Chapter 40: Grocery store guy

Growing up as a child of the 90s, plus a Disney lover, I’ve seen about every single movie “meet-cute” you can think of. The dog leashes getting twisted at the park, getting in the same taxi, you name it, I’ve probably seen it. But one that always sort of stood out to me as especially cute was the grocery store meetup. 

Growing up as a child of the 90s, plus a Disney lover, I’ve seen about every single movie “meet-cute” you can think of. The dog leashes getting twisted at the park, getting in the same taxi, you name it, I’ve probably seen it. But one that always sort of stood out to me as especially cute was the grocery store meetup. 

Maybe it’s because I’m fairly short, so I always thought this was a pretty easy one to make happen. All I had to do was need something on the top shelf that I just couldn’t *quite* meet. Then, a handsome, smart guy would come out of nowhere and grab it for me. Of course, all the times that I have needed to ask someone to grab something for me it’s never been a guy even in my age range that’s available to ask for help. But I remain optimistic. 

Recently, I was in Arizona. I was originally planning on just staying in the Phoenix area for a few days and taking a day trip to Sedona (where I really wanted to go). Thanks to my parents, however, I ended up spending a few days in Sedona and then headed to Phoenix. I was excited to get out in nature, have some sun (I was getting a little too pale), recharge my crystals, and mostly, just have some time to myself to think through some decisions I needed to make. Also, I was excited to have a chance to make more positive memories than the last time I was there. Really, I didn’t have any plans or expectations beyond a few things I wanted to experience at some point in both places. Having any kind of romantic entanglement was certainly not high on the priority list. 

The day I drove from Sedona to Phoenix, I’d done a really cool yoga and meditation hike (which is exactly what it sounds like). But because of the weather and location, for some of it, we literally sat on the ground. That was in the morning and lasted a few hours. Then, I was in the car for two hours driving. So, I wasn’t exactly camera-ready. But after checking in at my hotel, I wanted to get a few things so that I had some snacks and breakfasts in my room. And wine. I wanted wine. 

Arizona is really pretty, if you didn’t know.

As I walked down the wine aisle, I hear two guys talking. One of them was asking the other if he knew of any sweet wines. His friend said no, he wasn’t sure. Meanwhile, I was mostly just looking for a wine with a twist top since I don’t know how to use a corkscrew, so I had plenty of time to listen in on their quest for a sweet wine. 

Finally, I offered my suggestion when I noticed a wine that I like that happens to be pretty sweet. And me being my overly friendly self, I ended up spending the next few minutes helping the guy who seemed more invested in this hunt find a sweet wine. Meanwhile, he kept an eye out for a red wine with a twist top for me. 

Eventually, he found his wine, but I was still looking for mine. But somehow, the wine conversation seemed to be an open invitation to him to linger for a while, so he introduced himself. He gave me two names that weren’t even slightly related and I’m still not sure which was his actual name. Think of him saying something like, “My name is Deacon but you can call me Lee.”

For the purpose of this story, we’ll go with Lee. 

He tried to shake my hand but I said no because I’d been traveling and just wanted to be respectful towards his health. This was true, but also I feel like I just haven’t had human contact with strangers in so long I was caught off-guard. But, he understood. He asked me where I’d flown in from, I said Atlanta (which was true). Then, why I was in Arizona, I said some friends and I were getting together for one of their birthdays (which was not true) and I was in charge of getting some things for the first night. I was NOT about to tell some guy I didn’t know that I was traveling alone. 

Eventually, as it always happens, he asked for my number. And as usual, I gave him my fake one. He finally walked away to find his friend and I timed my exit from the grocery store perfectly. I had noticed that he’d already texted me, but I don’t text and drive. Plus, I wanted to wait until I was back and settled in the hotel before I answered.

When I did answer an hour or two later, he said he thought that I was already ghosting him. Great. Y’all know how much I love a guy who can’t handle if a girl doesn’t immediately respond. Then he asked how I’m single, because I seem like a “beautiful, intelligent, ambitious girl.” Which is true. But I’d forgotten that I mentioned something to him about looking at law schools, so it kind of creeped me out at first that he somehow knew all of this. But points for the compliment regardless. 

Lee started trying to hang out VERY quickly. Which, I get, because he’s also not from Arizona. He actually lives in California, but he’s a personal trainer (what is it with me and personal trainers??) and has some clients in the area that he comes out to visit. But Lee was with friends. Obviously, I couldn’t hang out with them when I said I was also with a group but actually didn’t know anyone out there. At least not that wanted to hang out with me. The first night, I said we were just chilling at the hotel. He asked what the plans for the weekend were and I said it was up the birthday girl. 

Over the weekend, Lee just did NOT get that I wasn’t interested. Maybe I shouldn’t have given him my number if I wasn’t interested. But at the time I did think it might be nice to make a friend while I was out there. Plus it just wasn’t a super comfortable position to be in and say no. But Lee kept saying that he just “wanted to have fun.” So it became pretty clear to me why he was so insistent on hanging out. Like, calling me four times in a row kind of insistent. And that’s just not my style.

