Before I met Andrew, I was quite a serial dater. I had been in two serious relationships close to one another, so I was ready for some fun, silly dates. The truth is, I could write an entire blog based on my horrid dates and the losers I encountered, many specifically thanks to one friend who shall remain nameless who was always introducing me to “someone she knows would be perfect for me!” Every time, I’d feel so excited at her description…and every time, I’d be horridly, deeply disappointed, and question how well she knows me because she set me up with some real tools.
I was reminded by one of the worst of these when I was listening to a new 90’s station that is on in my hometown, thanks to the one station that played alternative and some indie rock closing down. As the sweet voice of Michael Stipes filled my car, I suddenly remembered one of the weirdest situations I’d ever been in.
My friend claimed she’d met a perfect guy for me. Sure, he was a little older (um, ridiculously older, but she didn’t know his age) but he was very sweet and caring and nice. He liked art, played guitar and was attractive. Since I was all about the dating, I thought it sounded OK, and agreed to go out with him–we’ll call him J.
J said he loved sushi and wanted to go to Mikuni downtown for dinner. It was Halloween, so we laughed at all of the funny costumes we saw in downtown Sacramento. Our waiter was dressed as Jared from Subway, which was fun and we had a good time at dinner. The conversation was your typical first-date fare: what do you do, where are you from, etc. J had a great sense of humor and made me laugh quite a few times with his hilarious stories and deadpan sarcasm.
He drove me home, and there was a loud party going on in the apartment across the way with some shady looking characters hanging out around the front (not uncommon for where I used to live!) so he said he’d walk me up. We got to my front door and I opened it. He spotted my guitar and asked if he could see it. Let me pause here and say I KNOW, I KNOW—I doubt he wanted to “play my guitar” but I’m decidedly not that type of girl, so that wasn’t going to happen.
J sat down, and said he was going to play a song that meant a lot to him. He started strumming, and the unmistakable introduction to “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M.
Perhaps this wasn’t the most appropriate reaction, but after some sake, I couldn’t help breaking into giggles. Partially sake-induced, but partially because who goes on a perfectly HAPPY date and then decides to bust out some moody sad music?! On a first date, nonetheless.
J clearly didn’t appreciate my laughter, because he immediately started rambling about how important the song was to him, and how it reminded him of the hardest time he’d ever been through. He began the longest story I’ve ever heard of sadness, depression and anxiety, and gravely told me of how he attempted suicide.
By taking 4 Tylenol PM.
OK, I’ve struggled with depression myself, and the truth is pain is serious and it’s not a joke. I’m a sensitive gal. But upon hearing his “suicide attempt” was four Tylenol PM, my reaction was less shock, and more, “Were you really tired?”
Obviously, this raised a huge red flag for me. WHO TELLS SOMEONE ABOUT THE WORST TIME IN THEIR LIFE ON THE FIRST DATE?! I don’t know. I really don’t. J obviously didn’t get the joke, and sulked out of my apartment, while I sat back and laughed myself to sleep.
Thanks to this charmer, I will never, ever be able to hear “Everybody Hurts” without laughing hysterically again.
Oh, and J and I didn’t have another date, despite repeated emails and scathing voicemails, saying I don’t know how to communicate or accept the normal ups and downs of a relationship. Guess not.