I had not planned on spending more than one post on my past dating woes, but there was some interest in hearing more, so what the hell? Maybe my bad luck in the past will help somebody else avoid a disastrous relationship in the future.
Either that, or you’ll all laugh at me. Things are great nowadays, but there was a five-year stretch where my love life resembled a black comedy. “You don’t have the best track record with women,” my daughter told me recently, and that’s putting it mildly. I don’t know if they were all crazy or I was naive. It’s probably a combination of both.
After my date from hell with the tattooed grandma, I was gun shy about dating again, but there’s the old adage about getting back up on the bicycle once you’ve fallen off, and mama didn’t raise no quitters.
She did raise a cliche-spoutin’ son, though.
In any case, a couple of years earlier I had worked with a woman who’d admitted to having a crush on me. I wonder if she still does, I thought. So I called her up. She still did. We decided to get together and do what adults do when there are crushes involved. She was older and a staunch conservative. The perfect foil to my bleeding heart liberalness, I told myself! At least I knew what she looked like.
Because I’m a gentleman, I figured she deserved a little wining and dining first. Big mistake. She sent me a list of demands before we even got together: she wanted pizza for dinner, but it must have ham and black olives only. There had to be diet root beer in the fridge. Coffee in the morning, but Folger’s only, taken black. And she wanted to go out for karaoke.
Worst evening of my life. I wrote about it in detail here. She slithered around onstage pretending to be Britney Spears, when in reality she was more like Bette Midler. Sure, she slept over that night, and that was great, but I ended up faking an illness the next morning because I just couldn’t take any more. Not my proudest moment.
This casual dating stuff is for the birds, I told myself. What I need is a relationship.
What I didn’t need was a relationship filled with deceit and a side trip to Crazy Town, but that’s what I got. Much like with Tara, I met this woman through blogging. She lived in another state but moved here to be near me after ostensibly separating from her husband. Funny word, ostensibly.
apparently or purportedly, but perhaps not actually.
Our relationship was a strange one involving numerous break-ups and reconciliations. Furtive phone calls out of earshot. Lots of trips to visit her parents in California that never involved me because she kept our relationship a secret from them. It turns out she had lied to me about divorcing her husband, a fact I learned only after reading her obituary. She was seeing him the entire time, and stringing us both along. Several times I ended things and tried dating other women, but she pulled out all the stops to win me back, including faking not one but two pregnancies (and even doctoring up a home test when I demanded proof). We were on-again and off-again for several years before I finally had enough. A year and a half after our final breakup, I learned she had died unexpectedly at the age of 37 from cancer. Some things are just never meant to be, you know?
Well, that was a fluke, I thought. Surely her craziness is the exception to the rule. Let me find a new relationship!
The new relationship involved a single mother who brought new meaning to the word “theatrics.” After we had dated for three days, she got furious at me for wanting to spend a Saturday with my dad at the movies. Flew into a rage once after I’d taken a day off work so we could have breakfast, see a movie, and spend time together because 4:00 rolled around and I had to pick up my kids. Got mad at me once in the middle of the night for no apparent reason and asked me to drive her home at 3 AM. When I pulled on a pair of jeans and grabbed my keys, she asked what I was doing. “Driving you home like you asked,” I said, too tired to argue. For some reason the fact that I was doing exactly what she wanted set her off again. The night I broke up with her, she curled into a fetal position on her bedroom floor and bawled her eyes out in front of her daughter. Man, I’m not a hard ass, but I finally had to just walk away from that, her high-pitched wails trailing me across the parking lot of her apartment complex.
Hmm, I thought. Maybe a relationship ISN’T the way to go.
So, there was this girl who lived in Australia. Considering she was an entire hemisphere away, I figured it was safe enough to flirt with her. Hell, there was a 15-hour time difference, so if she ever got mad at me in the middle of the night it would be late afternoon here. Problem solved! Until she latched onto three little words I said one time in the heat of the moment.
No, not I love you. Do you think I’m stupid? They were far more innocent. I simply said, Marry me, then.
Her dad was an American citizen and was planning on moving back to the U.S. for a job opportunity, only this girl was having trouble getting a visa because she was Australian, had a different mom, blah, blah, blah. That’s when I said it.
But here’s the thing: I was joking.
She saw it as her ticket to paradise, though. Suddenly she was looking into flights. “We should at least meet in person before doing this,” she said. There was no LOL attached to those words, and I knew I was in trouble. She wanted me to pick a weekend. My birthday was coming up. How about then? Umm…
I stalled. That was my fatal error. I should have immediately said ha-ha, just kidding, you wouldn’t be able to find any decent vegemite around here anyway. Instead, because I suck at making clean breaks, the charade dragged itself on for weeks. She finally realized I had no intention of following through and extricated herself from the situation by bombarding me with a few choice words. They may or may not have been deserved – years later, I still have trouble figuring that out. For what it’s worth, I am sorry for that whole misunderstanding.
After international relations became strained as a result of my terrible luck with women, I decided I would instead remain single the rest of my life.
The next month Tara and I met up for one date, and the rest is history.