Chemistry’s been a total dud (and by that, I do mean both the website AND the nonexistent “spark” from online dating). I can’t understand why every guy I’m matched with on that site makes less than $25k/yr and lives at home. It must say something about my personality, like I’m a caretaker, or a cheap date.
Anyway, after two Match misses, I finally went on a date with a guy from Chemistry. At 38, he was closer to my age. Lives in a walkup in the East Village. Never married and no kids, but unclear on his pet status. He was an even 6’ tall -- a nice change from the Hobbits I’ve been meeting. He called himself a “TV fanatic” (me too!). By day, he’s a composer who writes jingles to pay the bills, and by night he said he is opening an off-Broadway musical. Plus he plays about 85 instruments. Now, I’ve never dated an artsy guy before. I’m generally attracted to the complete Neanderthal opposite. So this was a change of pace. A broadening of my horizons, if you will.
Leading up to this point, I’d been calling him Old Wooden Teeth. Not nice, I know! But in all his photos, he had a very plastic smile that made his teeth seem fake – but not like veneers, or even caps. These choppers looked old school. Like George Washington and his sturdy wooden teeth.
Upon meeting him, I realized he also had a tiny, shrunken Beetlejuice head and exceptionally long ET “Phone Home” fingers. But I digress…
We decided on dinner and a movie. Or more accurately, a movie, then dinner. Wow, I thought, FINALLY a guy who wants to spend more than 20 minutes getting to know me! He was pretty insistent on seeing Rachel Getting Married, because it was the only Oscar-nominated film he missed. Nevermind that I’d already seen it, or that it’s WAY too heavy for a first date, or that it came out like 6 months ago -- he scoured the city to find the last movie theater on Earth that was still playing it.
So I arrived, and he’d already purchased 2 tickets. Score! No awkward conversations at the ticket counter! He looked basically normal (save the teeny-tiny head and super-long digits), but I noticed he was wearing a lavender scarf wrapped several times around his throat. I remembered seeing that same dainty scarf at Ann Taylor LOFT -- a thought I quickly dismissed.
We went directly to the snack counter. I decided I was paying, so I’m all ready for my $20 popcorn and a diet coke. He asked for hot herbal tea with honey. The snack guy looked at him like he had ten heads (ten very small heads). We settled on popcorn, a diet coke, and a steaming cup of hot water. Yum.
We made some idle chit-chat where he talked only about himself, his music, his “craft.” Didn’t ask me a single question. I soon realized that he didn’t want to get to know ME at all, he just wanted an audience. Awesome. So, the movie starts and we’re basically the only people there. He decided to dig into the popcorn after all, and our fingers occasionally touched. With the right guy, this is cute -- flirty, even.
Not this time…
I was feeling a little uncomfortable, like maybe I wanted to sit in a different row so we wouldn’t be so close to each other in this big, empty theater. So I did what I always do in these situations -- I built a Wall of Hair. What’s that, you ask? If I’m not attracted to a guy, I’ll flip my massive mane onto whatever side he is sitting. This accomplishes a few things: It creates a natural barrier between our heads, it prevents whispering in my ear, and generally discourages any unwanted coziness.
This has been an effective technique in the past.
So I’m quietly sitting behind my hair wall, going in for popcorn ONLY when the coast is clear, and I start to hear this strange humming. It’s really low, but really annoying. Humm, hummm, humhummm. I realize it’s coming from HIM. Terrific. Mozart goes on like this for about 45 minutes.
We’re well into the rehearsal dinner scene where Anne Hathaway’s character melts down, when I see this movement out of the corner of my eye. He was rooting around in his coat pocket for something. A mint, maybe? A cell phone? An asthma inhaler? Any of those items would have been acceptable.
When I finally peeked through the hedge that was my hair, I realized he was doing something in public, in the middle of a movie, that I only do in the privacy of my own bathroom: He was flossing.
Let me repeat that… He… Was… FLOSSING.
I was like, EWWWW, gross! Who DOES that?!? And what guy (who’s not a dentist) just randomly carries floss around? I mean, I hate when popcorn gets stuck in my teeth as much as the next guy. Well, clearly, NOT as much as the next guy. But you catch my drift. Maybe Woody was afraid of his teeth rotting, but this was insane.
Needless to say, I said I was feeling a bit “under the weather” after the movie, and I bailed on dinner. He’s since sent me an email to see if I’m better and to tell me he had a lovely time. I’m not writing him back. Telling a grown man that he should not publicly floss on a first date, is like telling that stinky kid in junior high that it’s time to start wearing deodorant.
It's an awkward conversation that I'd rather avoid entirely.
So give it to me straight -- am I being too harsh on him?? Should I have found his sudden dental hygiene urges charming? Discuss.