The Dating Diaries: Gum Guy

When people ask me about my worst date (And they always want to hear about the bad ones. No one wants to hear, “We went to dinner and had a really nice time.”), “Gum Guy,” or GG as I call him, always comes to mind.

We met online and he sent a couple of snarky texts that made me laugh. But alarm bells must have gone off somewhere because when he suggested we meet for dinner, I downgraded it to meeting for a drink.

We met at one of my favorite upscale bar/restaurants. I arrived first. GG texted he was running late—uh, leave your house on time, buddy—so I went ahead and ordered my drink. Belvedere vodka martini, extra dry, three olives.

When he arrived, I kinda sorta recognized him from his photo. Recognized in the way you can see glimpses in the paunchy man standing in front of you at your 20th class reunion of the boy who sat next to you in science lab in junior high school. Not a recent photo then. Okay.

He swaggered (and yes, that is the correct word), into the bar, pulling off his mirrored Top Gun aviator sunglasses and smoothing back the remaining wisps of hair on his head. He spotted me and gave me a “S’up” chin nod as he made his way toward me.

Oh, goodie.

He sat down and smiled, revealing the GINORMOUS wad of bright green gum lodged between his cheek and teeth. He proceeded to chew on said wad, mouth open, as we talked. I was mesmerized. I couldn’t take my eyes off the saliva-filled green ball as it bounced from side to side.

The waitress took his order. “Pina colada.”

 I couldn’t help it. I snorted/laughed. He was instantly defensive.

 “That happens to be a great drink,” he said, icily.

Wanting to keep it friendly, I backpedaled. “Oh, it is! I used to drink those in college all the time.” If he caught the inherent slam, he didn't let on. I awarded myself five gold stars for keeping a straight face when the drink was delivered to our table complete with a little umbrella and festive fruit garnish. And I got double bonus points for not leaving when he removed the green gum wad, stuck it under the bread plate, and then sipped his drink. Jesus save us.

We started talking. Here’s the thing. I can make small talk with a tree. People interest me and I enjoy asking questions and hearing answers. So we were having a decent conversation, although I guarantee he thought he was a whole lot smarter and funnier than he actually was. About 40 minutes in, we were talking about how he had been dating for a while and wanted a relationship but I was new to dating and didn’t. I spied my out.

“We’re obviously at different stages. This has been fun but I don’t think we’re a match. I just don’t want us to waste each other’s time, don’t you agree?”

GG did not agree. He did not agree so much, he got downright pissy. And aggressive.

“What the hell?! I thought we were having a great conversation. What sort of game are you playing, lady? You’re just going to ditch me because, what, I don’t order fancy drinks like you? You’d be lucky to hook up with someone like me.”

Three minutes of this. I’m not kidding. It was to the point where I’m wondering if this is a hidden camera set-up and the jovial host will pop out and laugh along with millions of viewers at how I thought this was an actual date.

No such luck. Then things took a turn for the worse.

He sipped his drink, leaned in and said, “Let’s do this. I guarantee that if you sleep with me one time, you’ll be glad you did. Life. Changing.” He leaned back and nodded like he’d just delivered a world-changing epiphany.

At this point I'm mentally chanting, “Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh. Don’t laugh.”

I bite my lip and, using everything I have, keep a straight face to say, “I think we should just chalk this up to a non-match and part ways.”

He yanked his gum off the plate and furiously began to chew. You could all but see the steam coming from his ears. The waitress brought the bill and he said, “I suppose I get to pay for this now.”

I’d been planning on buying my own drink but now I’m angry. I grab the bill and pay for both of ours. “Goodbye,” I said standing up. “Good luck.”

He jumped up and followed me and again made his argument that if I slept with him, just once, I’d see the error of my ways.

We parted ways at the door and I didn’t look back but if I were betting woman, I’d bet big money he drove away in some God-awful bright yellow Trans-Am type vehicle.

This, people, was only the second date I’d been on since separating from Blair. It’s a miracle I ever went out there again.

But lucky for you, I did.

Much more to come. Stay tuned.