Last fall, I went out for the first time with a guy I had met at a party. (This is my favorite way to meet guys -- much better than a bar, and infinitely better than the online thing!)
'Carl' and I went to a restaurant/bar in Boystown -- the gay area in Chicago. As far as first dates go, this one started out well. No awkwardness, plenty of conversation, and there was a mutual attraction.
Shortly after I began martini number one, my friends Rick and Bob walked in. No problem ... I introduced them to Carl, and they grabbed a table not far away. How fun! This is almost a double-date, I thought.
I should tell you now, that I am an on-again, off-again smoker. (Off right now -- good for me!) But after half my martini was down the hatch, all I could think of was a cigarette. (Think Carrie from Sex and the City, when she first met Aidan. Kind of.) I quickly confessed to Carl that I was in need of a nicotine hit, and although he didn't look too pleased, I apologized in advanced before running off to get a pack at 7-11 down the street. I was back in no time -- no harm done.
When I returned, I noticed more drinks on the table, courtesy of Rick and Bob. How sweet of them! Carl didn't touch his.
At this point, Carl was dominating the conversation -- breaking first date rule number one and spilling all of the dirt about his prior relationship. Turns out, he was in a co-dependent relationship with an alcoholic (and smoker) for eight years, and he just had recently jumped back into the dating pool after a lot of time and therapy.
I appreciated his candor as I finished martini number one, and started on the fancy drink that my friends had sent over.
And then he told he the saga of how he was adopted ... how he he began to search for his birth parents ... and I listened. In between smoke breaks, of course. And drinks.
When it became apparent he wasn't going to touch his drink, I asked (while he paused his life-story long enough to take a breath) if he was going to let his cocktail go to waste. He slid it over. Mmmmmmm, this made his dull tales a little more tolerable. And I didn't want to offend Rick and Bob -- I'm a good person. And I honestly thought I should be getting extra points for being such a good listener. Even though I swear, the room was beginning to spin. Just a little. Was I the only one who felt this, I wondered?
And then it hit me. I was drunk. Not just a little buzzed, but full-on drunk. Uh oh. I stood up while Carl was still talking, put my hand over my mouth, and made a mad dash to the restroom.
The rest is all a bit fuzzy, I'm ashamed to admit. We settled our tab, he insisted I 'crash' at his place, and somehow we walked there without another puking incident. Back in his apartment, I got sick again (I think only once) and fell asleep in his bed with him beside me.
Not surprisingly, I woke up the next morning with a pounding headache -- the kind that only the combination of too much alcohol and too many cigarettes induces. I was thankful that Carl had an extra toothbrush. And I gathered from the way he was all over me, all was forgiven. So before I headed back to my place, I channeled my inner-Samantha Jones (yes, Sex and the City) and made the most graceful exit possible once we were done.
On my way home, I replayed the whole evening back in my mind ... and was horrified. He'd droned on about the struggles of living with an alcoholic, while I sat there and drank myself into oblivion. Nice. Way to make a good first impression. I was wracked with regret and guilt.
So I left him a voicemail. Trying to be funny but failing miserable, I said, "Hey, just wanted to say last night was fun, but you're probably wondering why you keep dating guys with drinking problems, huh?" Ugh. Where's the 'delete message' option?!
After not hearing back from him (surprised?) I sent a more sincere e-mail to him, apologizing for my behavior. The next day, I received a novella from Carl. He was just as long-winded over the Internet as he was in person.
I wish I had saved it, but the gist of it was he was turned off by the 'smokey, drunken over-indulgant' behavior I'd exhibited. It had reminded him of his ex. And to add insult to injury, he felt like I did most of the talking. (What? I wasn't that drunk!)
Now I was irritated. Was he turned off before or after we messed around that morning?
My response to him was short but not too sweet. "Thanks," I wrote. "I hope you have a nice Thanksgiving!" (And a nice life!)
Until next time ... Rambling Rex (aka Miranda Hobbes)