GEOGRAPHY – National Geographic! (Southern Belle)

After her hilarious first post about her experiences Dating in Texas, the Southern Belle is back with Part Two of her H-Town Chronicles.  Expect more cringing!

Miss Twenty-Nine xxx

Suffice to say after my somewhat disastrous first experience with dating in Houston, I decided to add in a little bit of screening to my process. Match.com was a well-known and heavily used website in Houston so I set up a profile, explicitly stating that I was Agnostic/Atheist and also that I was primarily looking to make new friends.

Anyone who has tried online dating will no doubt be familiar with the type the responses I received.  Just with a Texas twist.

I do not need to receive pictures of your penis.

Thank you though, that’s sweet. No, I’m definitely sure.

No, I don’t need you to show me the ways of the Lord.

I admire your faith but have a problem with the fact you told me I’m going to Hell.

How many children do I want?

Well, how about we meet for a coffee and maybe discuss the weather first my friend.

No, I’m not divorced at 23.

Not everyone marries at 20.

Everything’s bigger in Texas huh?

Including your ignorance and arrogance?

It was a mind boggling experience. Thrown together with my complete inexperience with the diversity of race (I can write a whole other post on this!) and I was just.. lost.

The idea of dating after the Galveston experience made me a little nervous and because of that, I made a few (common, I think) errors.

I got to know the guys over email and phone, invested time and really got excited about the dates.

My first date was with another recent Houston arrival. His emails had been interesting.  He’d suggested things to do other than grabbing a drink and he was fun to talk to. I arrived at the pub we’d agreed to meet at first and looked around. There he was, standing at the bar. Little lankier than his photos (6’7”!) and a seriously dubious bowl cut. We chatted for about 15 minutes with a really easy connection.

Out of nowhere, he says “You realise this isn’t going to go anywhere right?”

I started laughing.  He was right, there was zero attraction there but it was certainly different to have that pointed out straight away.

As I’m writing this, I’m torn between telling you the things he said that followed as his reasons. His opinion (as are most) was obviously valid but it makes him sound like a dreadful person, which he’s not. My dates Spock-like inability to register what is/isn’t appropriate to say to someone could be construed as cruel. I work in an industry that makes me particularly difficult to offend, so I just told him right back what was offensive about him expressing those opinions and he has been one of my best friends for 6 years.

Spock is still single and I’ve tried to help/coach him with women through the years!

I consider that my MOST SUCCESSFUL experience on Match.

The dates that followed were worse.

One guy was snooze-worthy and kept staring at me with an uncomfortable amount of extended eye contact. Suddenly, in the middle of a crowded coffee shop he shouts “NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC!” in a highly excited and animated tone.

I honestly can’t tell you what he said in the three-minute period which followed, because I’m still repressing it, but he grabbed my face and tried to show it to people around us. Once I had removed my face from his hands and asked (politely) what the fuck was going on, he explained it was his favorite magazine and my eyes reminded him of a girl on the cover. The rest of the date passed quickly (Check Please!) and we left the coffee shop.

Something I’d learned to accept at this point was that a Texan man will typically walk you to your vehicle. Their Momma raised them that way and they are beyond offended if you don’t let them. You’re insulting their Mom. (Incidentally, I have grown to love the courtesy men show here. I’m an independent and successful woman but when it comes to them opening the car door for me first every time? Normal and sweet.) I digress.

So National Geographic walks me to my car, chattering on about how this is the best date he’s ever had. We reach my car and I say goodbye, when he goes in for a hug, trapping my arms between our bodies. I wait for it to end… and it doesn’t. He just keeps on hugging! I had to move my arms into position and physically extricate myself from the situation.

On my 5 minute drive home, I received 4 text messages, 2 calls and an email. We did not go out again.

There was the guy who didn’t have a picture up on Match because he didn’t have any. Silly me. 5ft tall and 5ft wide with the smallest hands I have seen in my entire life.Great conversation and a great guy, until he asked if I was happy to be on top because “It only works that way”.

