The best worst date story. Ever.
This tale is not for the faint of heart. I don’t claim to be a saint, or one who doesn’t judge. I mean, I’m on Tinder for fuck’s sake. I’m clearly no angel.
I have a certain type I usually lean towards: a great smile, eyes that seem to have a purpose, and the most obvious amongst my friends—gingers. I love me a solid redhead. It’s an utter weakness of mine. I even advertise this on my profile. I eventually matched with an adorable redhead.
He messaged me first. “You’re very cute. How’s your day?” He was very sweet from the start, asking a lot of questions about me, and what I do. One thing that easily stood out to me was his grammar. It was perfect. Even in text, everything was typed in perfect paragraphs. You don’t come across that too often, especially on Tinder. As a self-proclaimed grammar Nazi, I approved.
In our back and forth, I learned that he was born in Florida and moved to Chicago recently to further his career and he’s got family out in the burbs. Nice place in Lakeview, a nice job (which when he described, though I couldn’t follow, sounded nice) and a polite ginger? I thought I had won the jackpot.
We text a little more. In the middle of a conversation, he blurted, “I’d love to take you to coffee. You’re awesome, I’d love to hang out with you more.” Uh, yes. After some debating of the coffee, we decided on Emporium. Drinks, games, low lighting. Perfect.
He was coming up from his brother’s place in Naperville so he arrived a bit earlier than I had thought. He called me about an hour before I was supposed to meet him.
“Hey you!” (uncontrollable laughter).
“Are you okay? What’s so funny?”
“Oh, nothing. I may have had a couple of drinks. I just wanted to make sure I was going the right direction.”
He was drunk. There was no doubt about it. He was slurring his words, talking in circles and he kept calling me “sweetheart.” He also said he’s waiting for me “on the corner like a ho.” Top notch, this one.
Fun fact about me: I have a great gut instinct. It’s usually always right. The problem is that I never listen to it. “Oh, it has to be wrong, just this once.” Nope. Doesn’t work that way.
To my chagrin, I decided to go anyways. (I did take a shot of whiskey before I left). I get to Emporium; they had just opened ten minutes prior so I was the only person there. I sat at the bar and ordered two waters. I texted him, as he was supposed to be there already.
He walked in, or I should say stumbled in, and my face just goes dead pan. He’s nothing I imagined him to be. He was wearing overly baggy jeans, rhinestones included, accompanied with the funny walk to keep them on. We all know this certain walk. He’s wearing a silver chain link necklace and a matching bracelet to complete the look. His coat was two sizes too big and unzipped. To top it all off, he had a beanie that didn’t cover his whole head. If I had known this is what I was dealing with, I would have swiped left faster than someone call yell, “G-UNIT!”
He sat down at the bar and just stared at me. I can feel his gaze on the side of my face. “Look at you. Look. At. You. Damn. You are too cute.” I can feel myself growing embarrassed and I’m not sure how to respond back. I suggested ordering a beer to keep him from carrying on. He ordered two IPAs for us. I immediately interject and order another drink, as I don’t drink IPAs. “Look at you, being so independent. It’s hot.” No, sir. Me ordering for myself should be standard, not an added feature.
We go over to play pool and I joke that I’m going to kick his ass. “Nah, nah. You’ll see. Pool is my thing.” We played four games and I absolutely ruin him for all of them. “BULLSHIT. THIS IS BULLSHIT.” Every time I made a ball in, he would shout that. It was awful. The bartender knew exactly what was happening. I went back for another beer and he gives me this look of such pity. “On his tab, right?” “Oh yeah. Thanks.”
Before the last game, he went out for a cigarette and asked me to join. Normally I would but I was not having any of it. My body language was as distant as possible, and conversation was minimal. He had his ear piece in half the time. He went in for a kiss after he shot the 8 ball in on accident. The fact I stayed that long was the most shocking to me. He goes out for a smoke. I panic text every person I’ve ever known. He calls me. I pick up. “I can’t find the door.” You have got to be shitting me. This place has two entrances, both sides with giant glass windows. You literally cannot miss the doors. I looked over and he’s standing at the emergency exit, which is locked, about 10 feet from the real exit.
“Come let me in.”
“Use the main door.”
“Come let me in.”
“Use the main door.”
This went on about seven more times before I finally just hung up.
“Oh man, I couldn’t find the door! Ha ha!” Fucking idiot.
I mentally tell myself that after one more game, I’m out. Naturally, this game took forever. I had zero drive and he kept stumbling before he took his turn, like he had done all night. Finally, I won after what felt like a million years. I tell him that I’m going to head home.
“Can I come?”
“Alright, well, I’ll walk you out and have a smoke.”
We stepped outside. The moment he looks at me, I knew something was going to go so wrong.
“You have this aura about you. I just want to come clean with you. No lies, just straight truth. I just got out of rehab. Life has been a little rough for me.”
“Rehab? For your leg…?” (We couldn’t go bowling because he had surgery on his leg on July.)
“No, for my life. I’ve been clean for 42 days. Forty two days. It’s not been easy. I’m a heroin addict. I’m an addict. I’ve been addicted since I was thirteen.”
I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my face. I almost thought he was kidding to hide behind the fact that he showed up drunk to a date. Until he started to cry.
“For the first time, I don’t have to lie. I don’t have to lie to you. I don’t have to play that I have three cars or $900,000. I can be real with you and I love that about you. I’m so sorry for dropping this on you. But I want you to know everything.”
While I appreciated his honesty, I never wanted to run away faster in my life. But I couldn’t just jet. I had to diffuse the fact that a crying grown man, who was fresh out of rehab for less than a week, who thought it was a good next move to go on a date, was standing in front of me. He continued talking in the same circles about how he’s an honest man now. I gave him a hug.
“Thank you for your honesty. Text me when you get home, okay?”
And I left.
I wasn’t sure how to conclude this. With a warning? An uplifting moral? Well, you’re not getting one. I can warn you about online dating, or jumping to conclusions about someone. That is how dating is now: the fear of the unknown. Leap, who cares? He could be the ginger of your dreams, or a heroin addict. But you’ll never know until you take his drunk ass out on a date. You have play a lot of pool before you can make it in the hole.
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