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December 9, 2006

Dating For Dummies

There is a book called "Dating For Dummies." I should probably buy it.

I won't of course. Because that's probably the smart thing to do, get a handbook. Dummies ... do not read the handbook. It's one of our quaint key characteristics.

So, I had been seeing this guy, let's call him Jack. Jack and I had been dating on and off for about five months, since around June of this year. Jack seemed like a pretty nice guy. Jack was divorced from Jill, with whom he had a baby, Jillette. Jilette was now nine years old, and Jack was a single dad, raising his kid. He'd told me about the divorce, how Jill wasn't really taking care of the baby, how he'd fought for custody and then raised little Jillette on his own since then.

Jack seemed like a stand-up guy.

We'd shared some stuff, told each other pieces of our stories as you tend to do per the normal dating procedure. Last week I was on the phone with Jack and we were talking about relationships, in a general sense, and he was saying how important family was, how much he'd always wanted more kids, etc. etc.

I am condensing the conversation, of course. You get the idea, we were just chitchatting. Talking. Then I said, "You know, Jack, I'm really surprised that a guy who is as family-oriented as you are never remarried after Jill."

Jack just said uh-huh, and we talked some more and perhaps an alert was sounded somewhere deep down inside my Female Radar System. Five minutes more of nice conversation (because apparently I am not always on task with the Alert System) and I said, "Jack, really. I'm curious. Why did you decide not to re-marry after Jill?"

Pause.

Quiet.

"What makes you think I didn't?" asked Jack.

"Um. Let's see. Perhaps because you never mentioned it. In the past, oh, FIVE MONTHS."

"Yeah, well. I did get married again."

And, as it turns out, Jack has been married THREE times and is, in fact, STILL MARRIED TO WIFE NUMBER THREE.

I shall pause for a moment to let that sink in. Because I literally choked on my Fresca and about had a heart attack.

"I'm sorry. Did I just have an episode?" I asked Jack. "Did I hear you say you are STILL MARRIED to YOUR THIRD WIFE?"

Indeed.

"Oh," said Jack, "she moved out a while ago. It's over for all intents and purposes."

"Jack," I said, as calmly as possible when you perhaps want to reach through the phone and snatch someone baldheaded. "Did you not think this was information I should have known maybe five months ago?"

"I just don't tell everyone my life story on the first date, Laurie." The tone had changed. He was... mad. Actually MAD AT ME.

"Jack, I feel deceived. I can't date someone who is married."

Jack was not loving the direction this conversation was taking. "I'm NOT MARRIED," he said. "I don't think of it that way."

"Um, but you are legally married to another woman, right?"

"Legally, yeah." Sigh of disgust... from him.

"Have you filed?" "No." "Legal separation?" "No."

"Well, then it's a lie to say you're divorced. That would be like me telling you from the gitgo that I didn't have kids but had four cute cats, and five months later I tell you ONLY after being asked point blank that I actually had four kids by four babiesdaddies but the state took them away and terminated my parental rights, but whatever, I'm not a mom for all intents and purposes..."

"No, that is COMPLETELY different. That would be horrible, this is just not that big of a deal," he said.

"It's a big deal to me," I told him. "It makes me wonder what other things you may have forgotten to mention. It's a big deal."

"Look," said Jack. His tone was all business now. Loud. Angry. "I HAVE ALLOWED YOU to chew me out about this. Now you either deal with it and move on or we're done."

Me: laughter
Me: even more laughing HAHAHAH YOU ALLOW ME!!!!
Me: heh

"Jack, you don't ALLOW a grown woman her feelings, and buddy you don't know from chew out! You lied to me. You positioned yourself as the saintly divorced single dad who raised his kid all alone, so amazing! So great! Aw shucks! But now I find out you're married, you haven't filed papers, even a legal separation, you don't seem in a real hurry to do so, and you're out there dating? You flat-out lied by telling me you're divorced. I'd be willing to bet money you sell this same song and dance to every girl you meet to make yourself look good. You want chewing out? Oh you have not even heard the chewing out..."

"Are you done?" he asked.

"Well," I drawled. "I could keep going but I do believe you got the general gist of things." Lord, I was mad.

Then he hung up. I promptly deleted him from my phone book. I called Drew and told him what had happened. He laughed. He laughed until I saw the ridiculousness of it, too, that this man was actually angry with me for pointing out his little teetiny fib.

"Do I have to ask every man who wants to take me to dinner if he's married? Even the ones who say they are divorced? Is that what dating is like?" I asked Drew.

"It wouldn't be a bad idea," he said.

"I hate dating."

"Maybe you ought to reconsider the handbook."

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Posted by laurie at December 9, 2006 5:01 PM