Dater X: When One Door Closes…

I was an hour into my first date with Hot Doctor when he moved in for the kill. Lucky for him, I was so totally taken off guard by his kiss that I didn’t have the wherewithal to swat him away. Less than 10 seconds later, he went for my boob, and then it was Game Over.

“I thought I made it perfectly clear to you that I wasn’t looking to hook up,” I said, pushing Hot Doctor away.

“Well, you did, but that all goes out the window if you like someone right?” he responded, clearly confused.

What made him think that I liked him?

He looked nothing like the photos from his OKCupid profile — he had darker, thinner hair, was a few inches shorter and looked at least five years older. We agreed to meet up for drinks once he finished his nightly review class for his medical boards, but after a delayed dismissal and a few wrong turns, it was 10:45 p.m. before he made it to my neighborhood. At that point, knowing that my roommate was home and within earshot of the living room, I opted to just invite him in for a drink. It was already late on a work night, and if I’d had it my way, I would have already been counting shirtless Channing Tatums in my dreams for at least 30 minutes by then. Unfortunately, the doctor had arrived for his house call.

The first 20 minutes of our date went fairly well. We sat on two different couches and talked about our jobs and families before he jokingly asked if I was keeping him detained across the room. I gave him the green light, and he moved over to the couch I was sitting on. That’s when he got creepy.

“So what kinds of freaky things have you done?” he whispered.

I immediately said, “Sorry, but we’re not gonna go there.”

Despite my protests, he continued to turn every one of my comments into something sexual, even when I changed the subject. When I mentioned that I was worried that I might get laid off from my job due some restructuring at the network, he replied with a mischievous smirk, “Laid off or laid off?”

I’m sorry. That shit’s not even funny. If you’re going to be inappropriate and make my skin crawl, at least come up with a zinger, right? Then I told him that I always feel comfortable walking home at night because there’s a pretty heavy police presence in my neighborhood.

His reply was, “But the advantage to having lots of cops in town is that it makes giving road head that much more thrilling. And you can’t do that if you’re walking home.”

Every part of me wanted to kick him out and let the door swiftly hit him in the ass, but I felt trapped. As I’ve mentioned before, my friends tell me on the regular that I put up with too much shit from men. This was obviously one of those times. So, why didn’t I put my foot down? The truth is, I’m afraid of being disliked. I won’t hesitate to be a total bitch to people who I know love and care about me, but when it comes to a creepy stranger sprawled out on my couch, I feel the need to please. I long to be accepted, and always have— even by people who I don’t like. It’s perverse. It’s a problem. Here I was again, feeling unable to stand up for myself because of my own insecurities. Instead of telling Hot Doctor to get lost, I sat on my couch feeling violated and disgusted, hoping he would leave soon.

We were interrupted by movement in the kitchen, where my roommate was making sure her presence was known (as I had instructed her to do so before the date).

Then, loud enough for my roommate to hear, my date blurts out, “You’re into midget porn?!” and began nudging me with his elbow, laughing. “And you like to put whipped cream where?!”

He clearly thought that his attempts at making my roommate uncomfortable with our fake conversation were hilarious. I, on the other hand, was not amused.

He took this as his cue to go in for the aforementioned kiss, the rejection of which resulted in a 30 minute discussion about why I had no interest in making out with him.

“You seem like a nice person, but I am completely turned off by what you’ve been saying,” I said. “If I seem uncomfortable, it’s because I am.”

He snapped back, “Well, I’m sorry that you can’t handle my personality, but you come on a date expecting a certain, fun kind of person when they’ve previously told you they’re sexual. I’m not a pervert. This is just how I break the ice.”

“Well, I could never and would never be with you, because you’ve given me a very bad first impression that will never really go away,” I replied. “I’m sorry, but, we’re clearly interested in two different things.”

That was the nail in the coffin. As he was walking out, he stuck his hand out to shake mine. That, my friends, is how this atrocious date ended.

As I was closing the door on that awful specimen of a man, I found myself thinking about another closed door — my ex I told you about last week. Let’s call him Don.* My awful date with Hot Doctor made me ache for the time when I was treated with such physical and emotional respect, such loyalty and pure love. Don was the kind of guy who brought me chocolate when I had my period, and told me I was beautiful when I was just waking up — morning breath, smeared makeup and all. He wouldn’t hesitate to drive 30 minutes in the middle of the night to rescue me from a house party after I drunk dialed him, woke him up and then yelled at him for no reason in my stupor. He memorized all of my freckles, right down to the teeny tiny one on my left pinky finger, and he called me his sunshine because he knew it made me blush.

Despite our close friendship for the five years since our breakup, we haven’t spoken in three months because he told me it was preventing him from moving on emotionally. When he called me to tell me that we couldn’t speak anymore, I was devastated. At first, I cried and told him that he promised we would remain friends no matter what happened and that he was turning his back on that promise. But soon I realized this is what had to happen for him to heal. I love him, so I agreed to cut ties for his well-being…but I’m not sure what it’s done for mine.

Whenever I had a bad day or funny story, he was the first one I’d call. Now I just stare at his number in my phone and consider deleting it, just so it doesn’t tempt me. I miss Don. I miss his predictability— something that perfectly compliments my unpredictability. I miss eating Chinese food and watching Denzel Washington movies together. I miss his bedroom with his vanilla-scented candles and the bonsai tree that I got him when we first started dating. When I first bought him the tree, it was no bigger than a foot. He watered it every day, gave it ample sunlight and made sure he trimmed it. If that tree hadn’t been from me, it might not have been so meticulously taken care of. But it’s special to him, the way I am special to him.

I’ve always believed that the past is the past for a reason and that it’s called a breakup because something is broken, but what if I was wrong? What if time was the key to making our relationship work? What if he needed time to find himself and sort out his problems, and I needed time to test the waters and see what else was out there and now we’re ready for each other? Knowing that I may never again find the comfort and mutual respect I had with Don scares the hell out of me. I don’t know if it’s the string of awful dates that have me missing him, or if I’m just being led back to the place where I was always headed: next to him, eating Chinese food and watching a Denzel Washington movie.

*Name has been changed.

[Photo from Shutterstock]