“Date From Hell” is a monthly series featuring dating and relationship horror stories and the frustrations—and triumphs—of being a single Mormon feminist.
This summer for a few weeks, I dated a boy I met on Tinder. (I know, I know. Tinder.) Since Tinder is based entirely on “Oh, he’s cute!” and this guy looked like Josh Hartnett, he earned a swipe right and we met in person after talking for a while. The initial meeting went really well, and I felt like we really hit it off.
He was attending college for his bachelor’s and I had completed my master’s degree, but in the scheme of things this wasn’t a giant hurdle to overcome. But I quickly realized he was a horrible procrastinator. Where I valued education, he wasted it, and it wasn’t long before his procrastination with schoolwork bled over into our relationship. I’d always make plans and then he’d break them off because he said he’d wasted a lot of time and needed to get his assignments done.
Even the tiniest amounts of intimacy were put on hold, like the little things you tell yourself don’t matter but actually carry an enormous weight. I would give him a back massage but never received one in return. “I owe you one,” he’d say. He explained that he wanted to wait for us to kiss when “it was right,” which translated to “when we both have gum.” What the hell? So much for that spontaneous first kiss. When he finally made a move, I had sat on the fence about it so long that the kiss was lifeless and rather disappointing.
One night, mere minutes had passed beyond 12:00 am and I found myself getting booted in the parking lot for breaking curfew. This was my second $50.00 fine at his apartment complex. The first time, I was booted for parking in the wrong spot, which happened to be a spot he was certain was visitor parking. Both times we tried to argue our way out of the fine, but the booting company had none of it. Throwing away a hundred bucks was an infuriating reminder of the hazards of dating in the shadow of the Honor Code.
When finals began rolling in and he needed to concentrate on his schoolwork, I ended up going eight days before I saw him again. I was getting terribly frustrated with him, and our relationship was seriously lacking anything exciting or fun. So I decided to take him to a rodeo. He’d never been to a rodeo before, but when I asked him to go with me, he didn’t express a lot of enthusiasm. He seemed very wishy-washy about going. I got angry with him and said, “Do you want to go or not?” He reluctantly agreed, and I saw the date as a great opportunity for me to decide—once and for all—whether I wanted to give him another shot.
During the opening ceremony, he waned between being antsy and bored. I half-jokingly said, “You know, if you get bored, we can leave early.” He replied, “Oh, I won’t get bored. If I do, I have this.” He indicated to his phone. All I could muster was an eye roll. I thought, Really? Who gets bored at their first rodeo? And shouldn’t my company be enough?
He was true to his word. He ended up playing Candy Crush Saga from the moment the first bronco was out of the gate. He candy crushed through everything: the saddle bronc riding, the bareback riding, the 30 minutes I was gone to “the bathroom” (also known as “call and complain to mom”), the barrel racing, the team roping, and the bull riding. Finally I said, “Let’s go.”
While walking back to the truck, he somehow got off on the topic of abortion and asked me what the difference between abortion and birth control was. I ended up having to explain the birds and the bees and how menstruation worked—ovulation, egg, sperm—the whole kitten caboodle. It was beyond ridiculous having to explain this to a 25-year-old man.
While I was driving him home, I took him through the small town where I went to grade school. I said, “There’s my high school.” He repeated back in a squeaky, mocking tone, “There’s my high school.” I thought he was trying to be funny, so I pointed out another one of my stomping grounds. “That’s Schofield’s.” He repeated back in his mock-squeak, “That’s Schofield’s.” I tested him again and again, and he squeakily mocked me every time. In retrospect, it would have been best to kick him out on his butt and tell him to walk home.
We went to Wendy’s to grab some dinner, and while we were waiting in the drive-thru we somehow found ourselves on the topic of colors and gender. I mentioned how I don’t believe colors should be gendered: blue doesn’t mean “boy” and pink doesn’t mean “girl.” I told him how many of my boy students loved pink and purple, and how I taught them that they could love whatever color they wanted to. I added, “In fact, baby clothes being designated as blue for a boy and pink for a girl didn’t happen until the ‘40s.” He automatically called me out on it. “You’re wrong. I will have to look that up.” I told him, “Go ahead and look it up, then.” He said, “Fine, Miss Smarty-Pants.” (I guess I am a smarty-pants, because I read this.)
We went to his apartment to eat, but I didn’t have much of an appetite because I was feeling really run down. He had ordered two burgers and ate them in a few bites and then started in on the rest of my nuggets and fries. Much to my horror, in between bites he leaned back and let out an amplified belch. This was followed by another, and another: BELCH, smack, chew, chew, BELCH, smack, chew, chew. Now, I know we’re all human and from time to time we release air. A burp here and there doesn’t kill anyone. But a rumbling, echoing, all-in-and-no-holds-barred belch with no “excuse me” or even a hint of embarrassment (but rather satisfaction) does not sit well with me. Especially from someone I’ve only been dating a few weeks. Then, because I really am just too damn nice, I helped him move his stuff out of his apartment into a dorm room because he had to stay an extra couple of weeks in the hopes of getting extensions on his assignments. In the end, he got suspended.
That night really sent me over the edge. Our relationship had been less than perfect for a while, but I thought that night he might try to redeem himself. Instead, it was just one awful thing after another. I broke up with him and we agreed to be friends, but we haven’t spoken since. I’m sure that somewhere out there, he’s playing Candy Crush Saga, dining on fast food, and belching louder than ever.
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Lindsey loves listening to indie rock, watching movies, reading comics, traveling, and designing geeky graphics. She is an alumnus of BYU-Idaho and Bond University in Australia, where she received her master’s degree in communication. She currently lives in Rexburg, Idaho.