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So, I met this guy online. Where else? We’d texted daily for more than a month. We had a few phone conversations. He seemed cool-ish. Semi-smart. Vaguely amusing. Used interesting emoji. Okay, so he lives about a hundred miles from me and has been too busy with work (poor excuse) to drive to where I live. I was tired of being a pen pal, so I offered the grand gesture: I’d drive to his neck of the woods for dinner at an Italian restaurant I know. Great. It was all settled.

I reserved an Airbnb place (at $118.46 after all fees: cleaning, service, and occupancy tax) because I knew I wouldn’t want to drive all the way back up the mountain at night and after a couple glasses of vino. I gassed up the car, and two hours later, at the agreed-upon time, I arrived at the place we’d selected. I’m pretty punctual and appreciate that in others.

He wasn’t there.

C’mon man, you live in this city. I drove for a couple of hours and was still on time (but that's my modus operandi).

So, I sidled up to the bar and ordered a glass of Cabernet. Ten minutes later, I sent him a text message. “On my way,” he replied Fine. The place was filled with a good-looking young-ish crowd (it's a college town), and the bartenders were affable. I was dressed in casual business attire and knew that I looked pretty good. My hair had recently been styled, and I felt totally comfortable.

Then my “date” walked in. I instantly recognized him from his profile picture. And I knew I had made a BIG mistake. Dressed in jeans (that’s fine) and a casual button-down shirt (also fine), he wore a baseball cap that was turned backward and a sweater tied around his waist. NOT FINE! EITHER AND BOTH!

We exchanged a quick hug, then he said he had to pee. Okay. Yeah. Find the restroom. I’ll get you a drink. What do you want? A Pinot Grigio. Great. But the Happy Hour menu didn't include Pinot Grigio. The guy returns about 10 minutes later (Really, man? It took you that long to pee-pee?), and when he learns he can’t get the wine he wants, he asks for an espresso martini. I’m cool with buying a guy a drink. No problem-o. Did the deed and ordered the martini.

We stood at the bar chatting. Actually, it was more of an interview on my part. “Your job sounds interesting” (it didn’t, he’s in tech support). “You live with your lesbian sister and her wife. You must be very close.” (With sister, yes. With sister’s wife, not so much.) “Another drink, please?” Already? Okay (I paid for that one, too. And a third!).

A lot of yada yada then, mercifully, the hostess called us for dinner. By this time, the guy is definitely drunk. Again, with the bathroom break while I perused the menu. Long, boring story short(er), he starts drinking that Pinot Grigio (two) that he couldn’t get in the bar, and before you know it, he puts his elbow in his freakin’ Osso Buco (twice). All the while telling me how much he adores me, and I’m so much more than he expected. Oh, really? Well, isn’t that sweet of you?

Dinner is over (the romance is too), and there’s no way I’m letting this jerk get behind the wheel of his car. I wasn’t worried about him getting killed (I was ready to help him succeed at that) or busted with a DUI; I was concerned he’d plow through a crowd of innocent people. So, I ordered an Uber and, within minutes, stuffed him into the back seat of the car. (Thank God for Uber!)

I didn’t want to stay in town, so I returned to the Airbnb, collected my overnight things, and headed home. Two and a half hours later, I was in my jammies and making a promise to myself to stop looking for Mr. Wonderful online. The night had been what Oprah calls “a teachable moment.”

The next morning, I got an email from the jerk asking what happened the night before. Seems he couldn’t find his car or his cell phone when he woke up. Ha! Priceless! Funniest thing I’ve heard in a long while!

I also tallied up how much I spent on the disaster. The accommodations, drinks, dinner, Uber, tips, parking, and gas cost $531.46!

So yeah, it’s official: I’m an idiot!

P.S. He texted later to say his sister found his phone, sweater, and cap abandoned in the front yard of their house. He doesn’t remember how he got home. Nor does he recall how he somehow got a burn on his wrist.

Life is a mystery, buddy.

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