Last month, I read the profile of a guy on my dating website and was intrigued. The tagline on his profile was, “Do you like to laugh?” Well….yes I do! A sense of humor is very important to me! I went on to read more and found that he seemed intelligent and we shared a lot of interests – so I messaged him (because I am a modern girl who doesn’t just sit around waiting for a guy to message me). We’ll call this fellow, “The Joker.”
The Joker responded with witty banter and some serious questions about my current situation, which I actually appreciated. It seemed to indicate that he wasn’t just looking for a booty call and truly wanted to know more about me. I answered his questions honestly and he gave me his number and asked for mine, stating that he always liked speaking to someone before meeting them in person.
While I was even more intrigued that The Joker asked me to “ring” him and signed off on the message with “Cheers!” (was he British? Did he have a sexy accent??), the fact that he wanted my number made me pause. I don’t like to give out my number to strangers – especially to strangers from a dating website, that I may never meet, or that I might meet and then find out they are certifiably crazy. Last time I did that, it did not go well! I mentioned this to my therapist and she told me about Google Talk – explaining it was a free service that would give me a phone number that I could connect to my real number so that calls and texts came through – but the other party never had access to my private number. I had never heard about this before (although apparently it’s been around for years – I may be a modern girl, but I’m horribly outdated when it comes to technology).
When I got home, I signed up for Google Talk, picked my Google phone number, and set up a voicemail. Then I gave The Joker a call. I got his voice mail – and was immediately a bit disappointed when I heard his very mid-western American voice. Not a trace of a foreign accent to be heard. Dammit! Still, I left a cheerful message – and The Joker called me back, getting my new voicemail. After several rounds of phone tag, we finally connected. The Joker was pleasant and friendly, so I agreed to meet him for coffee that weekend at a nearby coffee shop. He stated that he would be heading out after our meeting to go on his weekly motorcycle ride and asked if I would mind if he was wearing his leathers. As long as he didn’t show up naked or in a clown outfit (because both would be super creepy), what did I care?
I arrived at the coffee shop precisely on time and when I entered, The Joker was waiting at a nearby counter, already drinking his coffee. He explained that he had decided to take his ride before our meeting instead of afterwards and had arrived early and in dire need of caffeine. As he went to the self-serve area to get a refill on his cup of Joe, I went to the counter and placed my order. After I had paid, he came to stand beside me and we had a slightly awkward conversation about nothing – as strangers sometimes do.
Once we sat down at a booth, the conversation began to flow much more comfortably. I mentioned that I had worked in radio and The Joker exclaimed that he used to be a disc jockey at his college radio station. We swapped stories of our younger days, when we were all about the sex, drugs, and rock and roll. We talked about travel and I mentioned how I was probably the most least spontaneous traveler he had known – as I liked to know where I was heading and where I would be sleeping well in advance. He responded, “Why wouldn’t you? To travel without hotel reservations is just insane! What if you ended up in a town with a convention going on and all that was left was the “by the hour” types of hotels?” I told him about my Mormon background and how, even though I had rebelled, the Mormon penchant for food storage had stuck with me. I admitted that I actually became a little nervous when my pantry shelves were not fully stocked. He laughed and admitted that he had the same problem – that when his marijuana supply got low, he became very anxious.
He went on to tell me about a supplier he used to have who had been a chemist and had figured out how to grow the most primo weed with the greatest high – and that when the guy decided to retire and move to China, he and his dealer had carefully calculated how much MaryJane they would need for the next year and purchased that amount. He woefully told me that he was down to his last bag – and it was basically dust.
Now, I’m not a prude – God knows I did my share of drugs when I was younger. But that all changed when I met Doc. I haven’t smoked a joint for 27-years. While I’m not even opposed to the thought of toking up a time or two – just to see how it is these days (because according to The Joker, the pot is incredible now) – I shy away from addicts – and The Joker’s anxiety about his weed supply sent up some large red flags.
Still, The Joker was easy to talk to, quick with the clever repartee, and he was not unattractive (although he looked older and more weathered than he had in his pictures – the guy obviously liked his sun and in places, the skin on his face was rough, creased and cracked like the mudflats in the desert of Death Valley.
I foresee that The Joker will one day get unhappy melanoma news from his doctor.
But because he was so easy to talk to and didn’t seem to be crazy or an ax-murderer, when The Joker asked if I would be interesting in going out for dinner the next week, I agreed and gave him my actual number. He laughed and thanked me, saying that when my voicemail picked up, he got a message from Google Talk asking him to announce his name before it attempted to connect him. He had thought that I was just dodging his calls during our long game of phone tag! I had not been aware of this – as I mentioned, when it comes to technology, I’m a dinosaur.
The Joker walked me to my car and then we paused awkwardly – surely he wouldn’t try to kiss me after our first meeting? Instead, The Joker looked into my eyes and said, “You are prettier than your pictures, you know.” Awwwwww…I have to say, I was moved by his sincerity. When he put out his hand to shake mine, I opened my arms and gave him a hug instead.
Later that night, The Joker called me – the conversation was silly and fun and he asked me several nonsensical questions, like “Which artist or band do you have the songs of on your iPhone?” and “What is your favorite movie of all time?” I answered – and when I attempted to ask him the same questions, he teasingly told me that I had to come up with my own questions and that he would answer them on our date. In the days that followed, more questions were texted to me: “What band made the biggest impact on music?” “Sushi – yes or no?” “Do you like to cook?” “What do you think of Jethro Tull?” – the questions went on and on and when I told him I would give him the answers on our date, he told me that his questions required an immediate response – if I thought about the answer, it wouldn’t be authentic.
