Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Relationship advice from mom and dad

I have this very distinct memory of being five years old and being punished.
My mom sat me down in a chair in the living room, far away from my twin sister, Joy.

We had gotten in trouble because we were playing an “outdoor” game “inside,” and one of us fell and hit our head (no damage…uh, I don’t think) on the wood floor.

“What did I tell you about playing that???” my mom yelled.

She was furious and for some reason put a Google Earth globe on my lap (yes GLOBE) and made me put one finger on New Orleans — where we lived — and one finger on Hawaii, where my dad was for a trade show that weekend.

“This is to show you how far away your father is,” my mom said.

And then she left the room and for the next 20 minutes I sat holding onto the globe, unsure of the lesson. But I never took my fingers off the dots.

I see now that she probably just missed my dad. He wouldn’t have approved of our game called “horse” either and we probably would have listened to him more if he had told us to knock it off.

(“Horse,” by the way, is a test of physical strength where one of us would get on the other’s back and the person on bottom would climb up the stairs on all fours, like a horse while the other one rode “horseback.”)

So, when Joy fell off my back and made a RUKUS and our mom split us up into different timeout corners, the first thing she thought of was our dad in Hawaii.
A whole arm-length away from New Orleans.

Fortunately for my mom, he came back.

My parents are one of the few sets of parents that I know of who aren’t divorced.
In fact, today is their 30th wedding anniversary, and I’m happy to say they still very much like each other. And they are very comfortable around one another. Always have been.

They are so comfortable in their relationship in fact that when Joy and I were terrors young, we asked them what would happen if they got divorced, and they genuinely laughed.

(We asked the question because our new best friend’s parents were divorced, and we were confused.)

“If we got divorced? I’d have the time of my life!” my dad joked. “I’d go out to eat at a new restaurant every night!”

Our eyes got big. That did sound good.

“Well," my mom said. "If he did that, I’d get you girls to find out what restaurant he’s eating at and we’d all go to the same restaurant and we would all sit at the table next to him and say, ‘DADDY DADDY’ really loudly.”

(This situation never came up, but I’m pretty sure it would have played out that exact same way.)

Growing up, Joy and I, and our brother, Franklin (FRANKLIN! YOUR BLOG IS COMING SOON!!!!) didn’t know much about my parents’ past lives.

Perhaps we were too self-absorbed, playing “horse” and putting our cat in the fridge to really appreciate what a great, loving relationship our parents had.

Because now that we’re older and, um, seasoned in the dating world, I know for certain that all three of us have all used our parents’ relationship as a model.

(Mostly to break up with people who don’t live up. Suckers.)

My parents have a comfortable relationship, one where no one is trying to outdo the other and both people accept each other for who they are.

(Unlike the time I dated someone and tried to hide my neurosis. I nearly had a heart attack pretending to be laid back. That would have never worked.)

My dad says that timing is everything when it comes to finding the one you’ll marry.
My mom says it’s about finding a good fit.

(She used to tell me and Joy to “Try people on” until we started making sexual jokes and she got mad and hung up the phone.)

Both my parents have followed their own sage advice. No one will argue that they are a good fit. They are each other’s best friend. (Which is good for when your wife says, “by the way, honey, we’re having twins!!”)

“Marriage a partnership!” my mom would say. “You don’t want to be with someone who isn’t a good partner!”

PARTNERSHIP: My dad cooks, my mom does laundry. My dad changes the oil in the cars; my mom schedules his doctor appointments.

Of course, you can’t let ALL your cards show when you’re first starting to date someone.

I found out very recently at dinner with my parents this week that my mom would invite my dad over to her French Quarter apartment only on Fridays because her housekeeper would come on Thursday.

“She didn’t want me to know just how sloppy and messy she really was,” my dad teased as my mom laughed. (Joking and laughing is also key in a relationship).

But, my dad wasn’t perfect either. He had an earring (LEFT EAR, PEOPLE) and my mom made him take it out.

