In honor of looming Valentine’s Day I wanted to do a little throwback to one of my worst dating experiences. Ya know, for funsies. The trouble is I’ve had so many bad dating experiences, that it was hard to select just one for today, the Eve of V Day. But among all the contenders for the worst, this one happens to be my best friend’s favorite. Every time I see her she makes me retell the Santa Claus story.
In fact I spent time with her recently and naturally we got on topic of my sordid dating history. She asked for the Santa story. I rolled my eyes, but delivered anyway, because quite frankly it flatters me to no end how much she adores my stories. The fact that she has me tell the same ones to her repeatedly and still doubles over is either a sign she really is my best friend or maybe I can spin a tale. I’ll give more credit to the friendship, and her love for me, but I digress.
This most recent time she was laughing so hard at the retelling (I don’t think anyone will ever find this story as funny as she does) that she peed her pants. To be fair she is seven months pregnant, but still. I considered it a winner in my book if it was pissed-pants worthy. And so Santa is the winner for my Valentine’s Day divulge.
For the record, everyone who is getting super excited right now, I didn’t actually date Santa Claus. Though I probably would. He’s really freaking cool and his beard is legit. He is good with kids and owns a lucrative (I think… He has his own secret digs in the North Pole) business and a lot of top-notch reindeer. I’ve had worse.
No, no, this particular fella just resembled Santa in the rotund, reddish, jolly sort of way and somehow over time it was just easier to refer to him as Santa. Also I wouldn’t want him to feel bad by using his real name; I’m not a monster. Oh and lastly, to be fair to Santa—this Santa, not Claus—he really wasn’t the worst. He doesn’t get the award for worst, he just gets the award for being my bestie’s favorite amongst the worsts and a somewhat telling tale about myself more so than him.
So, Santa. I actually had known him for a while because he was a college friend’s roommate and I had met him before at her house parties. Of which I attended about two, as my version of a good time in college was to bake enough food to host a football team and then invite all my friends over to play Catch Phrase while I buzzed about the house in my polka-dotted apron, asking if anyone needed anything.
At any rate, I knew of Santa. And I never gave much thought to him. For starters he was a redhead and everyone and their cocker spaniels know how I feel about redheads. Pass. A big ol’ pass. Also, I just didn’t think of him in that way. I didn’t think of him period. Until one Saint Patrick’s Day. I was out at a bar with my roommate and I ran into him. I had straightened my hair, was bedazzled in greenery, and was wearing my vintage, Have you hugged an Irishman today? T-shirt. This may have been one of the only times I have celebrated St. Patty’s Day as I find the holiday loathsome.
He started talking to me and because I was uninterested in impressing him, I was fully myself (I didn’t really have the savvy confidence I have these days where I am just myself from the get-go). I cracked jokes, I teased him in an easy fun-loving way, I sipped my gigantic mug of green beer without thought of what it was doing to my waistline.
So color me stunned when the next day he messaged me on Facebook asking me on a date. I immediately ran to tell my friend. “But I was myself!”
She thought this was evidence enough that I should be myself more often and maybe I’d get more dates. I wouldn’t take that advice for probably another five years or so.
I wasn’t entirely certain about saying yes as I wasn’t really attracted to him, but then I have never been one to say no to a date; I like to give everyone a fair shake. Furthermore, I am of the firm belief that maybe someone isn’t attractive right away, maybe they are a redhead, but they can always redeem themselves with insatiable wit, or mad kissing skills. And then who the frack cares?
Besides I was comfortable enough with him to be fully myself so maybe that was a good sign. He picked me up for dinner the following weekend and took me out. Which is better than when I went on a date with a guy from my fencing club and he only had a bicycle and I had to pick him up; and then he didn’t even have the decency to pay for my movie ticket. Or shower. So. Perhaps he wins for the worst.
Anyhow, our first date was fine. Comfortable. Easy-going. There was still no za-za-zu to borrow a Sex and the City term. I didn’t really feel it, but I thought maybe I would, eventually… He continued to ask me out, but after the initial dinner date things sort of dwindled, where he would simply invite me to his house to watch TV and we’d sort of stare at each other awkwardly. I thought I’d give him the chance to make a move and kiss me and maybe then there’d be fireworks.
The most he would do though, was tickle my feet when walking past to settle into whatever couch was opposite me. I began to lose interest. But still he wanted to spend time together. I had gleaned that he liked to fish and had a motorcycle. Both those things excited me. We could maybe go riding or fishing, or do anything in the outdoors at all. Which is what I suggested to him on numerous occasions. He’d respond with a vague maybe… and then we’d still end up at his house staring at the television. I began to make excuses I would never make to a guy I was sincerely interested in. He would call, and I would say, “I’d love to come over, but uh, I have to shave my legs and it’s a whole production… I just don’t know if I’m up for it.”
“Just come over anyway,” he’d say.
Huh. Well, damn. Alright.
Still no kissing had occurred. But could be because of the unshaved legs. But then why did he want me over so bad?
The next time he asked, it was dark and a little rainy and I said I would come over if we went fishing. He pointed out that it was dark. I said, there was a song about fishing in the dark! How romantic. Besides, he bloody liked fishing, supposedly… why couldn’t I entice him to go fishing or do anything that didn’t involve a couch cushion?
Still I went because we had been doing this tango for a couple months and while I no longer wanted in, I felt somewhat invested and like I had to see what happened at this point.
I went to his house. He motioned for me to have a seat. I knew it would be another TV night and I just didn’t know if I had another TV date in me. At this point he ambled over to the couch and sat down. But here is where it went south. The way in which he sat down, is what made me see the light.
He heaved himself into the couch cushions, a protuberance of happy air leaving his mouth, his ruddy cheeks alight with reddened satisfaction at the delights awaiting him on the television, his heft and girth settling into the couch cushion like it was the last life raft on the Titanic and hallelujah he was saved!
I suddenly was aghast staring at him enveloped in the cushions like that. I could not go on. Not even for the hope of a kiss when after months of “dating” I had gotten one chicken wrap, a foot tickle, and a lot of no’s on any other activity involving the light of day or uh… activity. I politely made up an excuse to go, thinking I was doing us both a favor. He clearly needed a girl who more so enjoyed the foot tickle and the squishiness of the couch on Saturday evenings. I needed fresh air and less sitting.
A few weeks later he texted to ask what I was up to. I was on a walk downtown by the harbor and told him as much. While I was entirely over the notion that he and I could be anything other than platonic movie buddies, I was about to give it one last go, and ask him to join me on my walk, when he replied with, “you’re always on walks,” as if the very notion of walking disgusted him as much as his constant sitting had disgusted me.
It was then I felt compelled to tell him, I didn’t really see it going anywhere with us. I thought that much seemed obvious by then. He didn’t really cotton to that and made a snarky remark that he was already over it. K, I thought, oddly, me too. I was over it when I started noticing your uncanny similarities to Santa. At least physically. The real Santa actually has a stellar work ethic and I doubt if he ever sits to watch that much TV.
At any rate, Santa and I were no more, and that was that. My brief dalliance with the Sittin’ Santa had come to an end.
And well, now I have tales that make my smug married friends piss their pants. Which makes it a little bit worthwhile.
Happy almost Valentine’s kids.