Last week I went on a date with someone for the first time since getting divorced and honestly I’m still wrapping my head around the whole thing.
It’s been 18 months since officially separating from my ex after what I can really only describe as a lacklustre marriage and relationship that went on far longer than it ever should have. I spent much of the last year of our time together thinking back and over all the things we’d been through together and questioning why I let myself put up with so much for so long.
And then I spent much of the time separated doing the same, while considering the type of relationship I’d want to be in going forward.
When I think back to that relationship, there are a lot of hard truths to swallow. It was manipulative and exploitive at the best of times and mentally exhausting and abusive in the worst. As much as it pains me to say that every time I feel the urge to acknowledge it, I remind myself that in knowing this now I am a stronger person for it with a much better sense of myself and how to tackle situations with partners going forward.
And so when I finally felt like I’d spent more than enough time with myself and was ready to begin toying with the idea of meeting someone new to enter a new relationship with, I spent a little more time still contemplating what I’d like that to look like.
The nice part about going through a really bad relationship is learning what you don’t want, which makes it easier to know what you do want.
What I’ve learned what I’m looking for is not unlike what I had spent so many years hoping my ex would begin to show me.
My ex wasn’t great about taking me on dates or even just to general social gatherings with friends because he was so preoccupied with drinking, smoking, gambling and sports, so that’s where I started, and then I made a little mental list:
- As much as I enjoy watching sports, I want someone who wants to spend time with me doing the things I enjoy, as well.
- I want someone who has a good handle on his vices so that I don’t find myself in the same predicament as before, tending to an out of control addict.
- I want someone I can feel safe around and rely on.
- I want someone who doesn’t need to be told to take care of basic chores or tasks, like sharing in the cooking, cleaning, caring for the dog.
- I want someone who takes time and consideration into gifts or surprises.
- I want someone who knows how to make a reservation at a restaurant.
- I want someone who I can engage with intellectually about issues that are important to me without it turning into an argument or ending in awkward silence.
- I want someone who is as much invested in my own personal health as I am theirs.
- I want someone who supports my hobbies and work and not just because it makes money for me to spend on them/us.
- I want someone invested in making money to better support us.
- I want someone who wants to travel and makes an effort to allow us both the opportunity.
- I want someone who makes me laugh, is at least marginally intuitive to my needs and emotions and sees me as more than just someone who exists for their own support or enjoyment when its convenient to them.
I could go on but I think you’re getting the idea. All in these are not huge asks, they are pretty standard as far as relationships go if you ask me. If I had to summarize them, it’s simply looking for someone who takes an equal share in the workload of being with another person and who has some common interests.
Needless to say I did not have any of these thing with my ex and so having even half of them would be an improvement, and I wasn’t exactly shooting for a perfect 10 when I made the decision to start speaking to new people and dating because I’m patient and understanding that this might take some time to get right this go-around.
And I’m so patient in fact that I haven’t even resorted to online dating (yet), instead hopeful that I could meet this person the old fashion way, out at an event or just going about my life in the world, or through the recommendation of a good friend.
I find it really challenging to get to know people initially over text/social media because it’s impossible to tell things like tone, intention, or get a sense of if you have any sort of actual chemistry with the other person without being right in front of them – all these things are really important to me.
But I’m open to the idea – after all I have made many friends online which transpired into real in person friendships so why not take a chance on relationships, too?
A couple months back I got a follow from someone who looked a little familiar. He’d performed at an event I had also performed at a few weeks before that. We didn’t actually meet or speak at that event, but he noticed me in the crowd during his set and that seemed enough for him to make this initial contact.
Initially we didn’t speak much, just the odd comment here and there, but eventually he asked for my number and we moved the conversation briefly over to text where he expressed he’d like to take me out some time.
This was a good sign – I like someone who can be upfront and honest about what they’re looking for and saves me the guessing game that I feel I’m entirely too old for at this stage in my life.
At this point I didn’t know much about him – he’s a performance artist and comic, which was intriguing enough for a fellow artist and otherwise seemed nice enough when we spoke. That was it.
He seemed to have a vested interest in taking care of his health and image, spending ample time in the gym (which, was a little intimidating – I like working out, too, but I’m not so hardcore about it as he appeared to be) which was another positive sign. He told me he was taking a break from drinking and it had been a couple months since his last one – another positive for me, as a still quite newly sober person (2 years and counting, woooooo!) because at bare minimum it showed some restraint and willpower.
