I had an experience this week that could only be described as a classic reminder to trust my instincts. It started Thursday with a message I got on my preferred free dating site from someone I’ll call “Frank.”
One gets many messages on these online dating sites. By far the most common message is “hi” or some other, completely bland variant. The next most common is the explicit overture from a creeper. Most of these messages are easily ignored.
Frank’s message was a little different in that its enthusiasm seemed to target, like, my mind. The eager, urgent dudes usually don’t care about much that’s north of your boobs.
The urgency gave me pause, but I engaged in conversation a little. I figured if he thought I was “badass” and “nerdasaurus,” he must think we’d have things to talk about.
After a while, I figured out he’s a friend of a friend. My friend vouched for him that though she hadn’t seen him in years, he was nice, and he wouldn’t murder me.
So what the hell. I decided to meet him that afternoon. I wouldn’t normally meet someone within hours of first talking to them, but I wouldn’t have much chance to meet him before he left again, because this was to be a kid weekend. Besides, my friend’s vote of confidence filled in some of the gaps I’d normally fill with a couple of days of chatting. I like my friend; she likes this guy; why not?
We met, we talked for an hour and a half, and everything seemed kosher. We talked about food and children and the places we’ve lived and the jobs we’ve had–typical stuff. After we parted ways, we continued to text on Friday and Saturday, with more of the same sort of getting-to-know-you-style topics.
“What are you doing this weekend?”
“I went to a cheese farm!”
“I like cooking Mexican food.”
“Just watched the Lego Movie.”
I maybe should have known things were a little not-quite-right when this exchange happened Saturday afternoon:
Hold your horses there, cowboy. For one thing, I have no idea how “into me” you are. If you’re asking me that, it’s probably a lot. But for another thing, how can you be all that into me when we barely know each other?
Being a southern American woman, conditioned not to want to hurt people’s feelings, I acknowledged that I don’t know him very well but that I’d like to know him better. And at this point, I did. I liked talking to him well enough, and we had plans to get together again Monday evening when I’d be sans children again.
Plus, let’s be real. It’s totally an ego boost to be called a badass and to be told someone’s into you. I mean, “badass” is the specific word I use when describing what I aspire to be right now!
A couple of hours after this exchange, though, things really went off the rails. Frank asked if he could see me Sunday, ahead of our Monday plans. I said I could possibly ask my sister to watch Poppy and Ace after church. They’d enjoy playing with their cousins, and maybe Frank and I could get lunch.
So I texted my sister, my sister said sure, and I tried to get a time frame lined up with Frank. But Frank’s texts had become difficult to understand, with lots of typos. I had to ask him for clarification several times.
And then… this.
Huh? I thought we were talking about going to lunch. After CHURCH. While my sister watches my children.
“Ugh no!!!! Definitely not!” Except, yes, and then we can talk after.
“Sorry I was a total perv just then. Blame my buddy! He’s a bad influence!”
Then the hurling away of the hot potato of personal responsibility got more intense.
So he’s apologizing for running his mouth… and then suddenly it dawns on him. He can tell me he didn’t write any of it! His asshole friends wrote it all!
See, he wasn’t even AWAKE when that was happening!
Then the desperate backpedaling began…
“My friends are mean! And anyway, you went cheese shopping! And you like indie movies! And other stuff we talked about when I was sober–I mean, before my friends got my phone!”
Wait a second. Is he pissed off? What the fuck?
Ooh, he has a sad. I see.
Just to recap, here’s what happened:
- Frank and I make plans to meet for the next day.
- Frank gets shitfaced and reveals he’s really hoping to get some of this.
- I decide I don’t want to get roofied or raped.
- Frank tries to convince me he didn’t say any of the shit he said.
- I question this.
- Frank gets mad that I’m questioning this.
- Frank tries to appeal to my softer side by saying he has hurt feelers.
My friend and I discussed this. She asked, and I wondered very briefly, if it was possible someone really did get ahold of his phone and message me all that crap just to be an idiot. After all, who says that kind of stuff? Who just puts it out there like that?
Well. I can tell you who: lots of guys out there on the dating sites. Frank’s not the only one. There are tons of weirdos out there. These guys are real people, presumably with jobs, whom you might work alongside, or whom you might pass on the grocery store aisle. Real, live people who think it’s acceptable to say the most outlandish things to women online.
Like this guy:
Or this guy:
This guy (whose messages went on and on, but you get the idea from what I’ve left here):
And my personal favorite from the files of aggressive perversity:
They aren’t all like this. But those who are really stand out.
So, lesson learned: when someone seems too obviously, urgently eager, even if it’s just about my obviously brilliant brain… it’s probably not going to end well. Eager is eager, crazy is crazy, and apparently, eager is also crazy.