Talking to a friend:
A friend asks me about my online dating experience and how it is going. I lament that it isn’t the best, but not the worst either. With everyone leading busy lives, it is harder to meet people the “natural way”, especially in a chaotic city. I do add that online dating isn’t my only mode, because I have some champions in my life who are determined to set me up with a great guy, one way or another. Side bar: I started dating later in life, as it was not culturally accepted and harder for me when I was younger. However, I grew up and embraced my rebelliousness and openly discussed my discontent for anything arranged (unless it was a simple meeting, where parents then leave us alone – that’s a set-up and fine by me). Anyways, I digress…
So I asked my friend how her city dating experience was going. Like many other singles that I know, she is a hard-working professional and a decent person. We may work a lot, but we are good people. She vents about meeting “weirdos” and stalkers or the non-committal kind. I understand, but add that the online forum welcomes all kinds and we do not have the luxury of assessing their body language and mannerisms up front (like we would in person). I do add that there are some basics that we should look at when dating online, I mean look out for what to avoid – For example, if the man is top-less in his profile picture he may just want a hook-up. Side bar: I say similar things to avoid to my male and female single friends – I tend to be a savant for their love lives, but consistently learning with my own (to put it positively). I should cover “what to avoid” in another blog entry, because I want to focus on the “calamari story” here (stay tuned though…).
…you don’t want to date when you are feeling “icky” or weak or low, because you will attract vultures.
Some sage advice:
I tell her that we will both be ok, because every time we meet someone wrong we learn more about ourselves and what we want in a partner ( that is, what we want vs what we don’t want vs what we are willing to compromise on). If you burn out dating-wise, take some time away for yourself and do some self-care. I mean, you don’t want to date when you are feeling “icky” or weak or low, because you will attract vultures.
My “calamari story”:
Like I do many times, I tell her about some of my dating stories…the funny or disastrous ones what have a message at the end (like a 90’s sitcom). I tell her, before I met my ex-bf; I went on a ton of dates and opened up my mind and heart, with reason/instinct/self-respect in-hand. That being said, I met and started talking to a gentleman from England. We would talk and enjoy one another, because he had a fun sense of humour and I tend to have an English-Canadian/”Gay man” sense of humour (side note: I’m stealing that phrase from one of my favourite stand-up comics, Miss. Kathy Griffin. It means that I can take a joke and the comedian can “go there” without me being offended too easily. I love the art of stand-up and can decipher the difference between mean-spiritedness and a thought-provoking joke).
Back to my English gentleman, who made me laugh and kept telling me that women were so impressed by his Beatles accent. I thought he was cute, so I didn’t tell him that one of my very good friends was born and raised in Liverpool England, where the Beatles are from (fun fact: the Beatles museum is the only museum that charges a fee in Liverpool, everything else is free). I went along with his antics, because women tend to do that when we think a guy is being cute. Plus, what’s the harm when he’s trying to impress me? His accent sounded more distinctly London, which is very different from Liverpool, but that’s not the point.
We went out and met for drinks at a typical Canadian mid-sized bar (it was dressy, but not too crazy). He was of course charming and trying to be very gentlemanly, in his opinion. I was polite, as I usually am, because I understand that people get nervous so hardly judge too much on a first date unless it’s a red-flag. For some reason, I no longer get nervous, because I think of it as just going out and meeting a new person.
Once seated, the waitress approaches and takes our drink order, he orders beer and I order ginger ale. I explain (truthfully) that I’m a light drinker and do not want to make an ass of myself, so will refrain from alcohol on the first date. He persists, but I politely decline and say that I will next time, but today I’m not risking any DD behaviour. Side note: Really, it only takes me one drink and I’m buzzed, it’s sad and I’ve been told that I’m embarrassing for “my people”, who tend to be able to drink A LOT. I do not have the drinking gene, so don’t partake very often. BUT, my friends love chipping in for my birthday drink!