There was the volleyball player/lawyer who I had two great, perfect HB worthy dates with, before asking if I would accompany him to an on-premise Swinger’s club later that evening. Yes.. that’s right. Single men weren’t allowed in so he was looking for a girl to pretend to be his partner so he could gain access to all the other girls and men.

I thought I’d really made a breakthrough when I started talking to the Roughneck. (For those who don’t know – Roughnecks work on drilling rigs in the Oilfield. Not as common in Houston because it’s a corporate environment.) The Roughneck was Irish, originally! He’d been to University in Manchester and was a classically trained Opera Singer. Such a contrast and it was fun. After such a bad run of dates, a shared cultural background and upbringing is like a warm hug on a cold night. My accent wasn’t a 15-minute long, recurring talking point. I didn’t have to repeat myself. We both had some funny stories about being over here but we both loved Texas and the lives we had here. Everything was very promising!

He lived in San Antonio, which is 3 hours away from Houston. Even the initial conversations were long and in hindsight, too long. It was all too comfortable and easy. Our first date was in Houston and a lot of fun. We sang karaoke (he was unbelievable, I was in awe!), ate dumplings at 2am in Chinatown and fell asleep chatting on my sofa as the sun came up.

The next day, we talked about San Antonio as our next date location, which was fine. Until he casually threw out that we’d be joined by his daughter. I love kids but.. We’d been on one date.

I have divorced friends and I knew meeting a child is serious – I didn’t want to play a part in making her upbringing anymore difficult! I didn’t quite know what to say, so I asked my good friend for advice and she told me how to explain that it probably wasn’t a good idea for his daughter’s sake as well as being way too fast for me.

His substantial pros won out against my better judgement (He’s Irish! He works in my industry! Voice of an angel! Funny!). I went to San Antonio and had another fantastic date at a theme park, screaming like kids on roller coasters and generally having a great time. We ended up at a small country bar later on in the night and were watching a few couples square dance when he asked me to try it. Now, I enjoy dancing but I just didn’t want to at that moment. When I refused, he looked at me and said “I promise you one day, we’ll be dancing in the center of a big room with everyone watching us”.

Two dates in, ladies and gents and he’s talking about marrying me.

I glossed over it with an awkward laugh and self-deprecating comment, while wondering if he was going to lock me in the trunk of his car. His friends “coincidentally” arrived and knew all about me. I was “the One” and it was very important that I didn’t hurt their friend.

Suddenly the room got very small and claustrophobic. I told the Roughneck I was feeling unwell, and went back to my hotel alone. He was concerned and caring, but seemingly oblivious to what had freaked me out so much.

The next morning, I realized I was partly to blame. The calls, emails, text messages had all led him down that path. I just assumed that a little bit of common sense might have prevailed.

Wrong.

I called when I got back to Houston and explained it was all way too fast and serious. He was really upset and wanted to drive to Houston to discuss it. He promised to take things more slowly and that it would be easier when he lived here. Here as in Houston. He’d been applying for jobs in my city all week so he could work closer to me.

I had to be brutal. I told him I never wanted to see him again, that his behavior scared me a little and asked him not to call me again.

I could tell you that his slightly obsessive behavior was scary but I’m sure you can see that. The sad part was I’m sure it happened in part because of the complete abject sense of loneliness you get sometimes without a home country anchor.

He was as sick of being the Irish guy as I was of being the British girl.

The American dating scene is brutal, competitive and game oriented.

It was soothing to spend time with someone and just be ourselves rather than an interesting exception.

Three years later, I still receive text messages after a militant policy of non-response.

I took my profile off Match that week.

Southern Belle xx

3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. My Top Ten Posts of the Year (The Flash) | The 30 Dates Blog
  2. My Top Ten Posts of the Year (The Student) | The 30 Dates Blog
  3. My Top Ten Posts of 2013 (The New Realist) | The 30 Dates Blog

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