In honor of Valentine’s Day on Saturday, I thought I would re-post this entry from my blog about my worst Valentine’s Day experience. It’s long but well worth the read, in my humble opinion (and if you disagree, I don’t want to know about it).
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I thought that some of you anti-Valentine’s people could use a little humor, so I am going to share the worst Valentine’s Day experience I’ve ever had. It just so happens that this experience occurred just last year, and the only reason I didn’t share it at the time is because the guy read my blog. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t read it now, though, so I feel safe in telling this story. All parts of this story are completely true, unfortunately. Guys: let this be a lesson on how not to conduct a date. Girls: if you find yourself in a similar situation, try to be kind. Some guys just need more help than others.
I don’t know if I ever really broadcasted this information on my blog, but I tried eHarmony last year for quite a while, and I went on quite a few dates (I called that school year the year of boys). I had been emailing this one guy, we’ll call him Jim, for a few weeks, and he was funny and sweet in his emails, so I was a little interested. Then he called me a few times, and while it was pretty awkward, I chalked it up to nerves and hoped he would improve over time. He asked me out for our first date on Valentine’s Day, and while I was definitely a little hesitant to have a first date with someone on the most romantic day of the year (supposedly), I felt bad saying no, so I said yes. Mistake number one.
So that night (a Tuesday), he came and picked me up, and he was really sweet, really cute, and he brought me roses and Godiva chocolates. A little much for a first date, but it was sweet. Then we get in the car, and it’s kind of silent so I ask him what kind of music he likes. He replied with, “I don’t really listen to music that much.” What?! I insisted that he must have some sort of favorite, but he just said he listens to “whatever’s on the radio.” That’s when I knew this wasn’t going to go well. Our dinner reservations weren’t until 9:30 or something crazy like that because that was the earliest reservation he could get, so we went to see Nanny McPhee first (which was really cute), and that was okay because it was a movie and we didn’t have to actually communicate. Then we went to the place where he’d made dinner reservations, which turned out to be this pretty fancy place with “mood lighting” and a very intimate environment. Apparently one of his friends told him he should try it, but he’d never been there before. Everything on the menu was pretty much $18.95 and up, so I got a hamburger because it was only $12.95 (I think I should have ordered prime rib).
I wish I could tell you that the romantic environment was the perfect compliment to our date, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Turns out Jim’s awkwardness on the phone was only a foreshadowing of the awkwardness I experienced with him in person. No matter what I did, Jim just couldn’t carry on a conversation. I’d ask him a question, he’d answer, and then there’d be this awkward silence until I thought of something else to ask him. When I told him he could feel free to ask me something, he asked, “What do you want me to ask?” (Again, I’d like to remind you that this is all true.) Later I asked him to tell me something about himself that I didn’t know, he sat there in silence, thinking, and then said, “I don’t do well with hard questions.” Since when is asking someone about themselves a hard question?? I couldn’t believe any guy could be that socially inept, but poor Jim was. The end of the night couldn’t come soon enough. After the (very long) dinner, he took me home, walked me to my door, and we said goodbye. I thought for sure that was it. No way could he think that went well.
I’m so naive.
The next day, not even twenty-four hours later, he called and asked me out again. I was so shocked I just kind of sat there for a second. I told him, as nicely as I could, that I didn’t really see things going anywhere with us. He said he understood, thanked me, and we hung up.
But that wasn’t the end. Later that day I got an email from him. In it, he thanked me again for my honesty and then asked what was wrong with him. Apparently he’s only been on two dates in his entire life (he was 26 at the time),and ours was the better of the two. He wanted to know if there was some huge defect in his character that he needed to know about, or if he was just a lost cause. He even asked if it was because he wore a brown belt with black shoes because he knew that was wrong but couldn’t find his black belt. (I kid you not, he really said that. That was probably the cutest part of the email.) After trying to figure out how in the world to tell him nicely that he has no social skills, I wrote him and explained that I felt like I had to work too hard on the date, that he didn’t really try to get to know me, and that I was exhausted with having to carry the whole evening. So he wrote me back, thanked me some more, and said he understood everything I said and would I be willing to give him a second chance. Jim’s persistent, I’ll give him that. But I told him no. And I guess it’s a good thing I did, since now I have Stephen, and we have no problem carrying on a conversation!
Jim, if you’re out there reading this, I hope this Valentine’s Day goes better for you. And if there are other guys like Jim out there, know that there are worse things to fear than a date with a girl. Just be yourself, act interested, and talk! That’s pretty much all there is to it.
Can anyone top that story? I’d love to hear more Valentine’s Day horror stories. Or, some really sweet Valentine’s Day stories.
(originally published February 14, 2007)