The Date That Wouldn't Give Up

After being single for a while, I decide to brave a "singles dance" sponsored by a local radio station. It was in a hotel bar and seemed safe enough for a petite single female. Perhaps the fact that it was a Halloween party should have been my first warning about the type of people I would meet. I went into the crowded bar and bought myself a drink, and then tried to mingle. I am not a very good mingler, so I was relieved when the costume contest started. Only about one-quarter of the crowd was in costume. One of the winners was dressed as "death" with a hooded robe and "skull" makeup. I applauded for him and was somewhat flattered when he came over after the contest to talk to me. He was pleasant enough to chat with at first. Under his makeup he looked a little like Frank Zappa. After a while, though, I was done with my drink, and when I mentioned it, he did not offer to buy me another, or to even go up to the by-then very crowded bar to get me one. So I went myself, and because I'm short, it took me at least ten minutes to get a bartender's attention. He waited. While I had my second drink, he proceeded to tell me that he was a recent widow. In fact, his wife had passed away only a few months earlier, of cancer. He also told me that his family and friends had encouraged him to start dating immediately. Then he told me that he had children and how hard it was to keep up with the household tasks. I started getting a little uncomfortable, as it sounded to me like he was basically shopping for a housekeeper and babysitter. I do not like children and told him that, figuring it would end the conversation. No such luck. Finally, I announced that I was leaving. He offered to walk me to my car. It was in a lit parking lot and there were a lot of people around, so I let him. And for goodness knows what reason, I gave him my phone number, but not my last name or where I lived. So he called, of course. A lot. Sometimes two or three times a night. The conversations always seemed to focus on how his life had changed with his wife's passing. He even asked me to help him with writing some legal documents and some sort of essay on the experience. I declined. He brought up the fact that he hadn't purchased a drink for me at the party because he wanted me to be sober to drive home (so what's wrong with a soda?). Finally, it was actually Halloween night, and I asked him specifically not to call me because I would be busy with trick-or-treaters. He called anyway. Fortunately, by then I had started screening my calls. His message on the machine was pathetic: wondering if I was "okay." Then I got a letter from him. A long letter. He praised his own cleverness at finding my address by a reverse look-up of my phone number. This was several years ago and I didn't know you could do that on the Internet at that time. I was shocked and totally freaked out that he now knew where I lived. His letter went on to say that he couldn't wait for me to meet his children and how forward they were looking to meeting "their new mother." He also reflected on the fact that I had never seen him without his Halloween costume on. Like it would make a difference at this point. The next night, I did pick up the phone for his inevitable call, and I made it clear that it wasn't working out. He seemed shocked, but thank goodness he only called once after that! I learned my lesson and never, ever attempted a singles event or gave my number out again!

— Morgan, 34

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