? Feh. Not worth the annoyance.

    (Yes, I know I’m commenting a week after the fact. Chances are that he’s still a dick.)

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