Since he was another creative, he was also understanding of my own struggles and current living situation – I was upfront with him about my divorce, we only spoke briefly of it, and that I had moved back in with my parents because I was struggling to find work. He, doing what he does for a living, also worked multiple jobs (gig economy) and knew the feeling.
After his initial message about wanting to take me out, a considerable amount of time had passed. I wasn’t sure already if I was being strung along, but again, in no real rush and understanding of the busy workload people like us take on while we try to build ourselves up in our respective communities, I didn’t fuss about it.
But then I’d find he’d start regularly bringing it up with no real course of action, meaning he’d regularly say to me, “I think I’d like to take you out sometime” without ever following up that with something like, “when are you free?”, “what do you like to eat?”, “how do you feel about coffee shops?” and so on.
So admittedly I lost faith rather early that this would ever transpire into something. Whereas initially I was impressed with his upfront and honest approach, it had now been several weeks and I didn’t understand the point of rehashing the same comment without any action.
I should mention, probably at this time, that this man is also 10 years older than me, and so I have a certain expectation that anyone with that much more life experience should be better versed in how this type of exchange is to go.
And then he’d do other things that started to strike me as a little off.
Like we’d be in the middle of texting when he’d just decide to hop on the phone to call me even though I’d expressed that I was in the middle of some work (it’s one thing to multi-task with texts, phone’s take my completely out of what I’m doing).
He’d message me randomly just to say I’m pretty or that he liked watching me play guitar, which, is nice at first don’t get me wrong, but then he’d repeat himself again and again without us having any sort of other conversation at the time. Maybe it sounds petty to say but it starts to feel manipulative and bombarding. Like at a certain point I simply don’t know how to respond to 8 messages almost in a row where you are repeating the same words. Let’s talk about movies!
He’d sent me photos of himself and then request one of me, enough times that I had to express that I wasn’t just someone who kept photos of myself on my phone like he seemed to. On one of those occasions he then tried to video call me even though I had said I didn’t want to be seen at that moment and was actually out and busy (I was). Then he’d send me videos of him working out which, again, don’t get me wrong I love a guy who cares to take care of his body but, I’m not the type of girl that needs to watch you lift and in fact it starts to make me feel like you’re a gym junkie and we will simply never get along.
In the week leading up to our eventual actual “date”, he called me while he was on his way into work and kept me on the phone with him while he went about his pre-work routine, talking to his coworkers, talking about himself (he talks about himself a LOT, I’d comment to myself), and I just genuinely didn’t understand why he’d regularly call me while he was busy doing other things. I absolutely can’t stand when people do this because I’m just not a phone-person to begin with unless we’re actually, you know, talking to each other about something, and even then in the best of circumstances I’d rather do it in person. I really don’t get it. Are you trying to show your coworkers you have friends or something? It’s weird.
On a few occasions I’d expressed the things I was feeling about his behaviour, not wanting to waste his time or mine: “Hey, you don’t have to compliment me so much. In fact doing it this often makes me a little uncomfortable because I’m not sure how to respond.” And “Hey, how about we just go out then on that date instead of talking about it?” and finally, “Please don’t do the Batman voice around me,” – this guy cosplays as Batman as part of his work which I am absolutely not knocking. I’d expressed to him I was familiar with his work because he’d actually gained quite a following here doing this, even many of my own friends had their photos taken with him at different points and they all loved his work. But all that said, what I noticed real early on was this guy talked about Batman… like a lot. Like more than even Batman should talk about Batman.
And I LIKE Batman, guys. It’s probably my favourite superhero series, but I’m not like… not like this. I haven’t even seen the new movie yet (hey, great date idea that never came up in conversation, Batman!).
And just to reiterate before I get any further – totally supportive of him doing this. It’s actually a really kind thing he’s able to do for many kids as well who get the opportunity to meet their favourite superhero.
But I am 31 and looking for a man, not a toy action figure.
Needless to say this guy had painted an interesting picture of himself before we’d ever truly met, but still, I was optimistic that even if we had no real chemistry as a potential couple, he could be a new friend.
So when Batman finally told me the dates he was available to meet (not the other way around), we settled on a Tuesday and I asked him what he had in mind for it. Again, I don’t mind making the decisions on some level in relationships, but I just got out of one where I’d carried much if not all the major decision making, financial and emotional loads, and so at bare minimum when I’m going out on first dates now it’s really quite important that I find someone who understands that there is a certain level of courtship to strive for.
