You know those women who end up on the 11 o'clock news? The teaser comes on in an ominous announcer's voice: "How a Long Island English teacher seduced her vulnerable teenage student...News at 11!"
Or "Coming up next, the terrifying tale of a troubled teen beguiled by his beautiful older tutor. Details right after Revenge!"
So here I am out at a networking / dating event having a great time. If you like someone, you write your number down on their paper at the end of the evening, and if they like you, they do the same. Hopefully, everyone goes home with a call list and a few potential dates. It's a great no-pressure way to meet members of the opposite sex and weed out any weirdos in person.
So I thought.
The day after the event, I send preliminary text messages to the seven guys who gave me their numbers. (Seven! Hooray for me!) They all write back with varying degrees of interest and availability. (Also, varying degrees of literacy. It's amazing how a person can hold a face to face conversation but then text stupid things like "ur2cute" --- Ugh!)
Anywho, "DJ" writes me back and he is VERY excited to hear from me. He thought I was especially sweet the night before and would LOVE to take me out and get to know me better. Think, Kimberly, think! Which one was DJ? "I'm the guy who was wearing the denim jacket."
Oh right. It's kinda hard to forget an acid washed jean jacket in 2012. Maybe he was being ironic? Either way, we agree to meet at the diner for hot chocolate in half an hour. No time like the present!
I simply don't have the energy to recount the entire crazy-ass-true-crime-novel-waiting-to-happen conversation, but here are some of the highlights:
1) He's the oldest of four half-siblings by three different fathers, none of whom his mother is married to "anymore."
2) His mother divorced his father when he "held her upside down over the stairs and threatened to drop / kill her." He does not speak to his father.
3) His most recent stepfather is in jail for "raping" his mother.
4) His grandmother is no longer speaking to his mother for "accusing" stepfather #4 of rape. The remaining stepfathers were all divorced for similar reasons, none of which his grandmother believes to be true, all of which provide more ammunition for her case against her daughter - she's filing for custody of all the kids on the grounds of mental instability and claims that his mom is "unfit to be a parent."
5) To escape the madness, he proposed to his high school girlfriend so they could be engaged and run away together. She broke up with him as a result. He still calls her "sometimes, just to be sure she hasn't changed her mind."
6) He is not in graduate school (as he told me) - he's in undergraduate.
7) He is not 25 like he led me to believe. He's "not quite 21 yet." He is, in fact, 19.
8) He pays for music school by playing Pokemon in Nintendo tournaments around the tri-state area. His 9 year old sister got him into Pokemon and now he's some sort of expert player and wins money (mostly against other elementary school kids, but some adults) in officially sponsored games.
9) He talked about Pokemon for approximately 45 minutes.
10) He ended the evening saying how much he desperately wants to get married. Soon. Very, very soon.
To say that I ran away quickly would be a lie. I wanted to run. I wanted to run many, many times. The only reason I survived 45 minutes of Pokemon talk is because it replaced crazy mother / rape / jail talk HOWEVER there was an underlying morbid curiosity there. Could I help this kid? Rehabilitate his life somehow? Take him under my proverbial wing and give him a fair chance at normalcy? A real family, a good education, a stable home environment?
No. No I couldn't. It's just too darn creepy. It's "News at 11" waiting to happen.
I very promptly came home, deleted his number from my phone, threw all my clothes in the wash, and pretended this date and in fact the whole day had never happened. I refused to text or call back any of the other guys on my list. You just never know who'll want to marry you on the first date. Those are not the sort of headlines I want to make.