Friday, September 7, 2007

Why I'm no longer sure I want to be a Buddhist

If there was ever a time I would have wished for a camera crew to follow me around on a date, documenting the sheer horror and insanity, last night would have been the night. This date was ripe for thought bubbles popping out of my head, filled with sarcastic remarks, question marks, and WTF????'s.

Have you ever met someone who is like a caricature? Of himself? This guy I met, Greg, it's like he exists in another dimension, and it bears a passing resemblance to this one, only in his world everything is cartoonish and freakishly out of proportion. I'm not just talking about his appearance, although, yes, let's start with his appearance. First of all, he's 6'7", a giant of a man, and I suppose he could be considered handsome in a way that I don't particularly consider handsome, but apparently a lot of other women do. He looks almost like a Disney cartoon; the broad shoulders, the large jaw...yes, that's it, he looks like Gaston. He's a real, live, three-dimensional, boasting, swaggering Gaston, from Beauty and the Beast. And I'm the sensible, bookwormish Belle.

We met, and he started talking, and didn't stop for the next two hours. His discourse was full of posturing and pseudo-intellectual blather. He, supposedly, is a Buddhist, and lives by the five precepts. Though I wanted to believe him, after conducting a thorough search, I was unable to find any remotely buddha-like qualities in him. Instead, what I got, was this:

"Hey, hey, turn around, look at that woman behind you."

"Umm, I really don't want to..."

"The one reading a book, right behind you. Just look."

"I really don't...fine."

"When I got here, at first I thought she was you, so I called you, and man was I glad when her phone didn't start ringing!"

Then, a few minutes later:

"Hey, look at that woman's earrings over there!"

"I really can't, it's just rude."

"Here, use this." (Holding up his shiny black motorcycle helmet to my face as a sort of really ineffectual mirror).

"Yeah, that's, um....all I see is myself. Let's just change the...So, uh, have you ever done yoga?"

"Yeah, I dated a model once, and she showed me some stuff. I didn't really like it though."

"Oh, that's too bad. Maybe you should try a class sometime, you might like it in a different context."

"Well, I'll tell you the truth. I don't want to take a yoga class in (name of suburban town), because I want to take a class with women like you in it. You know? Not like middle-aged housewives."

"Uhh...well, huh, thanks? I mean, I really think that that's not the point of yoga though...Maybe we should talk about something else..."

"Sure. So, do you like to write?"

"Yeah, actually. I do."

"What do you like to write?"

"Actually, I, heh, just started a blog."

"Well I'll have to read it sometime."

"Yeah...maybe...So, what about you?"

"Yeah, I'm actually working on a novel. It's a mythological epic."

"Wow, that sounds...ambitious."

"Yeah, it's going to be awesome. Like Lord of the Rings. But better."

"So, wow."

"I actually wrote a book already. It's questions."


"Yeah, like, two questions per page. Apparently it's become kind of an underground phenomenon."

"Really? Like, what kind of questions?"

"Well, philosophical questions. I really wanted to write a philosophy book without arguing with anyone, so I wrote questions. Like, for instance, here's one: Wouldn't anything bigger than a ship have to be wicked broken to work?"

"Umm, I...uh huh?"

"See, I paid homage to my northeastern roots there with the wicked. You like it? Ok, here's another one: Can you predict the future? And most people would say no, right? And here's the next question: Do you think you're going to wake up tomorrow? You see? So, it really is possible to predict the future, you just have to start with small things, like that."

"Wow. Questions, huh? I'll have to look for that."

"Oh, it hasn't been published."

"Gee, really?"

At this point we finished drinking our tea, and he suggested going to get some pizza. As I had not eaten in preparation for our date at a Moroccan restaurant, I was starving, and while I had been looking forward to a falafel, at that point, anything would do. "Pizza sounds good," I said, relieved that at least we would be eating something. He stood up, and I mentioned we should probably take care of the bill here first. "Nah, we can just walk out," he said. I laughed nervously. "No, you're right," he said. He walked over to the balcony overlooking the first floor, and started yelling down. Loudly. "Hello? Excuse me? Excuse me? Hello! Man, she's not looking up far enough," he complained.

"It's ok, I can go down," I said quickly.

"No, it's ok, I can go," he said, heading for the stairs. He walked across the room, reached the top of the stairs, and then turned around and came back, sat down. "Actually, yeah, you can go. Thanks for offering."

"Umm, ok?" I said, baffled. You have got to me be kidding me, I thought, as I squeezed and inched my way between chairs and tables and went down the stairs. As if that wasn't enough, then we went dutch on a $6 tab. I never, ever expect a guy to pay for me on a date, but dude, my tea was $2.50, and I had been personally offended at least three times in the last hour. At least offer to pay for my tea.

The pizza place was closed, so we went to a burrito joint, where in his defense, he at least paid for my quesadilla. (Quesadilla of doom! Dooooom!)

"I'm surprised you got sour cream," he said.

