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James R. Stout

The Weirdest Date That I Ever Had

            Let me tell you about the weirdest date that I ever had. It was sometime in the spring of 2008. I had been single for 5 years after being married for 27 years. When the divorce was final in August of 2003, I had not been in the dating world since I was 19 years old. To say that things had changed would be a gross understatement. I didn’t go out on a date for about 8 months after the divorce. That thar hoss had bucked me pretty hard and I wuzn’t quite ready to get back up on that pony and take any more punishment. This was in early 2004 and the world of internet dating had made its appearance with a bang. They were making movies about it and frankly any movie with Diane Lang got my vote. But we were in the toddling stage of internet dating and a lot of us were not aware of the weirdness that could come from dating someone via an internet site.

            I refer to the years between 2004 and 2007 as my “50 First Dates” faze. No, I didn’t date someone with extreme short-term memory loss. But I did date about 50 women for one date only each. Perhaps I exaggerate a bit on the number, but it sure seemed like 50. Most of these “dates” were the kind where you meet for coffee (Heck, I don’t even drink the stuff!). None of them led to anything more than a one-time meeting. To tell the truth, I spent more time emailing and talking on the phone with those dates than I did on an actual date. I was learning very quickly that there were some women out there in my age range that were very much a mess. The worst part of internet dating was the dishonesty that I discovered. It was rampant. It was also stupid.

            There were some nice ladies that I met, but most of them were very angry or very hurt. The angry ones baffled me. They seemed to hate men because they had been treated badly by a man, yet they wanted to find a man to be with.

            Yes, there were all kinds of ladies during that time period that I met once and never saw again. Some were just not compatible while some were nice, but for one reason or another it just wasn’t a match. Now for the weirdest date. I had once again turned to an internet dating site. I should have learned by then, but I guess I got lonely. This woman seemed really nice in our email correspondences. When we talked on the phone, she seemed pleasant and “normal”. We arranged to go out to dinner on a Saturday night. She even trusted me enough to allow me to come pick her up. I certainly would have understood just meeting somewhere, but we had talked on the phone quite a bit and I guess she felt comfortable enough to have me pick her up. We went to a nice steak house and I was quite pleased for about the first hour of our date. She was as attractive in person as her picture showed her to be on the internet site. She seemed to have a good sense of humor and she appeared to be intelligent and witty. I should have known something was going sideways when the theme to “The Twilight Zone” started to play.

            There we were talking after eating our dinner and she said she needed to tell me something before we went any further. That’s never a good sign. I nonchalantly nodded and said, “Go for it.” That’s when she told me that she had been going to a psychiatrist for 20 years. My first thought was that she might want to get a new psychiatrist if the one she had couldn’t fix her in 20 years. But then I mentally slapped myself for being sarcastic. I asked her why she needed to be seeing a psychiatrist in the first place. I had all kinds of things going through my head that I thought might explain why she would need therapy. Perhaps she had been abused as a child. Maybe she had suffered a horrible loss such as her parents dying in front of her or some thing of that nature. Nope, none of those fit the bill. She then demurely said that she had multiple-personality disorder. She said it like it was a badge of honor or that she was proud of it. I then asked her to explain. She said that she had thus far been diagnosed with 17 distinct personalities. She even had names for all of them. She said that 14 were good, but 3 were bad. She said she had been working on getting rid of the bad ones for some time. Uh-huh. Right about this time I was wishing we had just met at the steak house. I knew that the ride back to her house was going to be awkward and then some. Especially after I asked the next question. I looked her in the eyes and said, “So which one am I having dinner with?”

            It must have been one of the bad ones because she got really mad over that question. I do believe in schizophrenia and bipolarism. I’ve seen those in action and there is definitely something haywire in the brain of someone with those afflictions. But I just don’t buy the 17 different people living in one body thing. If anything, this lady had been more messed up by her doctor than anything else. For that matter, I wondered if perhaps she was just lying. People will lie for many reasons and one of them is to gain attention.

            Well, the date was effectively over after she got mad over my question. I took her to her home and the drive there was indeed tense. But I am a gentleman and I walked her to her door. I said goodnight and left. I had a 50-mile drive to my house, and it gave me a chance to digest not only my dinner, but the lady with 17 lives. I reassessed the usage of the internet for dating. Prayhaps it was not the way to go. But loneliness can make you lonely. I would use the internet dating sites again later, but I haven’t in a long time now and I think I’m cured. I really do feel sorry for that lady because she does have some mental problems. Emotional problems may be a better term for it. But that was 11 years ago and maybe she is OK now. I hope so. I haven’t been on a date of any kind for over a year. It’s not that I don’t want to meet someone and have someone to care about and be cared for by. I would like that very much. But I’m not going to hit the internet again and hope a nice Christian, sane, decent, attractive (to me) woman will be doing the same. I’ll leave it up to God. Maybe I’ll meet someone at church or through a friend etc. But one thing is for sure. If I do, she’ll only be her one and only self.

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