Like, pick a restaurant, or a cafe, or a park to walk in – something. I’m pretty open minded and can enjoy myself in most situations, this is not rocket science.
His response was as vague as ever, “I don’t know, something to eat, drink, hang out,” but fine enough – after all it would be our first time spending time together, but again I found myself feeling mildly unimpressed.
But optimistic, folks – ever the optimist, I trudged on.
He said he’d pick me up (great!) and I asked him what time. “10, maybe 11?”. I told him either was fine, and he got back, “Okay, 11”.
I assumed this meant we’d go for breakfast/brunch somewhere in my neighbourhood since he was driving in from the city.
And on the morning of, I got up at my normal early AF hour of 7AM or so and made sure I was ready well ahead of his arrival because I’m not the kind of girl that likes to keep people waiting when we’ve scheduled a meeting.
Around 10AM he texted me and we exchanged a quick message.
Around 10 minutes to 11AM, he called to say he had slept in and would be late getting to my house.
Great, I thought to myself, we’re off to a fantastic start.
Did I mention that he’s the one that chose the date time?
So I piddle about for the next hour, made myself another coffee, all the while pondering to myself if I should just call back and tell him to forget about it because I wasn’t at all in the mood to start any sort of new-anything this way, especially as I mulled over all the other reservations I’d had about this person leading up to this day, but again told myself, “Jaimee, it’s been a while, it would be good to just give it a shot and get back into the saddle,” as it were.
I wasn’t done my coffee by the time he arrived just before noon, so I poured out what was left and made my way out to his car.
He was dressed in an old hoodie and old jeans, casual, which is fine because I’d done a casual look as well with a flannel and jeans, but it was one of those brief moments where I had another bit of clarity, “wow, sure would be nice for the person I end up dating next to put a little effort into their wardrobe because I am not 16 years old anymore”.
And as I stepped into his car I was entirely too aware of the mess – other clothes in the back with whatever other assorted items and trash at the foot of the passenger seat.
I’m not someone who expects an immaculate vehicle but truly, if you’re picking up someone in your car to take them out for a date, you can at least throw out the old cups.
But I pressed on.
We made general small talk in the car and he made his way to the highway where I immediately started to get a bit of an unsettled feeling. My thoughts raced back to the phrasing of some of his messages and it occurred to me then that we probably were not going out to eat at all, and that he must be bringing me back to his place instead.
I wasn’t sure what the game plan was here but, I opted not to be hyper paranoid about it and took everything in stride.
He talked more about himself and his work along the way and by the time we got into the Junction area, which I mentioned was my old neighbourhood and for a brief second would’ve liked to take a walk around, he told me he had to make a stop first.
Honestly I wasn’t even aware where there was a Walmart in the city and I’m not someone who frequents them. And I’m not trying to sound pretentious or something by saying that, I just have a moral stance against the Walton family and the way the corporation as a whole treats its employees. Believe me, I’d love to take advantage of their low low prices, too, but I just can’t.
And I’m not someone who tends to make a big deal out of something so small as to want to run a quick errand, but it did again give me brief pause to think to myself, “Next time I go on a first date, I really don’t want the first stop to be an errand”.
Talk about telling your date that you don’t actually care about the whole “date” aspect of the situation without having to say the words out loud. Is this really the only time you had to go buy yourself a…
“What do you need to pick up?”
“A shaver. And I have to pay my credit card bill – I don’t know how to do it online”.
...a shaver. Is this really what you need right now? Are you going to take me back to your place so you can shave first? Couldn’t you have run this errand before picking me up? And you don’t know how to pay your bill online yet? What year is it?
Ever the optimist, I trudged on.
When we got out of the car in the WalMart parking lot he pulled me in for a hug and a peck on my forward, which would be sweet if I had in any way felt any sort of actual chemistry or warmness towards this person at this stage but, I’m sure you can gather by now that I was already pretty emotionally checked out of this even being a date, never mind this being someone I’d want to actually see again.
I put on my mask, and he did not.
Another stark contrast in our personalities and thinking was showing.
He didn’t seem to know where he needed to go in the store to find the shaver and we ended up needing to ask some employees for help, which he did with a bit of arrogance as he approached two women speaking to each other and saying, “Don’t want to interrupt your break but –”
I told him he was an asshole – he laughed. I meant it.