The next night, I had plans to go out to dinner. But, the place I chose had a super long wait so I went back to my hotel. When he asked what we were doing, I just said we had dinner plans but might go out later. Then I ignored his texts for the rest of the night because he kept asking me if we wanted to pregame with them. I haven’t pregamed since college, so at this point I started to question how old he was. 

The Full Moon (in Libra) in question.

The next day, I told him we weren’t huge club people and that we were more dinner people. Then he sort of invited himself to our next dinner in a roundabout way, so I knew to avoid that topic for the rest of the day. He did ask me some questions about myself, which was nice I guess. I did learn that we are the same age, but he kept using the wrong “your/you’re” form. That’s a HUGE pet peeve of mine. I managed to avoid the going-out topic in that conversation, which again you’d think he’d have taken as a signal. But no. 

I had already decided to extend my stay, but no way was I telling him that. As far as he knew, I was leaving Monday so on Sunday, he was REALLY trying to get together. At this point, I asked some friends on Instagram which approach I should take – honest truth that I just wasn’t interested in hanging out, or honest truth that I’m super into crystals and energies and had to do my full moon ritual that night. They chose the second option. 

So I told him that my friends and I had to get ready for the full moon that evening. I thought about milking it more and mentioning a sacrifice or something really weird – one of my friends suggested I say we were hoping for better harvests, I was thinking saying that we’d also be manifesting fertility – but I decided to leave it as a vague “are they a witch coven or just weird?” interpretation. 

I thought that would be it. But no. Later that day, he responded asking me what the ritual was. I told him, and STILL not getting it. He asked me if we could talk more about it. At that, I just stopped responding. If you’re not going to get the picture, not my problem. I really thought that the “she might be a witch” stuff would do it, but Lee was determined. 

Points for persistence?

At least I learned that grocery store meetings are possible, though. And that I’ve still got it even when wearing dirt colored pants and smelling like a rental car. My friends are all in agreement that I’m the only person they know who’d go to a grocery store in a completely different state and meet a guy who asked for my number, and then have to pretend to be in a witch coven to get rid of. I think that’s accurate. It looks like the Universe isn’t quite done with giving me blog material just yet. 

But to end on a happy note, I did finally release a lot of the stagnant energy and hurt and feelings I was still holding onto from my experience last year while I was there, and I finally feel like I’ve learned all the lessons I was meant to learn from that. My friend said that when that happens, it means the Universe is getting ready to send someone new into your life and that it’ll be a positive experience… so who knows, hopefully one of my next few posts will be about the grocery store meet-cute that I really want. 

Chapter 15: The Stalker

Are y’all ready for another crazy story? 

This is actually the story that made me realize that, yeah, I REALLY needed to start documenting my insane dating stories because honestly, I think this one takes the cake. 

Isaac was one of the other guys that I met on Hinge during the summer of 2019. He’s Israeli, and I kind of have a weird thing for Israeli men (something about those eyes), so he immediately caught my interest. He works for a technology company, was a couple of years or so older than me, and just generally seemed interesting. So we matched, and then began chatting through the app. 

I have a Google Voice account so that I could get a secondary number with the Boston area code, mainly to use for work when I was at a start-up and making lots of phone calls and realized I didn’t want all these random people to have my number, but then I realized that this was also a great thing to have when it came to dating apps. I could match with guys, talk to them a bit on the app, and if I wasn’t sure how I felt about them when they asked for my digits, I could give out my fake number first, and then feel them out for a bit longer before deciding if I felt comfortable giving my real number. People always ask me what I do to explain having two different numbers with two different area codes, and honestly, I don’t know because I’ve never actually had someone graduate from a “maybe” to a “yes,” so I have not crossed that bridge just yet. 

But, Isaac seemed really cool. I didn’t feel like I had to feel him out first because he seemed alright, so I went straight to giving him my real number. Boy, was that a mistake. 

Full disclosure, my more or less being an open book gets me into trouble quite a bit. I’m also a pretty big flirt – have you ever seen that meme where it says, “I flirt when I get bored and now I owe 10 people a relationship”? That’s me. I also (clearly) have no shame, so there are very few off-limit topics for me. However, I have never experienced what I went through with Isaac before, no matter how flirty or open I happened to be in casual conversation. In the middle of texting one day, where frankly I thought things were mostly tame, he just randomly throws out that he’d never be okay with having a threesome with me and another guy, or watching me with another guy. Okay? I never expressed interest in that? I was confused, but just kind of went with it, changed the subject, and kept up with our plans of going on a date a few days later. 

Then things got REALLY weird. I was still in training for my job at Encore at this time, and I was waking up at about 4:30am to get there on time each day, so one day, I decided when I got home I’d take a nap. Before my nap, though, he asked me to send him a photo. I figured he wanted to make sure I wasn’t catfishing him or something, so I sent him a selfie on Snapchat and then fell asleep. 

