The Courting Jester
I was still recovering from a difficult divorce when I met “Nate” at a 4th of July party. I hadn’t started dating yet, but Nate was pretty cute and very complimentary, and to be honest I enjoyed getting some attention for the first time since ending a 14-year relationship. I agreed to go to dinner with him the following week.
Nate texted the day of the date and told me that he was taking me to a French restaurant. I had never heard of the place, but it the name had the word “poulet” in it (French for chicken). I figured the place was relatively nice – I didn’t get extremely dressed up, but I wore a summery skirt and heels, and I put effort into my hair and makeup.
I didn’t feel comfortable having him pick me up because I had just met him, and so I told him I would meet him at the restaurant. As I was driving over, he kept calling me and changing where we were meeting, saying he wanted to meet at a convenience store, at a mini-golf course, and then at a random office building (??). I told him that none of this made sense, and I would meet him at the restaurant.
We met in the parking lot of the restaurant, and Nate was wearing cargo shorts, hiking boots, a t-shirt, and a baseball cap. We walked into the restaurant, and it did indeed serve chicken – and only chicken. It was the kind of place where you grab a tray and walk along the counter, ordering your chicken and side items — kind of a glorified Boston Market with a French name. I certainly would not expect to be taken to an expensive restaurant on a first date, but I was kind of surprised that this was basically fast food. I suppose, however, he didn’t technically misrepresent the kind of place at which we would be eating.
Nate was in front of me with his tray in line to pay, and when we got to the register, he very loudly shouted, “I’m only paying for mine! I’m not paying for this woman behind me! Don’t charge me for both!” Of course, I was 100% willing to pay for my own meal, but I’m not sure why he had to be so obnoxious about it.
We sat down to eat, and Nate almost immediately asked me how old I was. I told him I was 34, and he (again, loudly) said “I thought you were a lot younger than that! I’m only 28 – what are you, a cougar?” He laughed obnoxiously, and people started to stare. During dinner, he also lifted up his shirt and showed me his jester tattoo (on his chest), which he said he got because he is “always the funniest guy in the room.” He told me I had beautiful eyes, and I thanked him, but then he would not let it go. “It’s a crime for you to wear sunglasses,” “Looking into your eyes makes me weak,” etc. Sure, he was saying nice things, but it just got to be a bit much, bordering on creepy. He told me about his job, which he hated, and told me his life would be so much better if his supervisor “would just croak already.”
After dinner, he told me to follow him to our next “activity.” I asked him what he had planned, and he just kept saying, “You’ll see.” I really wasn’t feeling it with this guy, but I thought he could just be nervous and therefore awkward. We were in separate cars and I could leave at any time, so I followed him. I was surprised when he quite suddenly pulled over on the side of the road and got out of his car. He walked over to my window and said, “Come on. Get out.”
I asked him where we were and what he had planned, and he said he wanted to go hiking in the woods. First of all, I was wearing a skirt and heels. Hiking??? I told him I hardly knew him, and there was no way I was going to leave my car on the side of the road and go walking off in the woods with him. He couldn’t understand my reluctance and pouted a bit, but he suggested I follow him to a local bar instead. I told him I would have one drink with him, and then I would go home.
I followed him to a lame sports bar in a shopping plaza, and we each ordered a drink and decided to split some nachos. He continued to act awkward and say weird things. He told me he had been married, but he left his wife when she got pregnant. He’s never met his son. Was this supposed to impress me somehow? He also told me, in detail, about the types of drugs he’s tried and which he liked best. To me, this was odd first-date conversation.
Just as I was about to finish my beer, he lunged forward and started kissing/sucking on my neck. I pushed him back and asked what the hell he thought he was doing, and he said, ”Come on. Your touch drives me insane.” I told him I hadn’t even touched him, so perhaps his insanity was rooted in something else. Also, I said I was leaving.
We asked for the bill, and I gave him enough to cover half. He looked at me like I was a complete douchebag, and he said, ”Uh, well, your drink was 50 cents more than mine, so…” I laughed and threw another dollar on the bar, and then I immediately headed out to my car and away from this guy.
For weeks after the date, he texted me incessantly. I told him straight-up that I was not interested and that I did not want to be friends. In one of his messages, he asked me if I was mad because I found out he already had a girlfriend. I just stopped responding to him, and he eventually got the picture, after sending me a final message that said, “I hope next time something beautiful comes into your life, you are open to it and able to recognize it. Allow yourself to be happy.”