“At least I make you laugh,” the comedian would say repeatedly in our short time together, something that showed me that even comedians can’t tell when you are laughing at them and not with them.
They directed us downstairs which told me this guy was in no way familiar with this store because I’m not sure how you could make that type of mistake and eventually found ourselves in front of the locked glass casing which made me laugh because certainly these items did not need this level of protection.
He muttered on about something to himself (I’d come to notice he does this a lot), and eventually I cheerfully piped up, “So, what do you look for in a shaver?” thinking now I might as well try to enjoy myself in this absolute pathetic return to adult dating.
He muttered on about something and didn’t quite answer my question – which is something else I’d come to notice him doing a lot. He was very much in his own world talking about himself and often didn’t have much else to say when I made a comment which made conversation challenging for me.
At some point, having to use the restroom due to my many pre-date morning coffees, I excused myself to use one nearby. As I looked at my masked self in the mirror while washing my hands, I’d internally remark, “you either die a villain, or live long enough to date The Batman”.
When I went back out he was no longer near the shavers and I had to continue a couple aisles over to find him now looking at shampoos, conditioners, body wash and so on.
He remarked that he couldn’t find one that wasn’t an “All-In-One” product and I piped in, “that’s because as a man they don’t believe you need multiple products,” and held my tongue before adding in that companies take advantage of women and force them to spend money on the same types of products as men just because they can. I pointed out a shampoo in a Minions bottle and said, “Here, this one looks like it’d work for you”.
It was clear – I am funnier and more knowledgable than this comic. Hell, I could do stand-up, if they were more inclusive of women in that space (they’re not).
He took his time doing his shopping and I maintained my cheery demeanour. Upstairs again by the checkout aisle, he’d need to ask yet another employee for his shaver which was being held for his arrival. WalMart is very strict about shaver theft and not at all strict about proper employee compensation, but I digress.
It took us a moment to find the employee who held this luxury item and nearby I pointed out a wall of superhero t-shirts, remarking, “hey look, it’s your section.”
I am hilarious.
Eventually he was able to complete his shopping and pay his credit card bill, thanks to the help of the unenthusiastic cashier tending to us who seemed annoyed that they have to walk him through the prompts.
Honestly she’s probably making $15/hr so I don’t blame her, just like I don’t blame the two women who took a few moments to chat with each other before no doubt being berated by power-hungry management to get back to work.
Be kind to service workers.
A few minutes later we were parking in a side lot on a small street – along the way he’d ask me my philosophy on the whole ‘wearing a mask thing’ and I’d express that it seemed a simple enough way to ensure the most vulnerable were protected from the virus, so I wear them in stores and crowded areas with hopes that it keeps more people out of the ICU, and he’d tell me that he does not, which really could’ve gone without saying but it’s important to know where your potential partner stands on literal life-saving issues like this.
We’d have to walk a few houses down to get to his place where he made more general conversation that suggested we viewed the world through different lenses. The issue he seemed most passionate about was comedy and how easy people thought it was since it was just a person on stage holding a mic and I’d tell him my genuine belief on the matter that stand-up comedy is probably the most challenging art-form, even more than music because it’s not only challenging to grab the attention of an audience when you are just a lone person on a stage, but then to keep that attention through the course of an act and win them over with original witty observations is no small feat.
And I really do believe this. I think he seemed to have this general impression of me that I didn’t understand comedy at all (probably because I’m a woman) but I explained to him I’d actually grown up watching lots of it, improv and stand-up. He didn’t seem to hear me when I said that and again was more concerned with talking about his own opinions on the matter, but I digress.
(Fun fact about me, one of the first “careers” I ever hoped to make a living in was comedy – improv and stand-up, as I had spent my youth enjoying. I’d then turn this into a career in comedic acting – but somewhere along the way I turned my attention to music instead).
When we got inside his home I began to feel that same strange sensation I’d felt when we got onto the highway where I was uncomfortable with the situation I’d now put myself in.
And all the part of this story that I’m about to share are in no way to shame this person or who he lives with but to offer my own perspective on what this feels like as a woman, especially one like me who has had some particularly unsavoury experiences with men in recent years.