When I woke up, I saw he had responded. I opened up his message, thinking he was going to tell me I looked pretty or something. He did, but that wasn’t all. After complimenting my photo, he had then said, “Now send me pictures of your feet.”

I vividly remember staring at the message for a solid two minutes before having even the slightest clue how to respond. I have never experienced someone with a foot fetish – this was a first for me – so I was pretty dumbfounded. I don’t remember what I said, but I probably just thanked him for the compliment, laughed off the foot comment, and changed the subject yet again. I thought that would be it.

But again, it was not. The next morning, as I was walking into training at 6am, I got a text from him asking if I liked his snap photo. I was a bit nervous about what he’d sent, so I took a deep breath, braced myself for a dick pic, and went to open the Snapchat photo he’d sent just a few minutes before. It was not a dick pic. It was worse. He had sent me a photo of a dildo that had to be about nine inches long. Seriously. I cannot make this shit up. Even better, in the photo, he had captioned it, “I can’t wait to use this on you on Friday.”

Now I’m not a prude, and I fully believe that men and women should be able to do whatever they want to do with one another regardless of what date society says is acceptable to engage in certain acts, but I was kind of shocked that he’d just assumed I was going to put out on the first date when we hadn’t even met yet. Also, I seriously have absolutely no clue what part of my Hinge profile where I talked about loving ice cream and Disney was the thing that made him think I’d be interested in having a 9 inch dildo used on me? Plus, I’m only 5’4” – that just does not seem fun.

At this point, I was not into this anymore. I deleted and blocked Isaac on Snapchat, which he somehow realized pretty quickly because within minutes I had another text from him asking if I’d seriously blocked him on Snapchat. I lied and said I’d deleted my account because someone was bothering me (him), and told him that I wasn’t really interested in the photo he’d sent me and it seemed like we weren’t really compatible because he was into things I was not, and I didn’t think I wanted to go out with him that weekend anymore. I tried to be nice and let him down easily, but ultimately I had to say no. 

This is where all hell broke loose. He FREAKED out. He was texting me nonstop the rest of the morning. Begging me to please still go out with him. He said that he wasn’t really that into the feet thing, it was just something an ex-girlfriend had liked that he thought I might find fun. Then, to make it even better, he told me that actually, he really wanted to see me with another guy, he thought it would be “so hot” to watch me with other men in front of him, so we could have a threesome with another guy, or he’d just watch me with two other random guys if that’s what I preferred. Again, I NEVER told him that was something I wanted, especially not with him.

At this point, I couldn’t be nice anymore. I tried telling him he seemed nice, but I just wasn’t feeling it, one more time, but when he still kept texting me, I blocked his number. So then he turned to WhatsApp. I couldn’t check my phone much in training, but during lunch I saw I had WhatsApp messages and he had used it to beg me to go out with him, to talk to him, anything, some more. I blocked him there, too. I found his Instagram and blocked that, and then when searching for his Facebook to block that, too, I discovered that he had dated a girl in my sorority who was a senior when I was a freshman (I still wonder if she was the one with the foot fetish). But, he was blocked, that’s what mattered. 

I thought that would be it, but of course, because it’s me, it wasn’t. The next day, I got a text from a random number saying, “Hi Maddy, my huge cock is ready and waiting for you.” First off, if you’re going to call me Maddie, spell it correctly. Secondly, I’ve already said NO so many times! So I blocked that number.

Actual text message from Isaac.

A couple of days later, I went onto my computer for the first time in a few days and realized that apparently my computer doesn’t block numbers that I’ve blocked on my phone, so I had a handful of texts from him waiting for me. Again, begging me to talk to him. Saying he missed talking to me (after five days of communication?), talking about his “hard cock” some more (guys need to stop watching so much porn) – I still have most of the texts, a few of them were a lot and not things I feel I should share here. I couldn’t figure out how to block his number there, so I ended up having to call Apple support and the guy who helped me needed me to screen share and even he was like, “Oh damn” when he could see the texts that were making me feel like spending an hour on the phone was completely necessary to get this guy blocked. Finally, we figured it out.

But that didn’t stop Isaac. Oh, no. Over the next few weeks, I would periodically get random texts from new numbers that I knew were him, saying he missed me, all the same things as usual. It was so bad that I had to ask my manager if he could talk to security at work about changing the rules saying we couldn’t carry pepper spray, because he knew where I worked. When my manager didn’t get an answer from anyone, I went to security myself and explained the situation and asked if I’d get in trouble for having pepper spray knowing this guy knew where I worked and clearly would not stop trying to get in touch with me no matter how many times I blocked him. They said no, absolutely not, and if he ever showed up at work to call them and they’d “take care” of it. I even started saving screenshots of all the texts he’d sent me to a photo album on my phone so I had evidence if he ever did something super crazy.

Finally, the texts stopped, but anytime I go through another phase of not having and then having Snapchat again, and making a new account, he always tries to add me. I always decline and immediately block him. He still hasn’t learned. 