But, superficial things don’t matter as much as personalities clicking.
My mom says personalities are much more important than looks when it comes to relationships, a theory we are all still testing. Ha

She made an analogy to Joy’s former Audi sedan that was SO CUTE on the outside but a piece of junk on the inside. It was leaking radiator fluid in the floor mats.

“You dread getting into your car, don’t you?” my mom asked.
“Yes, but I look so good driving it downtown!” Joy responded.

I kid.
We were listening, mom and dad.

I’m pretty sure Joy, Franklin and I are poised to make good relationship decisions. At least good long-term relationship decisions.

Because, once we get the 1.) timing right and 2.) "try someone on" and 3.) test out someone’s “partner”-like capabilities we’ll know it’s 4.) a good fit.

But, if for some reason our prince (or princess) charming turns out to be a dud, my dad has advice for that, too.

“Thank God you found out about (insert undesirable quality) NOW and not when you’re married and have three kids,” he would say.

“Believe me. I have three kids. I couldn’t do it without your mother.”



Nobody likes a stalker, even if he is 24 years old and sort of good-looking.

Alex lived right behind Beth, and their doors opened into a shared courtyard area.
Which gave him a perfect non-stalker excuse to get her phone number when he moved in.

“Just in case I see anything odd going on in your apartment, I can text you,” he said.

He seemed nice enough, and, well, sort of good-looking so single Beth gave him her number. FAIL.
By the time she met me for dinner that night, Alex had texted her EIGHT times.

“What R U up 2?” she showed me on her phone. “Where R U?”

In addition to the repeated texting, word abbreviations were like nails on a chalkboard to Beth.
She shivered and never wrote him back.

The next morning, even though he doesn’t have an 8-5 job, Alex conveniently left his house right as Beth was leaving hers. He waved.

“I’m sorry about last night, my friends took my phone and texted you a whole bunch,” he said. “They are sooo immature.”
“Um, it’s OK,” Beth said, hurrying away.

Alex wasn’t sorry.
“R U at home?” he sent THAT NIGHT, when he could clearly see that she was at home and her living room light was on.

Beth didn’t respond again, and shook her head at every message.

The next day, Beth was watching TV and her phone was refreshingly silent. Good, maybe he got the hint, she thought.


Beth looked at her French doors and through the sheer curtains saw Alex standing on her stoop. He could see her, too, and was waving wildly.

Annoyed, Beth made a drastic display of getting up from her chair and pouring more iced tea into her glass and settling back down into the chair, clearly ignoring the company at her door.
After a few more minutes of knocking, Alex threw his hands up and walked back to his apartment.

Walking to her car in the mornings was always the most difficult thing with Alex around, since it was guaranteed that he would conveniently be leaving his house, too.

“HEY, HEY Beth! What’s up?” he asked the morning after his “visit.” He was getting less good-looking by the day.

“Alex, why are you still texting me every hour? I thought you said that was your friends who had texted and it happened again.”

“Yea, I’m sorry, I was really drunk. I think you’re really pretty.”

Silence. Then Beth looked at him, her body halfway in her car.

“Look, I don’t like getting texted that much, or people coming over uninvited, and to be honest, I think you’re kind of sketchy and a creep.”

(F.Y.I. from my friends’ experience and my personal experience, guys really hate it when you call them sketchy. It’s the guy version of the C word.)

“What??” Alex was somehow taken aback. “I definitely don’t want to come across like that,” he said.

“It’s fine,” Beth said, again, hurriedly getting into her car. “Just don’t do that again.”
She slammed the door.

As Beth describes it, she “wasn’t even at the end of the street and he could still see my taillights,” when her phone rang.
It was Alex.

She picked up with a, “REALLY? REALLY?”

“What?” Alex said. “I just wanted to tell you that I’m not creepy. I feel bad that you think that.”

WHY are you calling me?” Beth asked. “What do you want???”
“I want to go out with you.”

“No.” Beth said, finally turning the corner. “No. That’s not going to happen.”

“Oh, I get it,” Alex said. “You’re a lesbian.”

