Memory #3 – My Worst Date Ever
I’ve had a lot of bad dates, but I’m not kidding when I say that this was my worst date ever.
While I was living in New Jersey and working in NYC I happened to meet a man on a telephone dating line. Yes, this was before internet dating websites were invented and I didn’t even own a computer back then anyway. Someone came up with the idea of having a telephone number that you could call, create a voice message/profile of yourself, listen to other people’s messages and then, if you found someone interesting enough, you could pay to converse via voice messages. I believe this service must have been invented for married men or ugly people in general. On the television commercials that were always shown late at night there were lots of young beautiful women lounging around at home on the phone in their underwear. I still see advertisements occasionally for these types of telephone dating services. I guess now it’s mainly for people who can’t afford a computer or internet access.
Well, one day I was very bored and decided to call. I had called one of these before, but never had any luck with it, with maybe two exceptions. I met my best friend and one nice man through it. This time I wasn’t really looking to meet anyone, just stave off boredom. It was never short on entertainment value. While going through and listening to profiles I found one that sounded interesting. The man gave a good description and had a deep sexy voice. I recorded a message to him and waited for a response. Eventually I had voice mail. It was Mr. Potter. After exchanging a few messages he left me his telephone number and I called him. We had a nice long conversation and decided to meet for dinner and a concert in the city.
First of all I would like to confess now that meeting a complete stranger that I haven’t even seen a picture of is at the very least scary, and it’s even more just an act of total stupidity. I did it though. I ended up having to meet him outside of his apartment building for some reason. I can’t remember why I didn’t just meet him at the restaurant like I normally would have done. Waiting outside of his building was the longest five minutes of my life. Nerves were kicking in and I knew that he would probably look nothing like his description. I was right. As I stood outside waiting I saw a man come out. He had on a fedora, long coat, was walking with a severe limp and using a cane. Had I made a dinner date with Mr. Magoo?
No, I had made a date with a man who looked strikingly like Wallace Shawn, you know, the actor that played Vizzini in The Princess Bride. He looked like Vizzini but sounded like John Wayne. Don’t you just hate when someone’s voice doesn’t match their physical appearance? I had been hoodwinked, scammed, lied to, misled.
So we continued on with our “date.” He wanted to go to a concert first so we go on the bus. Yes, he was too cheap to pay for a cab. We took the bus from the East Side all the way up to Harlem. That was the longest bus ride of my life. Wait, it gets better. Once we arrive at the church where the concert was being held and go inside, I find out that the church is so damn old that there is no heat, and it’s the middle of November in NYC. I was wearing a coat, but I forgot to wear my long johns.
This was a concert dedicated to African-American spirituals, and singing them were a bunch of snobby white people. If I were African-American I would have been completely insulted. Hell, I’m white and still found it insulting. Half way through, after my limbs had all but gone completely numb from the cold, I told him I didn’t feel well and needed some air. Thankfully he bought it and we went outside. I was trying to make my escape, but he talked me into going to Sardi’s. I thought it would be for dinner. We ended up going upstairs and sitting at the bar instead of getting a table. The bar was empty. I didn’t even get to see any celebrities, but I was OK with this because I was in dire need of a drink at that point.
He got us drinks, one each, and we talked for a while, maybe an hour. Hunger pains were setting in, but when the bartender came over to ask if we needed another drink, Mr. Potter quickly told him that we didn’t want another. What?! I’m sitting there starving and in need of alcohol and he has the gall to not even order me another drink. No peanuts, no pretzels, no Krystal burger, nothing. To top it all off I was exhausted. I was relieved when he said he had to go because he had to go to bed early. What a surprise.
I spent twenty bucks for parking, gas to drive there from Jersey, and all I got was a horrible cheap boring date with a wanna-be actor in his fifties that could barely walk and only talked about himself the entire time. Lesson learned. Never again did I go on that telephone dating line.