Tears of a clown

I hinted at this one on Twitter the other day, and I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath for the full story. As I was sitting there making notes every time he went to the bathroom, I realized I hadn’t been on a date this epically bad in a really long time. I will try to do it justice, but I really wish you all could’ve been there with me — to mop up the tears. His. (Spoiler alert: I am not speaking figuratively.)

I was talking to Tearful Tom for a couple of weeks before we actually met up. When I incredulously recapped my evening to a friend, he asked if there were any red flags before the fateful date. There were, and I had ignored them. I referred to Tom as the ‘moustachioed hipster’ to my friends, despite the fact that I was unsure if he was, indeed, moustachioed. He had one of those curled-up-with-wax things in two of his pictures, and I didn’t ask if it was still around until the night before we met (it was). He kept pushing me to see if I liked it (I tried the, ‘It suits you,’ route to no avail), which is the facial hair equivalent of, ‘Does my ass look fat in these jeans?’ No, your ass makes your ass look fat, and your moustache makes me question your need for attention. Happy? He also brought up extremely personal information very early on. He mentioned a major surgery twice in the first day or two, and when he brought it up the third time, I asked what it was for if it wasn’t too invasive a question. He then proceeded to tell me about his testicular cancer. Listen, I don’t ask a question if I can’t handle the answer, but that seems a bit heavy a topic to squeeze in between, ‘What’s your favourite movie?’ I chalked it up to some people being more open than others and the fact that it is a big part of his life.

That being said, I almost cancelled the night before. He sent a pic of himself and made reference to his moustache, and then took a joke quite a distance over the line from flirty to sexual. I’m no prude, but years of dating have caused me to be pretty guarded with anyone who tries to push things in that direction sooner rather than later (especially if we haven’t even met). I called him out on it, and he apologized profusely. Then he said, ‘Aren’t you a Scorpio?’ Ugh. Gross. Really, guy? You’re going to use fucking astrology as a reason why I should be into your lame sexual innuendo? Yes, I know Scorpios are supposed to be slutty and mysterious and all that shit, but that might be the lamest defence I’ve ever heard.

So why did I end up going through with this? We were originally supposed to meet up the week my grandmother died and I went back home. He consistently (but not in a badgering way) messaged me the entire time I was there to check in on me and ask how my family and I were holding up. Maybe he caught me at a weird time, but I was willing to overlook a few rough edges.

So that brings us to the anticipated eve. I’m honestly a bit overwhelmed by everything that took place in such a small window, and I am bouncing between including every damn thing and just doing a highlight reel. I’m not usually one for brevity, so I’ll understand if this is a bit TL;DR for you. I was decidedly not the most excited as I was getting ready. We had planned to meet after work, and he finished early. He did not earn any points when he got a bit petulant over the fact that I was still at least an hour and a half away, since he went straight to the bar when he was done work. As I was hastily changing and slapping fresh makeup on, and I asked my mom if she wanted to drive up to Toronto and go in my stead. She did not. He continued to grumble via text about parking (pro tip: don’t drive down to the Distillery District in the middle of the holiday season) and I continued to feel less and less like going through with this date.

I did go (you’re welcome), and upon my arrival I was greeted by my very moustachioed, possibly-costumed (albeit very friendly and kind-faced) date. Mill Street was packed, so we just stayed at the bar. Things got a bit weird pretty early. He talked at me rather than with me. I think the easiest way to do this is with a list. I love lists. Things that were said over the course of the evening:

  • He mentioned he was in the army about once every seven minutes. It came up as a reason he can drink a lot, as a segue to his terrible childhood, and as the reason he is such a good worker (which could’ve been a separate drinking game).
  • Every six minutes, he told me he works in film. He is the hardest-working PA ever in the history of the planet, except when he’s sleeping in the truck or being hit on by all the men on set.
  • He’s stylish. The most stylish straight man anyone knows. This is reinforced by the fact that on sets everyone thinks he’s gay and they argue over this, because he’s too stylish to be straight. Actual words said by him.
  • He has access to high quality weed, which he resells. One such transaction took place in front of me.
  • ‘Teachers are just in it for the money.’ This got my blood boiling more than it perhaps should have, but some of my best friends are not just teachers, but amazing teachers who put everything into their jobs. When I used examples, he then said teachers are in it for the vacation days, and repeated, ‘Those who can’t do, teach,’ at me a bunch of times because that’s what they say in the army.
  • ‘T-rex was a vegetarian.’ This came up during a discussion of the new Jurassic Park trailer, which was also more of an argument than it should’ve been. When I countered with the size of T-rex’s teeth, he corrected himself to say he meant scavenger. This may have also been where the conversation turned to my vegetarianism and he demanded I decide which is more important, humans or animals.
  • Speaking of food, I ordered fries and talked up the amazing lager aioli. He replied that he eats ketchup because he’s Canadian. I didn’t realize that was on the citizenship test.
  • ‘I have never read a book.’ WUT?

