Ah first dates. Gotta love ’em. Actually we all hate them. There is no rationale as to why we decide to spend an hour with a complete stranger with the sole purpose of trying to decide if you’ll get naked at some point in the future. I prefer my annual ob-gyn exam.. the small talk is easier and he doesn’t care if I’m not that pretty.
What do two people who know pretty much nothing about each other, talk about on a first date? I mean, its not like its an interview for a job (no matter what Jerry Seinfeld says). But you do.. and at 40 something, I typically manage to have a good time on a first date especially if they’re a) cute, b) chatty and c) trying. But last night, even I was stumped. I finally found one I couldn’t crack. And boy, did I try. Blood.. meet stone.
First dates typically start by either of you latching onto a topic and staying there until the cocktail kicks in, at which point you can move the conversation in a zillion directions. Which is when the date gets fun. After all people.. aka humans… tend to be really interesting.
Over the years I’ve learnt that to get things going to start light and casual..weekend plans, summer activities, even the weather can get things moving. Its not hard.
But no, this guy decided the best place to start after he’d said hello, was to give me his resume. Starting at age 18.
Now as a 46 year old man, who’s run a fairly successful business, I would think my date would have the ability to small talk. You know, .. how’s your summer been? done anything fun? what are your plans for fall? Are you looking forward to ski season? Banal, but easy.
Not this guy. Instead I got his life history from age 18- 46, with every move, every job, every conversation with management, his stock purchases and yes, even his IPO returns (and subsequent investment decisions).
I wasn’t sure if he’d somehow confused me with a headhunter.
At one point I even interjected to mention that yes, his career was fascinating but that I was actually more interested in how he arrived in Colorado, to which I was reprimanded with ‘I’m telling you’. So I guess if he wants to hear about how I ended up in the US I’d have to start from the womb?
But.. 15 minutes in, I managed to steer the Titanic away from the iceberg of his bank account details towards the calmer waters of his kids. Everyone likes to talk about their kids don’t they? And while I don’t actually care about his kids (I’m not considering dating them), I figure it might calm him down and he could wax rhapsodic (as all parents do) about the awesomeness that is his offspring.
But no.. I actually appeared to have found the only parent who wasn’t interested in talking about his kids. Nope.. not one bit. Instead he wanted to spend time assuring me that my decision not to have kids was ‘ok’ and that people without kids were ‘fine‘. Wow.. Thank you. I had really been tortured by my non-parent status for the last 10 years, but now *phew* I can finally sleep at night. I really must pass on to other non parents that we’re not the pariahs of society that we think.
What became really clear as he expounded on ‘having vs. not having kids’ (with no idea as to whether this was an active choice for me or not), was that he clearly hasn’t spent any time with adults who don’t have kids. According to his portrayal of us non-parents, our status as ‘non parents’ was down to our preference for a hedonistic cycle of alcohol, sex, food, travel (yep, seems about it). No judgement though.. no judgement at all. There was no recognition that we might have rich inner lives, be pursuing creative or spiritual passions or that we simply didn’t find the right guy at the right time. Nope.. he was fine with people who preferred to selfishly live their lives alone with no ‘real’ responsibilities. He was just concerned for us.. dying in a retirement home, unvisited, unloved and soul suckingly alone.
What can I say. This guy knows how to woo a single woman. Sympathy for my barren status and impending lonely death always gets me hot.
Before I could interject that maybe, just maybe some of us non-parents might have a expansive network of caring friends, that we live full and rich lives, that we might actually have a greater chance to spend our latter years surrounded by loving, fun and caring people.. (after all, plenty of people in retirement homes have kids who don’t visit).. he decided that really, we needed to talk about dying.
Yep. Lets talk about dying. On a first date. Awesome.
His reason for being on Match.com? Well apparently it was down to his desire to not die alone. He wanted to die holding the hand of his loving spouse, who was assuring him that he was loved as he drew his last breath. Surrounded by his loving kids, and you know.. loved.
I want to die smothered by a pillow. Hopefully in the next 5 minutes.
He went on, and on, about his uncle who had died alone in a nursing home, with no visitors and you know..totally alone. And how, by not having kids or a spouse, this man was an object of pity and fear for my date. His being not married, sans kids, in old age was literally the worse thing that this guy could imagine..
‘I don’t want to end up like that’
Well buddy, non of us do. That’s why we invest time in friends and family (yes, the ones you don’t create still count!). That’s why we live our lives engaged with other people. Spend our time with friends we care about and have experiences that we will remember forever. Sure, we hope some of those friends will be with us in our dotage, but if they’re not, we’ll find new friends to keep us company and engaged in life..after all, we’ve been finding and keeping friends all of our lives. (you know, when we’re too tired to have sex or too hungover to be drinking). I for one will never be alone unless I want to be.. and after an hour with this guy.. I’d never wanted anything more.
So I wish Mr.Doom and Gloom all the best in his search for his deathbed hand holder. I do know for sure it won’t be me.
I’ll be the one in the corner with the pillow at the ready.