Secondhand Smoke Isn’t Harmful (and other such lies from an awkward date)

So a couple weeks ago, I went out on a date with this guy. I wasn’t sure if it counted as a blind date since I couldn’t remember what he looked like thanks to giving out my number thanks to Grinding drunk the one night, but figured what the hell. A guy offering pizza and beer when you’re a poor college graduate is worth whatever awkward situation could ensue. I mean, at least I’d have chowed down on a free meal and (hopefully) left with a decent buzz to kickstart the night. At least he lived in a nice area of town in a pretty legit condo judging from the Google street view, otherwise it would have been game over right from the start and I would have “gotten lost” or something on the way there and had to cancel due to a “family emergency” or some other spur of the moment lie I could come up with to get me out of the awkwardness.

So I get to his house…and no, I wasn’t looking like a drowned harassed rat or anything (since it wasn’t raining, although I did have to take the train, and y’all know the MTA should stand for…well, I’m sure you get the reference) and blind date actually isn’t the type that would require a good paper-bagging as I’d worried he’d be since I couldn’t remember a thing about our drunken Grindr conversation (whoops).

Nice Condo: check
Good Pizza: check
Stella Artois: check
Conversation: oh…dear…god.

From the start, I should have guessed it was going to go way downhill…and fast. So being a designer, I complimented him on a well-designed condo, because in all honesty, it really was nice. It wasn’t a lie. However, instead of just saying “thank you” he went into a whole long, drawn-out story about how he’s had it on the market for a year and has had over ninety people look at it but hadn’t received a single offer even after dropping the asking price. On…and on…and on. Fifteen minutes later he finally stops rambling about how this condo just won’t sell. Now keep in mind, it’s a prime location about a half a block from Whole Foods…RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF BOYSTOWN. Prime location. So what do I do? I put on my Nancy Drew hat the minute I get home that night and check it out on Zillow. Listed nearly $75K above the comps in the area – nearly $50K more than the unit two floors above that was bigger and had a better finish package. Well guess what buddy…no wonder your condo won’t sell. You have it listed as a two-bedroom rather than the one-bedroom with a den that it really is…for WAY more than it’s worth. Fail #1.

So the night goes on. He has two absolutely hideous dogs that are named something ridiculously stupid. Now this typically wouldn’t be a deal breaker, but their names required another fifteen minute explanation of just how great of names they were (something Italian after a composer or painter or something for the one, and then something coordinating and just as odd for the second) and how nobody but him found the names as great. Well no wonder. You named them something dumb that requires a fifteen minute explanation. Fail #2.

But alas. There’s free pizza and beer, and it’s the only meal I’ve had all day on my (literally) starving designer budget, so I stick around. I mean, it can’t get much worse…right? WRONG.

I mention how it must be nice to be half a block from Whole Foods. Now any normal gay would be ecstatic about a perk like this. Nope. Not this gay. Nearly half an hour and three slices of pizza and a beer later, I have learned that he used to live in DC and used to LOVE shopping at Whole Foods. Why? Because they stocked lots of rolls in the bakery, and single people apparently prefer rolls over bread. (Side note: I prefer wraps for my sandwiches. Apparently one carb doesn’t fit all.) Upon moving to Chicago, Mr. Picky was appalled to learn that this Whole Foods preferred to stock loaves of fresh-baked bread rather than rolls…and a loaf which he purchased in his dinner-roll-deprivation-induced frustration wasn’t baked to his liking which only added to said frustration. Rather than just buy bread elsewhere, or even give it a second chance, he decided to import his own yeast from Europe and bake his own bread. Heaven forbid you buy normal American yeast…but then again, what’s the difference? Is there one? Probably. But do I care? No. Just give me my bread. And here I was thinking I was high maintenance. Fail #3.

Now typically, dating is like baseball for me: Three strikes, and you’re out. But there’s still Stella to be consumed…so I tell myself “Okay, one more beer and it’s time to get out of this awkward situation.”

So you guessed it…here comes Fail #4. “Want to sit on the back patio with me while I smoke a cigarette?” Okay, fine, semi-fresh air and hopefully a change of scenery…and a distraction from your fancy bread baked with imported yeast. I should have known that gays who bake their own bread with fancy yeast roll their own cigarettes. If you’re that concerned about what you’re eating, you’re probably that concerned about what you’re smoking. Dumb me. Of course he rolls his own cigarettes. Cue the awkward conversation and most-likely-never-ending tale of WHY he rolls his own cigarettes. At this point, I figure it’s time to escape. Excuse: I’m allergic to secondhand smoke. Totally believable.


In his heyday, he worked for one of the big tobacco companies and was on the decision-making board when they decided to lie and tell everyone that secondhand smoking really IS bad for you so they could boost the sales of nicotine patches and gum to help concerned parents quit smoking around their children. Oh, and why is secondhand smoke not bad for you? Because “the carcinogens only activate if at a certain temperature which is only achieved in your body so by the time you inhale the secondhand smoke it’s not even harmful anymore” according to Sir Infinite Wisdom himself.

At this point, I told myself enough was enough. Coming up with some excuse thanks to a perfectly-timed incoming email that I pretended was a pressing work issue that needed attended to immediately (but was probably just some Express sale notification) I took off like a bat out of hell.

Never. Again.

Needless to say he did NOT get a second date, let alone a phone call or even a text. I’m pretty sure he got the hint.

As big as the dating pool is here, I still manage to pick the winners. Perhaps next time, I’ll screen my drunken Grindr conversations a little better. Maybe. Just maybe.

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