Beth didn’t know if he was serious or just being creepy again.
“Yes, that’s it,” she said. “You got it.”

“Ok, I mean, I was wondering,” Alex responded. Then he hung up.

It turns out, that type of “rejection” is exactly what Alex needed to move on.
In his mind, her not wanting to go out with him couldn’t have had anything to do with HIM, it must have been because he was simply barking up the wrong tree.

No matter. It’s been five days and Alex hasn’t texted her or stopped by unexpectedly and life is back to normal for Beth.

She doesn’t rush to her car to avoid unwanted advances. She doesn’t peek out the window before she leaves the house. She watches The Bachelor in peace.

But she is worried to invite the new guy she’s dating to spend the night.

He might have to cross dress.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010


All Jessica wanted was a Coke Icee and a Hershey’s white chocolate bar from the gas station near her house. It was her favorite combination.

But, she didn’t feel good and didn’t want to leave the house. So she asked her boyfriend, Tommy, to buy them for her after he got out of class.

“Sure, no problem,” Tommy sad.
Jessica watched bad daytime TV and waited anxiously.

Tommy showed up an hour or so later, empty-handed.
“What the hell?” Jessica asked.

“The ICEE machine is broken,” Tommy said. (A regular problem with ICEE machines.)

“What about the Hershey’s bar?”

“No, they don’t make them anymore,” he said, “Can you believe it?”

“WHAT???” Jessica asked. “Not at all??”

“No, I guess people don’t like white chocolate that much,” he said. “I’m really sorry. Hope you feel better.”

Two weeks later, Jessica and Tommy were at WalMart when Jessica saw a big industrial-sized bag of the white chocolate bars on the shelf.

“OH MY GOD, LOOK!” Jessica screamed. “They’ve still got the white chocolate bars here! We should buy them all since they’re not making them anymore!”

She started flopping bag after bag into the cart, when she noticed Tommy smirking and laughing next to her.

“What’s so funny?” Jessica asked.
“They still make them,” Tommy said. “I never stopped at the gas station.”

This week’s Toolbag Tuesday is dedicated to liars. Lying to avoid a trip to the gas station is on the easy end.
At least he didn’t lie about being in high school.

Or pretend to be out of town one weekend so he could spend the weekend with another girl.
Which is exactly what Aaron did to my friend Hannah.

“Miss you babe,” he texted Hannah, supposedly from Alabama.

But, Aaron wasn’t super smart. He decided to HAVE A HOUSE PARTY that weekend.
I guess he didn’t think Hannah would drive by and notice 10 cars in the driveway of his one-bedroom apartment, when he was supposed to be three states away.

When Hannah drove by Aaron’s house (because she was already suspicious that he wasn’t out of town, and his apartment was almost sort-of on her way to the bar where she was meeting friends.)

Hannah glanced over and saw all of Aaron’s friends’ cars AND his car in the driveway.
His favorite college team was playing her favorite college team that night, and they had discussed watching it together.
His team’s flag was outside.

Hannah decided not to park and walk into Aaron’s house because that would be awkward and sad. Can you imagine? It would be like a record-scratch.
(Especially since it was also confirmed on Facebook that he was with another girl at that party.)

So, no, Hannah didn’t embarrass him, but she needed him to know that SHE knew he wasn’t in EFFING Alabama.
So, she texted his friend, who was at the house party.

It was something simple, something like “COOL HOUSE PARTY WHAT THE HELL” His friend never wrote her back, and he’s a big texter, so that was telling in itself.

Hannah heard from Aaron two days later, when he was supposed to be “getting back into town.”
He texted her saying that her team (who beat his team) “sucks,” and asked her if she was doing anything later.

That was two months ago. She still hasn’t responded.

Is there a lesson to be learned here about lying? Perhaps, don’t lie to the extreme?

I mean, just say they were out of the candy bar rather than say they stopped making it entirely. (Better yet, get your ass to the gas station and get your girl an ICEE).

Don’t say you’re 500 miles out of town, say you’re working or busy.

