Today I had the kind cramps that make me curl up in a ball and wait for death. It’s been a year since I last experienced this hormonal nightmare. I remember it quite clearly because instead of being at home near my bed and an ice pack, I was on a first date. Apparently I’d managed to successfully block both the physical and mental anguish because it’s taken me a year to share this.
We’d met via Craigslist and he sounded like fun, although now that I’ve reread his emails, I did miss a couple of small warning signs. However, our initial conversations were easy and casual and it turned out that we were both reasonably kinky, so I invited him to coffee. I offered to drive to his location, which was my first mistake.
He lives in Reno, about 45 minutes away. It is almost always hotter in Reno then it is near Lake Tahoe and heat only aggravates cramps for me. I could tell during the drive over that it was going to be a struggle to get through the date. I thought about cancelling, but decided that it was too last-minute to do so. Let’s call this my second mistake.
I parked my car and walked to the coffee shop, hoping the light exercise would help. Hahaha, no. He arrived shortly after I did and bought us both drinks. By that point, I was holding on to the counter for support. The drink, full of sugar and caffeine, did not help. Still, I tried to be a decent date and did not give in to my deep-seated desire to curl into the fetal position and pray for death.
We sat down and started talking, covering the usual getting-to-know-you ground. I asked why he’d moved to Reno and he started in on a long spiel about how expensive it was to live in California, and how much he’d love to live there but just couldn’t afford it.
Um, what? Thirty-eight million people can afford to live in California, and I was one of them before moving a couple miles over the border into Nevada. He’d managed to bring up two of the four things you shouldn’t talk about on a first date within ten minutes. (Spoiler alert: he didn’t waste time getting to the other two.)
By that point nausea had set in and I excused myself to go get some ice water. I gave a weak excuse about being sensitive to heat — I’m fairly certain that the details of my menstrual cycle are also unwelcome on a first date. Even in my weakened state, I was glad to have a reason to leave the current conversation.
By the time I came back he seemed ready to pursue another line of conversation. I can’t remember how we came to this topic — I suspect that memory will only come back with the help of a qualified therapist and some dolls — but he began telling me about the dog he had just put down. Suddenly I found myself attempting to console a near-stranger on the loss of his elderly pet. I’m not a big animal person, so I’m not a good choice for such tasks and how is this not awkward as fuck on a first date?
It got worse. He’d managed to find a new dog, via a convoluted process of adopting a stray from a neighbor who’d taken it in but didn’t really want to give it a permanent home. (Did you follow that? I was trying very hard not to visibly writhe in pain, so I’m not sure I did either.) Anyway, he took it to the ASPCA to see if it had an ID chip. The ASPCA policy is to hold the animal for five days to give any previous owners a chance to claim it. During this time it’s examined by a vet and given any necessary shots and care and all in all sounds like a very reasonable policy.
In his mind, all of this amounted to the ASPCA kidnapping his dog. Nevermind that he took it there expressly to make sure it didn’t have an owner looking for it, nevermind that he wasn’t showing any empathy for someone potentially losing their pet, empathy that I had so very recently attempted to show him. He flaunted his crazy for several minutes before I finally excused myself to the bathroom to try to convince my body that it really did not need to be attacking me in this manner.
When I finally emerged ten minutes later, I told him that I felt awful and I needed to end the date early. (His response: “Yeah, it looks like it.”) I apologized profusely — I’m sure that between my absences and my attempts to stifle the cramps and nausea I was the worst first date ever…I just didn’t expect it to be a competitive event. I did send a follow-up email with another apology, but not a request for a second chance.
I have never been so grateful to have cramps in my life. Not only did I have a legitimate excuse to end that trainwreck of a date early, but I managed to scare him off completely. He never responded to my apology and I am not the least bit sorry. I suspect he thinks I’m either insane or possibly just incredibly rude, but at least I never have to see him again.