"Why is that?"

"Oh, I don't know...I don't know anyone who likes sour cream."

"That's funny, everyone I know likes sour cream."

(Doom! Sour cream of dooooom!)

"I guess I don't like it because it's like mayonnaise. I don't like mayonnaise either."

"But, it's not really at all like mayonnaise."

"Yes it is."

"But, no, they're completely different. One is eggs and oil, one comes from a cow...Totally different animals."

"Yes, but they're both white. And you put them on stuff."

"Ok, well I guess if you look at it like that. Sure, why not."

"So have you had any really disastrous Match dates?"

"Oh, haha. Heh, yeah, umm...."

Since he was already up to date with the proceedings of our own rendez-vous, I instead told him about the tin foil guy and the gum guy. Breezy, light-hearted anecdotes, not too much detail, just the punchlines. Then I turned the question back to him. He told me about the time he met a girl online, and she didn't have a picture. But she told him about all the sports she did, how she ran, swam, biked. What great shape she was in. How good she looked. They e-mailed back and forth, and the e-mails got longer and longer. They im-ed, talked on the phone, and finally arranged to meet at a location that was about 45 minutes away from both of them. When he got there, he discovered she had lied to him. Lied! Because she did not look good! I mean, her face was pretty and all, and she had nice hair, but her body! It was not good. And he said he couldn't believe she had made him drive 45 minutes to meet her, I mean, what a waste of time.

"So, should we go for a walk?" he said.

"Yeah, let's do that," I agreed, thinking being outside was one step closer to being home. We started off, and he immediately jumped to the other side of me, to walk between me and the street. We started talking about the reasoning behind that, why the guy is "supposed" to walk on the outside of the woman. I said that I thought it started hundreds of years ago, when people used to throw the contents of their chamber pots out their windows. The man would take the brunt of that unfortunate accident while the woman would stay dainty and clean.

"You know why I do it?" he asked. "In New York City, the number one cause of death is from falling air conditioners."

"Oh, really?"

"Yeah, so if I walk on the outside, I don't have to worry about being creamed by a falling air conditioner, and meanwhile, I still get to look like a great guy."

"Uh...huh. That's, um...yeah. So."

It was about this time that things started to go very badly. Something very wrong was happening in my body. Yes! The Quesadilla of Doom! Damn you, Quesadilla of Doom!!!!

We were walking in the direction of where he had parked, so he could show me his bike. We passed a couple other bikes on the way, and he started explaning them to me. "Do you know anything about engines?" he said. I mutely shook my head no, and he launched into a long, rambling explanation of pistons and shafts and compression, and now that I think about it, it all could have been very sexual, but at the time it really wasn't. Meanwhile, we kept walking further and further in exactly the opposite direction of my home, and my situation was becoming more and more dire. He showed no signs of slowing in his explanation of the inner workings of the motorcycle, however the only thing I was concerned with at the moment was the inner workings of my failing digestive system. I had no choice but to interrupt him, mid-sentence, and blurt out, "I have to go! I'm really not feeling well...I'm sorry."

"Oh geez, I'm sorry," he said. "Yeah, you should go home. I hope you feel better. Here...," and he kissed my forehead.

"I really am sorry," I said, feeling like a complete jerk. I knew it probably looked like I was running away and making up excuses.

"," he said, and this time he kissed me on the lips. It was short, sweet, and quite frankly, I could have done with a bit more of that. Unfortunately the circumstances were not allowing anything of the kind. I started out on the long walk home, cursing my luck. I listened to this guy talk for over two hours, only to get cut short right before the good part! I need closure, I thought, I need a real kiss!! Dammit, that's probably the only thing this guy is good for. He's tall, big enough to provide that kind of warm safety that I crave, and confident enough to actually put his arm around me, touch me, and kiss me without that nervous, will-he-or-won't-he dance that so many other guys do. He'd be just about perfect, if he just wouldn't ever open his mouth.

Dammit, now I want to see him again! If only I could have had a proper ending to that date, I could be done with him right now. Instead I feel the need for a do-over. I just need an end. Which means I would have to go through the beginning and middle again too, which kind of makes me feel queasy all over again.

I somehow doubt I'll be getting a call from him, though. Because for some reason our society doesn't think women with stomach ailments are "sexy." I can't imagine why. But hey, he's a Buddhist. He doesn't go for that shallow, superficial stuff. I'm sure I'll be hearing from him soon. Any day now.


  1. I'm impressed that you've gotten to the meeting stage with so many people. You obviously are less picky than I am, perhaps more open-minded, and certainly a tad less demented. For example, I've found a perfectly nice guy, seems to be an incredibly good match, lots of shared interests, not bad looking. He's even sent smart and interesting messages. His name: Vinnie. Ouch. I might not write back.

  2. No more Gastons! Only Beasts! I mean, well... you know.

  3. Oh my god, date from hell!!!

    Makes for a funny story though. I had a good laugh at least. Ahem.