Monday, September 19, 2005

I invoke the right of parley!

Thanks to the lovely and talented Suze, I now know that today is Talk Like a Pirate Day. While I myself have never been very gifted in the palaver of the corsairs, buccaneers, and privateers (or even the guys who illegally make copies of Oscar nominee screener DVDs), I have met a couple of people who are so gifted. And I hope to give them both a wide berth for the rest of my days.

Both of the matey men were Bad Dates. They were such Bad Dates, in fact, that the term Bad Dates should, in reference to them, be intoned with the same gravity as Sallah used when giving Doctor Jones snack advice. Bad Dates.

Good Dates, meet Bad Dates!

Both of my Bad Dates were spurred on by Internet chat. Yeah, my bad, I know. But, keep in mind, these were both long ago, when most of us fools merely had dial-up accounts visible only as white courier font on a black screen. I've learned a great deal since then. For real.

My first misadventure on the theoretical high seas came in the form of Mikey H. Mikey was, by his description, a computer genius living in Silicon Valley, writing code and riding high before the IT bubble burst. He had even published a tome for those hoping to master a particular coding language. And, on his weekends, he liked to dress up as a pirate and sing songs of the sea. Hey, I can dig a little geekiness. After all, I knew a perfectly reasonable human who dressed up in renaissance gear and brandished weapons a couple of times a year. What harm could there be? This guy was gainfully employed and seemed very amusing. We even shared the same birthday. Same year and everything.

After six months of chatting back and forth, we made arrangements for him to come out and meet me. I had no leave and a crazy schedule, but he had a "flexible employer" and could spare a day off for a long weekend trek across country. I had a small stack of frequent flyer miles that were about to expire (this was before most airlines made miles a non-expiring concept), and as I couldn't use them, it seemed practical to use 'em to buy Mikey a ticket for a weekend visit.

Oh lord, I was a moron.

The evening Mikey was to arrive, I was dressed nicely for a conference in Virginia. I zoomed out early from a brain-sucking management seminar and headed to the airport, looking for a 6'3", bearded man, around 200 lbs. I really didn't expect the 275-lb 5'5" man that appeared, clutching a used teddy bear and wearing dirty, holey jeans that dragged in filthy shreds around his heels and a t-shirt so stained, torn and faded, I felt like I had arrived at a men's shelter, and not Dulles Airport. I considered bolting right then and there, but I had made a commitment, and basic decency and civility kept me from running. Still, I felt like an idiot.

Size certainly isn't everything, but if you're expecting a 6'3" date
and get someone you're looking down on, it's a wee bit of a surprise...

I had been duped. And he seemed pretty proud of himself. He greeted me by saying, "Arrrrg, wench, come here and let me taste your lips." I extended a hand for him to shake, and I think he knew I was not the happiest camper around. Did I care that he was a rotund man, shorter than me? No. Hey, I am no beauty queen. "Short and rotund" is my middle name. But I didn't appreciate being lied to, and then have him show up for the Big Meet looking filthy and vagrant.

Oh wait - turns out he was vagrant. He hadn't had a job in months. (I know that feeling, too, but I'm not fibbing about it.) When he e-mailed me, claiming to be at work, creating oh-so-dynamic code, he was actually at the local library in San Jose. When he called, it was from a friend's apartment. (Damn, I should have had caller ID back then.) And, for seven months, he'd been living in a van (dear god, not "down by the river", I hope) with four cats. He'd been evicted for "not keeping things all that hygienic, I guess" with the kitties.


The ladies will agree: it's a disappointment when your date turns out to be a fake.
You always want something real and substantial, not two-dimensional and sketchy...

And, bastardo, he'd arranged his return flight, which was supposed to take him home on Sunday evening, for a week later. Not. Gonna. Happen. Oh, and that hotel reservation he'd made down the street? Didn't exist. He was assuming I'd be so charmed by him, I'd want him to move in immediately. I recall going to some Chinese place for dinner, still feeling punch drunk from the shock, as he happily unspooled his reel o' lies. He had figured that I would be so desperate for male companionship that I'd be willing to accept all his flaws and fibs once he appeared on the scene. Oh, my dear Mikey, me matey, how you did miscalculate!

The only verifiably true things about him were:

1. He was a guy (actually, I really didn't want to get close enough to check any parts, but I'm willing to go with him being male, beard and all.)
2. He had written a book once (he brought a copy)
3. He liked to dress up as a pirate and sing (he brought pictures... scary, scary pictures...)

At the restaurant, he ordered some dish with a hardboiled egg in it. He proceeded to loudly tell me that he liked to use hardboiled eggs at the local renaissance faire to show women how he could "perform amazing oral feats." He would gather a gaggle of ladies together and demonstrate his "tongue technique" to carefully remove the yolk. He started his little show in the restaurant, I asked him to stop - very firmly - and he did. I do believe by that point, I had ice crystals forming in the air around me. If he couldn't feel the distinct deep freeze I was exuding, he was insane.

