A man in my book group asked me to get a drink with him after our meeting. I was pretty sure it was a date and I was pretty sure I wasn’t interested, but I am open to getting to know a guy before passing final judgment. And, after all, thirst is a universal part of the human condition.
So after we passed through the niceties of “how do you like the group?” and “have you ever read anything by that author before?,” after we’d moved on to “what do you do in your free time?,” and “where do you see yourself in five years?,” the conversation turned to his ultimate purpose for asking me out.
“I’m interested in dating you,” he said.
“Oh, well, thank you; I’m flattered,” I returned. (You know those moments where nothing that comes out of your mouth is going to sound right. Besides, he was ten years older than me and it was now clear to me we had very little in common.)
“So?” he asked, looking me dead in the eyes.
“Well,” I ummed, unable to maintain eye contact. “I’m not really looking to date anyone right now.” I explained some thrown-together half-truth mumbo jumbo about a recent break up.
“Oh,” he said, looking down at the table with disappointment. “But I already have your picture on my computer desktop.”
Slam the brakes. Stop the presses. What, now?
Creeper-stalker-man not only searched me on the internet, not only found some random photo of me that I– and this part’s important– did.not.share.with.him, but he downloaded it and– no wait, there’s more– made it his desktop background photo?
Did I marry this guy in a drunken stupor and just come to? Last time I checked you put photos of loved ones on your computer desktop or in cute frames on your desk at work. Loved ones— a term that implies mutual affection, or even ever having a conversation together that didn’t entail the author’s use of symbolism on page forty!
Holy shit. Get me the hell out of here.
And cross him off the list. Immediately.