Because, in addition to being a complete toolbag, that’s the kind of bad karma that will plague someone’s favorite football team all season long.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fakers, stealers and other shopping stories

I feel like odd things happen to me a lot, or maybe I just talk about it more than other people.

Odd things happen to my twin sister, Joy, too. Like the time she sat next to someone on a plane who had a seizure (he was OK). Or the time I ran over a seagull with my car ON THE INTERSTATE nowhere near the beach (he was NOT OK).

Just in this blog alone, I’ve mentioned that on my second week at work, people thought it was my birthday and put my name on a cake and sang.

I witnessed a house get busted by drug enforcement officers with black masks and guns and handcuffs.

Joy went on a date once and the guy asked her for tips on how to flirt with the server.

But, I’m sure things like this happen to everyone. At least, it did to the fellow shoppers on Magazine Street in New Orleans this weekend.

It was probably the most interesting shopping experience I’ve ever had, and it happened to be my first weekend of really shopping since moving back home.

It involved a cop, a pair of fake name brand shoes and me winning an argument with a cashier at Walgreens. (All separate incidents, although it would probably be a better story if they were all related.)

In chronological order: The fake name brand shoe altercation came first.

This happened at a local thrift store that buys people’s clothes. (F.Y.I. be prepared to have your feelings hurt when they say that most of your clothes are “un-usable.”)

But, I wasn’t selling, I was shopping. A younger guy was selling, and evidently trying to sell something name brand, and the manager became suspicious of his things.

“I’m sorry, sir, but these tags aren’t matching up,” the manager said.
I was at the other cash register nearby, so I was sort of in the front row of the action.
The seller, in his mid-20s, looked confused, but not as confused as I’d look if someone said that to me about MY Adidas sneaks.

The guy mumbled something to the manager that I didn’t hear, but she said more firmly, “Look, these tags aren’t matching up with the name on the shoe.”

I don’t know if this meant that she thought they were fake, or stolen, or something else. I was confused about the “tags” part because it’s a second hand store. I imagine very little comes in with brand new tags.

The manager spoke very loudly and very authoritatively, like a second grade teacher.
Everyone’s ears perked up.

“Sir, I’m not going to argue with you. Your things are not welcome here. You must take these things out of the store.”

The guy walked away, and the manager said aloud to no one in particular, “I’m too busy to argue today. TOO BUSY.”

I paid for my shorts and then walked out, and saw the guy talking to a girl who was also in line to sell clothes. The girl was saying, “That’s bullshit.” Several times. (I wonder how that ended up playing out.)

I walked two blocks down the street to a shoe store, and saw a police officer at the register taking a report from several women behind the counter about…wait…A shoe thief.

(I didn’t even consider a connection between the shoe theif and the guy selling unacceptable shoes at the thrift store until just now. I could never be a detective).

But, I can’t imagine that whatever girl stole the shoes would find a guy and convince him to try and sell the shoes two blocks away. And if so, the tags would match up…maybe?

Whatever. It was hard to even understand exactly how the shoe thievery WENT DOWN because the women behind the counter were all talking at the same time. The female cop was having trouble writing a report.

“She walked in with, like a cloth purse,” one girl said.

“No, it was bigger than a cloth purse. It was like a cloth bag,” another woman said.

“Yea, a big bag like a trash bag. A trash bag but a cloth trash bag,” a third added.

“No,” the first one said.

“Yes,” the second one said.

“Sorta,” the third one said.

They were all very excited and I think they liked having the cop’s attention.
I left soon after I arrived, since I didn’t like any of the shoes at the store, and I don’t think the cop was able to write down a complete sentence.

And then today, I had to get all serious with the cashier at Walgreens because they had charged me $1 more for a bottle of body wash.

I smelled three different body wash flavors scents, and actually liked them all, but one scent was a dollar cheaper than the other two, and so am I.

I like getting new body wash because no one yells at you for opening the top and smelling it right there in the aisle. Trying to smell different deodorants is much harder. That’s what she said. Moving on.

The cashier rang it up as the price of the other scents and I said super calmly, “the price tag said $5.99.”