One of the things we spoke about on the phone about a week earlier was his experiences with new female comics bringing their opinions to the stage about misogynistic comedians not giving them a safe space to perform, and what I had discerned from our conversation about it was that this man like so many others is considerably ignorant about what it means to create a safe inclusive space for women – in any space, but in this instance on the stage.
To further contextualize this, the show at which I’d first seen this person perform featured about 10 other comics who spent the bulk of their acts making rape jokes in between heckling the audience because they clearly had not actually developed 10 minutes worth of material.
In the post-Me Too era, which is actually the ever-present-Me Too era, you’d have to be an absolute idiot not to understand why this might not go over well with an audience.
He seemed to be trying to express to me time and time again that he was a feminist and instead it was the female comedians that simply didn’t understand the brute intellect of edgy male comedians and this is where he really should have done his research on who I am as a woman, and the experiences I have personally openly expressed to those of you who have seen my Twitch livestreams or read the blog breakdown for the Jestem Krzywym Lasem album.
I, too, have fallen victim to assault by the hands of a man and I am very vocal about encouraging other women to speak on their own experiences if they are comfortable to do this. I don’t know who this female comic was that he was speaking about, but I know she’s doing the right thing by standing up for issues she believes are important to address in this space. Kudos, whoever you are.
Anyway so as I closed the door behind me the first thing I was faced with was a very full hallway. More shoes than I’d expected to see in a hall of a home that two men share and a remarkable amount of clutter.
As I continued through, I peaked into a room on the left which would’ve been a living room if it was not floor-to-ceiling knick knacks and assorted possessions, for lack of better describing them. I carried through to what would’ve been a dining area that did have a dining table propped up against a wall, but also had loads of free-weights on the floor, mats, more knick knacks – holy Christ you guys the knick knacks!
“I feel like I’m in a museum,” I remarked politely.
This man was a hoarder.
I now understood what it meant to be on an episode of the A&E program of the same name.
The dining room opens up to a kitchen which was in no better shape. Multiple open cereal boxes and cracker boxes were all over the counter which was flooded with dirty dishes and – honestly guys there was so much stuff in this house that I could barely pick one thing to focus on and now as I recall the way it looked I can barely describe it because it was just an outright mess.
“Are those masks?!”
There were masks everywhere, all over the walls.
Tons of paintings, everywhere.
Bits of furniture peaking out of this and that.
In the bottom of a cabinet I remarked they had the same obscure book on The Beatles that I did.
All the while the comedian continued to talk mostly about himself, although sensing that I was a little taken aback he made sure to take a moment to mention that all this stuff belonged to the guy he lived with and were not his.
I still couldn’t quite fathom how he could live in such a space, but I took him for his word. He was not a hoarder, he merely lived with one.
All this is to say I am understanding of people who fall into this way of life. I know it is not easy to correct and I know that it doesn’t mean they are “bad” people or anything of the like, but it doesn’t change how unsettling it is to be in such an environment.
Did I mention this was the location of our date?
I wasn’t sure how to feel.
Sympathetic? Confused? Worried?
“It’s a lot to take in,” I said when he remarked how I couldn’t stop staring at all the things.
Honestly I wasn’t listening to a word he was saying at this point as he went about beginning to put some dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
I wandered around a bit more, into another wall-to-ceiling cluttered room. Is that an empty fish aquarium? What furniture do those cushions belong to? Where do they… where do they sit? Those are some nice boat paintings. Wow, more masks. That one is creepy!
“Can I get you anything?” he said as he put his hand into one of the three open boxes of triscuits on the counter. “Triscuit?”
“Umm, no, that’s okay. I’m good”.
I hadn’t eaten in the morning thinking we’d be going out to eat, mind you, but I couldn’t fathom eating absolutely anything in this house.
He made a point to reiterate a few times that the stuff was not his as though that should ease my mind, but it didn’t. At some point I was entirely too aware that no one knew where I was or who I was with which is when I fired off a quick vague tweet about being out with someone on a date.
A kind radio DJ from Australia intuitively popped a message into my dm’s, “everything okay?” I’d talk back and fourth with him in hurried texts, careful not to annoy my host but also to ensure that at least someone knew I was in an odd situation.
And I knew at least by tweeting, should something particularly bizarre or awful happen, my location was now firmly pinged.
This is what it means to date in the digital era, people.
At some point my host was ready to move the date into his preferred setting and he brought me downstairs to his part of the house where I really hoped somehow I’d feel more comfortable, you know, since all the stuff upstairs wasn’t his.
