Date #9 was the date I went on before I got dumped. He asked to meet me for coffee at the Starbucks by my apartment.
I breezed through the doorway. I had walked there and I was a few minutes late.
"Hey," waved a man in the corner.
I had blown right by him. Normally I'm a champ at matching someone's picture to the actual person, but this time I failed miserably. I looked at him, puzzled. Clearly he wasn't here to meet me.
"I know, I shaved," he said.
Noooo, that wasn't it. The reason I didn't recognize him wasn't because Date #9 had shaved off his beard. It was because he was about five inches shorter than he said he was in his profile and his hairline was about three inches further back. And I'm being kind in overlooking the fact he had to be at least 30 pounds heavier. I was victim of the old bait and switch.
He paid for my small coffee "because that's how [he] roll[s]," and we walked upstairs to the seating area. I resumed the date, trying to ignore the fact he misrepresented himself and reminded me of the Gingerbread Man. I have a step-brother who is smaller than me with a hairline that's about three inches back, and he's a kind and generous person. I wanted to give this guy a shot. He has a nice smile, even though his teeth are really tiny, and he has an expressive face.
But the conversation kept circling on how down he is on society. He went to a private high school and told me how much better and more well-rounded he was than his classmates. He was also offended I had grown up in the area and had never heard of his private high school, but of all of the surrounding ones. And why are we spending this much time talking about high school? You know who talks about high school? People who don't go to college.
We talked about work. He used to be in radio before he quit to start his post-baccalaureate pre-med program. Now he's part-timing at some foam manufacturer that makes sex toys. I try to hang in there, revealing that in college I worked at an inbound telemarketing company and I sometimes handled the customer-service calls for those herbal supplement sex aids offered in the back of a magazine.
Then, I can't figure out the transition, but he starts ripping on high-functioning autistic people, which segues into how he had a psychiatrist—not a therapist, but a psychiatrist—because he had a clinical onset of depression at a pre-pubescent age. And now we've full circled back to high school because when everyone else became angsty teenagers who listened to Korn and Nine Inch Nails, he felt like he couldn't conform and listen to the same music because his depression was so much more profound than theirs.
I uncrossed my legs and stood up. "Welp! Look at the time! I gotta go to Walmart and pick up my drugs before it closes."
"Drugs?" he said, LIKE I'M THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEMS. "Ha, I don't even know how we got on that conversation."