In the wild world of dating, occasionally the wires get crossed.
Take the time I went to a concert on a double date. I used to hang out with Randy after work with our gang of friends. While we had never gone on a date, we were sort of seeing each other, due to the fact that we necked in the car every so often. This “seeing each other” status appeared to be confirmed when he showed up at my cubicle, flanked by our friend Paul, and asked if I wanted to go to a concert with them and another woman, Stacy. I accepted, and was pleased we were finally going on a date.
The night of the concert, we met at Stacy’s house, and we all drove into Boston together. At the concert hall, since we had two sets of two seats, naturally I paired off with Randy.
When we got back to Stacy’s house, I was expecting a goodnight kiss or something. But then Randy indicated toward Stacy’s house, and said, “I think I’m going to go in for a cup of coffee.”
Holy shit! I wasn’t on a date with Randy; Stacy was on a date with Randy, that cad. Was I on a date with Paul? Yikes. To add to the embarrassment, months later, I thought I heard Randy mutter something about “paying for tickets.” It would never have occurred to me to pay for the tickets; I wouldn’t have gone to that concert unless someone was taking me.
I can’t even turn the episode into a piece of advice. When someone says, “Would you like to come to a concert?” and you’ve kissed that person, isn’t it safe to assume he’s asking you on a date? I guess the only thing I learned from that was that making out with a guy in a car does not a boyfriend make, which, honestly, is a lesson I have not paid enough attention to.
On the other hand, I can trace the reason for what happened when I was 19 and working at the local television station. One of the high-profile creatives had been flirting with me, and I definitely had a crush on him.
He was quite a bit older—31—but at the time I had a thing for men in that age range. I suppose I found them more established and interesting. At an after-work party one night, he and I found ourselves at the bar, chatting and flirting. The event was held at a restaurant that featured a scenic bridge that overlooked a waterfall, and so he asked if I would like to go for a walk with him. I did.
After viewing the falls, we sat on the steps that led down from the bridge. Then he leaned in to kiss me. I kissed him back, but a question had been on my mind throughout the evening. I drew back and said, “You’re not married, are you?”
He blinked at me in surprise. “Of course. I’m wearing my wedding band in plain sight.”
I can now see the root of this misunderstanding. He felt he was communicating everything he needed to by wearing his ring. The problem was that it wouldn’t occur to a 19-year-old virgin to look for a wedding ring. It certainly didn’t occur to me, or I wouldn’t have asked the question.
But I think we both understood what happened next perfectly well. When I told him I had a problem with his being married, he told me that he was in an open marriage (oh yes he did!). He assured me that his wife could do what she wanted, and he could do what he wanted, but they still saw some point in being married.
Maybe I had just fallen off the turnip truck, as evidenced by my utter stupidity at having been in that situation to begin with, but I learn quick. What he was saying was, “I would say anything to get in your pants.” I’m sure we both knew this, though he was doing his damnedest to convince me he meant something different.
We parted company politely, and I don’t think I ever spoke with him again. I did learn a lesson, though: always check the ring finger. It was a sad lesson for a 19-year-old, but one that I’m sure prevented at least one or two future misunderstandings. With all the potential for confusion, every little bit counts.
Dating disaster? Advice? Please comment or send me your story!