“I don’t think so,” she said. I balked.
And then I got serious.

“Um, yea, the tag for the other scents were $6.99 and this one is $5.99.”

“I think the price tag was wrong,” she said. “Or else you read it wrong.”

I disagreed with her, so she called someone for a price check and held up the line for at least 3 to 4 minutes.
So I could collect a dollar.

“We need a price check on the NIVEA GREEN BOTTLE!” she screamed to the manager. (Ahem, Lemongrass.) I waited with bated breath.

“Five ninety nine!” the manager yelled. HA. IN YO FACE.

I smirked. She didn’t say anything and hit VOID and re-rang in the price. It felt really good.
I don’t know if a dollar was worth everyone else’s eyes on me, but a dollar not accidentally charged is a dollar earned.

At least I didn’t steal it.


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Don't judge me by how I treated my cats

My childhood cats were nuts, and I think I have an idea why.

It’s because my twin sister, Joy, and I didn’t play nice with them.

When we were seven years old, we thought it would be funny to put our cat, Elizabeth, in the refrigerator. (JUST FOR A SECOND, Y’ALL).

The point was to play a joke on our mom. We sat at the kitchen table, muffling our laugher as we called our mom into the room.

“Mom…(bahahhaa)…could you (bahahahha) get us something to drink?” we asked.


“We'd like some…(bahahahhaha) MILK.”

Our mom opened the fridge and screamed, “OH JESUS CHRIST!” when she saw the black cat on the top shelf, meowing.
Maybe she even slammed the fridge door in Elizabeth’s face out of instinct.

“WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH YOU GIRLS??” our mom demanded, once she shooed Elizabeth out of the icebox.

“Bahahahahahahaha!” we howled.

Elizabeth hid for a week in the laundry room after that.

Maybe it’s not surprising, then, that our other cat -- and Elizabeth’s brother, Hobbes -- went missing for three months and then came wandering back one day like nothing had happened. I don't think he missed us.

He was hungry when he returned, but he looked the same – no scratches or massive weight loss or anything.

He was never one to sit on laps or enjoy being pet for extended periods of time.

That is, until he went missing for the second time following Hurricane Katrina. My parents found him dehydrated and nursed him back to life and after that he was super grateful, and started sitting on their laps.

My dad said he must have eaten some humble pie.

But, I wasn’t very nice to Hobbes, either. I remember in elementary school my friend and I used him in a fake “commercial” we had to perform in front of the class.

We were told we could bring props and somehow we thought it was a great idea to bring Hobbes to class and perform a commercial for cat food.

I can’t remember if it was my mom or the babysitter who brought Hobbes TO THE SCHOOL at noon on a weekday in a cat carrier.

And if that wasn't traumatizing enough for a cat, I deliberately starved him for a day, just to make sure he would go crazy for the Fancy Fest food like our commercial said he would.

It was the only way to ensure we got an A.

Both Hobbes and Elizabeth ate nothing but dry Science Diet food (which I'm sure is why they both lived well past age 17), so wet canned food of any kind was a treat in itself.

Factor in FANCY FEST wet canned food and a day-long (unwanted) hunger strike, and Hobbes went to town on the bowl of food once he was released from the carrier.

He didn’t even glance at the 30 kids and teacher staring at him, he went straight for the food. It was probably the best meal of his life.

The Science Diet worked wonders. It even turned the backyard raccoon’s fur coat shiny and nails long.

Joy and I would deliberately leave the food out on the back porch so we could watch the raccoons eat it through the window, fascinated with nature.

(We never considered that the raccoons could have eaten Hobbes or Elizabeth, or at the very least scrached their eyes out.)

Elizabeth was always my favorite, even though Hobbes was supposed to be my cat that I chose out of the litter of kittens that were in a box behind our gymnastics class building.

It turns out Hobbes had other interests, like playing outside in the grass instead of inside (the refrigerator). He ended up taking a liking to our brother over us.

When Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, our parents left Hobbes and Elizabeth (age 16) in our house, because no one knew the city would flood and no one expected to be away for more than a week.