I also tried reporting him several times to Hinge, but they never answered me until about six months later. It made me really worried because luckily I had found out he was a bit (a lot) psycho before meeting him, but what if a girl didn’t realize that and he did something on their date? How many other girls had he basically stalked? It really bothered me, and it still does, so really, this is just my little PSA to not use Hinge because personally, I don’t feel like they take their clients’ safety very seriously if they can’t even respond to my numerous attempts to report him until months later. 

So, that’s The Stalker. I sincerely hope he is my only stalker because honestly, I don’t have the energy to deal with anymore of them. I have learned my lesson that just because a cute Israeli with pretty eyes seems nice, it does not mean he deserves my real number right off the bat, and hopefully, he learned that most girls are not interested in early morning photos of large dildos and talks of threesomes before the first date. But maybe that’s just me?

Chapter 12: The Lost Boyfriend

One of the other first few guys that I met and went out with after everything with Al came crashing down was a guy that I matched with on Hinge who was looking for someone to take to a wedding in November… in Italy. I figured he was joking, so I went with it, plus, I love Italy, so that was an instant conversation starter. 

Roy seemed nice, he was very funny and he loved Disney – which is a major plus in my book. We talked on the app for a few days, where our mutual love of Disney helped us quickly bond. That’s when he told me that if I loved Disney, then I’d probably heard of him when he had a moment of being infamous in the Disney world. This obviously intrigued me, so when he said that he’d tell me about it on our first date, I was very excited.

For our first date, we went to Rocco’s Tacos in the Seaport, which was really good and I recommend it if you haven’t been! We got drinks first, and that’s when he told me that he was known throughout one of the Disney groups that I belonged to for something embarrassing/funny that had happened with him and his ex-girlfriend one of the last times he went. I remembered the story (got to love those 15 minutes of fame), and thought it was pretty hilarious that this was him. I told my friends, and they agreed that only I would end up meeting and going out on a date with someone like him.

Then we got our tacos, and when it came time to pay, I offered to split it (like I always do) and he agreed. I do give him a bit of a break because I knew that he’d recently left his job to do something he was more passionate about, but at the same time, I’m kind of old-fashioned, and I really think that if a guy asks you out, he should pay on the first date. It makes you feel courted and special and like you’re worth a few $2.75 tacos and a drink, you know? Plus, if I’m being totally honest, I’m kind of spoiled when it comes to that as 99% of my guy friends refuse to let me pay for myself if I’m out with them, and pretty much any guy I’ve been on a date with has insisted on paying for me. So, I was a bit put off but didn’t want to use it as an excuse to completely write him off. And, he seemed nice and very into me, so I wanted to give him another chance. 

After our tacos, we walked around for a while, and then he offered to drive me home. While we were driving, we probably broke so many rules about not talking about or exes or unloading our baggage on the first date, but it seemed to sort of make sense. He’s a Leo, so it seemed a lot more like we were just comfortable with each other (since we’re both Fire signs) than anything too crazy. 

We hung out another day not too long after, we realized we were both doing some shopping in the same area so we shopped, got smoothies, walked around the waterfront, and then ended up getting dinner in the North End. That time he did pay, which I appreciated. That was the first day he kissed me. It was not the foot popping kiss I was looking for, but it wasn’t bad. I think that was the night that I took him to my apartment’s rooftop lounge (which is kind of my ‘thing’) and some guys were CLEARLY talking about me in another language and staring at me, and maybe doing some sort of mating dance? I don’t know, it was odd. We had a good laugh over it either way. 

Photo by Hana Brannigan on

He was super nice, and since during this time I was in training for Encore, he was very thoughtful and offered to pick me up and drive me home a couple of the nights that I got out late. One of those nights, I kissed him good night to try to see if I felt anything more than a platonic feeling towards him. I didn’t.

So at that point, I felt bad because I could tell that he had fallen hard but I knew that I was not nearly on his level. One night, while I was at Vivianne’s goodbye party before she moved, he drunkenly professed his love for me so I knew I was going to have to do something about it before it got too far. He must have a Cancer Moon or Cancer Rising, because there’s something about these guys falling for me so quickly. 

The thing is, I knew he really didn’t love me, he loved the idea of me – especially considering his previous relationship. I also just knew that we were going to be way better off as friends, we got along so much better that way. We have very different views on some things, and I could tell that ultimately, we were not going to be very compatible in some really important areas. I tried to tell him this one time, but I don’t know if I really said it the best way possible. I’m just REALLY bad at rejecting people because I feel so bad for hurting their feelings, I over explain and go on tangents and it just gets complicated to the point that I think I completely miss the point of what I was trying to say. But, I try! 

One of the last times we hung out, my friend from work Celia had asked me to go out with her and this guy that she’d been going out with, but didn’t want to send the wrong message to or anything, so she essentially needed a buffer. This was kind of perfect, because Roy had been asking me to hang out but I was afraid that if we were to hang out one on one he’d get the wrong idea, so I asked him if he wanted to come out with us, and he said yes.