When the evening for our dinner date arrived, I made my way to the restaurant and took a seat in the outer lobby, waiting for The Joker to arrive. After about ten minutes, I got up to see if perhaps he was waiting at the bar inside – and that’s when I got a text from him: “It’s rude to be late! I’m in a booth in the back – I’ve already started my first beer!”
Have dating rules changed? Is it not common courtesy to wait for your date where she can actually see you? Was this whole starting without me thing just something he always did?
I joined him at the booth and we ordered. I have to admit, I was a bit annoyed by this time – but I kept on my smiley face and I was polite. He asked if I had any questions for him and I figured that I would ask some serious questions that might help me get to know him better.
“What was your biggest regret in life?” The Joker responded instantly and winked, “I don’t have regrets.”
“Any brothers or sisters?” “None to speak of,” laughed the Joker.
“Do you have any tattoos, and if so, where?” The Joker became serious. “I wouldn’t put my tattoos in a place where people could easily see. I think body art is deeply personal and I would have to know someone well to show them my tattoos. I think you have to put a lot of thought into tattoos prior to getting them and they make a statement about someone – and that shouldn’t be on display for just anyone in the world to see.” He paused and then grinned, “That being said, I don’t have any tattoos!”
I was baffled – he had certainly talked about tattoos as if he had several. I called him on it. His eyes sparkled with amusement, “We could bet on it – maybe I would show them to you someday – or maybe I don’t have any, so I wouldn’t.” Sure – I’d put a dollar towards his bet. But when I responded that I would take his bet, he said, “Loser has to buy the other dinner!” Before I could respond, he declared, “You lose! I don’t have any tattoos! Really, I’m serious!”
As we waited for our meal and while we were eating, The Joker told me about the screen play he had written. That he had an adult cartoon series in consideration with a major network. How he had invented a water bottle that humans could share with their dogs while hiking. How he had been on track to be a professional soccer player until a knee injury sidelined him permanently. Mmmmkay. It all sounded pretty incredible, but I didn’t want to assume he was spinning a yarn — why would he lie?
At one point, I picked up my phone to show him a picture. “That’s not an iPhone!” he declared. I was confused – I did have an iPhone. Granted, it was an antiquated iPhone, but it was an iPhone nonetheless. He persisted, “It’s a knockoff! The apple on the back has the bite taken out of the wrong side!” When I turned my phone over to look at the Apple logo, compared it to his, and pointed out that they were the same, he erupted into peals of laughter. “I’m just joking!”
We started talking about music and, when I admitted that I hadn’t heard of an obscure artist he was telling me about, he scoffed, “You were never a disc jockey!” I assured him that I had been – but that I had worked in mainstream formats – Top 40, Adult Contemporary, Country and the like. He responded, “I told a friend about you and she agrees that you were never a disc jockey – you don’t know enough about music!” At this point, I was getting pissed off – was he really calling me a liar? It must have shown on my face, “Don’t be so sensitive!” He laughed, “I was just kidding around with you!”
We finished dinner and the waitress placed the bill next to The Joker. He ignored it as he chatted on and on. Finally, the conversation slowed and still The Joker ignored the check – in fact, he pushed it a bit in my direction. I finally said, “Hand it to me – I’ll pay. After all, apparently I lost the tattoo bet.” He handed me the folder, “I appreciate that you didn’t try to welch on the deal,” he said in all seriousness, “I really don’t have any tattoos!” But then he broke into a grin again, “But how will you ever know? I can’t strip naked in a restaurant!”
I was more than ready to leave – but as we walked outside, he called me to look at the back of his SUV. “See if you can tell where I went to college!”
There was a sticker on his bumper that said, “Dingo.”
“Dingo University?” I was tired of playing games.
“Well, kind of!” He exclaimed, “I went to University of Australia on a full ride soccer scholarship, although it’s called football there. The Dingo was our mascot! It was the best four years of my life!”
Here’s what you need to know about me – I trust people for the most part. Perhaps I’m gullible or naïve, but I like to believe that most people tell the truth. Oh, I understand that people often lie when they are worried about getting into trouble or know that they have done something wrong – but the only pathological liar I ever met was my mentor in radio, and I really believe that he just didn’t know how to tell the truth and that he actually believed what he was saying when he lied. Again, perhaps I am naïve – maybe he just wanted me to think that. Anyway – when The Joker mentioned going to school in Australia – somewhere I’ve always wanted to visit – I believed him.
“Australia! That must have been a great experience for you!”
He started to laugh and rolled his eyes, “There is no University of Australia! I can’t believe you fell for that!”
I was pissed off and felt like an idiot, “You really do nothing but lie and lie.”
He looked offended, “I don’t lie! I just JOKE! If you asked me, I would tell you that I was just joking!”
“So, you’re telling me that every damn time I have a conversation with you, I’ll have to ask you if you are joking or not?”
“Well…” He looked at the ground and scuffed his foot, “If you can’t tell that I’m joking, that’s not my fault.”
I turned to walk to my car and The Joker stepped in front of me and pulled me to him, attempting to kiss me goodnight.
Really??? Are you JOKING????
I turned my head so that his kiss landed somewhere near my ear and then pushed myself away from him. “I had a GREAT time,” I said sarcastically. The Joker nodded enthusiastically – apparently I’m not the only one who can’t tell when someone is joking.