In an involved process, in which my parents POSED AS ELECTRICIANS to sneak back into the city early to rescue the cats, they found Elizabeth dehydrated and scared under their bed.

Once Elizabeth was revived, I was charged with taking care of her in South Carolina, where I had been living since high school, because my parents were renting an apartment in Baton Rouge that didn’t allow cats.

(Joy, who was also in Baton Rouge at the time, already lived with a cat, and that cat didn’t want company.)

I remember it was odd having my childhood pet in my adult world halfway across the country. She stared at me a lot.
What was I supposed to do with her? What if she didn’t like me?

My friend pointed out that Elizabeth was almost like my sister, since I had first gotten her when I was seven, and was 22 at the time.

Elizabeth and I quickly rekindled our friendship so much that when my parents moved back to New Orleans six months later and offered to take her back, I said no.

I figured she'd be miserable because my parents wouldn’t let her sleep in their bed. And they wouldn’t have bought her a pink collar with diamonds (which she LOVED) or switched her diet to wet food because it tastes better.

And I figured I owed her one.

Joy took care of Elizabeth with me when she moved to South Carolina a year later. We fully involved her in our lives, even bringing her out as a special guest during house parties.

When Elizabeth got dementia at age 20 and started howling at the wall, we got her a prescription for liquid valium and mixed it in her wet food daily. (And we forbid our friends from trying it themselves. No, Elizabeth needs it, we said.)

We ended up having to put Elizabeth down almost two years ago at age 20, which is the oldest cat I know of in real life. I considered storing her body in the fridge.
Just kidding.


Monday, September 13, 2010


There is no good way to break up with someone, but Kevin brought it to a whole new level.

Sure, he seemed perfect when Mary met him. He had a full-time job, he was ridiculously athletic, and even though he was slightly better-looking from the neck down (a male butterface!!!) he wasn’t ugly by any means.

At least on the surface.

Things started going downhill almost from the beginning.

After a month of dating, Mary was pretty sure Kevin was still regularly talking to his ex-girlfriend long-distance in Georgia, based on repeated unexplained late-night calls and some strategic MySpace stalking. (circa 2003)

Kevin said he could never hang out after 9 p.m. during the week because he hit the gym in the wee morning hours and he was considering entering into a bodybuilding competition complete with fake orange lube tanner.

Mary tried hard to get into his spirit of hard work and athleticism, and for a few weeks Kevin was a pretty promising boyfriend.

He even tried to set some of his friends up with her friends (ummm…EW, btw) but then suddennly his calls to her became less and less frequent. Mary grew suspicious.

This was about the same time he started to make more “business trips” to Georgia.

But, Valentine’s Day was approaching and Mary got her hopes up that Kevin would step it up and buy her something. No dice.

Kevin forgot about the holiday. He told her so two days later, when he finally called her back.

I remember telling Mary not to go over to his house anymore after that, but to no avail. What guy remembers Valentine’s Day? Mary reasoned. And, besides, HE’S GOT A SIX-PACK.

Not even that was enough to excuse the VALENTINE’S DAY CARD Mary found on his kitchen counter. A quick peek inside confirmed that ah, it was from his ex-girlfriend who Mary wasn’t supposed to know about in real life.

“I thought you forgot it was Valentine’s Day?” Mary asked, motioning to the card.
Kevin ignored her.

On the drive home (at promptly 9 p.m.), Mary vowed to have a talk with him the very next weekend. Enough was enough. She decided to gather her thoughts for a full-on CONFRONTATION. She felt empowered. Clear-headed.

She went over things she really wanted to say. Such as: “I know you’re dating someone in Georgia! And, you’re an asshole.”
Or:“Why don't you take take that cheesy Valentine’s Day card and shove it up your ASS while doing squat thrusts??”

Unfortunately, before any of these lines could be perfected, Mary got a phone call from her best friend Tara early Saturday morning. Tara had seen Kevin very drunk at an oyster roast (google it) the night before.