I look him to the hotel, and he asked if he couldn't puh-leeze stay with me. After all, the room cost would take all his cash and he hadn't brought any luggage - all he had brought was the clothing he was wearing. Leering at me, he said, "I really hadn't planned on leaving your bed all weekend, ye cheeky wench, arrrrrrg."

Ewww. And more EWWWW.

I left him in his room. He was actually still trying to sell me on his amazing pirate-tastic "tongue technique" as I closed the door and bolted to my car. I returned home and pondered just what the hell to do. Clearly, I wasn't going to be socializing with him. I really didn't want to be in touching, speaking, or breathing range of him for another 24 hours, let alone a week. Nor was I going to provide housing for him for a week, or even for a night.

I got up early the next morning, having barely slept. I not only felt foolish, but angry. I was lied to on a fairly epic scale, and I felt my only recourse was to ship his ass home ASAP. I went to the hotel and called up to his room. He was pissed at my early call and showed up in the lobby in the same disheveled state, but with his t-shirt wet, after a quick wash in the sink.

It's always nice when your dates are spiffy and make a good first impression.

When I told him I was taking him to breakfast, he brightened up considerably. Hey, free food! We went to the Original Pancake House in downtown Bethesda, where I picked at my plate and felt fairly sick. Mikey gave me his rationale for why I should accept him, fibs and all. "After all, hon, it's not like most guys are gonna go for you. I'm willing to take you, even if you are pretty dang fat and everything. Whaddya say?" Breakfast was over. I told Mikey that I would be leaving town later that day (true - I'd decided that escaping to my sister's house in New Jersey was a good option under the circumstances.) If Mikey wanted to stay in the hotel for a week, he was more than welcome to do so, on his own dime. There was a Metro station a block away, and the museums downtown were free.

After pondering this for a moment, Mikey said, "So, no negotiation? C'mon! You don't even wanna do it a coupla times before I leave?" I didn't say anything. I just pulled out my wallet to pay the bill. Mikey asked to borrow my cell phone, and, with much irritation, he called the airline to see if he could change his ticket. "You know," Mikey growled at me while he waited on hold, "if I were a real pirate, I would have just taken you by force."

I must have looked like I was standing in a pile of dog crap. "You know, Mikey, " I responded, bitterly, "if you were a real pirate, you'd probably have been beaten to death by your crewmates by now."

I drove Mikey to the airport. I barely gave him enough time to get out of the car before I drove away. Bastard posted something on his fake pirate's website a couple of days later about how he'd had a helluva weekend rolling in the hay with "that wench out east." He also sent me an e-mail about how a virtuous person gives second chances. Heh. Call me unvirtuous. I'm cool with that.

Second pirate date story? Short and sweet. Went out to dinner with a guy who builds ship models for a living. He floats them in war game scenarios for a federal agency. He chose a seafood place. He called the waitress "wench", asked for his "grog" and told me that he was the reincarnation of a sailor from the Spanish Armada, and that explained his ability to do so well with his model ships. (Uh, yeah... sure...) Leaving the restaurant, he recommended a nice place for coffee, and, once again, being stupid, but civil, I agreed.

In his car, he starts singing a sea chantie. "Oh we sailed for the cape about six in the mornin'..." and then, sitting at a stop light, he says, "Sooooo, ya wanna fuck?" I have never moved so fast in my life. I was out of the car, at the light, and flying to the Metro station on the next block.

Well, that was one fresh date!
A little too fresh for me, frankly.

I never heard from Armada man again.

And, you know, that's okay.

If you have a close friend in whom you can confide, it's good
to get together and dissect your dates, especially the bad ones...

The next time I go on a date with someone who wants to talk (or dress) like a pirate or call any woman in the room a wench/saucy wench/any sort of wench, he'd best be Johnny Friggin' Depp. That's all I'm sayin'...


paulnojustpaul said...

Yerrrk! Lawdy, Merujo, I just... that's just... they... I mean... what the... man...


Merujo said...

Truth, my friend, is gloriously stranger than fiction.

Live the dream.

AJ Gentile said...




The Mikey story is FAN-TASTIC.

Come on... where is he now? You know you totally Googled him. "Argh, me proud beauty. Let's have a look, says I..."

Merujo said...

I admit it, I've Googled him. I want to make sure he's still a few time zones and at least 3,000 miles away from me. Apparently, he is still plying his pirate-ish trade (and his hardboiled egg moves - eek) at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in California. Warning: if ye go, goode man, and ye fixe yer eye upon a large and dirty pyrate of great hefte bearing a sacke of eggs... RUN LIKE HELL!

(Thus endeth my pirate talk for the day.)

suze said...

ack. i had no idea what reminding my readers it was TLAPD would dredge up. I thought i had some bad dating stories. you put ALL of them to shame. dear lord woman....

i be a right sorry wench ;)

however, FANTASTIC story, and the telling of it was awesome.

Trudy Booty Scooty said...

lol You should really submit this entire post to a magazine! Fantastic! And I loved the date pics.... The whole thing was great. LOL Memories of my own dating nightmares are suddenly flooding me!