It’s time for a dating update.
You may ask, “How can there be an update on something that hasn’t been happening?” And that’s a fair question, but it fails to account for what’s going on with the people who I am actively not dating – namely, this guy, who last week reminded me why I swore the whole thing off in the first place.
Maybe you remember him. He’s the one who took me on two dates, one of which he spent burning a porkchop and the other trying to justify why the police shouldn’t be contacted if a rape occurs on a college campus. The person who explained how to clean a wine decanter in painstaking detail, despite never asking him to do so. The one who realized I blocked his number, so he tracked down my corporate contact information from a press release and checked in with me at work.
Based on all that, I felt justified in declining to go on a third date. And I knew I made the right decision when he contacted me incessantly afterwards, even though I repeatedly asked him not to.
So I cut off all communication. I ignored his emails, blocked his number and deleted him from my social media networks – not that any of that stopped him from sitting next to me on a downtown 6 train and trying to start a conversation several months later.
One would think that the tirade I unleashed in that subway car would have made him think twice about so much as looking at me in the future, but apparently not.
Because last week, he spotted me crossing the street on the Upper East Side and did the unbelievable: He walked over, tapped me on the shoulder and said “Nova?! Hey!”, as casually as he would to a high school classmate or former coworker or, at the very least, someone who did not once tell him to, “Shut the hell up forever.”
“UGH!” I snarled as I stormed into the street. “SERIOUSLY?!?!?!”
I’d like to say that I didn’t even think about looking back, but, in fact, I was halfway up the block before remembering that this particular person played football in college, which means that he may not be the best person to provoke on a near-empty street… which, in turn, explains how I found myself hiding behind a rack of potato chips at a D’Agastino’s a few minutes later.
“Can I help you?” a clerk asked me, not unkindly. “We’re closing.”
“Oh sorry,” I blurted out as I arbitrarily grabbed a bag of potato chips. “I’ll be right out.”
And if that wasn’t enough for the closing crew of a grocery store to think I was strange, then the fact that I stuck my head out of the automatic doors and looked left and right and left again before scurrying along the side of the building and around the corner surely did.
But it was all for naught. Mr. Delusional was nowhere in sight, perhaps having moved on to other things that he’s been repeatedly warned not to do, like put aluminum foil in the microwave or burn candles for more than two continuous hours. Maybe he spent his subway ride home leaning on the car doors or entering the train before allowing the other passengers to leave.
Based on experience, one can only assume.
There are some people for whom no amount of friendly advice or gentle guidance will make a difference. You can explain your point of view once, plead with them to consider it a second time – practically yell it a third – and they will still do the opposite. On top of it all, they can’t understand why what they’re doing is so upsetting to you. (The fact that you explained that too matters not.)
This guy appears to fall into that group… and there’s nothing more to be done. So rather than stand on a street corner and beg him to improve his listening skills or review why he should not use the Internet to track down alternate contact information for someone he dated twice, I’ll just say that I hope he finds someone like-minded and leave it at that.
And I mean that sincerely. I hope he finds someone lovely and they live together in perfect harmony, forever burning their entrees and sharing their frighteningly narrow-minded social and political views late into the night. May they think back on all the people they previously dated and who publicly referred to them as “deeply offensive” and “woefully uninformed” and be happy to have finally found one another. May they never encounter a dirty wine decanter they can’t conquer together.
Meanwhile, I’ll happily live the single life. Coming home to an empty house isn’t always the best thing, but sometimes you’re reminded that it beats the alternative.
Especially when you’re walking in with a full bag of chips.