Many years ago, the year after my divorce, I attempted my first foray into online dating, with a niche site for geeks. One fellow got my attention, but our acquaintance quickly devolved into an embarrassment most of my friends don’t even know about.
We’ll call him Horsefly.
We dated and talked on the phone several times over the course of about a month. He was funny and charming, seemed cleancut and sweet. I liked him.
As we got to know each other, Horsefly’s story changed from:
“I raise show horses,”
“My family raises show horses, and I am an indispensable member of their team,”
“My mom hoards gimpy, useless horses other people give away, and I’m afraid to move out of her house.”
As if that wasn’t enough, other red flags included:
- His explaining that we needed to use code words to hush each other in case someone else was listening to our conversation. Any conversation might be used against us later in some private Family Court! We must be vigilant!
- Going to his house (which turned out to be his parents’ house) and peeking in the refrigerator. It contained a stinking, moldy mishmash of expired food with clearance stickers. (This has led me to one of my rules – if you want to touch me, I have to see your house first.)
I stayed at his house just long enough to be polite, then excused myself to my car. His mother, father, and younger sister followed me out a moment later, in tight formation, like they were tied together with invisible rope. His mother asked if I’d stay for dinner. I said no, I have plans. She asked me where I was going for dinner. I said I don’t know. She asked if I’d come back tomorrow for lunch. I said no thank you, and I’m sorry, but I’m late. Creeped out, I drove away.
A day or two after that, I called to tell him we were through; I was tired of him complaining all the time how much he hated living with his crazy mother, but not doing anything about it.
“We could still be friends,” I said naively.
(BWEEP BWEEP, HUGE MISTAKE!!!)
He invited me to look at apartments with him. I said OK. We drove to two and he talked to leasing managers. (Later he admitted he only did that to impress me that he was looking. ooh, sexy! I like a man who can rent apartments almost all by himself! He had no intention that day of leasing.)
The next weekend, he called out of the blue, “I moved out of my parents’ house. Can I stay with you for a few days while I sign a lease?” I said “OK, but you are staying in the spare bedroom. We are still broken up.” I figured it wouldn’t be too bad, as I had classes all day and he worked second shift.
Day 1, I came home to find he had completely unpacked his car, and redecorated the spare bedroom with his book collection.
Day 2, I came home to find he had crammed about $150 worth of groceries in my kitchen. Ten pounds of chicken patties in my freezer. 5 boxes of crackers. Pasteurized process American cheese-flavored food product! Bachelor food tucked into every nook and cranny in my tiny galley kitchen.
Day 3, in the morning, I found him dreamily surfing the web for apartments in San Francisco. (Which, by the way, is nowhere near where we were living at the time.)
“What are you doing?”
“Apartment hunting. Isn’t this one cool!”
“In a city you don’t have a job in? With no savings?”
“Sigh… I thought I could get a job once I moved there.”
“That is ridiculous. You can’t afford the rent without a job. You can’t even afford the plane ticket. Either show me a signed lease agreement within three days, or get out.”
I left for class. When I returned, all his stuff was gone, and my key was tossed up on the balcony.
Or so I thought all his stuff was gone. When I walked into the spare bathroom, I saw his toothbrush and gagged. It was an electric jobby, caked almost beyond recognition by a layered brown crust of old toothpaste spit. I could picture Horsefly watching himself in the mirror as he makes sweet oral love to his thick, vibrating brush, satisfied as the foam slides down his hand in slow motion, before he sets down the brush to crust over with a sense of achievement, and wipes the foam off his hand with a sock.
Think he’s gone? Heh. Think again. Part 2 will be for later.