The four of us had a really fun time, all things considered! Unfortunately, when he tried to kiss me goodbye I turned my head and made it super awkward. That’s when he realized that I’d kind of done the same thing to him that Celia had done to her date, which I did feel bad for, but sort of like with PJ, I just didn’t know how to make it any more obvious that I wasn’t interested in pursuing anything romantic, and I really just don’t get why guys have to see a girl wanting to be friends as an open invitation to keep trying. It makes me uncomfortable, so I needed to see how he was in a group setting before agreeing to another one on one thing. 

After that, we kind of drifted apart. We do still pop up in each other’s DMs every so often, and I did text to jokingly call him out when a few weeks later, he ended up matching with Celia on Hinge and used the EXACT same line that he’d used on me. I thought it was pretty funny, honestly. 

And that is the story of Lost Boyfriend. If you notice the nickname and follow any Disney groups, you should be able to figure out what exactly his claim to infamy is in the Disney Passholder group, and how I picked his name. My Disney friends thought it was pretty funny that I ended up going out with him in Boston, of all places, and that he kind of sort of fell in love with me for a time. It really is such a small world after all.

Chapter 11: The Host

When I was on my second College Program in 2015, I ended up meeting a guy about my age who worked in a different department, but was helping out in Innoventions (where I worked) during one of the festivals. He seemed nice, so we started talking, and I told him that I really wanted to work in his department someday. He offered to tell me more about it and give me some advice on getting into it, which I thought was really nice, so we exchanged numbers after lunch one day and started to make plans to hang out some night. 

Of course, this was a big “no-no” as far as Christian was concerned. He was “talking to” another girl that had caused him to extend his target demographic by another year, so I figured that meant I could do whatever I wanted, too. I told him excitedly that I’d met this guy who was going to give me advice, and seemed really cool, et cetera, and he asked what his name was. I told him his name was Chad and he simply said, “Nope.” I asked him why, and allegedly, Chad had a somewhat shady history with a girl who worked at Innoventions a year or two before me, and so everyone who worked there had a weird vendetta against him because of it. Christian even had one of my friends/coworkers who was off that day text me telling me all the reasons why I couldn’t go out with Chad, and said that everyone at Innoventions would hate me if I did (ironically, most of them already did hate me and secretly wanted to ruin my life, just behind my back and not to my face. If only I’d have found that out months earlier). 

But, unfortunately, I was still in my phase of listening to everything Christian said. So, I ghosted Chad. Just stopped answering his texts, blocked his number, and avoided him if he walked through Innoventions. I felt bad, but as far as I knew, he was bad news, and Lord knows I didn’t need any more of that in my life. 

A couple of years later, in 2017, my dream came true. I got a Professional Internship position working in Guest Relations at Disney World. And, of course, because I’m a one-park-pony, it was back at Epcot. I was extremely excited to be back at Disney after cheating with Universal for a bit, happy to be back in my home and favorite park, and looking forward to meeting new people and learning new things.

I never thought about if I would know anyone that was still in Guest Relations, but of course, I did. My first day of training I met the girl I’d be training with, Lucia, who’s still one of my best friends (and my soulmate), then my trainer, and then Lucia’s trainer walked in. And who was it? Chad, of course. 

I couldn’t tell if he recognized me, but to be fair, my hair had gone through about three or four different color changes since I last saw him. We trained in our little pairs for the remainder of the week, and everything went well. Over the course of that internship, I learned that really, Chad wasn’t so bad. He was very sarcastic and had a similar sense of humor to me, helpful when I had questions, and overall just seemed like a decent guy. I tried to tell Christian this and that he was wrong about him, but of course he just told me more lies and made up more stuff. But at least this time, I didn’t listen, and I continued to have some sort of friendly working relationship with Chad. I ran into him a few times after my internship when I was in my last position at Disney, and it was always nice, so I thought that it was cool that after all that time, we could at least be friendly.

For a long time, that was the extent of our friendship. We occasionally liked each other’s photos on Instagram, maybe a message or two here and there, but nothing crazy. Then one day, I was bored and decided to ask him if he had remembered me from Innoventions when I walked in to Guest Relations. He claims he doesn’t remember, which is fair, but I guess that just sort of opened up some sort of door with us because after that, we started talking a bit more. 

Eventually, he started to get flirtier, and I often did, too, but I didn’t always bite until after The Cheater left me in a moment of need. Then, my grandma – who was one of my best friends – passed away just a couple of days later. I stayed in Florida for a few more days and then flew back to Boston to get back to my life. The day I got back to work, my managers pulled me in for a meeting and said that they had to let me go because my position was being eliminated due to budget issues. Way to kick a girl when she’s down, right?

