Another online dating tragedy of mine has literally become a party favorite. I’m asked to tell this story repeatedly. It’s also probably the only dating story of mine that comes with a “P.S.”
I started chatting with Catman through an online dating pond from which I am proudly no longer fishing. He. Was. A. Charmer. He was a musician and “small business owner”. And an animal lover. And a vegetarian. Each of those things are perfectly fine. All of them together…should’ve been a red flag.
We did the typical cycle of online chats, then texts, then phone calls. There was always plenty to talk about, and we flirted a bit. This went on for the better part of two to three weeks. We decided to meet in person.
Call me foolish (I was), but I had developed a sense of trust with Catman after talking regularly for a few weeks. I’m a pretty good vibe-catcher, and he hadn’t thrown any psycho ones, so we decided that I would drive to his place, leave my car there, and we would go to dinner. Unless I know him (ie. an old classmate, etc.), I never have a man come to my house, or even know approximately where it is. And I called my sister to tell her his name, where he lived and what he drove, in the event he chopped me into kitty kibbles.
I arrived to his house, which seemed nice enough from the curb, parked and walked up to the door. A bit nervous, I knocked, and was rather pleasantly surprised by the face (and body) that greeted me.
Until I stepped into the foyer.
In hindsight, I should’ve just gone with my immediate desire to puke, and just ended the evening there. But, no. I was invested in this, dammit. That, plus I tend to be overly cautious not to hurt someone’s feelings, and I thought ‘oh, what the hell. He’s a nice guy, and it’s just dinner, right?’ Yeah. Right.
Now…I’ll do my best to paint a multi-sensory picture for you of what I encountered when I stepped inside:
*Sight: (aside from an attractive man) layers of dust and cat hair. And boxes upon boxes upon more boxes of his “small business owner” stuff, which loosely translates into “I sell crap on the internet.” …up the creepiness factor here by him handing me a tiny little blue box with a white bow on it (picture a Tiffany-esque attempt) that had pierced, dangle-y “emerald” earrings in it (one of the hodge-podge assortment of items he sold online). I tried to refuse, but he insisted. Yes, I still have them. No, I have not/will not wear them. Ever.
*Smell: While HE smelled very nice (which is shocking, considering it all), I was slapped in the face by the smell of cat. Cat everything. Cat pee. Cat poop. Cat…i don’t know…saliva? Just…cat-ness. And lots of it. (Ever the optimist, I thought ‘welllll… maybe the cat, like, JUST took a dump and a whiz, like two seconds ago. It’s possible, right?’) No. If he had a jungle cat and it took a dump on my upper lip and I dabbed feline urine behind my ears – it wouldn’t smell much worse.
*Sound: Nothing. No meows. No purring. No kitty-sounds whatsoever.
(Side note: I seriously wanna know how his house stunk so bad and yet HE smelled so good. Because I can’t fry a piece of freaking bacon without me and everything in my house smelling like it for 3 days)
Catman: “Where would you like to go for dinner?”
Me: “I don’t care…whatever you’d like.” (standard chick answer)
Well…that was like, mistake #87 on my part. I should’ve suggested a place. I should’ve definitely CARED. Because where we ended up for Friday night, first-date DINNER…was IHOP. Yep. The International House of Freaking Pancakes. (IHOFP…it’s a midwest thing) Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a breakfast-all-day kind of girl. It’s my favorite meal, favorite food. But it’s not a first-date Friday night dinner. I ordered a breakfast with two types of sausage (sausage gravy and sausage links) and had to listen to him make a little squealing sound representative of my obvious murdering of an innocent pig for the sake of my appetite, while he enjoyed these freaking tater tot things with cheese on them. Wussy.
The conversation was flowing as much as it could on a first date at IHOP on a Friday night between two people. Topics drifted to his animal-loving…specifically, CATS and how he liked to rescue them.
What’s this? A redeeming quality?
Then, the more I listened, the more it became clear that he wasn’t a “rescue, rehab, release” kind of guy, but rather…a collector. So I asked. “So how many cats do you have?” I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had said “five”. That’s a reasonable degree of kooky for a guy like him. I was, however, surprised when he replied “thirteen” – very proudly, I might add.
