It was number four for Gary and me. We met for the first time at a Dunkin Donuts at 2:30 p.m. The Dunkin Donuts date was my idea. I was not going to sit through one more dinner meetup petrified that my ex and his beautiful blonde appendage would see me out with a shriveled 60-year-old man who was the size of a 4 year old. I had resolved that my initial meetings would be mid-afternoon at coffee shops. Coffee dates are far less dangerous, and less of a commitment than dinner dates.
Gary arrived a few minutes after I did. I don't know if it was just a really good hair day or my new plum eyeshadow, but I could tell he was instantly smitten. First off, he paid for my coffee without uttering the usual, "I'll get it," which some men do and then look at me expectantly, waiting for a great big thank you in the form of: "Boy, you really know how to treat a girl. You are so getting a blow job for this mister."
A side note here guys. I don’t care if you show up to meet a woman and she is 240 pounds, and five of those pounds consists entirely of body moles. Buy the fucking coffee and don't pretend like you are Prince Charming for doing so. It will make her day and you won't look like a cheap asshole.
Gary led me to a quiet table far from the napkins and stirrers so he could tell me all about himself. He had an in-home gym (AKA weights in his garage), worked as a financial planner (What guy on match.com doesn't?), and loved dining out. Did I like dining out and if so what type of food did I like? I was like a deer in the headlights under this barrage of suggestive questioning. The only thing I could come up with was "cheese."
Gary was not to be deterred. "I know this fabulous wine and cheese bar in Tampa. Maybe we could go this weekend?"
"Sure," I said. "I just have to check my schedule," which in dating language means, "No fucking way."
Finally, we said our goodbyes and I drove home eerily haunted by his parting words, "I'd love you to meet my mom and sister."
While I muttered "no fucking way" when I got in my car, I had no idea I would in fact meet his mother and sister that weekend.
The next evening I showed up at a wine tasting only to see Gary with his mom and sis in tow. How was this possible? What had I done to deserve this? Was this my punishment for stealing that mood ring from Sears in 1972? Hadn't I paid for my mistakes that day I volunteered at the woman's shelter? Had I mistakenly mentioned that I was going to a wine and cheese tasting by way of deflecting his invitation to have dinner?
Gary took the chance coincidence as fate. He proceeded to follow me around like a guide dog, trying to lead me to a really good pinot and offering me little squares of cheese that he thought only my sophisticated cheese palate could appreciate. I was appalled at this turn of events as was my friend, who was now stuck talking to a chubby guy with a bad comb over and brie on his chin. Finally I told Gary, "I'm really sorry but I have to get back to my friend. We came together sooo ... "
"Absolutely. I totally get it," he said, and for a moment I thought he truly did get it. Then he asked, "Why don't you and your friend join us for dinner after this and we can all get to know each other?"
Dude. Seriously? I don't want to get to know you more, let alone your mother and sister. Our coffee date had been designed to reduce the number of awkward dates I had to sit through, not set me up for dates with a guy's entire family unit.
"Unfortunately we already had dinner and I try not to eat after 9 p.m."
"Okay, well ... I'll call you."
And with that, Gary was finally gone, stopping to grab a glass of zin for mom.
I can only imagine Gary's surprise when 30 minutes later he and his entourage walked into SideBern's where my friend and I were sitting at the bar eating cheese burgers the size of soccer balls.
Needless to say, things did not work out between Gary and me. And, miraculously, that was the last time I accidentally ran into him, and his mom and sister.
There are lessons to learn from this particular experience. The main one being, do not suggest introducing a potential connection to the fam after two sips of coffee. If all goes well, your new partner will want to meet mom, dad, sis, bro, and whoever else you have waiting in the wings at home. There is no need to accelerate such a meeting. Secondly, if you feel you have sins to atone for, I suggest you do it before your next coffee date.