I’ve been told that I’m too nice.
“You’re so sweet, you’re always so polite”, friends coo at me and give me a little mental pat on the head, as if I were slightly addled from all the niceness.
For the record, “nice” isn’t a personality flaw. It doesn’t mean that I won’t kick your butt if you push me too far. It just means that I’ll say “excuse me” first. I’m also not always nice. I have my moments of bad behavior, sometimes hours of it and online dating has a way of occasionally letting my inner rude b**ch out.
My non-dating friends are amazed when I tell them that most online “relationships” last for a few emails, a phone call and one date. I tell them that there is a reason for this. These dates were meant to die a swift and merciful death. Nature intended this, but sometimes the damaged hatchling manages to avoid getting kicked out of the nest for an extra
I had been contacted by a man on Match.com a while back. He had a nice, if somewhat blurry photo posted. He was slim, dark haired and had a very slight, somewhat shy-looking smile on his face. He was a former grammar school teacher who had taken an early retirement package and now did private tutoring. Nice, I thought, seems like a possibility. We emailed once or twice and had a brief phone conversation during which we made plans for dinner.
What can I say? The food was good. Besides being thin to the point of emaciation (I am not a large or strong gal, but I could have easily taken him out in an arm wrestling match), what was left of his hair was thin and graying and he had a habit of talking a mile a minute, leading me to believe that he had the ability to breathe through his ears…because he sure wasn’t stopping the chatter long enough to draw oxygen through his mouth.
After dinner we walked to the parking lot and I was about to beat a hasty retreat when Mr. Chatterbox said “I read on your profile that you like classical music so why don’t we go into the City next week for a concert.” I’m not sure to this day why I said “Okay”. Perhaps it was because the previous hour and a half of disuse had caused a vocal short-circuit or maybe it’s because the word Okay is somewhat like a sigh, as in “OKAAAAAY, glad the date from hell is over!!” Whatever the reason, the deed was done and I drove home with a growing knot of regret in my stomach.
I had planned to call Mr. Chatterbox the next day to cancel the date but he beat me to the phone. He had gotten tickets, pricey tickets, to Lincoln Center. I am evil, I am mercenary, I am a horrible person who REALLY wanted to go to this particular concert…I said “great, sounds like a plan.”
Ah, but the universe punishes evil ones swiftly and with twisted humor…
He then proceeded to lecture me for 20 minutes on how to dress for the weather (It was January, in the middle of the deepest cold-snap of the season). Perhaps he thought I was one of his former grade-school students?
“Now Sharon, you must dress in layers and be certain to WEAR A HAT. We lose forty percent of our body heat through our heads, and….” on and on an on. In the four days between then and the concert he called me no less than five times to remind me that it was ten below and that I MUST wear a hat. By the time our concert date rolled around I was tempted to show up in a bathing suit – but it really was ten below.
He picked me up at my office and as I climbed into the car Mr. C. looked at me very seriously and said…”Now Sharon…do you have a HAT?” I am evil, but not vicious…I refrained from ramming said hat down his throat. In retrospect I probably should have though. Throughout the evening I listened to lectures on how to handle oneself when walking in the City (“Now Sharon, walk swiftly and with your head UP at all times….”), how to choose the right restaurant for a meal (“it’s all about price and ambiance. Do you know what the word ambiance means, Sharon?”), and the proper etiquette for attending a concert (“Now Sharon, there’s no need to rush to your seat, it’s reserved for you and no one will take it from you.”) I will give Mr. C. this, he didn’t speak during the concert. A concert about which I remember nothing, not a note, just the feeling of aural overload that was threatening to render me stone deaf.
When we mercifully returned to my office parking lot, I turned to Mr. C. with every intention of telling him that, despite the wonderful concert, I didn’t think that we were a good match. He began to talk over my words.
“Next week we could go to…”. I realized, in a panic, that he was planning our next date! Without a word, a goodnight peck on the cheek or a fond farewell, I leapt…no I jettisoned myself out of his car and into mine. I think I had my car started and moving before he realized that I was not in his passenger seat anymore.
Yes, it was rude and horrible and, looking back, I know I should have sucked up the panic and told him upfront that I didn’t want to see him anymore but, sometimes, I’m just not that nice.