By Kelly Seal
Like most online dates, I started this one with a mixture of excitement and dread. My success rate with dating websites was terrible, to say the least. I’d been out with alcoholics, egomaniacs, players, and even the occasional “life transition” candidate, which is another way of saying he wasn’t divorced yet, but wanted to see what his options were. Lucky me.
And still, after so many dates that went nowhere (many bad, most boring), I could always muster a little bit of hope for each new prospect. You see, if there was only “one” for me, of course I’d have to endure a lot of bad dates before I found him, right?
Besides, this one seemed different. He was attractive in his photos, and there were no grammatical mistakes in his emails. In fact, he was a college music professor. Finally I’d meet a man who had more to talk about than surfing or his latest acting audition.
I pulled in to the coffee shop and recognized my date right away. Prof4U was even wearing the same jacket he sported in his picture. He smiled and waved as I walked up to him. So far, so good.
“You know, you look exactly like your picture!” he exclaimed. “Do you know how hard it is to find a girl online who looks like her picture?”
This wasn’t how I pictured our date starting…
He continued. “I went out last week with a girl who said she was ‘athletic’ and ‘attractive’.” He looked at me with a sly smile. “Now, I don’t mean to be rude, but we agreed to meet at this bar, and I ended up walking around it like three times, and swear I never saw her.”
“Really?” I asked. “She stood you up?”
“No, worse. She was there. She came up behind me and tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘Don’t you recognize me?’”
Prof4U told me the girl was “pretty fat”, or about 30 pounds heavier than she was in her pictures, and her face looked about 15 years older. He found himself completely turned off, and couldn’t really pay attention to the conversation.
“So, when she told me she had to go to the bathroom, I took it as an opportunity,” he said scratching his chin. I noticed then that her hair was a little too long and scraggly for someone in her forties. Maybe she was going for the academic hippie look. “And I got the hell out of the bar,” he said with a grin.
“So, you just ditched her?” I asked.
“Hell yeah. I mean, she misrepresented herself. Maybe she was hot back in the day, but definitely not now.”
“Didn’t you feel bad to just leave her there?” I was getting pissed…who was this guy?
“No way! She lied. I was just happy to be outta there.” He shook his head and finished off the last of his coffee. “Want another?” he asked.
“No thanks,” I responded. I started critiquing his choice of clothes: worn black t-shirt, jeans, and dress shoes to show that he was trying, but not too hard. That he didn’t have to impress me.
“Ok, well I’m gonna have one. Be right back.” He got up and started walking towards the barista to order, when suddenly he turned back to me. “Don’t sneak out on me while I’m gone,” he said with a laugh.
Which is exactly what I wanted to do.
But then I thought, what if he had a point? The girl misrepresented herself, and this seemed to bother him more than the fact that she didn’t have his ideal body type. Maybe he deserved a chance.
“Tell me about your job,” I said when he returned, trying to change the subject. “You teach music at a university?”
“Oh, no. I mean, I once taught guitar to some kids to earn a little extra money, but I don’t do that now. I’m in a band.”
“So wait—you said in your profile that you’re a music professor…” There was an edge in my voice now.
“No, teaching’s not for me,” he said, shifting uncomfortably in his chair. “My band calls me Prof sometimes—we’re about to be signed you know.”
“Congratulations,” I said, unable to call him out on his own lie.
I left, and he never called me again. Which was fine with me. He complained about how his date misrepresented herself, and he’d done exactly the same thing! I knew that people lied in their profiles, but it didn’t make me want to date them.
Great, I thought. Another liar. How many times would I have to endure this? Weren’t there any decent guys out there?
Now that I’m happily partnered, I realize that all these bad dates weren’t just hardships to endure until the right one came along. They were reminders of what was most important to me in a long-term relationship, which had less to do with someone’s profile picture or career, but more about respect and honesty. Meeting a few liars actually made me more open to meeting different types of men—even the ones whose profiles weren’t as attractive or engaging, but who turned out to be more interesting and sincere.
There are many men and women out there who are honest and respectful. Every date—good, bad or boring—teaches us how we want to be treated, and how to treat others. We just have to pay attention.