Friday, June 28, 2013

Single & Cynical: A Cautionary Tale (My Brief Bout with a Cyber Predator)

About a week ago I was contacted via Facebook by a guy named Clark.  I got a bizarre, lengthy message about how he stumbled upon my profile and had this feeling he needed to talk to me.  He fought with it for several days before feeling "prompted" while in the temple to share with me a quote from the prophet. I was moderately weirded-out, but politely returned pieces of conversation... eventually finding him to seem somewhat normal.

A few days later, I actually looked at his profile. It was perfect. Too perfect.  He is a recent widower with a beautiful two-year-old daughter who is newly returned to Facebook after accepting a new job as a pediatric oncologist at Primary Children's Medical Center in Salt Lake City where he performs many surgical procedures.  He had a list of degrees and past work history including Harvard and UCLA.  Not bad for a 32 year old...Riiiight...

More confusing was that his friends list was blocked and we had no friends in common.  When I asked how he "stumbled" upon my profile (still haven't figured this one out) his answers were vague... but no doubt Fate had a hand in it!  The friends that did make comments on his profile wrote things that were remarkably similar to his own, and friends sharing his last name had equally short-lived, picture-perfect profiles.

During a slow day at work, I decided I would Google him.  Someone with such credentials should have plenty of information floating around out there. Nothing.  Next I went to the website for the Primary Children's Medical Center, only to find that there is no Clark Wayment on their staff.  Interesting.

Out of curiosity, I looked up "pediatric oncology" (it was a VERY slow day) on Wikipedia.  I learned that surgery is a last resort in pediatric cancer and pediatric oncologists avoid it, preferring chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Fun fact.  The following conversation ensued that day:

(I'm aware I spelled Te'o wrong. Not the point...) So true, though.  Who was I to judge? He's just a single dad trying to do good. Far be it from me to rain on that parade.

This afternoon I mentioned to my sister and sister-in-law... which of course meant we were going to look into it.  I Googled him once again... this time yielding different results.  The very first page suggested was this page. From the comments we learn that he has used several different names, but all with the same sad story... creeping out women on the Internet.  At first I thought I would write a super snarky message (as is a personal strength of mine.)  Then I thought, "What if I could outcreep him?!"  Brilliant!

Honestly, I thought this would do the trick.  Instead he just sent me another photo of her.  I had no choice but to lay it on thick.  When could we meet?  He's every girl's dream!  Who wouldn't want that? And most importantly... How can you argue with... revelation?! His response?
"That's what led me to you from the start!"

I finally saw my opportunity and took it.

 I've never seen a profile disappear so quickly, though I'm sure he has plenty of them!
I can't help feeling just a little bit proud of myself for not being suckered in.  And yet once... just once...
I would love to be wrong.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Juan: The Hair-loving Hair Hater

I once told this person I had no plans to put him on the blog, but when things turned uber south, he specifically said, 12 year old style, "Fine. I hope you put me on your stupid blog, too."

Well... I only aim to please.
It all began when a certain friend gave Juan my phone number...because he was bored.  This resulted in multiple text messages before asking me to dinner.  
Dinner, partly due to a failure by the host, began awkwardly.  We were led to a table that was intended to seat about nine people.  I sat down first on one side of the table, after which he sat down... at the opposite end of the gigantic table.  Naturally, all I could do is scooch all the way around to his side like a moron.
The conversation was focused primarily on what he was doing for work, his goals for the future (including how many cars he would have and the live-in maid he would get,) and how he was trying to learn to be more proper...including table manners.  At one point, I used a clean napkin to wipe up a puddle of water the waitress had left by my glass.  He stopped mid-sentence to say, "Um... Don't bus your own table."  Evidently I was to continue my meal, ignoring the lake on the table beside me.

A few days later, he came over to watch movies with some friends.  He sat on the LoveSac next to me and asked if he could play with my hair.  He did. For an hour.  Then he asked if we could trade places because that arm was getting tired. So we did. And he played with it for the next hour.  When we put in another movie, I specifically moved to a couch without an empty seat next to it and laid my head on the arm.  He somehow managed to find a spot on another couch that would allow him to reach across the gap to my head... and play with my hair for two more hours.  
I had to wash it three times to get the grease out.