“Have you talked to Kevin lately?” Tara asked, trying to tread lightly.

“No, but he’s supposed to call me today. Why?” Mary asked.

“Because, last night at the oyster roast he told me that you and he had broken up.”

“WHAT?” Mary asked.

“Yea, he seemed surprised that I didn’t know, “Tara said. “He was also really, really drunk.”

“Oh, so we’re broken up now?” Mary said. She suddenly had the urge to check MySpace.

“I don’t know. That’s what he said,” Tara answered. “I’m sorry. He’s an asshole."

One minute later, Kevin picked up the phone to Mary's call.

“HEY!” Mary shouted “Do you remember seeing Tara at that oyster roast last night?”

“Yea, I was pretty drunk though.”

“Do you also remember telling her we broke up?”


“Well, she remembers you saying that.”

“She’s lying,” Kevin said.

“Why would my friend lie?”

“Why would I lie?”

“Because you were drunk and were running your mouth and you’re dating someone else and you think I'm too stupid to notice.”

“I don’t think you’re stupid,” Kevin said. “But, yea, we’re broken up.”

Mary yelled something along the lines of, “HAVE FUN PAINTING YOU DI*K ORANGE!!!!”
and then hung up, furious that she put up with his bad behavior for so long and embarrassed that she was broken up with through her friend.

This wasn’t supposed to happen to people in their mid-20s! What is this, high school? Mary thought.

She deleted him from MySpace immediately.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Did I read the Match.com commercial right when it said one in five relationships start online? Really?? One in five??

That seems high to me, considering all of the horrible stories I’ve heard about meeting someone online.
(I’m sure the remaining four out of five people never see each other again after the first date.)

My friend Ashley had one of the worst first dates I’ve ever heard of with someone she met online.
(Wait, let me clarify…one of the worst first dates that didn’t result in anything traumatic or violent à la Craig’s List killer.)

Alan didn’t violate her, but he was completely unsanitary and odd, and after a horrible picnic in the park, we now refer to him as “mayonaise fingers.”

First of all, Alan looked nothing like his online dating profile picture. He was way older. And he wore a white undershirt and black socks pulled up to his knees, and it was summer.
He was also 20 minutes late and she had to wait for him in the hot sun.

Alan lived in North Carolina and Ashley lived in South Carolina, but there was a big city about an hour-and-a-half between them that had a zoo, and they agreed to meet at the park and then go see the caged animals afterwards.

You’d think that since Alan was the one who suggested they go on a picnic, that he would, you know, KNOW HOW TO PROPERLY PACK A COOLER.

Instead of a nicely-portioned wedge of cheese and crackers, or a fruit plate or, at the very least an unopened bag of chips, Alan asked Ashley to help him haul an industrial-sized cooler out to the park filled with what Ashley described as, “everything that must have been in his fridge.”

And this was not newly purchased food either.

There were half-loaves of bread, two slices of cheese, half-empty containers of mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, relish and grey-ish meat.

It was ten times too much food for just two people, and it was just very bizarre. Would it kill him to get some Subway sandwiches?
She politely took the two slices of cheese, wondering when he originally purchased it.

She observed Alan make a sandwich and saw that he was trying to open the mayonnaise jar. Perhaps it was sealed shut from neglect and its two-month old expiration date.)

Ashley saw the jar and then noticed that in the unnecessarily large cooler, there were no utensils.
“How are you going to put mayonnaise on your sandwich?” Ashley asked. “You don’t have any knives.”

He smiled ¬– shudder – and then stuck his index finger into the old jar of mayonnaise and smeared it on the bread.

And then he told her that he couldn’t afford the admission to the zoo.

Ashley faked a stomach ache (must have been the cheese) and drove the hour-and-a-half home, disgusted, thinking about the mayonnaise, and his yellowy mayonnaise fingers.

He emailed her soon after saying he could TELL that she wasn’t into him, but if he was wrong, he’d be willing to try a date again.

She never called him again. Or ate condiments again.

Can you imagine how gross his keyboard computer must be?


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