Online Dating from A to Z: Funny Stories

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. This month I’ll be working my way through the alphabet, one day at a time, on the subject of Online Dating. If you’ve never visited my blog before, I’m happy you’re here! Be sure to check out my previous A to Z Challenge posts and the books that were inspired by them for more alphabetical fun.

F is for Funny Stories. And boy have I got a boatload of them!

One of the weirdest things that ever happened to me during an online date was when a fellow writer clicked on my profile, proceeded to be incredibly charming, witty and cute via email; invited me to meet up for a drink; and told me over the phone when we chatted prior to the date that he thought I sounded “hot.” (In retrospect, that should’ve been my first red flag. Never declare sexual interest after just a phone call or text exchange!)

When we finally met for said drink he seemed standoffish, and immediately began grilling me about my writing degree (which I had just obtained) and my career plans. He was self-taught, and of the opinion that writing programs simply did not work or that they did not produce graduates whose work merited his attention. I was amused by this absurd stance, since I didn’t plan on justifying myself or my career decisions as a writer to a guy I’d just met, and diverted the conversation to ask who some of his favorite authors were. He ran off a list of stereotypical Male Author Faves, and I asked if he enjoyed any writing by women.

“Like who?” he asked.

“What about Margaret Atwood?” I replied.

We were in Montreal. In Canada, Margaret Atwood is considered a National Treasure. Surely he would have something to say about her?

“I HATE Margaret Atwood!” he informed me. “But I’ve never read any of her books.”

I erupted in laughter at this point. How can you hate a writer if you haven’t read any of their books?!

He glowered at me, as if I were the crazy one.

I asked him if he’d ever read The Handmaid’s Tale, which has always been a popular choice in both U.S. and Canadian high schools (even before the TV series). He said no. I began to explain the plot to him, and his scowl deepened. I told him I really enjoyed the book, and he looked as if he might throw his drink in my face.

“Let’s go for a walk,” he said, standing up.

I agreed, and we headed to a nearby park. He chose a bench, where we sat watching some people feeding ducks. He was silent, and still seemed angry about Margaret Atwood, for some reason. So I did what any normal woman would do when confronted with a date who clearly hates her choice of reading material (and who is possibly a misogynist, to boot): I continued to list facts and trivia about Margaret Atwood.

My date did not say anything more from then on, allowing me to babble on until I had exhausted my Margaret Atwood repertoire – which didn’t take long, since I am by no means a Margaret Atwood specialist, although I do believe I included the story I’d once heard where she reportedly told a group of students, “Honey, I could put my name on the phone book and sell a million copies,” thinking that might get a chuckle out of him. (SPOILER: It didn’t.)

At some point, he stood up and said, “Let’s walk some more.” So I followed alongside, waiting for him to contribute something to the conversation.

Eventually we were back on the street, approaching a subway station.

“Here you go,” he said, and practically shoved me at the station’s doors. He then zoomed off without even a goodbye, and I never heard from him again.

Try mentioning this book on your first date if you’re intent on keeping your virtue intact.

In retrospect, I have to wonder if this guy assumed that I was trying to not-so-subtly imply that I didn’t plan on having sex with him, due to the book’s subject matter? I honestly hadn’t decided one way or the other when we agreed to meet up*, and when I arrived for the date I thought he was cute enough that I might have gone for it. But his decision to grill me about my career as if I were applying for an internship at a publishing company, instead of speaking to me like either a human being or potential lover, was definitely a turnoff.

Have I mentioned that it’s NOT a great idea to treat a first date like a job interview? Yeah… this would be a good illustrative example of several reasons why.

In the end, some might say that Margaret Atwood ruined my date. I prefer to think that she saved me from an ill-fated hook-up with a dude who had terrible taste in writers, kind of like a Feminist Fairy Godmother. Thanks, Margaret!

*For more info on how to decide whether or not to go for it if you are trying to get sexy on the first date, be sure to check back tomorrow for my post on Getting Some!

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