During our brief acquaintance, there were a few conversations that were a little off-putting.  One day he texted me to ask what was I was doing.  I happened to be at the gym at the time.  When I told him this, he said, "Oh, good! Do you plan to go to the gym every day when you're married?" Uhmmm... I responded that although I plan to remain active, at some point my primary focus would be my family.  He responded,
"Well, my wife will need to make working out a priority." 
It's the least she can do if he's providing her with a home and grocery money.  Duly noted.

Side note: For someone who feels working out is so important, his detestation for sweat is abnormally high.  He likes to run ten miles at a time, but makes sure he drinks no water before beginning in order to avoid sweating, because that would be disgusting.  As one who understands the biology the body, I submit that purposefully dehydrating oneself before that level of exertion is disgusting. To each his own, I suppose.

On another occasion, someone made a comment that they had forgotten to shave their legs.  He turned to me and said,
 "Ugh. That's disgusting. The first thing I'm doing the next time I get married is having my wife completely lasered."  
When I mentioned how selfish and shallow that sounded, he tried to defend it by saying it would be only for her convenience, but later admitted that his intentions weren't quite so sincere.

After several childish conversations, it was finally agreed (I was certain of this very early on) that I would not be his next super-fit, hair-free wife. Though I wouldn't mind the free gym membership...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jimmy (The Wandering Trash Talk Serenader)

This date was 100% the result of a faulty wing man situation.  A quality wing man picks up on the not-so-subtle hints in a timely manner that doesn't allow their Maverick to be faced with an unavoidable last second phone number collection/date proposal after an endless, painfully dry conversation. She knows who she is.
Moving on...

Jimmy knew that I was a recovering Spurs fan and purchased tickets for the Suns/Spurs game... which was six weeks away.  When the appointed date came, I met him after work wearing my Tony Parker jersey.  After an uncomfortable failed attempt at a joke about how hot I looked in it, we were on our way!

When we got to downtown Phoenix, he informed me we would need to find an ATM so he could get cash to pay for parking.  After meandering through the one-way streets for ten minutes, we parked in a lot about 4 blocks from the U.S. Airways Center.  From there we walked two blocks to an ATM (which was two blocks from the center) and back to the car.  Once back in the car, we drove around until we found a parking garage a block from the center.  In the garage, we spiraled downward until I felt nauseated before finally parking.  Following an impossible search for the staircase, he insisted we needed to go down to get to the main level.  This would be a puzzle, seeing how we drove downward as we came in...But who am I? So we went down two flights of stairs where I was proven correct and we started back up.

It was seven flights up to the main level.  He decided this would be a good time to relive his high school days and run football drills up the stairwell. Not kidding.  Gotta give him props. He completely beat me to the top.

We made it to the game halfway through the first quarter, tired and little sweaty.  He proceeded to talk trash... even as my team was completely dominating.  This, however, was the most normal portion of the evening. 

On the way home he decided he was hungry.  Not for dessert.  For an actual meal.  The only problem is that there aren't very many eating establishments open at 11:00 at night.  This didn't stop us from searching the entire city.

During this search, he asked if I like to sing.  I told him I do but only when I'm alone or just goofing off with friends. His response surprised me.

"Would you like to sing something for me?"

"No, I think I'm good.  Thanks, though." He let me know that if I felt more comfortable later on, he wouldn't mind hearing.

It was about that time that he settled on stopping at McDonald's.  We sat at a booth across from a very tired homeless man.  (It was obvious to me that that was the situation.  I soon learned it was not obvious to my date.)  At one point in our conversation, the man leaned over and said,
"How long have the two of you been together?"

I'm sure I looked mortified as I explained that it was our first date.  He replied, "Well, you make a really cute couple."

 Trying not to show my disgust, I made the joke that my date must have paid him to say that.  He chuckled.  Then Jimmy made the painfully ignorant comment:  "I could pay him.  I've got a bunch of cash in my wallet."  Oh gosh. (This man had earlier made a subtle statement that this meal had been a long time coming.)

The cherry on the top of the evening (most of which had been spent driving in circles, walking endlessly and filling awkward silences with even more awkward conversation) was as we were pulling into the parking lot where we had left my car.  Just when I thought I was home free, he says,

"Would you mind if I sang a little something to you?"

He proceeded to sing a church hymn.  I was speechless.  Evidently I took too long to respond as he immediately offered to sing another.  Again I told him that I was all set, exited the car and headed toward my own.  As my hand reached the door handle, he called, "Would you like to go out again sometime?"

I hesitated:

"Ummmm.... maybe."

That meant no.