Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Your Face Is Melting

After my divorce and before I started seeing my current husband, I was immersed in the world of online dating. I mostly used Match.com and went on 2 - 3 dates a week. Now, before you get all judgmental, by "date" I mean meeting up for coffee and drinks and I always paid for myself.

These dates were more interview than romantic encounter. Within 30 seconds I knew if I wanted to hang around and finish my coffee or beer or if I was going to give the guy a "Thanks, but no FU**ING WAY!"

Usually if the guy smelled like he showered regularly and looked reasonably like his profile picture, I gave him fifteen minutes, then I'd make a decision whether or not he warranted a real date.

I'd say 90% of these people seemed to use pictures of a younger, more handsome, taller, thinner, less balding brother to themselves. This was expected. I didn't see it as a breach of contract for a guy to not mention his growth or removal of a beard, a small change in weight, glasses instead of contacts, that sort of thing.

Then, I met up with a guy from Michigan who completely befuddled me. He seemed nice enough online and he was tall, which I liked, and I had nothing to do on this particular weekend so I drove the 1.5 hrs to meet him at a pretentious restaurant of his choice even though I didn't particularly want to pay $15 for a salad.

When I entered the restaurant, the guy was already seated. I found that kind of odd but I figured it was no bid deal. The waitress led me to a table in a darkened corner and I sat down across from the man I was supposed to meet. When he looked up at me, I almost jumped out of my seat. The guy's left eye and cheekbone were at least an inch lower on his face than the right.

Now...THIS is something I felt I should have been aware of previous to the meeting. Let's be clear, I wouldn't discount a person simply because of a disability, deformity, mutation, etc. But, I think you should warn a person before they show up and find that your face appears to be melting.

What  I found most odd about the entire situation was that when he looked at me, it was with complete innocence. Like he had no idea half his face was sliding off and I might find that strange. In my experience, people with handicaps, disabilities, limbs missing, weird scars covering half their head...have one of three reactions when meeting new people.

They're either A.) Combative -- They give you that challenging stare that says "I know what you're thinking. Go ahead and look! I don't care! You think it's gross, don't you? Well, Fuck You!"

 B.) Fearful -- They give you the wide-eyes or the downcast eyes that seem to say "I bet you're looking. Are you looking? God, please don't stare. Don't judge me. Shit, I shouldn't have agreed to this."

or C.) The Jokester -- These people are the ones who's first words are always a self-depreciating joke. A guy missing a hand might say something like "I'd offer to shake your hand, but I seem to have misplaced mine."

But, this guy, the guy with the more-than-slightly askew face, just looked at me like nothing was weird. This threw me for a loop. In fact, he seemed to be judging me, sizing me up to decide if I was good enough for him.

At this point, I was in my early twenties and had an anti-men, post-divorce mentality that contradicted my speed-dating routine. So, I was thinking to myself "What the hell is wrong with you, dude? Are you judging ME? You're deranged!"

While, like I said, I could forgive a series of profile pictures taken in flattering light or while you were 15 lbs thinner, I have a hard time getting over something like..."BTW, I forgot to mention I look like Sloth from The Goonies."

However, I was intrigued enough by this man's blatant omission that I sat through dinner and did my best to charm him. When, at the end of dinner, he gave me a cool "talk to you later", I was confused. I didn't want to date the guy, beyond the melting face, he was boring as hell, but he should have wanted to date me, right? At the time, I thought so.

I drove home, feeling more insulted with each passing mile. When I reached home, I logged on and found his profile pics and realized they were all taken from a careful angle so as to not show the weird side of his face. How had I missed this? Then, I got a message from him. Something along the lines of "It was nice meeting you, but I don't think it'll work out."

Now, I was really insulted. Sloth from the Goonies doesn't think I'm good enough? No. Freaking. Way.

So, I set about changing this guy's mind. For what reason, I've no idea. I pursued him. I drove to Michigan 3 additional times and ate at 3 more pretentious, overpriced restaurants for which I paid my half of the bill. For no other reason than I thought this guy should like me, even though his personality was flat and I wouldn't have dated him even without the misshapen face.

After our fourth and final dinner date, he emailed to tell me he didn't want to see me again. He didn't want to see me because he didn't like that I seemed "unsettled in my career". UNSETTLED IN MY CAREER!

I should have gone with my first instinct on the very first date, the first time I got a glimpse of him in person. I think we would have both been better off if I'd just said what I'd been thinking, "Excuse me, Sir, but your face is melting."