My mistake with John was to suggest we meet for the first time at the beloved Austin institution, Barton Springs Swimming Hole. You have to grant me forgiveness, for at this point I was relatively inexperienced in dating strangers and didn’t realize the implications of being half-clothed with someone the first time you meet them. I know, I know.
So—being a dating novice—I was actually surprised when he pointed out that it was great I suggested swimming as now he would know what my body would be like naked. Then he told me I should know up front about his ‘deal breakers’.
- His 12 year old son, who lives in another state, who he never sees and who he described as a mistake. “Don’t worry,” he said, “I pay child support.” Oh, okay. Good?
- He has had a vasectomy. Interesting first date chit chat (within, like, the first 12 minutes).
Conversation was incredibly stilted (and we are in swimsuits…ahhh! so awkward!). He was hard to engage but was passionate about cars. We had a fun conversation on this topic, but he did say (FORLORNLY) in reference to the cost of children that he could have had a Ferrari and not lived in an apartment if he only he hadn’t had a son. When he asked, I told him my ‘dream car’. He asked, “why the four doors? Do you want kids?” Because if I did, he said, despite the vasectomy, he would “be willing for me to get pregnant by another man and he would raise the child with me.”
At this point, I was just wishing I had a tape recorder because I wasn’t sure if anyone would be able to wrap their brains around all the glorious things he was saying.
He frequently prefaced conversations with ‘I read on the internet’. One such reference was in the context of his disappointment that no one at Barton Springs was topless, as he had read (on the internet) that oftentimes people go nude there.
He said, “I don’t care what the woman looks like, if she is fat, old, I just want to see some breasts today.”
And then he said, “I guess your top isn’t removable?”
He quickly followed this with a comment about how he had poor bowel control.
I said, “you know, I think you view yourself as being boldly honest, when in reality it is just that you don’t have a filter.”
He was very willing to hear this, wanted to learn about how to date. He told me it had been his personal project to practice empathy the last two years, because he “doesn’t really care about other people but realizes it is important to listen to what they say.”
After about an hour I shut it down and said good luck with the ladies. He said he would like to see me again. hmmmmm. I told him No. He only tried to contact me once after that.
And that, my friends, was my introduction to internet dating in 2013. I learned right away: never propose a partially dressed activity for a first date, always schedule a five-minute phone call prior to see if you’re compatible, and above all else dating requires more than a little levity.