I know ME. And I know that I should NEVER play poker because of my inability to hide facial expression in the face of, well…anything. So I can only imagine what my facial expression must’ve looked like if it matched my inner thoughts.
Me: “wow…that’s a lot of cats. Are they outside cats, or…?”
Catman: (boastfully) “Nope! All inside…they’re like my kids”
I survived our breakfast-dinner, and we made our way back to his house where I intended to run like a scaredy-cat (pun intended). When we got there, he asked if I wanted to come infor a drink and keep him company while he “fed all the cats”.
Well now… here’s a little conundrum for a girl like me. I’m beyond convinced that there is no love connection here. But this night has been such a damn train wreck, I’m in it for the long haul, because this is one of those things that only happens to yours truly. There is some comedic gold here. I’m sure of it.
Me: “sure, I’ll come in for one drink” (and to see exactly how one goes about feeding thirteen cats)
I sat, with hesitation, on his couch – only because it was leather and I felt the disease risk was minimal. Still not a kitty in sight.
He was making all kinds of racket in the kitchen, while I just sat on the edge of the couch taking about 16GB worth of mental pictures and notes.
He came out with four styrofoam plates with cat food on them. Still no cats. Then he went to door #1, and out trotted four little kitties. Awww…. Wait, what the hell is he doing…?
He proceeded to talk…literally CHAT…with each and every feline on a more personal level than some humans will ever experience. Like nothing I’ve ever seen. And yes, I’ve talked to my pets….but not like this. It was as if he was getting responses that only he could hear. Trust me, I tried to hear them. Nothing.
This group of kitties finished their dinner and conversation, and were escorted back to their room. Repeat this process three more times until all thirteen of them had been satiated. (One cat had to dine at a table for one, as it seems he was a bit of a troublemaker.) Yes, I got a personal introduction and bio on each of them. I fully believe that I was the topic of conversation at their next meal. (“so what did you guys think of her?”)
The timeline for this whole process? One hour, thirty-seven minutes. You might think I would’ve downed a 6-pack while viewing this, but I didn’t even finish my one beer. I was literally stunned most of the time, unable to drink, speak, or take my eyes off this fantastic display of a freakshow.
I quickly hopped up after the last feline foursome had gone back to their living quarters, and thanked him and got the hell out of dodge. I went home and thought about just deleting his number from my phone. But then I thought “no…this guy isn’t going away…and I want to know if it’s him on the other end”, so I kept his number, but changed his name…to CATMAN DON’T.
As good as I am at picking up vibes, I’m even better at throwing them out there. So imagine my surprise when he called me the next day wanting to meet up, which I declined. I didn’t contact him anymore, and didn’t hear from him either. About a month later, I got a Saturday night text from him asking how I’d been. I contemplated whether or not to reply. I wanted to reply with “who is this?” I mean, it was totally feasible that I would’ve deleted his number. But I pegged him as a “give him an inch, he’ll take a mile” kind of fellow, so I just ignored it…something I personally despise, but felt the situation called for it. His profile disappeared from the dating site.
The P.S. to this story:
Fast forward about a year and a half. I reopened my dating profile in attempt #382 to find someone. I was getting several messages a day and would read each of them. And there in my inbox was a message from Catman Don’t…same profile picture, different profile name. Mind you, MY profile name was the same, although I did change my picture, but it was still ME. I was almost afraid to open it, for fear of a verbal assault for my disappearance and lack of response.
But what I got was even better. It was something like this: “wow, that’s some profile you have there! I think we would have a lot in common, what do you like to do, wanna chat?, etc.” Whaaaatttt??? He had NO CLUE who I was, or the fact that we went on one of MY most memorable dates that has been talked about more times than he’s had fleas. My inner comedian toyed with the idea of replying also as if I had no clue who he was, but I chickened out in fears that my inability to be anything other than myself would throw a memory back to him and my cover would be blown. I fancy myself a fairly memorable chick, so my ego has blamed his lack of memory on some sort of amnesia associated with feline fecal poisoning. Yep. That’s definitely it.