About three years ago, I went out on a few dates with a guy named Ian.
I met him–you guessed it–online. He had recently moved to the area from Baltimore to pursue a job in higher education. He was highly intelligent and a good listener. He tugged on my nerdy heartstrings with his knowledge of research practices and procedures. We talked on our first date about data triangulation. I was kinda starting to believe the stars had aligned and that God and the universe were celebrating our coming together.
And then I decided to google him.
Being able to “Google” someone is still a novel concept to me. The Internet is just plain freaking bizarre. I mean I can type in your name and random things I know about you such as your city and profession, and a crap load of information may come up. It’s creepy and comforting at the same time to know that we have such information at our fingertips.
So when I googled Ian, a departmental newsletter came up that was two months old, dated slightly before we met. In the newsletter, it welcomed Ian to the department and in his short bio, it stated, “Ian lives on the east side with his girlfriend, Tara, and their pet fish.”
Now, before I proceed any further with this story, I have a confession to make. I was uncertain at this point in my dating relationship with Ian, of whether or not I was physically attracted to him. I believe that physical attraction can grow. However, finding this newsletter just put an unpleasant taste in my mouth.
I wasn’t sure how to proceed. I was fairly new to online dating at this point in my life. I was concerned that if I told him that I had found this information, that I would look like the social media stalker that–wait a second—THAT I REALLY WAS.
I went on another date with Ian, but didn’t have a plan of action in terms of how and when I would bring this information up. This lack of planning took the date on an awkward turn, as I became passive/aggressive with him instead of dealing with this newfound information in a healthy, communicative way.
Ian had decided to take me to the zoo. We entered the aquarium area first. We immediately passed by a fish tank with large, tropical fish. Ian, being his nerdy self, started reciting facts about tropical fish, when I suddenly interrupted him.
“So do you have a pet fish?” I inquired.
“No,” he said.
“Have you ever had a pet fish…ever in your life?”
“Not that I can recall,” Ian chuckled.
“Okay, ” I said, feeling snarky.
Later in the evening, he took me to a movie. Right before the movie started, I somewhat impulsively decided that I HAD to freaking bring this up.
“Okay, Ian, I need to tell you something!” I blurted.
“Sure, shoot!” he happily exclaimed, having no clue of the shit that was about to hit the fan.
I started introducing what I was going to say by giving him some WEIRDASS analogy about toothpaste being out of the tube. He looked confused, so I got right to the point.
I told him that I had googled him, found the departmental newsletter mentioning him and his girlfriend and the pet fish. I told him that I was trying to erase it from my memory and not bring it up, but I had to, because I couldn’t erase this information from my mind. I squeezed the toothpaste out of the tube, so to speak, and it wasn’t going back in.
So then, Ian started explaining this relationship he had with this girl who was “very unstable.” He met her in a bar, they moved in together the next day, she had a pet fish (it was HER fish–not his), and that things were never serious, but that he mentioned her in the departmental newsletter so that she wouldn’t have her feelings hurt by an omission.
“She was very, very unstable. Eventually, we broke up.”
And then he started to give me timelines for when they broke up, but they didn’t match the timelines when we had started talking, and then–
The movie started.
When it was over, I was nice, but sped out of there as quickly as possible and wrote him a kind email the next day stating that I appreciated him, but didn’t think we were a match.
I tell you this story, because as WEIRDASS as it is, the toothpaste analogy is one of my favorites. Because whether it’s minty or fruity or Aquafresh or Colgate–it’s still toothpaste. It’s messy. You can’t put it back in. You have no choice but to acknowledge that IT’S THERE.
So many times in my life I have found out information that troubled me. However, instead of revealing it to the party it involved, I just let it ruminate in my mind and affect my image of that person. At times, the information I found wasn’t even VALID. However, it stuck to my brain in all its gooeyness and just wouldn’t get back in the tube.
Until I finally acknowledged it by communicating it to the other person.
And that night, I had to tell Ian that all I felt with the discovery of that information was that I had been deceived. I understand that when two people get to know each other, they may not be fully honest of their shortcomings. You want to impress your new crush. Perhaps I dismissed him too quickly, but my emotions couldn’t handle anything that sounded remotely dishonest, period. If he had fessed up and acknowledged the strangeness of the situation, it may have been salvageable on my end. But there was only an explanation. An argument and discussion of facts. No empathy in his response. Just more of a “this is what happened–it’s not a big deal.”
Only it was for some reason. It was like a gigantic deal to that little heart of mine. ❤️ In life, I’ve had to make several judgment calls that relied alone on my heart–not pure facts. And this was one of them.
My dear readers, I have more I want to say. But my LOUD NEIGHBOR is blasting some kind of weirdass music that prevents me from writing anything else on this very topic tonight. And I have already exhausted my use of the word, weirdass.
I am wondering if I should ask him to turn it down, or if I should maybe jive along. If I ask him to turn his down, then it means he will have free license to ask me not to blast Nelly or Coldplay or REM or Jay-Z or any of the other random music I listen to.
So I will sit here and jam along. And I may make this for dinner. Because I had a date that just cancelled on me and now I want to eat potatoes: