Note from the author: This is a follow-up to the post “Frog Hunting,” which you may want to read first.
After six months of unsuccessful attempts to meet men online, I canceled my online dating account.
Then, after eight months of unsuccessful attempts to meet men in person, I joined a new dating app.
And it’s been chaos ever since. In fact, I had to put a hold on my account because I was talking to too many men at once. Believe me, that is a sentence I never thought I’d say. Last month, there was a moment when I was actively trying to schedule four dates at once. I submit this as proof that not only is there a God, but he has a spectacular sense of humor. (I also submit those monkeys with the crazy noses, because COME ON.)
I’ve only gone on five dates so far, and all of them have had some special moments, as most first dates do.
But there’s really only one that I need to tell you about. And it’s a bit of a long story, but that’s necessary for you to get the full effect. So bear with me.
I met this gentleman (we’ll call him Gary) for a beer at a local brewery.
(For the record, the beer was excellent. I would always recommend going somewhere you like on a first date because then even if the date is terrible, you at least get to enjoy some aspect of it.)
Gary is a good-looking man, and his dating profile is full of photos from his military days, which adds a level of attractiveness that I’ve never actually understood. Talk to the Bennet sisters or Debra Winger if you need further clarification on that point.
Anyway. We shook hands, sat at the bar, and started chatting. He seemed nice, genuinely interested in what I had to say, and like a financially viable adult, which at my age is 80% of what makes a guy worth dating. I had already learned from our online conversation that Gary was new to Indy, that we had some hobbies in common, and that he worked for a popular mattress company.
What I soon learned in person as we talked about sports and local restaurants was that his job perfectly described his personality: a snore.
Trying to see if the soporific quality of his conversation was due to the topics at hand, I asked him, “So, Gary. Are you a church-going man?”
He smiled. “No, not really. But I’m very religious.”
He said something after this about growing up in the Methodist church, but I was so busy trying to figure out how you could claim Christianity as your faith, be religious, and still not go to church, that I totally missed what he was saying. I tuned back in when he said, “But actually, I’ve started a new project lately!”
Anticipating some clarification on his spiritual situation, I said, “Oh?”
“Yes! I just purchased a snorkel mask and wet suit in order to snorkel the White River to find snails. I’m planning on starting my own snail farm! I’m a big escargot person. Do you like escargot?”
You guys. He was so excited about this. It was the first inkling of emotion he’d shown in half an hour. (But can we also point out the inherit hilarity of saying you’re a “big escargot person?”)
“I…I guess I’ve never tried it,” I said, as my brain struggled to discover the line between the Methodist church and the culinary delicacies of the White River.
He smiled a genuine smile. “You have to try it! I usually get my escargot from Walmart.”
Struggling to keep up, I tried to match his humor. “Oh! You know, one time I was in Walgreens and they were selling sushi. I could not figure out who would buy sushi from Walgreens in Indiana!”
He shook his head. “Yeah, that’s weird. But the Walmart escargot is really very good.”
He was serious.
“Oh.” I said. It occurred to me that I’d been saying this a lot. I didn’t seem to be successfully participating in this conversation. I tried to engage.
“And…the snails in the White River are…escargot material?”
“Definitely!” he said, and launched into an explanation of the origin of said snails. I admit, I didn’t fully follow, because his voice is incredibly monotone and I am not a robot, but I gathered that at some point a group of famous Chinese snails ended up in Lake Michigan (“They must have been really lost,” my friend Emily said when I told her this) and traveled down the White River into Indiana.
You guys, the White River is not glamorous. It’s sort of like the Hudson. Necessary for the economy, nice to have, but I’d never get in it. I don’t care if those snails had Scottish accents and looked like Matthew McConnaughy, they can stay in the White River as far as I’m concerned. (By the way, Matthew’s been looking sort of weird lately. Maybe I need a new “hot man” to reference. Let me know if you have suggestions.)
Anyway. Feeling way out of my depth (pun intended), I decided to change the subject. I asked him about his cat, which I’d seen a picture of on his profile.
I kid you not, people: Gary spent the next 15-20 minutes filling me in on the diseases and other physical issues that his cat has had over the last few years. Once he started talking about how he spent a year picking scabs off this poor cat every night, I finally pulled out my phone to check the time.
“Well, I should probably get going. Thank you for the beer!”
We parted ways without talk of another meeting, and when he texted me the next day to schedule a date, I politely declined.
See, the thing is, I do some weird things. Last weekend I spent approximately 20 hours learning how to solve a Rubik’s Cube. But I am not under the impression that this hobby makes me more desirable toward men. Snail farming, while…unique…is not a chick magnet. Perhaps I should have explained this to him at the time, but I was too busy not gagging on my beer during the flea and tick conversation.
Moral of the story? I don’t actually know. Why don’t you tell me?