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The Online Dating Chronicles
Episode 5 — Debbie
Episode 5 — Debbie
I wasn’t really in the mood to date; I just felt I should. Ya know?
There were two reasons:
I was in a new city and figured it would be a way to meet people.
I worked from home, so my exposure to other people was pretty restricted. So, once again, I gave the ol’ dating application thing another go.
After a few conversations that fell into the dating app abyss, I had a conversation with a woman who stuck. Her name was Debbie.
A quick note about that conversational app abyss — I don’t consider myself a lousy conversationalist, but I’ve also never been referred to as “chatty.” But the fact that so many conversations simply die on dating apps is still something that confounds me.
It’s not as though I take that stuff too personally because these women don’t know me, so it would be unreasonable to think I was entirely to blame. But who knows, maybe I used the wrong emoji — I suppose an eggplant and water drops may not be the best way to say hello. ;)
Back to Debbie — we had some common interests. She had worked at a company I had done some work at recently, so there was that. And she also knew my ex. They had worked together.
Not surprising because almost anyone in my ex’s industry has heard of her, if not known her. She works in a high-profile industry and has a huge personality. The type that sucks the oxygen out of a room when she enters.
After a bit of back and forth and a big old red flag I ignored (a story for another time), Debbie and I decided to meet for lunch at a burger place downtown.
As she walked up to meet me, it occurred to me that, for once, the profile photos were almost entirely accurate. However, the photos on the app were from the waist up. That’s not to say there was anything abnormal from the waist down.
Debbie was attractive, even if I felt a middle-aged mother with cherry Kool-Aid colored hair a bit peculiar. I’m not going to armchair psychoanalyze that. However, I will say that there is something sexy and attractive about a woman wearing her age with pride.
Anyway, we approached the place at the same time and smiled as we walked towards each other. I opened the door for Debbie because I am a little old-fashioned. The hostess took us to a table and we sat down and took a look at the menu. We decided to order a beer first.
Look, I won’t pretend to understand this whole beer craze. I like Guinness and Rolling Rock, pretty simple. However, this is the type of joint that had all kinds of micro-brewery products. You know a place like this, it has beers with names like “Snake Breath IPA,” and “Hollow Tree Lager,” and “Bear Sh*t Stout” (all made up names — I think …I hope). Furthermore, and this is probably a sign of my age, why do I need to know the alcohol content of the beer I am drinking?
Here is a solid rule about drinking, and it’s the personal rule of a retired ex-state trooper. Presuming you are a reasonable social drinker — never, ever, have more drinks than the number of wheels on the vehicle you’re driving:
Motorcycle — two drinks
Car — four drinks
Leave 18-wheelers out of the discussion.
Since I was on my motorcycle, regardless of alcohol content, I was having two beers. I think I opted for the “Witches Brass Bra Lager” or something.
I forget what Debbie ordered but recall receiving a five-minute briefing on the brewery.
[Fun Fact: When I get bored in a conversation, I like to default to my stand-by boredom killer — reciting the lyrics to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”]
We ate, we chatted, and it was pretty nice. But again, no spark for me. Of the few dates I ever netted from an app, I only felt sparks, real sparks, once. Someday I’ll write about that one. Maybe.
So we ate the burgers, which were very good, and called it a day. As Debbie and I walked out, we hugged and agreed to meet again. And this time, I felt like I meant it. No spark, but we did have a few laughs and some things in common besides my ex-girlfriend.
We continued to text over the next couple of days. Debbie invited me to play on her trivia team because they were one short for an upcoming game. Now, I am a wealth of useless knowledge; and for some stupid reason, the fact that I know a lot of dumb shit is misconstrued as “intelligence.”
I’m not dumb, but the fact that I know the lyrics to “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” verbatim, or who Vic Tayback and Douglas Sirk are, does not mean I am a member of MENSA. It just means that my brain space is full of that shit like that as opposed to knowing how to tell the difference between a zucchini and a cucumber.
Suffice it to say; I passed on the invitation.
That summer, I was pretty busy with work and traveling a lot. Although we stayed in touch, it would be a few weeks before we met again.
When we did, it was at some dive bar attempting to present itself as a ”restaurant.” Debbie kept telling me that she was friends with the “chef.” I use the quotes because the menu was pretty much simple fried food and, truthfully, I could’ve qualified as the “chef” — and I can’t cook so good.
Anyways, by the time I met her at this place, she already had a beer — probably something like a “Frog Leg’s Ale” or some shit. So when I ordered my beer, I started a tab. It’s worth pointing out that this was only our second face-to-face date.
We chatted, and Debbie introduced me to this “chef” who, it just so happened as I met her, was barking out specific directions on how to make a BLT. I’ll let that one marinate.
We chatted, and it was nice enough. Still no spark, but nice. But here’s where I got a little cranky — judge me if you must.
I’ll recap — she was there first, had a beer, presumably on her tab. When she ordered her second beer, the bartender asked her: “Whose tab should I put this on?”
Debbie didn’t even pause long enough for me to offer; she just pointed to me, saying: “His.”
I was stunned at first, then put out, and finally thankful we weren’t at a steak house.
And it’s not like a five-dollar pint of “Dog Snot Lager” or whatever was going to break me. I just found that behavior super presumptuous. And honestly, I spent the next 90 minutes of that “date” marginally paying attention while I wrestled with why Debbie felt compelled to do that.
Of course, I would’ve picked up the tab, for real. I think Debbie must’ve suspected that and figured it was a safe move. I had not even kissed this woman. IT WAS THE SECOND DATE!
Suffice it to say; I didn’t stick around too much longer before calling it a night. I had to bail before she went full-blown Chuck Bukowski and started buying drinks for everyone on my tab.
We stayed in touch, but I was still traveling a lot. Debbie and I would get together one other time. Aside from zero chemistry, the red flag I had now acknowledged, and the beer incident, I had started to date someone — not met on an app — that I liked (we had not yet had the exclusive discussion, fwiw).
Once again, Debbie was a nice enough woman, probably still is, just not the right person for me.
Seriously though, let me know — am I wrong in thinking it was presumptuous to toss the beer on my tab? On the second date?
**In case you’re curious, the situations are real, the names have been changed.**