19 September 2012

How a Harmless Guy Was Thwarted by a Seedy Dive Bar on a Tawkify Mystery Date

Recall, Dear Reader, that a month ago I had complained about having heard nothing from Tawkify since joining the site earlier this year? Well, a week ago Sunday I finally received an email informing me that a match had been found. My handler asked about my availability for the following week and from there a mystery date was scheduled. We were given an address, a time and some specific things to wear and bring so that we would be recognizable to one another. It was all conducted in a tongue-in-cheek way as though we were Cold War spies in some kind of cloak and dagger scenario. It sounded like quite a lark!

Unfortunately, just a couple hours before we were due to meet, my mystery date had to reschedule. I was, of course, disappointed but at least she hadn't outright canceled. From the time I learned about the match onward, I've found myself wondering every time I left the house whether my mystery date might be one of the women out and about wherever I may have been. Could it have been a woman at Captain's Quarters on Friday night when I met up to celebrate my friend's birthday? A patron at the library? Someone at the doctor's office on Monday? It was like Christmas, knowing you were getting a present and wondering what it would turn out to be!

Tonight was the rescheduled date. I had begun to feel self-conscious since it was first set up. After all, since then I'd had yet another brush with unhealthiness. There's something about lying in bed curled up in the fetal position, shaking with a fever that underscores being alone. It reinforces my fear of facing my health problems by myself, but it also reminds me how much baggage I bring with me into a relationship and how off-putting I am to women. All the standard insecurities began to run amok, though fortunately I was so wiped out from my acute viral infection that I didn't have a lot of time to pay them any attention in the last few days. I became anxious last night (as some of my patient friends can attest!) but all things considered, it wasn't a total freak-out. I think, given my predispositions, I did well.

Anyway, tonight was the make-up date. I got there around 7:20, running five minutes late because I'd turned right onto Taylorsville Road rather than left as I was supposed to do. It was okay, though, because I had been scheduled to arrive 15 minutes before my date to give me time in case my guts might act up or in case today was a rough day on my hips and back and I might not be moving too well.

I discovered that the Maple Inn Tavern is very much a dive bar. You can't even pay with any currency other than cold, hard cash. There are a few pool tables inside, two TVs set to ESPN (the audio feed was from the channel covering a NASCAR event, I think) and not much else. The place was entirely dead. One woman held court with four guys at the bar, and a solitary dude sat at a table on the opposite side of the place from where I staked out a table. It wasn't a big place, but the glass doors were open on either side, plus another glass door was propped open in the front of the building facing Taylorsville Road. Outside, they have three bar tables, a porch swing and a pair of corn hole boards.

By 7:40, my date was already ten minutes late and I really had to pee. I dashed in and out in just a couple of minutes. I'd have been out much sooner, except there are no paper towels in the restroom there, and the lone hand dryer blows air forward instead of downward, making it very awkward and difficult to dry one's hands. Apparently, it was during those brief minutes that my date arrived and bailed.

I was informed from Tawkify that she did not like the bar, would not go inside and that she left because she felt unsafe. I'm very much a feminist and I'm sensitive to how threatening the scenario was for her. I don't blame her for her reaction.

I am, however, disappointed that she didn't at least give me the chance to meet her. After all, I had no more say over the selection of the rendezvous setting than she had, and if she had just let me speak with her, I'd have very quickly told her I wasn't a big fan of the place, either and that I would happily have gone somewhere more to her liking.

I'm very unclear just what happened from her side of things. If, as I surmise, she had arrived during that very specific time I was in the restroom, then she made the decision not to meet me based on seeing the other patrons...and not me. No one else was dressed to fit the description she was given of what to look for. I can understand not going into the place because her spider-sense tingled. But given that she was the one who selected to have a mystery date - and that it was she who rescheduled last week - was it too much for her to at least report back to Tawkify via text of her discomfort from her car? Or at the very least, from a nearby location, allowing for the possibility that she hadn't actually seen me and wasn't making an entirely informed decision about the date?

That, of course, brings me to the other possibility: she did somehow see me without me seeing her, and she bailed because of that and the bit about feeling unsafe was some kind of politeness. I have no way of knowing. I'm inclined to take her at face value, though. As I've already said, I wasn't particularly in love with the place myself, and I understand entirely why it may have intimidated her. I won't make light of her apprehensions, because I understand them and I respect their legitimacy. I just wish she had been patient enough to give me a chance to set her at ease. It's troubling enough to be dismissed by women because of who I am, but it sucks in an entirely different way to be dismissed because of where someone else selected we should meet.

I texted my Tawkify handler to tell her that I think my mystery date arrived while I was in the restroom and that I wasn't among the barflies, in case that was what spooked her, and that I would gladly meet her somewhere of her choosing to make her feel safer. I have yet to hear back about the matter. Frustrated and dejected, I crossed the street to a Krispy Kreme. Don't you know, during my very first bite, I dropped cream on my tie? Some part of me wanted to laugh, but I just didn't have it in me.

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