A few weeks ago, a Twitter friend of mine (shout out @HonorbleMention) came up with the hashtag #BadDateChronicles - he encouraged followers to tweet stories of their worst dates so that we could all reminisce about love connections gone wrong. I shared my story in a series of tweets, but really did no justice to how tragically comical my worst date was.
So today, I take that walk down memory lane and share with you: my worst date ever.
For my 24th birthday, I wanted to keep it low-key. It was a warm spring night, so my homies dragged me out to dinner, then we took a post-dinner walk through downtown Toronto. We stumbled upon a tarot card reader's shop and the great (or terrible) idea for me to go in for a reading was born.
We opened the door into a dark hallway, ascended a creaky staircase covered in plush carpet, separated strands of chimes and beads hanging from the ceiling, and entered the tarot card reader's lair. It was everything I imagined a tarot card reader's lair to be: dark with corners lit by candles and vintage lamps, lots of velvet furniture, figurines and crystal balls and soft music playing from a small stereo. A woman emerged from a side room and greeted us. My friends explained the situation: it was my birthday, I needed a tarot card reading, don't give me any bad news. She laughed, waved me into the other room, and asked my friends to wait downstairs. Clears the space of competing energies, she said.
During my reading she told me a ton of interesting things. What stuck out most was around the issue of love - I had gone through a tumultuous breakup, and was ready to get back in the dating game. Here's what she told me:
"You'll meet a tall man - a very tall, good looking man. When you meet, I see him in a shirt with an emblem or logo on the chest. He'll have brown skin and light eyes - his eyes will be the first thing to catch you. He'll be the love of your life - you'll travel, and I see a wedding happening in an exotic location. He'll take care of you, so look out for him. Oh - and you have an ex who is trying to get back into your life. Don't let him."
Y'all should have seen my face. A tall, fine dude who'll sweep me away to exotic locales? Plus the confirmation that maybe I should be ignoring those "Hey stranger" texts from the ex? I was sold.
Fast forward a week or so later.
I was at a soca fete with my homegirls. Music pulsated and bodies jumped and waved and wined in the hot and sweaty venue. Just as I stopped to fan myself with a mix cd some dude handed out in the crowd, I felt someone come up behind me and start wining. Sidenote: ain't no "Excuse me, miss - may I have this dance?" at soca fetes. Everyone generally dances with everyone, and if you're not in the mood, a cute two-step and spin away from the hopeful partner usually solves the problem. I was in a dancing mood though, and my homegirl in front of me gave me the raised eyebrow that signaled, "Girl - he fine. Do ya thing." So I did.
When I took a second to turn and see how cute he was for myself, I was surprised to realize that my eye level was at his upper chest level (I'm 6ft tall, so it's not often I meet dudes THAT much taller than me). Turquoise Polo shirt, with the familiar horse and jockey logo on the chest. Suddenly, I remembered my birthday tarot card reading. I looked up, slowly drinking in the broad chest and shoulders to the neck and finally the face. Smooth brown skin. Piercing green eyes. IT WAS MY MAN, Y'ALL!
We engaged in a bit of that 'music's too loud so we have to lean in real close to talk' club convo, sharing names and smiles, with me taking in the scent of his cologne while being glad that I had some minty gum in my mouth. The night went on, and we danced, talked, had his friends to get with my friends so we could be friends, then exchanged numbers at the end of the night. We chatted the next day, made plans for an after-work date later that week, and I floated around daily on a cloud of tarot promises and soca music.
Date night came. Since it was a weeknight, and I like my first dates easy with ample room for conversation, I offered up the simple idea of going out for ice cream, but I didn't know of a good spot to go to. "Oh, there's a great dessert spot near you at Markham and Ellesmere," he said when he picked me up (mad late, I might add - strike one). I was absolutely certain there was no dessert spot on that corner, but he was absolutely, arrogantly certain there was. "Nah - you just don't know the area," he said. We headed out, and - surprise, surprise - no dessert spot existed. "Man, I was positive it was here! They must have just closed it." I stayed silent. It was late, we wasted time driving to a non-existent location, AND he didn't listen to me. I suggested we just go to a nearby McDonald's so we could grab sundaes and chat.
We got our ice cream, took our seats at an outdoor table, and got into a decent stream of conversation. I convinced myself to give him a fresh start after the earlier mishaps, but something in my spirit just wasn't meshing with him. I thought, 'this has to work - the tarot card reader said so!' and continued to push through.
Out of nowhere, I heard a loud ruckus in the parking lot behind me. I turned to see a group of dudes coming out of the McDonald's with a manager chasing after them. I caught snippets of threats to "go get my ting" (aka "get my gun") and promises that the police were on the way, then recognized the dudes from around my neighbourhood and knew they were harmless. A few of them started to jump in their cars and get away with pilfered Big Macs, so I turned back to my date. The look on his face was one of pure terror. "It's OK," I told him. "Those guys aren't serious." He didn't believe me. "Maybe we should just go before this escalates," he said, completely frozen save for his green eyes that cautiously watched the commotion behind me. "Nah, really. They're all talk. So - what were you saying about your last vacation?" I tried to get us back on topic, but he paid me no mind. It was then that I noticed he was doing something very peculiar. He was shrinking his 6'6" frame down into the bench, assessing the parking lot action behind me, and actually using me as a shield between him and the angry neighbourhood dudes.
"Are you - are you actually trying to hide behind me?" I shifted in my seat and he whispered "Wait - don't move!" and I knew then that this love story was doomed. "You know what, maybe you're right. We should probably go." I started to stand and gather my things, but he was still stuck to the bench. "Well, maybe we should wait until they're gone - I think I'm parked beside one of them." I couldn't believe what I was hearing, so I hopped up from the table and stalked away. He finally chased after me, unlocking his car doors and sliding into the seat like it was home plate. I got into the car, waving at one of the neighbourhood dudes who stopped cussing to give me a "Good evening, empress," before resuming again. "Whew, that was crazy," my date said. I tuned out after that. We got to my place, he tried to sneak a kiss, I shot it down, then headed upstairs to bed.
He called me a couple of times after that, but I rebuffed his talk of another date. The calls stopped and life moved on - but I ran into him at another soca fete a few weeks later.
As I made some friendly talk with him, I noticed something was off. His face looked different. I couldn't place it, but all of a sudden, there it was.
"Your eyes - they're brown?"
"Oh yeah - I usually wear my coloured contacts but I'm going au naturel tonight," he chuckled as if his joke was actually funny.
The Moral Of The Story
Don't date guys who use you as human shields.
If a tarot card reader tells you you'll fall in love with a guy with light eyes, be aware that coloured contacts may lead you astray.
And that ex she told me to avoid? We got married. We had a baby. And I call him HomieLuva.