By Amanda Schoen
I met Ben on a blind date. He’s a little older than me, never been married, has a baby face with the early stages of male pattern baldness. I’ve always been a “romantic,” but have had a hard time finding a decent guy. Now that I’m 35, it seems I have more of a chance getting hit by a bus than getting married. Sometimes I feel desperate. It’s why I let my friends, family, and co-workers try to set me up on top of all the matchmaking sites. Ben was highly recommended by my colleague Anne. It was very chivalrous of Ben to pick me up in his truck for dinner, drinks, and a stroll along the river.
Walking back to his car, he started to act a little strange. His sauntering became an awkward speed walk. His questions ceased and his answers were suddenly distant: as if something else was on his mind. I became quiet and disheartened. Was he already bored with me? A few more silent moments passed before he said, “Ah, a bathroom. Just a moment.” And, he ran to the park’s public restroom. I mean, a full speed sprint.
I stood in a city park, by myself, for over a half hour. It was cold and dark and I didn’t feel safe there at night. Another man entered and left the bathroom. I stopped him, “Excuse me, was there someone else in there with you?”
“Um. Yeah.” He chuckled, “But, I don’t think he’s coming out of there for a while.”
“I’m not going to say. A man’s business in his business.” And he left. What does that mean? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN! What could he possibly be doing in there? I pounded on the door. I knocked more. I yelled, “BEN! ARE YOU OKAY! BEN!” Finally, he cracked the door open. Half of his face was hidden. It was sullen and green. He said, “I’m sorry. Is there any way you can get a ride home from someone else?”
“What?” It was late, “Not really. What’s wrong?”
“I’m not feeling good. You should call a friend or a cab or something. I’ll pay.” Ben avoided eye contact and this went on for a while. People get sick and I wanted to comfort him. If I wanted to be his girlfriend (maybe a wife someday), I needed to show him that I care and will be there for him. I talked him out of that restroom like a professional hostage negotiator. That’s when I realized he shit his pants.
I’m not going to lie. It was disgusting. His entire backside was covered. Using only water and paper towel didn’t clean his khakis. Of all days to run out of soap in a public restroom. The shame he had trying to get to his car. Almost running, but never ahead of me. Always facing the people we passed.
We climbed into his truck. He found an old sweatshirt and sat on it. I heard every rattle of the engine since we did not speak. The smell was awful. Like someone ate Thai food for a month and died. I sat there in a near panic. I wanted to roll down the window because I could hardly breathe. But I didn’t want to embarrass him more. I sat stoically. It’s only a ten minute ride. But, it was a long ten minutes. As soon as I stepped out of his truck, Ben took off with an abrupt “bye.” Who could blame him?
I thought about our terrible date. I had a good time until he soiled himself. We had a nice dinner and he’s easy to talk with. Ben and I have quite a bit in common. Wandering around the river was pleasant. Who hasn’t had diarrhea? Seriously, if we were in a “relationship” I wouldn’t leave him because he got sick. It’s unfortunate it was on our first date. Not a romantic story to share with the rest of the girls. But, you have to take the opportunities life hands you.
A few days later, I called Ben. Actually, I ended up leaving him a voicemail because he never answered. I said, “I’m happy to have met you and was hoping to see you again sometime.” A couple of days later, he returned my calls and “was surprised you called after that experience.” We chatted about a few other things before we set up our second date.
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