His part of the house was really just his bedroom with an old mattress on the floor, not made, perhaps the sheets not washed in weeks by the looks of things, and clothes scattered absolutely everywhere but the dresser and closet. There were stickers all over everything making his desk and dresser look like my first guitar case.
And the bat signal was right there on the ceiling.
This man is 40.
Again I am not knocking anyone, certainly any adult at all of any age for doing these types of things generally speaking – after all I play punk rock music and I have my own similar interests in this area, but this is a grown man’s bedroom of which he’s taken a 31-year old woman to presumably “woo” her in some way, and I felt like it was the filthiest place I’d ever ventured into in my entire life.
Most of my friends growing up were boys and all of them had far cleaner rooms than this. All of them.
The dresser and shelves were full of… knick knacks! Jesus Christ, the knick knacks, guys!
At best this man was hopelessly immature and in no way ready for a relationship with an adult woman.
Any ease of mind I’d had about this man not being a hoarder were thrown firmly out the window.
“You can take a seat,” he offered and looked towards the messy unmade bed before acknowledging there was a chair at a desk nearby.
“I’ll take the chair,” I said cautiously, hoping for my personal execution in this moment.
He seemed to sense my unease again and sat down on the bed beside the chair and tried to hold my hand – I did not grasp it back.
“It’s a lot to take in,” I said again.
He kept making attempts to hold my hand but I refused to hold it back. And so then he’d place his hand on my knee or leg, instead, which I sort of just ignored hoping he would understand how wildly uncomfortable this entire scenario was.
See, as outspoke as I am, and despite my repeated efforts to show and tell him I was uncomfortable, I’m entirely too old and experienced to lash out at a man in this type of environment. I was cornered at this point at the far wall of his messy room in this insanely messy house and if I happened to say something to set him off, I wasn’t sure I could make it all the way to the front door.
This is what it means to date as a woman – full stop. You guys have no idea how aware of these things we have to be in order to protect ourselves.
And perhaps I am more hypervigilant than others given my own experiences, but I will never apologize for that.
I couldn’t help myself but snap a photo of the bat signal when he exited the room for a little, muttering to himself again about this or that, mostly in disbelief that I was on a date with THE Batman and this is how it was shaping out. I never intended to share it, much like I never intended or wanted to write this blog post, but these things have a way of making themselves known.
Eventually he’d come back and ask me if I wanted to watch an episode of Better Call Saul. I told him I used to watch the show but had fallen off of it some time ago (I think I stopped somewhere in Season 3) and he told me they were now in Season 6 and he was on Episode 3.
So once again I found myself with a man who, sure, had similar interests, but didn’t understand how sad this choice was to make to a girl like me – or any girl.
Sure yeah, let’s watch an episode of your show that you like completely out of context for an hour in your hoarders den.
He suggested I move to the bed and we watch it there and I hesitated finding the right way to say “No,” politely.
So then he suggested we watch upstairs and I said that was a good idea.
He cleared a bunch of things from the dining room table and offered to put my coat away, but I told him that was quite alright as I mulled about how I could now make my exit.
I messaged the Australian DJ that I’d likely have to take the subway and buses home but I’d be alright. It was late where he was and I didn’t want him to feel obligated to wait up for me, as he continually checked in to make sure I was fine. I’ve not even met that guy and I can already tell you he’d make a better date than Batman.
It then occurred to me that Batman did not have a TV.
We would be watching the program on his iPhone.
Which would be fine and totally acceptable to me if we were on a coach bus or plane or something and that was the way we had to view something, but it seemed again, odd and awfully immature given… everything.
I mentioned again that I had lost interest in the show some seasons ago.
We trudged on.
We each sat in separate chairs at the dining table with his iPhone propped up against a speaker – he turned the LED lights on it. Ambiance, at 1:30PM EST.
He continued to try and hold my hand and I continued to not hold it back.
He continued to rest his hand on my leg and I began to shake the other one.
He seemed to sense something was up, knowing for sure now I was uncomfortable.
“I just do that sometimes,” I told him. “I’m an anxious personality type,” (true). “But again it’s just like, a lot to take in here”.
We made a little bit of small talk through the show, mostly him interrupting to mention which actors he had met and taken pictures with. I’m not sure if I was supposed to be impressed by this but I wasn’t, but offered several, “Oh, that’s cool”‘s anyway while wondering if I should stay through the whole episode or just tell him straight up I needed to leave.
