It’s the worst way a first date can go without ending in murder or bad sex or some disturbing combination of the two. Who would have thought that an innocuous date with a stranger deemed statistically compatible to me by an unfeeling computer matrix could go so awry?
Since I am terminally cheap, I signed up with OkCupid — a free site that friends of mine had mentioned using before. A few pictures, a personality profile and one intensive series of questions later and I was in.
It started out harmlessly enough with plans for dinner at Olive Garden. I brought a key chain of mace just in case and was tempted to use it about three times.
It quickly descended into madness as my date interrogated me about my previous romantic history and expressed an irrational but incredibly passionate vendetta against nurses as he insisted that their jobs weren’t truly recession-proof.
When he asked about my job prospects, he told me that I should be in publishing despite having professed interests in other avenues and was particularly upset that I was thinking about leaving the country.
Things deteriorated from there as he focused on our collective future, which to him involved pumpkin picking, meeting the parents, camping in the summer and snuggling on the couch watching South Park. Despite my love of South Park, given the fact that I had only met him 15 minutes before, these plans seemed premature.
The food couldn’t come fast enough, and he couldn’t have eaten it more slowly. He was preoccupied with being jealous of the waiter, claiming the man had “ulterior motives” and was trying to steal me away from him, which was unfortunate since he “got there first.” I’m always glad to be treated like a commodity rather than a person.
As soon as dinner was cleared off the table I was ready to hightail it out of there, but he immediately ordered tiramisu and subsequently scolded me for not eating enough of it.
He was incredibly persistent about getting me to promise him a second date and maybe a lifetime commitment. While one-sidedly discussing our future he told me point-blank that even though his parents “fight like scorpions,” he wanted to get married.
He suggested that we go for a walk after dinner, despite the fact that it was pitch black outside and we were on Route 1, rendering this proposal suspect at best.
It took him 45 minutes to pay the bill, and he was rude and dismissive to the waiter in the meantime, while he regaled me with tales of his glory days in a fraternity during college and creepily stared at me.
While I figured out fairly early on in the evening that there wasn’t a love connection, when he revealed that he was a cat person, I felt my decision was affirmed. When we got up to leave and he took my leftovers, my suspicions were altogether vindicated.
I can’t complain too much since it was a memorable night and OkCupid is free. I guess you get what you pay for.
Features and Arts & Entertainment editor