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DC's teensy dating problem

Jul 29, 2011

Over the past four years I've been on countless blind dates -- online dating sites, set ups, Twitter -- and a handful of normal ones, you know, where you meet someone in a way that makes you think, If this works out we'll have a great story to tell our grandkids.  I came to the conclusion a while ago that the latter way was the best way to go.  The problem is, not many of those chance encounters happen, and I can go about three months without going on a date before I start to get reeeeeeeally antsy and the sick and twisted magnetism of eHarmony begins to pull me in like a moth to a flame.  Its promises of meeting that perfect match become so enticing that I find myself daydreaming about skipping meals to pay for the membership.  This time it'll work, I assure myselfUsually my good sense kicks in and I either find a date on OK Cupid ('cause it's free) or remind myself that long ago I made Joanna promise me she would cut my hands off if I ever signed up on an online dating site again.

What I imagine
Reality. I'm fairly certain I've dated all these guys, even the last one.
These thoughts were going through my head as I sat alone at a table at Cantina Marina last night, waiting for some friends to show up for a happy hour.  I was early and they were late, so I had 45 minutes to be available for hitting on.  Unfortunately the only reading material I had was a Cosmo, and I was afraid of giving off the wrong impression, so sipped on an overly sweet margarita and waited for someone to strike up a conversation with me.  (I read a couple of years ago that by sitting alone at a bar you make yourself accessible to men, and it's a sure way to attract attention.  This has never worked for me, hence all the online dating.)

About 15 minutes into it an older man (I mean in his 70s, not older in the sense that I would consider dating him if he had a good job and kids that lived with their mother) approached me and invited me to join his group of South Carolinians living in DC.

"I'm holding this table for my friends, so I better not leave, but thank you!" I replied.  Then I noticed the younger guy who had turned around and was smiling at me.  It was instantly clear that the older man was breaking the ice for this guy, whose name was Jack*

*Not really his name, but just go with it. 

Why I Became So Interested:

1) The older man was in seersucker and had a Charleston accent.  I lived in Charleston for six years as a child, and talking to him evoked feelings of true, genteel Southern hospitality, like the time a man in a pink sport coat called down to my mother and me as we passed his century-old waterfront home and invited us in for a tour.  It would be creepy here, but there it was super charming.  When I told this man I'd lived on James Island, he said, "Jimmy Isle!"  Listening to him talk felt like a home from long ago that I'd forgotten about. 

2) Both of the men work in PR, my career field.  PR professionals are networkers by trade, but when you meet others in PR you are conditioned to get into hyper-networking mode in case you could help each other out job-wise one day. 

3) I realized my accessibility plan was finally working.   Why hadn't it worked before?  All I had to do was toss my hair and sip a drink, and the guys would come flocking.  I was definitely doing this more often.

The Warning Signs:

1) Jack was wearing a wool jacket on a deck by the water in 90-degree heat and high humidity.  Now that I think of it, he wasn't sweating, which is kinda weird.

2) He told me he was "between jobs."  I wrote it off because I was completely seduced by the idea that I was in the midst of a chance encounter.

3) He is from New Mexico, not South Carolina.  He just went to grad school in South Carolina.  Imposter!

If you're a guy, at this point you're thinking I'm picky.  Let me state for the record that I will go out once with just about anyone.  But a girl's got to maintain some kind of standards, and when our conversation took a certain direction, I had to draw the line.

"You should join the *Anyone Who Has a Vague Connection to South Carolina and Now Lives in DC* club!" The Imposter told me. 

"Yeah, maybe.  I'm a part of some other social clubs in DC.  My favorite is Girls Night Out DC," I said.  (On Twitter: #gnoDC.  Check it out!)

"Then you must know *So and So*," he said, mentioning a girl I do in fact know. 

I laughed.  How funny that we would find a connection so quickly!  "Yes I do know her, she knows everyone.  The quintessential networker.  I used to work with this super obnoxious guy who claimed he was friends with her, but I think a lot of that was in his head." 

I described the former coworker and his antics a little more, and The Imposter cocked his head and said, "He sounds a lot like my friend Jack..."

The former coworker's name was Jack.  "Jack Taylor?" I asked, mortified.

"Yes!" he exclaimed.  "He's my best friend.  But I can see how he could be annoying to work with." 

