Bad Dates I've Been On: The Genius Gnome
I once went out with a guy because I felt bad for him. He was sitting at the table next to me at a crowded Starbucks and didn't know anyone in town. Somehow I was impressed that he graduated from Yale at a really young age and mildly curious to be talking to someone who was classified as a genius. He told me both of these things early on in the conversation. As far as looks went, he looked like your stereotypical arrogant science nerd -- not that attractive. An acceptable tradeoff, I told myself, for a brain like that. He said that computer programming languages were as lowly as pigeon squabble, which I thought was somewhat funny and anyway, I kind of agreed with him on that. It turned out that we were both in the same club, the one reserved for people who work in the brainy section of hedge funds. My ego liked that.
Looking at the way he talked and sounded, my gut told me he would have the EQ (emotional IQ) of a 3 year old, but I wanted to believe I would be wrong. Can't judge book by cover, I reminded myself! Anyway, I felt I should be nice to him.
So I agreed to get dinner with him at an Italian restaurant in Hells Kitchen, only a few subway stops away. He thought he'd impressed me with his conversation but really I just felt bad that he was trying so hard to get me to laugh at his "stories" or, rather, his over-thought analysis of other people in various situations. Suddenly he looked like a big, talking head and I should have BOUNCED OUTTA THERE!! but instead, because I felt sorry for this autistic lonely person on a long layover in a strange city, I agreed to accompany him to dinner. He said he was hungry but didn't want to dine alone and he would be happy to pay for the company. Plus, he didn't know the city at all, and I did.
Halfway into dinner, as he was droning on about some comedy show, I realized I couldn't feign interest any longer. His talk was pointless. What was he taking about, who cares. His jokes just weren't funny and I was tired of pretending that they were. I was bored. He insisted on being entertaining. He was convinced he was charismatic and charming as he talked. Suddenly I couldn't even make eye contact, lest I saw a yard gnome laughing at his own weird jokes.
Leaving the restaurant, he must have realized that I was glad the dinner was over and a little too eager to get on my way, away from him. He immediately became upset and accused me of not liking him, that I was just using him. Then he demanded that I pay him back for half of the dinner, with cash.
"This is unfair", he stuttered angrily. "You pretended to like me. If you're a fair person, you need to pay me back right now for your half of the dinner." He stuck out his chin and was about to hold out his hand.
Give me back my toy! It was mine and I want it back now!
I didn't have any cash on me so he kindly escorted me to the nearest ATM, where he watched me withdraw the cash and count out his half for him to collect. Luckily in that part of Manhattan, there were many ATM's nearby and lots of people around.
Moral of the story?
Don't talk yourself into being nice to a guy just because you feel sorry for him.
Frankly I'm not sure why one would feel sorry for a pompous pontificating person, but hey.
Older and Wiser
When it comes to guys and friends, I will always look for passion, heart and soul. This guy certainly didn't exhibit any heart and soul ... the closest thing to passion that I could detect was how much he was enamored with his own thoughts and his own thought process.
I took this pic of me back in 2016 when gradient lip was a thing.