The next part cannot be contained by mere bullet points. Somehow (I honestly don’t remember how), politics came into the picture. He said he hadn’t voted in six years, and therefore wouldn’t complain about anything, other than to say all politicians are terrible. I said that I didn’t believe that, and the only way to create change is to engage the (admittedly flawed) system. He then went on a tangent about conservative and liberal mayors. I tried to explain that municipal politics are not included in the same party system as provincial and federal, but he stopped me with this gem: I don’t follow politics, I know what I read on Facebook, and Ford seemed to do okay. I stated that I could counter Ford’s numbers with actual reports from city hall, and that Ford is a racist homophobe (perhaps I could’ve been a bit more restrained given this was a first date). He said, and I quote: If he says Chinese people have chink eyes, he’s not a racist. He’s telling the truth. People can say stuff like that about white people too.

It was at this point that a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure scenario went through my mind. I could either choke down my words, plop down some cash to cover my drinks, and leave this buffoon right then and there, or I could engage. While I’m getting better at not feeding the trolls online, I clearly have some work to do IRL, because I stayed. I doubt I changed his mind, but he could see I was getting heated so he slightly redirected the subject by saying we shouldn’t talk about politics because they don’t do any good anyway. ‘All politicians just do it for the money.’  He then said he wants to be the change he sees in the world, and he should just become a politician and give his $130K a year to charity. I told him politicians can do more from inside the system, and if he wanted to work just to donate, a better job choice would be a professional athlete. He then repeated that he wants to be the change, that he wants to make the world a better place, and he began to get heated. I had reached some weird zen place, and calmly asked him what he meant by better. I said better to some means access to clean drinking water, while to others it means an Audi in the driveway. He looked at me like I was speaking another language, repeated the lines about change and better, and then stated that he is the only good person he knows.

I (still calm) looked him square in the eye and said I see good things happen everywhere. I used my sister and my teacher friends and other amazing friends I know who bring comfort to less fortunate people every single day when they go to work as examples, and then shit got weird. Really weird. He teared up. He said again that he’s the only good person, and he’s the only person who ever does those things. I again said I see it all the time, and maybe he’s not looking hard enough. However, since I was now on a date with a grown man who was crying at the bar, I didn’t push. After some silence, he repeated that people don’t do good things on a daily basis, except him.  I asked what good things he did, and he said he’s a hard worker. Since my earlier examples fell on deaf ears, I tried using one of my own. I said I am not vegetarian because I don’t like the taste of meat, I do it because it’s one tiny way I can make a difference. I also said I know I’m not special and that thousands of people are making decisions like that every single day and that I think people are inherently good (sidebar: I have not felt this optimistic in a long time, so that was a nice bonus from this shitshow).

After more rehashing (and more tears), the bartender finally picked up on my telepathy and brought us the bill. We left to find a relatively empty Distillery, and he said that’s one reason he hates this ‘shitty city,’ because in New York there would be people here no matter the time. It was right about there I hit my limit. You can spew bullshit about all manner of things, but you cannot talk about my boyfriend city like that. He waxed poetic about NYC as the city that never sleeps, saying that there are only ‘a few more’ people there than here (despite me pointing out that eight million is more than a fucking few) and the streets should always be busy. I told him people overly romanticize New York and Manhattan was just as empty at 3am on a weeknight as Yonge and Dundas. Luckily, as I was thisclose to telling him to just shut the fuck up already, we reached the taxi stand. He offered to drive me home, but I thought it best for his safety I just hop in a cab.

I proceeded to call a friend and word vomit all of this at her, as I was still trying to figure out what the fuck had just happened. It took me almost a week (and 2,000) words to get it written down, and to be honest, I’m still reeling. I need a stiff drink.


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