"Well, okay then!" I said, reaching for my melting margarita for momentary escape.   An image of Jack the Obnoxious Coworker in a bright Hawaiian shirt and loafers with no socks and a really chestery mustache he'd been working on for two weeks flashed through my head. Then it hit me -- Jack the Imposter was probably just like Jack the Obnoxious Coworker, thinking he was friends with *So and So* and flaunting it every chance he got.  Let me tell you about *So and So* -- she's a gorgeous blonde with a hot body who is personable, articulate, witty, sharp and so fantastic that as a woman you can't hate her even though you want to reeeeally bad.  The girl has got it goin' on, and she's super friendly to boot.  Not the type of girl who would ever make an awkward guy feel bad about himself if he, say, hit on her at a social event or tried to talk to her via social media channels.

But Jack the Imposter didn't look super cheesy like Jack the Obnoxious Coworker, and he was good looking enough -- nothing a good personality, charm and chivalry couldn't make up for.  So I decided not to write him off just yet.

"Since you know Jack Taylor, maybe you also know Jack Wilson," he went on. 

Margarita went down my windpipe and I coughed.  Jack Wilson was a guy I sort of went out with a couple of times a couple of years ago, but that ended when we were at 18th Street Lounge with a group of friends, I excused myself to go to the ladies room, and he took that opportunity to blatantly hit on another girl.  When I came back to the sofa we had all put our jackets on purses on, he was on the dance floor, grinding on the girl right in front of me.  I promptly exited the building and heard later that one of the guys with us confronted him and Jack Wilson tried to start a fight with that guy and then was kicked out.  Then he had the nerve to text me the next day asking me out again.

"Uh, yes, I know Jack Wilson." I said, worried about what was coming next.

"We all hang out together all the time," Jack the Imposter explained.  "We call ourselves 'The Tri-Jack-Ta.'" 

That's when I decided to write him off.  Call me presumptuous, but if he's BFF with two guys who I can't stand, it's not going to work. I expected him to draw that conclusion when I told him I thought Jack Wilson was a Grade A Jerk, but the Imposter continued to talk about Grade A Jerk and what a great guy he is, emphasizing that he'd changed since he began dating his current girlfriend, who I found out I also happen to know.

The girls finally arrived, and we quickly got caught up in our own conversation, so Jack the Imposter walked away.  I figured we had a mutual, unspoken understanding about the unfortunate situation.  But a few minutes later he walked back over.

"Did you text *So and So* and tell her that you met me?" he asked eagerly.

"No..."

"Really?  I'll text her that I met you then." 

This was starting to get awkward.  For all I know, *So and So* may be bosom buddies with these guys.  But I really, really doubt it, and there was no way I was bugging her with a text exclaiming that I'd just met the third and final point of the Tri-Jack-Ta.  About that time I remembered I had dinner plans and had to run, so I said good-bye to everyone and left.  I did not exchange numbers, business cards, Twitter handles or blog names with Jack the Imposter.  But apparently I gave him my full name, because late last night I received a Facebook friend request from him.

Really?!  Not only that, but I noticed we have even more mutual friends than what we realized last night. 

It may be time for me to move to a new city. The dating pool has officially gotten too small.

11 comments:

  1. I stumbled across your blog not too long ago, and just want to let you know I love it! You're writing is super funny, and a joy to read.

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  2. Really awesome post. I was captivated the whole time. The "Tri-Jack-Ta"! Its just SO classic. Where do these guys come from???? Cheers, T.

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  3. DC is truly a small town masquerading as a metropolis! What a bizarre Tri-Jack-Ta! And, it surprises me that you don't typically meet guys if you're alone at a bar. Really surprises me... xoxo

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  4. That even made me feel awkward reading it.

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  5. This post had me cracking up. Great blog.

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  6. Cripes.

    You stay right where you are. We'll just grab our pitchforks and torches and run the Tri-Jack-Ta out of our "village."

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  7. Mandi -- Thanks for reading! Glad you're enjoying it. :)

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  8. Toddy -- I do not know where these guys come from. Of course they could be saying the same thing about us, but from the girls' side, I think we have it harder, don't you?

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  9. City Girl -- You are so right! In a sense it's cool to realize I know enough people here to have that experience, but on the other hand...ugh! Maybe I'm going to the wrong bars? You know red hair is intimidating to men though. ;)

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  10. My sister and I are essentially night and day, and we were contacted/talked to the same guys on OKCupid all. the. time.

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  11. This is a difficult situation to be in. I totally understand if you felt awkward or insecure. Well, these things happen and we can't avoid it. Whether we find our dates in sites like Alt Com or through our common friend, circumstances make us realize how small our world is.

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