You Can Call Me Toro
Before I met and married Kerry, I was an unattached, single woman. I had recently moved back home to Connecticut, bought my first fixer upper (that I was going to fix up myself) and accepted a new career with a demanding 12-hour day job. When I came home from work, most nights at 7pm, I would make a quick dinner and decompress before heading to bed. That pretty much summed up every weekday evening. Rinse and Repeat. My life was mind numbingly monotonous.
On Saturdays and Sundays I would split my time between Home Depot and my 70-year old house. I had watched my mother tackle home projects and her success inspired me to do the same. With my Home Depot 1-2-3 book at my side, I learned how to replaced toilets and sinks, take down plaster walls and ceilings, insulated walls, hang drywall, tape and mud said drywall, sand and paint. I took on simple electrical work like updating the outlets, and minor plumbing projects. That was just the inside. When the weather permitted, I mowed the lawn, raked leaves and attempted to tame the landscape.
You can plainly see that between my job and my house, I was way too busy for a relationship. My well intended neighbors didn’t see it that way and this is where my blind dates gone wrong story begins.
Let’s Use The Puppy As Bait
One Sunday afternoon, as I was outside raking the leaves, a man and a puppy came walking down the street. I immediately stopped what I was doing and watched completely spellbound at the sweet puppy. The puppy was smiling and wiggling his butt and sooooo excited to say hello to me! The man at the opposite end of the leash may have said hello to me, but I didn’t hear him, all my attention was on the chick magnet he had. I practically pounced on the puppy and immersed myself in the warm, soft, ball of fur while filling my lungs with the delectable aroma of puppy breath.
As I was playing with the puppy, the man (let’s call him Rob) and I chatted. He told me that the reason he was in the neighborhood was because he was taking care of my neighbor’s new puppy while they were away. OMG! So sweet of him, right? Eventually, Rob invited me for a drink and because he seemed like a nice enough guy, I said yes and gave him my phone number. I found out later, that the entire “Meet Cute” was set up by my neighbors – and the puppy was the bait.
A Lesson In Sign Language
When Rob called later that evening to make a date for drinks, he asked if would could make it for dinner instead. Admittedly, he caught me at a weak moment. I hadn’t been on a date in what felt like forever, so I agreed. We picked my favorite restaurant and set the date for that Friday.
When the day came, he picked me up in his car and we headed to the restaurant. During the drive, he told me that his Mom had recently died. He talked about her final weeks and days in the hospital and how distasteful it was to watch her eat. He told me that when he visited her in the hospital and her food arrived, he had to leave the room. He said “I can handle anything, but just don’t make me watch her eat.” Not knowing what to say, I glanced over at him and nodded sympathetically. He went on to tell me in great detail about how religious his Mom was and how religious he has been his entire life and that faith played a key role in his everyday life. He told me that in her final days, his Mom expressed her fear of dying. In an effort to comfort her, he assured her that she was going to a better place.
We arrived at the restaurant and after our drinks were served, I was prepared to engage in the typical “getting-to-know-you” small talk. Instead, Rob surprised me and came right out of the gate by telling me that he was recently divorced. Even though I was a bit taken back that he used his divorce as the “conversation opener” I tried to appreciate the fact that he wanted to share his relationship status. And since he was the one that brought it up, I asked him what happened to his marriage.
He looked straight into my eyes while simultaneously raising his right hand which he had made into a fist, and he said “It’s hard to want to ‘Eh eh’ with your wife when she reminds you of your mother.”
The ‘Eh eh’ sound he uttered was timed with his fist rapidly punching back and forth in midair.
Color me naive. Maybe I am sheltered. I didn’t know what “Eh eh” meant and I didn’t get what the fist moving forward and backward meant either. Completely bewildered, I said “I don’t know what you mean.”
He raised his fisted hand again and as my eyes tracked to his fist, two things happened. The first was that I noticed how abnormally small his fist was for a grown man and the second was that I heard him say “You know….you don’t want to have sex with your wife when she reminds you of your mother.” He punched his fist back and forth into the air again, but with less enthusiasm this time.
Oh. Ooooohhhh! And eww! Gross.
It finally dawns on me what ‘Eh eh’ coupled with the rapid fist pumping means and I instinctively leaned back as far as possible to distance myself from what is obviously the universal sign for sexual intercourse employed by jerks across the land.
Immediately my mind is racing with all the possible excuses I can give him so I can end this date now. My hope is short-lived. With a sinking feeling, I remember that he drove. I inwardly cursed at myself as I realize that I am stuck with this unbelievably crass, baby-size hands man that has Mommy issues or whatever the psycho thing is called when a man marries a woman who reminds them of their dead mother. That is a lot to unpack in the first few minutes of a date.
