A friend of mine today told me to "cut the crap" and get to the good stories. All I have to say is, be careful what you wish for. I immediately thought of my second meet-in-person-after-meeting-online adventure. I was still on the pay-to-be-soul-crushingly-rejected website and someone had decided to drop a hook in my pond. His name was Paul. We lived in the same town, and after a lot of back-and-forth emails, it turned out we had a few things in common. I was pleased when he asked if I wanted to meet up one night for a beverage. I said yes, of course, and called an emergency summit to help me pick out the perfect outfit. Guys have no idea how much work it takes to get ready for a blind date. We want to look good, but not too good because that implies we're trying too hard. There's nothing worse than looking like you haven't been on a date in years - even if it happens to be true. And we don't want them to smell the desperation pouring off of us like water over the mighty Niagara. It smells a lot like Obsession for Men. Just saying.
We met on a weeknight - another code for "I don't want to take this too seriously." I don't know if this is true for everyone, but the anxiety of what will happen when the person sets eyes on you for the first time is excruciating. I just knew his eyes were going to bug-out of his head in the cartoonishly ridiculous way with the old car horn sound effect in the background. And not in a good way. Fortunately that didn't happen. We had a seat, ordered a beverage, and had a really nice chat. I even survived his bail-me-out phone call. I took it as a promising sign. He asked if I would like to see a movie that weekend, and I agreed. He walked me to the parking lot, but didn't pull any moves. There was follow-up emailing, and we went to see a movie that Friday. He used a discount card, which doesn't really bug me since I am the bargain-basement queen. Friends told me that should have set off some alarm bells. No funny business on that walk to the car either, but the follow-up phone call was cute. I decided that if I wanted to seal the deal, I was going to have to cook for him. I figured date three was the perfect excuse to invite him over for a home-cooked meal. I hate to toot my own horn *TOOT*, but I can cook. And I pulled out all the stops - lasagna, salad, homemade bread, and pound cake with berry sauce for dessert. And another outfit picked out by the good-lord-we-need-to-find-her-a-man cabal. What could go wrong? (Insert ominous music.)
Now would probably be the time to explain that I have a couple of medical issues. I hadn't been feeling well for years, and had decided to start getting to the bottom of what was going on. One specialist had just put me on some new medicine. He explained that it would upset my stomach for a little while. He further explained that it would get worse for about a week, and then take another couple of weeks to go away completely. This little adventure and my Paul-flirtation were going on simultaneously. And the dinner date was scheduled for the day that the symptoms were supposed to be the worst. Timing never was my strong-suit.
So the big night arrived, and he was very complimentary of my cooking. I just shoved food around my plate and tried to distract him with my sparkling conversational skills. He excused himself to go to the bathroom, and I pounced on the opportunity to scrape my plate into the trash under the guise of cleaning up. We went and sat on my couch to chat for a little while. The rumble in my stomach started very slowly. So much so, that I thought I might have actually pulled off a miracle. Then it happened. You know how you start to get the sweats, and all you can think about is how you would leverage your unborn children if your mid-section would just go numb? Well, I had passed that point about 45 minutes before I actually excused myself to go to the bathroom. I don't mean to be indelicate, but it was epic. And I was in there for a long time. There were 3 courtesy flushes. I was mortified. I was trying to craft some sort of clever thing to yell through the door, but I was at a loss. When my gut decided it was finished throwing its tantrum, I washed my hands, opened the door, and promptly ran straight into him in the hallway. He asked if I was ok. I mumbled something unintelligible, and he said he had to go to the bathroom. I may have said, "No! You can't!" a little too forcefully, but it didn't deter him. I didn't even have the chance to light a candle. To my amazement, he came back into the room, sat down, and picked up the conversation where we had left off. The holidays were approaching, and as we were sharing stories about how we normally spend time with family he started to tear up. He explained that his family wasn't very close. I changed the topic immediately. We chatted a little longer, and then he said he was going to take off. I asked if he wanted to take some leftovers with him. He said he would, so I dished them up. He took them from me, turned around, unlocked the door and ran out of my house. He couldn't get away from me fast enough. I think I heard the tires screech down the street. And I never heard from him again. Ever.
Here is a cookbook snapshot of the recipe for what I now call Poopy-Paul Lasagna. I've made it several times since then. As much as I would like to think that he was intimidated by my skills in the kitchen, something tells me that wasn't the issue.