Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Wow. So you guys really didn't like that last match. I have to say I'm a bit surprised. Usually you're all about wanting me to give a guy the benefit of the doubt for your own amusement. I do wonder if Mr. "I'm not the right guy for you" might have fared better against the Internets if I'd shared his entire message and not just the bulk of the last paragraph. The first two paragraphs were mostly friendly, clever, and complimentary (all the more reason that last paragraph left me stumped). Also, in his defense, he followed the "I don't remember the last book I read" line by saying he does remember, but that it was a kids' book--that he reads to his five-year-old daughter all the time.

So. Does that change your mind about him at all? No? Still a tool? Yeah, probably.

Hey, know who else was a tool? My ex-maybe-boyfriend Kris. Let's talk about him today, shall we? (Note: I'm doing a "30 Dates in 30 Days" thing for NaBlo. I should probably just put that by the NaBlo logo in my sidebar so I can quit explaining that to possible drop-ins already.)

Kris was an idiot. I'll just get that out of the way from the start. I met him at the Halloween party my roommate and I hosted the first year or two that I lived in the Twin Cities. He came with one of my roommate's grad school friends and that friend's husband, who I later learned had brought Kris solely to try to set him up with me. Because I am clueless, the setup didn't "take" that night. In fact, for some reason, it did not even occur to me that the stranger in the mullet wig and Iron Maiden concert T might be single, much less that anyone had brought him there for me. (Years later, my long-time friend Dale is still fond of telling the story of how at that party, Kris apparently nonchalantly grazed my ass while sliding past me to the recycling bin and how I was too oblivious or drunk to notice.)

Since I didn't catch on (and therefore barely even spoke to Kris) at the Halloween party, my roommate's friends decided to try again. They invited the two of us (as well as Kris) out for drinks at a terrible bar in St. Paul. It was the sort of bar that makes me thankful to be 34, because being 34 means I no longer have to go to bars where drunken frat boys think it is acceptable to grind their pelvis against your hips or rear without even making eye contact first. (Do drunken frat boys still do that? I actually sort of want to know that they do, because if 20-something girls today get to have texting and the Internet AND they don't have to worry about that sort of nonsense anymore, then life really isn't fair for those of us who came a half-generation before.)

Anyway, so we were at a terrible bar, listening to terrible music, watching terrible debauchery transpire mere feet away on the dance floor. Kris made some sort of comment about how he should probably ask me to dance, and I assured him that that was neither necessary nor appealing, and somehow, from there, eventually we started talking. And talking. And talking. I wonder often whether it was easier for me to connect with prospective boyfriends in my 20s because I was inexperienced and possibly a bit desperate and therefore would give nearly anyone who showed any interest in me a chance, or if I was simply less time-worn and jaded then, open to more possibilities. To-may-toe, toe-mah-toe, I suppose.

The following week, Kris called me. Because he was a wuss, he called in the middle of the day (knowing full well that I had a day job and that the number he had was my home number), but he called me nonetheless. And because we were 24, we had our first date at Applebee's. Yes, Applebee's. Clearly I wasn't always the giant snob cultured urban sophisticate I am today. (Sidenote: NPW unapologetically loves the comforting homogeneity of Panera's soup in a bread bowl. I unapologetically love Applebee's chicken fajita rollup even though it too gives me the same stomach cramps every time.)

Kris and I dated for about two months, during which time we saw every movie released in the theaters, because we both lived in the suburbs and lacked creativity and therefore didn't know what on earth else we were supposed to do on dates. Naturally there was something else we were probably supposed to do on dates, but remember, I was clueless. And a late bloomer. (Can I humiliate myself by mentioning that in a few MORE of these NaBlo stories?) And neither one of us lived alone. I had a roommate. He lived with his sister and her family. Hence, we rarely spent any time in each other's homes, and when we did, it was decidedly G-rated (PG-13, perhaps, if my roommate had already gone to bed).

Then one weekend, Kris invited me over to his house. His sister and her family were on vacation in Florida; he had the whole house to himself. Strangely, he invited not just me, but his best friend as well. I remember that we ordered pizza and watched a lousy Adam Sandler movie (oh, admit it: only half of what that man does is funny, at best) and that Kris played a Chris Isaak song for me on his guitar. For some reason, we also watched about ten minutes of a low-quality prom movie*, the first one I'd ever actually seen myself. And eventually, Kris's best friend vanished to some other far-off corner of the house, and Kris and I were alone in his red-walled bedroom for the first time.

I'm not going to tell you what happened next, except to remind you (again) that I was clueless and inexperienced and therefore I'm sure the things that did happen didn't go as smoothly as they should have or were supposed to. I will also tell you that one very specific thing did not happen, which I am fully grateful for, because had I done that one very specific thing and then never heard from Kris again, I probably would be even more jaded, skeptical, and cynical than I am today.

