Sunday, April 26, 2009

Date #5: Much Like Picking your Nose

I was talking to my twin brother today about my latest dating experience, and he told me that dating is much like picking your nose; you keep digging, hoping for a winner, but all you ever really get is another booger. Now, I am not sure I ever hope for anything better to come out of my nose when I pick it, but I do think that the deeper in to this research I go, the more I come up with the same results.

My fifth date was with a man I was supposed to go kayaking with. The first time we set the place and time for the date, I fell ill and could not go. This time, we were to meet downtown and go to the Willamette to kayak around. I was excited. I had not been kayaking since I was in Alaska roughly ten years ago, so I thought it would at least be a good date in that way. Sadly, when my date showed up, let’s call him “Tom”, he was not in shape to go as he had been working hauling logs all week and had just finished hauling wood that morning. Instead we settled on driving through the Gorge and up to Bonneville Dam to look at the fish ladder. Much less to be excited about; especially if you live in Oregon and bring every freaking tourist who visits you to the falls along the Gorge. I might as well have gone on a date to McDonalds Playland; sounds like fun, but then you get there and all it is, is a bunch of screaming kids in large colorful tubes throwing balls at each other.

The first item of note regarding Tom is that he is older than me by more than 10 years. This in itself is not really that amazing; the fact that he acted like a man at least 10 years older than that was noteworthy however. Tom is handsome, white hair, ruddy complexion, and has the carriage of a man who is familiar with heavy labor; his shoulders slump forward slightly and his arms hang by his side as he walks. He picked me up in front of the Multnomah Public Library down town; we put my bike in his car, and went back to his house so he could clean up. He lives in a house in the west hills which he built himself; he is a home builder by trade and drove me past several of the houses he had built on the drive to his house. They were all impressively large, and he told me the ins-and-outs of how he came to build each one. As we drove, we talked of the possibility of going to a Mariners game in the future, which sounded great to me, as I love baseball. He told me that he holds season tickets with a group of people and he determined that picking games where you get a free bobble head of one of the players was the best value. I am a fan of bobble heads, so I could see his point.

We entered his house and the first thing I noticed was how gigantic it was. I asked him if he thought it might be too big for just one person to which he immediately replied, “No.” As I walked through the house to his back room, I recognized all the markings of a bachelor; he owned nice furniture, though none of it was arranged well, nor did it match. There was a beer bottle and a pizza pan out from the night before, along with several other pots and pans strewn about the kitchen. His house had a huge fire place and windows facing the trees and the wilderness behind. The view was beautiful, but there were no curtains or blinds to close to keep anyone from looking in. He had two or three huge sacks of bird feed on the floor in his kitchen nook; one was open with a scoop still in it. His mantle was made of stone and reached up to the roughly 20’ high ceilings, and on little stone ledges were old ceramic beer steins. There were crocodile heads on the floors, and on the stereo speaker: a fox pelt.

He told me he was going to go upstairs to clean up, and he put on some music before he went. It was the first indication that things might not go so well on this date; it was a New Country station. New Country is the worst kind of Country in my opinion. Why put on some music, which you yourself will not be able to hear, leave the room and not ask the person left to listen to the noise whether or not they like it? I personally am more of a heavy metal/hard rock fan, but I would never put this music on in the company of a perfect stranger without first asking if it was to their liking. As I looked around his living room, a song about marrying for money playing in the background, I saw the fruits of his trips to Safeco Field: at least fifteen bobble heads of different Mariners players were displayed on the mantle, shelves, and tables. It was hysterical. One sat in its box on a side table, waiting to be taken out and placed in a special spot next to its brothers. I looked around more and saw, on a stereo speaker, a picture of him and three hooters girls outside of a hooters restaurant set in a gold frame. This was getting more and more grim. Then he came back into the room wearing a flannel shirt, jeans and a black baseball hat with huge red and orange flames on it. Awesome.

As we drove to the Gorge we talked. Every time he began telling me something, he would introduce it by saying either, “I have a story for you” or “this is something you might find interesting” or something of that nature. He also started all of his sentences by saying the first word very loudly and then quieting down to a normal “inside voice” level by the end of the sentence. It was a bit disquieting at first, but I slowly got used to it. He had a bad habit of asking me questions and then not waiting for me to finish my answer before he told me what he thought, or if I tried to tell him something about myself, he would interrupt by pointing out some amazing geographical feature like the Willamette River. He told me about how much money he had to spend on rope for a job, (a dollar a foot, roughly), he told me about paying for a chainsaw in trade with some wood he had recently procured. He asked if I would ever want to go to Hawaii with him, as he had free housing there if he wanted it. He then launched into a story about how he purchased some Macadamia nuts while he was in Hawaii and got a free ukulele CD with them, which he just happened to have in the car, and then, yes, horror of horrors, he played. This was when it hit me: he had Grampa Syndrome. Grampa syndrome occurs in males of all ages, and is reflected in the way they treat money. A friend of mine has this same syndrome; once in our early twenties, as we sat and drank tea at a non-descript Starbucks Wannabe cafĂ©, he asked me if I thought it was a good idea for him to save his tea bag for later. My immediate reply was, “of course, Grampa, why don’t you leave a dime for a tip on the table when we go?” Grampa syndrome is usually a life-long affliction; trying to train someone out of it can be very dangerous, and I highly suggest just steering clear of these people all together if you are not of the same mind. No amount of happiness is worth the price of having to hear all of the stories of great deals, free bobble heads or other amazing bargains for the rest of your life.