At some point he again seemed trying to convince me he wasn’t who he presumed I thought he was. “I’m not an asshole,” he’d say. I told him I didn’t think he was. He said something to the affect of, he just came across as a bit of an asshole sometimes, you know, because of the comedy.
Yes, all the comics I have ever enjoyed are known assholes. (They’re actually all quite pleasant and insightful all without resorting to pretty immature, dumbed down /edgy/ tactics, but anyway, let’s not ruffle any feathers).
At some point I started to feel so uncomfortable that I knew I had to be more clear with him, because he just wasn’t getting it – and by it I mean he in no way seemed to understand how I could be feeling in that moment – which was bad, I felt awful, so uncomfortable, so unsure of my decision to get into this guys car, so unsure of ever dating ever again if this was what was out there for me…
“I think I’ve told you that I’m divorced and I’m pretty over the whole hanging out with assholes thing,” I said as he finished explaining that he wasn’t a true asshole, just a funny one.
He again explained he wasn’t one but definitely knew maybe he’d gone too far with, whatever he was doing.
At one point he reached for my hand again and when I once again did not take it he remarked, “so touching your leg (knee) is okay but not your hand?” as though this made me an idiot, I sort of drifted off as I began trying to think about how to explain myself, as though I needed to.
Eventually the show ended (thank God) and I hesitated for a moment. He seemed to want to continue hanging out and I was very uninterested in that.
I didn’t want to hurt his feelings at all, but I had to be up front about it.
“I have to get going,” I said.
He seemed confused.
“I’ve got some work to do, and you know, take care of my dog…” I trailed off again.
We both knew I didn’t have to go then, but I really did not want to be there any longer.
He didn’t seem to want me to leave just yet and instead he sat back down at the chair for a while where I was. It was almost as though he wanted to get to the bottom of why I wanted to leave and I wasn’t sure I was prepared in that moment to get into everything I’ve laid out in this blog post.
We had an uncomfortable conversation where I explained I wasn’t expecting this to be what we were doing or for this to be where we’d be doing it. I thought we were going out to eat. And again, the whole hoarding this, was entirely too much for me to take in in that moment.
He seemed disappointed.
At one point he said the strangest thing to me after explaining that his hoarder roommate was some sort of philanthropist who did a lot to help the community.
“We can help you,” he said, of my financial and employment struggles.
I didn’t know why it struck me as so sinister in that moment but it absolutely did. In what way? You yourself have multiple gig jobs to keep yourself afloat in this… *gestures around the room*. I didn’t say these things of course.
“That’s alright,” I said instead. “I’ll be just fine”.
Eventually he agreed he’d drive me back home and I was relieved. I had half a mind to tell him not to worry and that I’d get myself home but both didn’t want to offend him further and frankly felt at bare minimum I deserved a ride home after this awful afternoon.
Somewhere along the ride home he mentioned that maybe he’d take me for an actual date on the weekend, out to eat, and that he didn’t even think that this would make someone uncomfortable (the meeting we’d just had), and I said, “Um, I dont know, maybe,” and he nearly scoffed while repeating the “maybe,” as though I should be so grateful for the opportunity.
I spent much of the rest of my afternoon mulling over the experience. At one point, emotionally breaking down as I felt so sad that this what this man deemed me worth. After getting out of a long-term abusive relationship, this was a major blow to my self-esteem and confidence.
I know it shouldn’t have been, but it was.
He didn’t message me for the next few days and I didn’t message him. I never really intended to again.
On the weekend he reached out, something casual like “how are you?” so I answered that briefly. Again I thought it was pretty clear by my responses that I wasn’t particularly interested in pursuing this further but he’d message me a couple times after that.
And it wasn’t until yesterday that I deduced this man is either unhinged or, like my friend had suggested when I first told him I was speaking with someone, he did all this in some fashion for his performance art, for his comedy act, to get material in some way. A method actor, if you will.
I’m not sure which reality I thought was better, that he’d done this on purpose to see how I’d react or that he was really this clueless as a 40 year old man.
Sometime around 1:20AM yesterday he sent me a winky face over text.
I again found this odd.
Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I generally know what people who send flirty messages after midnight are up to and again I couldn’t fathom how he hadn’t caught on to the things I had already explicitly told him – “I am uncomfortable with you”.