It was a slightly awkward night, but not irreconcilably so in my mind, so I was beyond annoyed and baffled when I never heard from Kris again. I mean, vanishing after two dates? Socially acceptable. But after two months? Two months and some nakedness? NOT OK. My roommate was as naive as I was; she had the good fortune of having a clean-cut, fine, upstanding boyfriend whom she had been mostly chastely dating since high school. Hence, she was as enraged and confused as I was. "Did you break up?" she asked. "I don't think so," I replied.

As it turns out, it's true that hindsight is like Lasik, so I can see now several reasons why, after that night, Kris might have thought, "That's it; we're done here. Move along."

He's still an idiot, however. There's no changing my mind about that.


* Not really a prom movie, of course, but a word I don't particularly want to type on the Internet myself. Special thanks to Metalia for adding that codeword to the blogging lexicon (blogicon?).


Anonymous said...

That's just weird. You never followed it up or called him yourself?

Stefanie said...

12ontheinside--Good question. (And something I probably should have worked into the story somehow, I guess.) He had this absurd and juvenile setup where he didn't have access to the answering machine (apparently it was in his sister's bedroom), but he did have a caller ID box in his room. If I left a message, apparently he often wouldn't get it, so he told me just to hang up if I got the machine, and he'd know I called and would call me back. I called and hung up at least once (maybe twice?) in the week or two following that night, and still never heard from him again. Ffbbtt. Good riddance. (I say that now with confidence, but I'll admit it was maddening at the time.)

plumpy said...

I'm with you on him being an idiot. There's no doubt about that, regardless of how many times you accidentally drooled in his eyeball or whatever you might have done. He should have at least called.

But anyway, as to your earlier question about 20-year-old boys grinding on strangers: you probably know that I'm 30 and therefore shouldn't know the answer to that question. But I've also never met a bad idea I didn't like, so I have occasionally dropped into terrible clubs like that (ironically, of course). So I do know the answer, and yes, "da boyz" in "da club" are as trashy as ever. Rest assured, however, that when I grind on strangers, I do that ironically too.

3carnations said...

Heh. Now that you mention it, I remember Metalia coining that phrase, but when I first read your post, I did indeed think you had watched some sort of high school prom movie, a la Molly Ringwald. Whoops.

Anonymous said...

HELLO? I also love the chicken fajita rollup at Applebees. It's been awhile since I've been there but I was there in 2005 on a DATE. Not with who I married.

I have not been to da' club in awhile and will probably never be again but I feel confident in saying that they are still grinding away with no eye contact. I just have a good feeling about that.

nancypearlwannabe said...

So much to comment on here. It's amazing to me that you remember these dates in so much detail. I was honestly trying hard last night to remember past dates, both good and bad, and either my memory is all shot to hell or they were just completely unmemorable. In fact, I was trying to remember details about my last ex, whom I dated for three years, and couldn't come up with much.

Soooo... I guess that means it's my memory and not the dates.

Neurotic Grad Student said...

Oh, Kris, you are a fool!

I, too, have a favorable spot in my heart for the bread bowl soup at Panera's. I can't help.

I once dated a man with two young children. I was always his third priority after his kids and his ex-wife, and I vowed never to date a man with kids again. So it probably would have changed my mind about whether or not you should have gone out with that guy. Because guys with kids, especially guys who are good fathers, are not good boyfriends. At least in my experience.

lizgwiz said...

There is something delightful about a bread bowl. It is a BOWL made of BREAD!

I'm so glad you're sharing these stories with us--it makes it easier when remembering my own dating history to know I'm not the only person in the world who was not always the suave, cool dater that I am now. (HA!)

badger reader said...

Boys are pretty stupid sometimes. Hindsight may give more context, but certainly no comforting explanation. Sheesh.

Allie said...

"because if 20-something girls today get to have texting and the Internet AND they don't have to worry about that sort of nonsense anymore, then life really isn't fair for those of us who came a half-generation before."

That is freaking hysterical! And I feel the same way.

Sauntering Soul said...

I had a disappearing sort-of-boyfriend in college and to this day I can't figure out what happened and it is still annoying to me 16 years later. My guy called me just after midnight on my birthday because he wanted to be the first person to wish me a happy birthday and said he'd call me later to make plans. He never called so I called him around 4:00 that afternoon and he was very standoffish. I commented that he didn't seem to want to talk and he replied, "not to you particularly" and we never spoke again. I still have no idea what happened.

abbersnail said...

I still maintain scorn for the newest boy, based upon the aforementioned email.

And Kris is a fool.

don't call me MA'AM said...

He played a Chris Isaak song for you? Nothing says, "hey, I hope I get laid tonight" like a guy singing a Chris Isaak song. ;-)

I loved this post. It makes me want to blog about my freakishly lame dates when I was young and naive.

Anonymous said...

Wow. See, your explanation of the complex answering machine arrangement just makes me shake my head even more. And I thought I'd had some doozies - this guy takes the cake!