Our conversation is going alright and we decide that we want an appetizer to go with our drinks. Truthfully, I can’t remember who decided, but in either case I was ok with it. He says that he would like some calamari and I said that he should definitely get what he wants, but I would order something else. Side note: I am not a fan of sea food and calamari makes me gag. He insists that he wants to share something with me and that he does not necessarily need calamari. I thought that was nice then offered something, but he did not like it, so I said, that’s fine what would be your alternate? – He suggests a chicken and pork combo appetizer. I am not the biggest fan of pork, unless it’s on pizza, but I didn’t want to be “difficult” and say that it sounds good, we’ll get the chicken and pork combo appetizer.
Suddenly, the waitress approaches to take our appetizer order, he looks right at her and says “I’d like calamari please”, then turns to me and says “what are you having?” I give him a confused look, because we just had a whole conversation about him wanting to share something and that calamari was off the table. I just brushed it off and ordered something small, “not a big deal, maybe he changed his mind.” I thought.
From there, the date spiralled down-hill with him revealing a little too much (something else that tends to happen to me a lot). He was basically, trying to “get laid” and trying to see what my reaction was to things and how far I would let him go. I called this part my “calamari story”.
What to avoid:
The type of situation I described above has happened to me before, where a guy will make simple comments or discusses something mundane like what food to order – He then rebukes the order or tries to push alternates for us to share, but not in the usual “normal human way” that you would discuss with a friend or a guy who likes you and vice versa. It is not a real negotiation or collaboration; rather it is a way to see how far he can go with you (boundary-wise). It’s sneaky and you will feel it, but can also see it in body language, not “normal”.
My therapist told me about this tactic too, she says it is a person seeing how far you will bend and could lead down a path you may not want.
Upon deciding upon whatever food you both pick, he then turns it around or works to confuse you, by doing something similar to the “calamari story”. I am being very serious, this has happened before and I have ignored it or let it slide, to my regret, in the past. Do not second guess your instincts, if it feels odd, go with your gut feeling. My therapist told me about this tactic too, she says it is a person seeing how far you will bend and could lead down a path you may not want.
It does not necessarily have to be a “calamari story”, because it could be them testing whether you let a highly sexual comment or a gateway to abuse comment slide (gateway abuse example, “what, are you stupid or something?”). The “calamari story” situation is that, the person has a full discussion with you and you both make a decision, but then they alter it last minute and watch your reaction. If it’s a person just testing your patience, that’s one thing (if done in isolation, but that’s weird too). However, this “calamari story” behaviour combined with consistent attempts to break your comfort-level and/or boundaries, which borderline lead to gateway abuse situations is where the trouble is.
In this case, the “calamari story” means that you know what to watch-out for and have to go through all kinds experiences to learn what is best for you. Specifically, for the “calamari story”, you know what type of predator to avoid in the dating world. This predator is charming and usually easier to detect in-person (for me), but they tend to slide in the online world – They’ll say that they are joking once they are caught being cunning or making small comments to break you kind of like the sales “foot-in-door” technique (if you let a little bit slide you’ll allow a lot more to slide in the future, right where they want you).
In the end, I was not looking for a controlling man-whore, who simply wanted to get laid. I wish he’d been upfront about it, because I could’ve spared both of our time and money. I split the bill and never spoke to him again, though I did part respectfully. I will not put negative karma out there, just because someone’s being an asshole. I should’ve guess when he was pressuring me to drink alcohol, because most guys understand and if the conversation and chemistry is there, guess what, they don’t care. Just be yourself and stand your ground. The right person will come around, because you learn to weed out the garbage rather quickly.
Everyone has a calamari story and we should share them, so people don’t feel isolated and alone in a world where linear living is the norm. We all have to go through our head-scratchers and bad dates in order to see and appreciate the good ones. In the end, we turn out stronger and wiser in all of our experiences. So, do you have a “calamari story”?