We arrived at the fish place and got out of the car. He brought an umbrella with him as it was perfect spring weather for Oregon: windy and rainy. Half way to the fish area, he decided he needed a heavier coat, reached in his pocket, pulled out a quarter and directed me to “feed the fish”. He went back to his car and I fed the fish, which was strangely enjoyable, especially when I threw in the pellets and created a feeding frenzy among them. He came back and we walked around the different ponds. At the Rainbow Trout area, he gave me another quarter for fish food. Sadly, as I turned the lever for the food, all of the pellets came out quickly and some of them spilled out onto the ground. I walked over to the pond and started throwing in the food. He then walked back to the machine and began to pick up each little pellet which had fallen out and fed the fish with those. I could not look, it seemed too ridiculous, and I knew if I had, I would have laughed. After going to see the 70 year old Sturgeon and the empty fish ladder, we decided to head up to Skamania lodge to grab lunch. The conversation had somehow turned to people we had dated, and I asked him what the largest age range had been between he and someone he was dating. He replied that he had dated someone who was twenty just last year. It ended up not working out though, not because of the age difference, but because she was crazy. Go figure.

We sat down at the pub-ish restaurant at the lodge and ordered. I ordered the burger, he ordered the pulled pork, and then asked the waiter what Gnocchi was, except he pronounced it “Ganache”, so there was a bit of confusion initially. After the waiter explained the Gnocchi and left, Tom asked me if I had ever heard of it. I told him that I had, and then I taught him how to pronounce it and told him what Ganache is. He said he felt stupid, but I assured him that our waiter had probably heard far more stupid things come out of people’s mouths. It was a pretty good lunch, but during our meal, he asked me a question about my brother which I had already told him the answer to on the way up. After I informed him I had already told him this information, he looked a little surprised. Then I told him that he was not a good listener. This information apparently did not surprise him at all. His response was basically, “yeah, I know,” and then it was kinda on to the next thing. I figured since we were being honest, I also told him that he rarely told a story that didn’t in some way relate to money. I recounted a few of the things he had told me, and then we got into a very stimulating conversation about the importance of money.

On the way to the car in the parking lot, he asked me what I thought the definition of a date was. I told him I didn’t really know, mostly because I knew he asked me in order to tell me what he thought. After he told me that I was not going to like his answer, he told me that a date is defined by a meeting of two people where the possibility of sex exists. I pretty much agreed with him. I asked him if he thought we were on a date, and he said yes. He then asked me, and I said yes. He seemed surprised by my answer, until I told him it wasn’t happening. This reply did not seem to surprise him at all.

On the way back home we stopped at the Pendleton Woolen Mill. Yet another amazing tourist attraction I have been to countless times with tourists. Tom was interested in getting another flannel shirt, as the ones he owned were of such good quality. While we were in there, he showed me one he was thinking about buying. It was orange and yellow. I asked him what exactly he was thinking, as he knew it was ugly. He said it was a great price, and he could wear it around the house or when he didn’t care about getting his clothes dirty, to which I replied, “Dude, don’t do that, there is no excuse for ugly clothing, no matter what the cost.” He settled on a black flannel on another rack. As we were walking around the store he offered to buy me a $10 sweater. I replied in the negative, but he kept pushing it. Even out into the parking lot, he kept asking me why I didn’t want a stupid sweater. Then, he let me know that all the other dates he had brought there had wanted one when he offered. I couldn’t hold it in, I just burst out laughing. He tried to explain that he didn’t take all of his dates there, just a few, but I just kept on laughing. I had been polite about the bobble heads, the hooters girls, the hat, the ukulele music, but this was too much. He had taken me on a date he had been on before with other women. It made me feel so very special.

After we left Pendleton, we started talking about the Mariners game again. He told me that he usually slept over for night games, and asked if would I want to do that. I asked if that meant we would be having sex. He said yes. It was very business like, no romance, no anxious feeling, no trying to casually brush my hand at any point during the date, no flowery compliments on my behalf. Looking back, I wasn’t really even offended; Tom rolled dispassionate, and by this time, I knew it.

We got back to my apartment and unloaded my bike. I took it from him, thanked him, and went toward my apartment. It had been my best date yet; but as I threw my bike on my shoulder and carried it up to my apartment, I had to admit, it still was not that good.

This blog is now an ebook on amazon!!


  1. i am dating that man right now. thanks for the insight. we've gone out 2 times, and i couldn't put my finger on exactly what it was about him that drives me nuts. he's a grandpa, for sure.

  2. You are the craziest woman I have ever met.

    Good work on getting published however.

  3. Oh Anonymous, you have no idea.

  4. Very illuminated. good. great. very great. a good amount of great. I enjoyed it. Am I only one? Good writing. Well written. Well, that was written well!. Well Job. Glad you didnt get together.

  5. Thanks, Leaping Slug! I am glad too. I appreciate your appreciation.