Courtney said...

What a dumbass!

I remember being "danced on" by drunken boys in college. I always immediately walked away, because hello? I don't want your junk poking in my back.

Let's hope boys have evolved beyond that by now. No? They're probably dumber than ever? Oh well.

Mickey said...

Hmm. Strange one. Idiot, yes, but that goes without saying.

Whatever happened, he should have at least called. I kept having to remind myself that this wasn't a tale of two sixteen-year-olds. Adults make appropriate phone calls. His loss.

Stefanie said...

Plump--Ironically. Of course. "For research" is another excuse that works well.

3Cs--I figured it might be long enough ago that it bore redefinining.

Together--I haven't been there in forever either (in fact, I actually consulted the Applebee's web site to make sure they still served that thing). Now I want one, though! You know, for lunch on a work day or something. Not on a date. :-)

NPW--I always say my mind is like a steel trap for the things I have no reason to remember and a sieve for the things I WANT to remember... Tell me, when you forget to bring your shopping list to Target, do you remember what on earth you needed there? If so, I'd totally take your memory over mine.

NGS--I'm a little surprised you didn't get any flack for that comment. (I took some from a couple commenters another time when this came up.) It's actually only recently that I've considered with fewer qualms the idea of dating a guy with kids. It complicates things, yes, and the kid will always be his first priority. But men with kids have presumably learned some important life lessons and (HOPEFULLY, anyway) are usually responsible grown-ups. Also, one of my best friends married a guy with a daughter, and the kid is amazing and loves my friend like family. So that sort of helped change my mind on this. It's all situational, I'm sure. Every guy and every relationship is different.

Liz--A BOWL made of BREAD! Indeed. :-) Yum.

Badger Reader--True, but I care less and less about it every year. By now, I pretty much don't care at all. (I still felt the need to out him as an idiot on the Internet without changing his name, but still--don't care at all.) ;-)

Allie--I know, right? They also get readily available grocery store sushi and Swiffer cleaning cloths, two things we did NOT have ten years ago. (Um, Swiffer may not be the best example to use in commenting back to a smart woman with an environmental blog. I'm sorry. I promise I use them sparingly, but sadly, I do love my Swiffer.)

SS--Oh my WORD. That is actually WAY worse than this story! I want to know myself what the heck happened there! It's almost like someone must have sabotaged you--told him some lie that day that you never found out about. WEIRD!

Abbers--Well, obviously. ;-) Thanks.

DCMM--Heh. Strangely, I was so naive that that honestly barely even occurred to me at the time. Oh my. It's a wonder I ever got another date again...

12ontheinside--Well, he did live in his sister's basement... That right there should have been a red flag, right?

Courtney--"Danced on." Yeah. The worst was when the dance floor was so crowded, you couldn't even back away to avoid them because you had nowhere to go. Sometimes I fear I squandered my youth, but still--I do NOT miss those days.

Mickey--Well, a 24-year-old who lives in his sister's basement is sort of like a 16-year-old, right? Sort of.

Alice said...

oh man. this one was especially cringe-y for me, because i think we were totally the same person at 24. and i would not have picked up on any signs or signals either, and it's seriously making me uncomfortable now thinking back on some of those dates i went on like this. hah. and ick.

flurrious said...

I want to call Kris a rude name, but since I don't like to use bad language in other people's comments sections, I may have to settle for mocking the fact that he spells his name like a girl. (And if he doesn't actually spell it that way, but the fake name you chose for him for the purpose of telling this story was a girl's name, then kudos.)

Stefanie said...

Alice--On the up side (for me), I've had many more years since 24 than you have to forget about this stuff (or at least find humor in it). There are advantages to getting older, I suppose...

Flurrious--First off, I give you full permission to use bad language in my comments. As long as you're not directing it at me, of course. And yes, that is really the way he spelled it. Norwegian parents. (His name was Kristopher.) But I'm glad you brought that up, because I considered mentioning it. I'm sort of surprised no one else was scratching their head over it.

Lizzie said...

Sauntering Soul, I have a similar story! (How's that alliteration?) Except in my case, I sort-of-dated this guy for a little while, and then he disappeared. Then, two months later, he called out of the blue on my birthday. He asked if I had any birthday plans, and I told him some friends and I were having a birthday dinner a few days later, and he was welcome to join us. I shouldn't have done that, I know, but he had made the effort to call, and was so enthusiastic and seemed to genuinely want to get together again... Needless to say, he never showed up at the birthday dinner, and I never heard from him again until I ran into him a long while later at a concert. He was with his new girlfriend.

Sorry for hijacking your comments, Stefanie.

Aaron said...

I have "I Can't Go for That" stuck in my head. Maybe it's post related, maybe not.

Also, I am unapologetic about my love for Applebee's blondie desserts. Mmm. And yet, I hate Applebee's; it creates a conundrum.