09 July 2011

Misrepresentation


Rene Margritte's Son of a Man


I had a date the other day.

Only this date wasn’t quite like the other dates I’ve had, mainly because it lasted for so short a time and to some it couldn’t even be counted as a date. But I do. But first, some background.

I started talking to this guy on OkCupid a few weeks ago. I like to get to know a person a little before committing to a date with them. Let’s call him M. M seemed pretty sweet and interesting. His profile said he was in his late twenties, started his own business and painfully embarrassed by his large ears. I didn’t think his ears were too large. I like ears, I think they’re a mysterious organ and everyone has different ears. I think people take ears for granted. If I were to ask you to draw a picture of your ears, I bet you couldn’t. The valleys and crests, the deep winding grooves of a person’s ear are almost like a fingerprint; each ear is different and unique. But enough about ears.

I was willing to meet him for a date but unfortunately I had to leave on a family vacation and so I had to push the date back a week or so. It was no problem for him because he works at home managing his own business, which I think is in publishing and producing printed works. My family vacation was a cruise to the Bahamas and I wouldn’t say I was particularly looking forward to the cruise but I wasn’t entirely dreading it either. Being with one’s parents for an extended amount of time is always an experiment on patience. M and I could not keep in touch since there were no cell towers in the middle of the ocean (someone should fix this!) but I did manage to get in contact with him when we stopped in Cape Canaveral for a day.

My feelings towards dating are, at best, slightly enthusiastic. I had broken up with my boyfriend of a little over a year a few months ago and so I thought, I believed, I still needed some time to wash away the memories. An old relationship is like burying a dead relative or beloved house pet. You say your goodbyes and you bury them in the ground but if you were to come back the next day and dig them up, they’ll still be them like the day you buried them. Nothing has decayed but nothing is alive either. In a state of limbo, I suppose. It is only after time that natural processes take over and reduce their flesh into nothing. And time takes time too. But in the end all there would be left would be bones, a reminder of what things once were but something obviously dead.

I wasn’t sure about the state of my recently ended relationship. Whether or not the flesh has eroded off the bones or would digging up the past make me want to vomit out of disgust, I did not know.

Either way, we cannot choose who walks into our life and when they do it. We can only hope for the best and so this is what I’ve been doing. Once I got back from the cruise with the family, I got in contact with M and told him that I would definitely be up for dinner some time.

We made plans for this Korean restaurant in the suburbs, about half an hour away from Philadelphia. He had expressed concerns about finding parking in the city and I empathize with him. I didn’t mind driving since it was supposed to be a nice evening and so the details were set.

I spent about half an hour deciding what I should wear. Although I wasn’t too enthusiastic about the date, I definitely cared about how I look. I had taken several pictures in the full length mirror that was at the bottom of the stairs next to my door in my apartment and sent these pictures to my friends to see what they thought. Was my outfit too stiff? Too professional looking? Too casual? But in the end I decided on a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, something I should have started out in the beginning anyway. With my clothes in order I drove to the restaurant using my phone’s GPS to find the way.

The restaurant is located in a very rich and white suburban neighborhood. My car, an older model Honda Accord felt out of place so I quickly tried to find a parking spot so I could remove any associations between the car and me. And so because of this I had parked about two blocks away from the restaurant. I had more than enough time to take a leisurely walk to the restaurant. I felt as if I’ve been here before, as if it were some song I used to like. I found myself cycling a verse or two in my head of an unnamed, unknown song as I tried to place this main street in context but I couldn’t. The streets were nicely paved and expensive cars vied for parking spots on the streets. This summer I wanted to get a new(er) car since I had recently graduated college and I felt I needed a change in appearance. So whenever I walk down a street I keep my eye out for potential candidates. I’ve always loved Mini Coopers and I saw a very nice looking one that was colored a deep green and I imagined myself driving one. But soon, I had reached the restaurant with its maroon colored awning and a gentleman outside seeming to wait for someone.

And this is when things started to go downhill. This gentleman couldn’t be the person I was meeting today because he didn’t look like the pictures on OkCupid. I had a feeling that there was an incongruity in reality. Or a specific boundary between realities – the virtual and the actual. The man noticed me and walked towards me and asked me if I was Dennis.

“Yeah,” I said, “who are you?” trying not to sound impolite.

“Hey there. My name is M.” he said with a smile. “How are you?”

Instead of answering him I said, “You don’t look like your pictures.”

He did not look like his pictures. He seemed to be a little shorter than 5’10” and considerably older than 29 years old. He had a dark head of hair that was long and reminded me of the Beatles, a clean but excessive amount of hair. He wore a full beard that was also as dark and I felt that the color was due to hair dyes and not genetics. His face wore a look of aloofness. I imagined my face to look quizzical and possibly angry, which I was both.

“Yeah,” he said, “those pictures were taken a few years back.”

“You’re not 29.” I said. It wasn’t a question because it wasn’t a question. He did not look like he’s 29.

“I’m more like 35.” He said with a smile. But I believed that to be another exaggeration.

And I suppose at this point my frustration and anger reached a certain peak and I didn’t care if I sounded rude. I tried to keep my calm so I simply said, “Well, I’m leaving.” And I turned around and left.

I like to think of myself as a person who doesn’t get too irrational or angry at things but there is always something for everyone that gets them going. And lying is what gets me angry. I did not understand why someone would deceive another person, especially when it comes to matters that are easily, very easily, confirmed. I felt wronged because I had spent time deciding what to wear and I had spent gas getting to the restaurant, I had refrained from making plans with my friends to see this guy and he turns out to be a fraud. I wouldn’t have minded if he were actually 35, I would have had no problem with that. And if I did, would I be the person he was looking for anyway?

There are only so many genuine things in this world. Most of which you can’t help but believe. But the few things you can control and represent is yourself. I truly believe this. I didn’t walk to my car in case he was a violent or irrational person that would follow someone to my car. Instead I took out my phone and called a close friend of mine to laugh about the matter. Perhaps I was unfair, perhaps I should have been nicer to him but I don’t think I could let something like lying to me before the first date go by unnoticed. It wouldn’t have been genuine of me to pretend it didn’t matter.

At the end of the day, however, it was a funny experience and another story to tell when I finally do meet a good guy. In the mean time, I’ll try, try, try again.

Point of conversation: Ask for more pictures. Or at least a Facebook.

- DW

6 comments:

  1. seems to me you handled this very well and honestly. I too cannot understand why guys lie online since they are inevitably going to be exposed.

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  2. People lying bout their age always ends in trouble, especially for younger girls. I would have been very upset because 29-30 is pushing my maximum age range (I'm 24) so to find out he was really over 10 years older than me would have been too much. I'm not so sure I'd be able to stay as calm as you though.

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  3. Thanks. I don't like imposing an age limit sometimes because it really rules out some really cool people, but at the same time, it's harder for me to relate to someone who is older than me and in a different life stage, etc.

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  4. Age really isn't anything to me, however, I do have my age range. The problem comes to when you lie about something as silly as age - then what, you lie about your status?

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