So after all that, I was really sad. I felt lonely, lost, and I was desperate for a distraction. So, I started to entertain the idea of Chad a bit more. To his credit, when I told him what was going on and that I was sad about losing my grandma, and then also having to deal with losing a job on top of that, he was extremely nice and talked to me about it more than a lot of my close friends. Some might say it wasn’t genuine, that he had ulterior motives, but honestly, I really didn’t feel like he had an agenda for being nice to me when I was clearly going through a difficult time and just needed someone to talk to. It was such a huge juxtaposition between how he was being versus how the guy I had been dating for eight months had acted, and it was a very welcome feeling. 

I already had plans to see some friends in Orlando while I was home with my family, which I mentioned to Chad, so he kindly offered to let me stay with him. I was excited, because I really needed to see my friends after everything that had happened recently, and I really thought that seeing them plus staying with him was exactly the kind of distraction I needed to feel better. He said he had a guest room, so I could totally stay with him, no problem, and he’d buy me a drink when I got there to make up for everything that had been going on lately. I remembered that one of my other friends from my internship who was friends with him had recently stayed with him when she went down and she didn’t have anything bad to say afterwards, so I figured if I could save some money and stay with someone I knew, and have some fun with it, why not? 

My home park.
Photo by Benjamin Suter on

Except one thing. He didn’t have a guest room. I got to Orlando, saw a friend that day, had my drink with Chad, where we talked and caught up on everything that had been going on in our lives, talked about work, all that fun stuff, and then went back to his place. He had kissed me in the parking lot, so on the way, I was wondering how exactly this was going to work out if he’d planned for me to stay in a guest room. But, apparently, this was not something I had to worry about as I arrived at his place to find out that the “guest room” was really his couch. So, it was the couch or his bed. I could have stayed on the couch, where it turns out my friend had slept when she stayed with him, but considering the way we’d been talking recently, I’ll let you guess which one I chose. 

Overall, we had a fun time. It definitely wasn’t anything serious, but I was still a little pissed when less than 48 hours later one of my friends from Orlando, Lizzie, texted me asking if I knew a guy from Disney named Chad and I said yes, why? They had just matched on Bumble and he’d asked her if she wanted to get a drink that night, and she saw we followed each other on Instagram so she wanted my advice. I told her about staying with him just that weekend and asked that she not go at least this time because it was not exactly going to lift my confidence for him to go on a date so soon after me being there. And, considering the hit she knew my ego had recently suffered because of The Cheater, and because girl code is REAL, she quickly obliged. 

We still talked here and there and kept things friendly, and then the next time I was planning on going to Disney for a 10K, he invited me to stay with him. I wasn’t very tempted because I’d be going with my family and did not want to deal with the questions of where I was going from my brother, but I did think about it. I had already booked my tickets, but he kept trying to convince me to change my flights, but I am not about that change-fee life so I never did. Good thing, because he ended up having something going on the night I would have changed to arrive on, and he would have had to bail on me last minute. So that would have been $200 down the drain.  

Then, when I got back to Boston, I saw on Instagram that there were some ~fishy~ things with him and another girl. Which is totally fine – he could do what he wants, I was doing my thing, too – but, I don’t think you should be trying to convince a girl to spend $200 to change her flight with whatever was going on with them happening. So, given that I was, frankly, VERY tired of dealing with bullshit from men, I told him off. I told him I didn’t appreciate being jerked around like that, and that it wasn’t cool to do whatever he’d been doing and that he needed to be honest from now on. He apologized, and things went back to being friendly. We ended up having a mini falling out a few months later over something that wasn’t really that serious, but I had a no-tolerance policy by that point so I was done. I blocked him everywhere. 

However, after seeing his multiple attempts to contact me on my computer (side note, why won’t my computer block the same numbers that are blocked on my phone? Does anyone know how to fix this?) I finally decided to answer. We talked it out, he apologized again, and I told him that fuckboy is NOT a good look on him so to cut it out, and he agreed. 

So, Chad, The Host, is one of the few guys on here that I still have contact with in some capacity, which also means that I allowed him to read this before it was posted and veto anything in here that he didn’t want disclosed and give me feedback on things he’d appreciate being changed. Honestly, this should be a lesson to men that if you own up to your mistakes and don’t turn into a major jerk, you’ll end up getting at least a slightly better edit on here than the rest of them. And my parting lesson to women? When a guy offers to let you stay with him for the weekend, make sure that he ACTUALLY has a guest room. 

Chapter 5: The Dolphin Trainer

You know how in movies people always come up with a code word before a first date, so that if it completely sucks their friend can call with “an emergency” to help get them out of it? Well, that happened to me. 

Ash and I met through a mutual friend. A friend I made shortly after moving to Orlando, I’ll call him Cornelius, introduced me to his friend group, and we frequently hung out together within this group – dinners, escape rooms, movies, house parties, Halloween Horror Nights… you get it. He was a really nice guy, not what I thought of as my usual “type,” but I liked talking to him. He was funny, smart, seemed like a good friend to everyone in the group, and worked as a dolphin trainer at a certain well-known ocean focused theme park in Orlando. 