By this time, I’ve mentally checked out of the date and supremely irritated that I have to endure this dinner. Could I have left, yes. But this was before Uber and I also didn’t want to make things really awkward with my neighbors by literally walking out on a date that they had orchestrated. Instead, I took a very deep breath and give myself a pep talk that at least the food would be delicious.
I Want To Hold Your Hand
A few moments of silence pass after the enlightening sign language lesson and Rob has noticed that my back has remained plastered to the chair creating physical space between us. He doesn’t like it. He reaches all the way across the table and grabs my hand and starts to hold it. This is a good time to remind you that Rob and I are about 12 minutes into our first and last date. I realize that he is intent on ignoring all normal dating protocol and move aggressively into the hand holding stage. I give him a tight smile and tug my hand free, which by the way was really easy to do since my hand is so much bigger than his itty bitty baby hand. My freed hand picks up my glass of wine preparing to chug it and the very moment my hand rests back on the table, he grabs it again and starts holding it.
Now I am pissed. I am mad at myself for not taking my own set of wheels. I am mad at myself for agreeing to dinner when a drink is so much more sensible for a first date. And I am irritated at him for being so clueless. Again, I quickly and easily tug my big hand from his baby hand. Because Rob can’t interpret basic social cues or my body language, I decide to use my words. “Rob, I am not comfortable holding hands with you when we barely know each other.” He said “I am sorry, I just really really really want you to like me! Do you like me?”
My body shivered in violent protest.
I suffer through the quickest dinner I can manage, no appetizer or dessert for me, and once the bill is settled he says “So, where should we go for an after dinner drink?” I barely contain myself from laughing, and instead tell him that I have an early morning and I need to get back home. “Ah, come on” he says, “just one drink?” In my mind I am having a silent conversation with him that goes like “Come on Rob, read the room. I haven’t given you any buying signals. I have been giving you refund signals.”
I Want To Hold Your Neck
We walk out of the restaurant, and I practically sprint to his car and get in. I shut the passenger door and as I turn to my right to reach the self belt and begin to pull it over my lap, I suddenly feel his hand on the side of my neck and he is forcefully pulling my neck down and towards him at the same time. I turn my head to figure out what is going on, only to discover that he has leaned all the way over to my side of the car and his face is about 12 inches from mine. I shriek and jerk away and because his short little baby fingers are not long enough to get a good grip around the girth of my neck, I escape effortlessly from his toddler-like grasp.
I shrink into the passenger door and yell “WHAT. ARE. YOU. DOING?” He gives me a deflated look and says “Oh. I just wanted to tell you that you are pretty.” I think to myself, Nope, that isn’t what you were doing, you were going in for a kiss.
Oh God. Make it stop.
I can handle myself in almost every situation and I know he isn’t going to try anything more. Nevertheless, I glare at him and cling to the passenger door.
My Date With The Moron Draws To An End
On the way back to my house, he asks me when he can see me again. As his question lingers in the air, I stay perfectly still in my seat and I come to the exhausting realization that not only is Rob obtuse and completely devoid of social grace, he is also feeble-minded and dim-witted. In short, Rob is a moron. As in the low IQ kind. I am going to have to speak to him like he is six. You know, like a mother would to her child, and since he clearly has deep-seated Mommy issues (“Eh-eh”) I decide to leverage his psychosis to my full advantage.
“Robby, we don’t have anything in common and I am not interested in ever seeing you again. Ever.” I begin to tick off a gazillion reasons why and conclude by stating “We have many insurmountable and fundamental differences, one of them is my complete lack of faith and your complete devotion to it.”
He says “Oh no, don’t say that. Don’t tell me it is about my religion. Tell me it is because you don’t like the way I eat.”
I cannot make this stuff up.
“Robby, just so I understand, you are saying that you would prefer me to choose the reason that I don’t EVER want to see you again for something shallow like your lack of table manners rather than something so profoundly important to you as your deep, reverent and lifelong devotion to your spirituality that I have zero in common with?”
He nods earnestly.
His car barely comes to a stop in my driveway before my hand is on the door handle and I am quickly exiting with my house key already in my hand. He practically chases me to my front door where I bid him a quick and firm “See ya” as I shut the door in his face.
It took several unanswered phone calls from him and the neighbor cajoling me to give him a second chance because ‘he really really really likes me’ before Robby and his itty bitty baby hands moved on.
You Can Call Me Toro
The second blind date gone wrong was with a guy whose real name I don’t even remember. All I remember is that we were having our first drink and he said “Hey babe, no need to use my first name. You can call me Toro.”
Yes, thank you. I know that is quite a record. Ten minutes into our first and last date and I am already his babe. Hooray for me!
My nostrils started flaring which in hindsight was really quite ironic and I said “Oh, is that your nickname?” And he said “Yeah, my father calls me Toro because of his love for bull fighting.”