I was going to just ignore it and stop responding to him entirely but I thought that was a little cowardly and I’m trying to be more direct with people about my feelings, generally speaking, and I really wanted him to stop reaching out.
I thought that would finally be the end of it.
Wrong again, Jaimee. You should really know better than to assume people can respect basic boundaries after speaking to them civilly.
So let’s just break this one down quickly because I recognize part of this will be out of context for any readers stumbling upon this post.
“I honestly didn’t mean anything bad by it,”
Okay great, you already said you’d stop texting me and I thanked you for that and said good night. Why are we still here? I know there was nothing particularly innocuous about that text in particular but feel free to read through this entire blog post to further your understanding.
He then mentions a scam post which, you can further look into yourself by following the Jaimee Eat World instagram page.
In short this IG post is a joke post but it’s also a very well meaning PSA for fans of bands to be weary of scammers who impersonate their favourite artists, slide into their dm’s, and then try to get money out of them. I wasn’t even scammed, I just messed with the scammer right back because sometimes I like to learn their tactics. Not for personal use, but literally for a post just like this because it is actually so easy nowadays to fall victim to scammers. Not this one in particular given the ridiculous nature of the whole thing, but generally, especially for the elderly or those that are not as familiar with the internet and all the fun ways you can manipulate texts and images, like the one that starts off this multi-photo post with an old photo of Jim holding a sign he clearly didn’t write himself.
Anyway, this still makes no sense because how in the world is a winky face in any way implying that it’s about this post, that he’d seen it at all, or that he was trying to cheer me up? And surely he read the post which is super clearly based in satire which as a “comedian” he should be aware of how it looks and sounds over text.
I also know at this point in these text messages that this guy is just trying to keep this conversation going, and probably just to piss me off for whatever sad reason he’s concocted for himself.
Okay Batman, let’s play.
I think the following messages speak for themselves so let’s continue.
This guy LOVES pretending he’s literally Batman. It’s reached an unhealthy level when you’re constantly making jokes about yourself being an orphan who saves the world instead of developing your own identity.
“Guitar Girl” has a nice ring to it though, I’ll have to keep that in mind for my upcoming graphic novel, “666”.
To further contextualize this, the week before meeting up with this guy I really did have a job interview at Long & McQuade, and since I’m an unemployed bum trying to be conscious of my spending, I walked the 2 hours to the interview instead of taking transit. I know it’s weird but I actually enjoy long walks and often take them even without a destination in mind – I’m not sure why this is weird to so many, including the hiring manager at Long & McQuade who looked at me like I had 7 heads when it came up that I’d not only walked there on a beautiful sunny April day, but that I’d walk home, too.
Anyway, BatBoy had told me he’s actually friends with the owners of Long & McQaude so I’m not sure why he’d be so quick to slight it like this anyways.
But I do want to point out that he immediately goes from trying to insult me to then offering me a compliment.
This is highly manipulative, even if its intended to be some kind of a joke.
You are fucked up, Batman.
Which is why I then responded with what I did, now telling him again quite calmly and civilly that I wasn’t interested in this game.
Do we think Batman got the picture yet?
I didn’t think so, and at this point I no longer gave a single shit about the entire thing. So I decided to get my last thoughts down for him to read and think about before he tries to do this type of thing to another woman.
BatBoy wasn’t too keen on my advice.
The last point is an important one for me to reiterate.
Men have no idea what it is like to live in a world where women are seen as so expendable that they are regularly assaulted, often with the perpetrators running free to live their lives with no consequences after it’s occurred.
It is your duty as a fellow human being to make people feel comfortable, not unsafe, in your presence, especially as a man taking a woman out on a date.
I am not joking when I say that I had every intention of defending myself if BatBoy had made more of a move than he did that day – fortunately for both of us, he did not.
I am not someone who is quick to feel like I need to resort to such a thing but I am in no way going to let anything “just happen” to me or anyone around me, assuming I can help it.
If you are a man reading this and you have found yourself in such a situation, where a woman in unresponsive to something as simple as you reaching for your hand – let it go.
Honestly again as I recount this entire day and the text messages that followed I truly don’t know if this is just how this guy is or if this was just some “bit” he was doing, but it has been a very long time since I have felt so unsafe in the presence of someone else in their home and I hope to never experience it again.
Let’s hope my next soiree’s into the dating pool go better than whatever the fuck this was.