Continued from Dave from Philly – Part 1….
After the weekend we first met up, Dave* and I kept in touch and texted daily. Most of the texts coming from his end included self-portraits of him doing exciting things like driving to work, or coming off of the treadmill, which got old after about 3 consecutive days. I did ask him at one point why his hair was so different than it was in his profile pictures. He explained that since his mother had passed away from cancer, he had decided to grow it out to cut and donate to chemotherapy patients. Obviously, that is a very sensitive and caring move to make… but I still think he could have posted more recent pictures online. This was several months of growth – the difference between a bald head and an anchorwoman’s haircut.
When we spoke on the phone, I tried so hard to somehow impair my hearing so that Dave sounded masculine, but I just couldn’t avoid squirming every time his falsetto voice squeaked during a particular animated story or strong comment. I figured I could somehow get used to it, especially if we got to see each other in person more often. We started planning on the next time we would meet up. It went something like this:
Dave: I was thinking that maybe you can come here next time and we can go for dinner.
Me: That sounds good.
Dave: Yeah, I got a gift card to the Cheesecake Factory a few months ago.
Me: Oh…so you’re going to use it soon?
Dave: Yeah, silly, for when we go to dinner.
So if you can imagine that phone conversation with two female voices, and a lot of awkward silences, that’s pretty much how it went. I now had the long hair, high voice, the aversion to drinking, the incessant photo sending, the obsession with sale searching and the extreme frugality well-noted.
With all of that, I still thought I should see Dave again just to make sure we had no hope. In a fit of ridiculous decision-making, I had confirmed with him that I would come to Pennsylvania the next weekend and stay over his house. Luckily, two very well-balanced friends talked me out of that choice. They feared that I would have no way of getting out of a stranger’s house outside of the metropolitan area if and when he pulled his machete out. They definitely had a point, so I told Dave that I couldn’t stay by his house quite yet. I offered to simply come to his area and we could spend the day together. His reaction was not very positive. While I stated my position very gently in the hopes that we can move slowly and I was not ready for any overnight dates just yet, he felt that I had accused him of being a bad person. I received a two page e-mail that declared that while “nobody’s perfect” (just like his profile headline), he is a good person and doesn’t deserve to be treated the way I was treating him. It was quite detailed and a bit dramatic and accusatory, considering we were just getting to know one another. I had no reason to feel guilty and to this day, I really don’t know why I did this, but I ended up apologizing for upsetting him and asked if he would want to spend the day with me.
Apparently, he got over the pain of my insulting actions, and agreed to a daytime date. I took the 2 hour train ride to New Jersey to meet Dave, who lived about 40 minutes from the station. The plan was to (you guessed it) go shopping at a well-known mall and see what the day brought for us. Well, here are a few things that day brought for me:
– Someone that looked very much like Dave showed up at the station to pick me up. He had his trademark feathered-hair, now a bit longer, along with his periwinkle shorts on. Yet, he also had grown a beard, let more than a few hairs between his eyebrows collect and seemed to have stolen Sally Jessy Raphael’s eyeglasses. He said something about his contact lenses when we first greeted one another, but I was too busy wiping my face where his beard had stabbed me and wondering if the giant red frames on his face could get any bigger.
– I learned that Dave drives a giant, beat-up royal blue mini-van. While we were supposed to go to some places in Pennsylvania that day, he opted to stay in New Jersey, where he picked me up, to “save miles.” He also pays for his gas with change. All change.
– I got to experience not one but three different malls of New Jersey. We went to every Macy’s to look for the same Affliction-brand t-shirt to see which one had it at the best price. If you guessed that he didn’t buy it at all, you would be right.
– I got to buy my own soda, as well as his. However, he did spring to pay for lunch at Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse – where he couldn’t rave enough about their free salad bar. The 75 year old woman next to us who couldn’t stop sneezing seemed to agree. It was a good thing we went there, he told me, because we had enough left over for his dinner that night. I know what you’re thinking. I was a bit torn up about not being part of that Cheesecake Factory gift card at the time as well.
– I also learned that if any man with the voice of a 5-year-old female rabbi who wears accessories that Bruce Valanch could have easily lent to him tries to touch me in any sort of friendly manner, I start laughing uncontrollably.
– To make up for the dismay I endured throughout most of the day, I did take advantage of Dave’s keen sense of deal-finding and coupon clipping and ended up with a great summer wardrobe.
– Most importantly, I had concluded that Dave was definitely not the guy for me. But apparently he didn’t get the hint.
I received another photo of him on my blackberry the very next day, taken from the now familiar-looking front seat of his mini-van. He asked how I was doing, and I told him it just wasn’t working between us, which couldn’t have been more obvious to me, or anyone else on the planet.
His reply: “Well, don’t expect me not to be surprised by that.”
Okay, I won’t.
*His full name is David Berkowitz. He assured me when we first mentioned our last names in person that he was not the Son of Sam, but I am pretty sure that there might be a crime spree documented about him some time soon.