I don’t really remember how or when this happened, but eventually, Ash asked me out. The funny thing is that later on I found out through another friend in our little group that one guy was trying to find the right time to ask me out, but then someone else told him he thought I had a boyfriend (I didn’t) so he never did. So then Ash swooped in. Whoops. I wasn’t sure that I was really looking for anything at the time, but I figured, I’m trying to break my walls down, I need to meet more guys, he’s nice, and I’ve only ever hung out with him in group settings – I’ll give him a chance, what do I have to lose?

We met for dinner in Downtown Celebration (which is super cute, by the way). We got Chinese food, he paid, which was very polite and gentlemanly of him. We had a really good talk, it was nice to get to know him one-on-one versus the group interactions we’d had so far. I remember at one point he told me that he felt like I see the world very differently from most people, and that it’s interesting to hear me talk the way I do. In my head this makes me think like I sound like some sort of wise Buddha, but I could be wrong. Either way, I’ll never forget that. It’s still one of my favorite compliments I’ve ever received. 

After dinner, we walked around downtown for awhile before deciding to get some ice cream. He has a really severe allergy, so I don’t even remember if he was able to even get any but I was hardcore craving Kilwin’s, and he obliged. Then, we sat on a bench by the water to talk some more.

Photo by Pixabay on

We’d been talking for awhile, but it still didn’t feel like “that moment” where you know the date is about to end so you need to start wrapping things up and making plans for next time and all that. Which is why I’m still not sure why he decided to take that moment to say that he was having a good time, and did I want to go out with him again?

I panicked. I HATE turning people down. I’m that person who texts people I don’t click with after a first date to tell them, “I just didn’t feel that spark I’m looking for, but best of luck – you’re a great guy!” I refuse to ghost people, and I hate having to reject people. I knew Ash was nice, but “I just didn’t feel that spark I was looking for,” so I knew I had to tell him that. So, I told him no. “But not a hard no, a soft no,” is actually what I said. Which then I had to clarify as not meaning to ask me out again at a later date, but that we could still hang out in a group, just not one-on-one. Then I swiftly changed the subject.

Not even five minutes later, Ash got a call. I could hear panic in his voice, something was wrong. It sounded like someone, or something, was sick. He hung up and told me that there’s a dolphin at work that’s been sick lately and she just took a turn for the worse, and he has to go now because this might be his only chance to say goodbye. In my head I was thinking, this is a bit fishy (get it?), but being the nice person I am, I go with it. I like to believe the best about everyone and everything. I told him to run and that I hoped the dolphin was okay, so he said goodbye and ran off to his car. I left a little bit later.

Later that night, I got a call from him apologizing for running off. I ask how the dolphin is – she’s doing okay, they’re optimistic – we had some friendly chit chat for a bit, then we hung up. I never told anyone in our friend group about this, I didn’t think they had any reason to know we went out once, so we just acted normally next time we saw each other. It was a little awkward at first, but we got through it. I’m pretty sure he went out with someone else in our friend group shortly after, which was great for me because it meant less pressure and guilt.

Months later, I was talking to Cornelius about funny dating stories and I finally told him about my date with Ash, and he said, “Oh, yeah, I knew about that.” So I asked him if he knew that it ended when Ash had to go check on a sick dolphin, and he burst out laughing, asking me if I really believed that was a real phone call. That’s when I found out that the call about the “sick and possibly dying dolphin” was actually from Cornelius, thanks to an SOS text message he’d been sent by Ash to get him out of the awkwardness of me refusing a second date. My naiveté knows no limits sometimes.

So, that’s The Dolphin Trainer. Honestly, I think it’s pretty hilarious that I actually believed that, and I still think Ash is a good guy (if you’re reading this, no hard feelings!), but the fact that I actually had someone use an SOS text/emergency call on me is pretty classic. Especially since I’m pretty sure I’m the only person in the world whose emergency call involved a fake dolphin story. There’s a first time for everything, right? I just hope that was the only time someone has had to use that call on me.

Chapter 2: The Creepy Catfish

In college, I really didn’t date much. Most of my dates to sorority semis and formals were friends, or friends of friends, so except for the time that I kind of stole my friend’s formal date and asked him out (with her permission!), I didn’t date. That is, until my senior year.

When I got back from my College Program and was back in Boston for my final semester, I was pretty hung up on Christian (don’t judge me) and having some serious symptoms of Disney-withdrawal. Meanwhile, he decided to get back together with one of the girlfriends he’d dated when he was a teen, telling me that he was only with her because he missed me so much, he had to be with someone else to ease the pain of me not being there… I was an idiot, I know. So to get over him and how much I missed Disney, I thought dating a bit would help me, too.

Have you ever heard of the app Happn? It’s an app where basically, you can match with and chat with people that you’ve already crossed paths with – at the coffee shop, waiting for the T, in the store, etc. A friend of mine had something to do with it so I downloaded it out of support, and I matched with this guy. We’ll call him Adam.

Adam looked cute. He was smart, looked like he was tall and in pretty good shape, and just generally seemed nice from his profile. We chatted for a couple of days on the app, then he asked for my number. So we texted for a bit, and then spoke on the phone a few times (yes, I am that person who likes to talk on the phone). He kept telling me how pretty I sounded and how cute my voice is, and asked me out. I told him I wanted to go bowling, and he said that would be great. Fun fact for any guy who wants to date me – bowling will ALWAYS be my favorite and #1 choice for a first date activity! 

The night of our date comes, and he calls me 30 minutes before we’re supposed to meet to tell me he’s going to be late. Like, two hours late, because he decided to go visit a friend that afternoon and lost track of time. Okay, fine. Then, he tells me that actually, he doesn’t want to go bowling, he thinks we should just get hot chocolate. Okay? I tell him I’ll meet him at Max Brenner, which if you don’t know, is like a chocolate restaurant/bar in Boston that has amazing hot chocolate and desserts. 

Photo by Fallon Michael on

I show up to meet him – he’s still a few minutes late – and let’s just say, I was cat-fished. HARD. He wasn’t nearly as tall as his photos made him look – which wouldn’t have bothered me if he didn’t lie about it. He was also about 20 pounds heavier than his photos, had awful skin, and really bad teeth. Literally none of this was shown in the photos – I don’t consider myself a vain person, and I value personality over looks, but if you’re going to lie about your appearance THAT much, I’m going to be a little irked . But, being the polite person I am, I figure I’d give him a chance. The real kicker is that then he actually had the audacity to say to me that he was so glad I actually looked like my photos because he would have been really mad if I didn’t, and if I wasn’t hot as my pictures made me look he probably would’ve left. Okie dokie.

So then, he tells me that he doesn’t want to go to Max Brenner’s. “Let’s just go to Starbucks,” he says. I’m sorry, WHAT? I have enough Starbucks gift cards to last me a year, I did not need him to buy me a $5 hot chocolate that I wouldn’t even like (Starbucks makes disgusting hot cocoa, comment if you agree). But there we are, at a Starbucks, with him talking over me and interrupting me, and me just trying to get this date over with. He brought up no less than 10 times that he works at Harvard, but he probably couldn’t have even told you what I was in school for.

While on a walk back to my apartment, he tries to hold my hand. I say no, because I’m not comfortable with that when I don’t know him well at all. For some reason, he thinks that because I don’t want to hold hands, backing me against a tree is totally okay. I finally get him to keep moving, and we end up at my apartment so I bring him inside to the lobby area for a bit, figuring if I need to I can make a quick escape. I don’t remember all the details of the conversation, but I do remember him asking me why I didn’t want to hold hands and me saying that I just wanted to take things slow, so he told me if I wasn’t going to put out, he could walk across the street to any bar and pick up any girl he wants. He then proceeds to tell me about how when he goes out with the other Harvard guys, they compete to see how many girls’ numbers they can get and he always wins. I asked if he ever actually called the girls and he said no. When I told him how rude that was and how hurtful that could be to a girl, he laughed.

But my favorite part of all this was when I opened up about Christian, and how that was all very recent and part of why I was hesitant to go crazy with physical stuff, and he tells me, “You’re pretty, but honestly, no guy is going to want to be with you if you’re like this with physical stuff on the first date. You’re pretty fucked up, I don’t think anyone is ever going to love you.” 

Somehow, my idiot self though that despite this absolutely asshole-ish comment, it would be okay to let him use my bathroom. Bad idea. He used the bathroom and then he wouldn’t leave. I kept asking him to go, and he wouldn’t budge. He more or less told me in so many words that I couldn’t stop him from doing anything he wanted (he was still bigger than me), so when he went to hug me, I let him all while taking inventory of what items I could use as a weapon, and which of my knives would be the easiest and fastest to get to. Finally, my fake-playing nice got him to agree to leave. 

On his way out, he texts me asking what my problem is because he could tell I wasn’t happy. I told him I didn’t appreciate the way he talked to me, or about women in general, and that I didn’t think we hit it off. After acting like a little bitch for a minute, he shut up. Meanwhile, I was sleeping with a knife next to bed after calling Christian crying three times about how awful the date was. So much for trying to get over him, right?

Because guys like this ALWAYS have to make a reappearance, like the serial killer at the end of a slasher film, about a year or two later, I randomly got a text from a new number saying, “Hey it’s Adam from Harvard, remember me?” First of all, working at Harvard is not a personality trait like he seems to think it is, but that’s not what I said in my reply. Instead, I responded, “Hey! Yeah, I think I remember you. You’re the self-absorbed, pompous asshole who told me I was too fucked up to be loved, right?” And then blocked him. 

Moral of the story, don’t use Happn — you never know what kind of creep you’re going to meet. Fortunately, I’m an eternal optimist so after some time to process everything that happened, I decided that because I didn’t date much in college, this was just all of the bad dates I was supposed to have by this point in one night… right?