Ruth and Mark
The following is the transcript of this episode.:
Jodi: Welcome, Ruth. It is terrific to have you on the show.
Ruth: Thanks for having me.
Jodi: As our listeners know, we like to start every episode with our guests telling us a bit about herself. So please share some things about you.
Ruth: Well, I was in education for many years. I’m in my 50s and I have a daughter in college and live with my husband and our dogs.
Ruth: The date story I’m going to share with you today took place after I was divorced, but before I met my current husband.
Jodi: Did you do a lot of dating during that time?
Ruth: I did a lot of dating. So this is just one of many stories I could have shared today. I went on a lot of blind dates because I just thought they were adventurous. They were kind of fun. I know most people dread them, but I totally put it out there that I was open to blind dates.
Jodi: That’s terrific that you knew so many people who knew single men.
Ruth: I did. I was very lucky because I didn’t. Like I said, I worked in education so I met people’s dads and husbands, but not a lot of single men.
Jodi: Who set you up on this date?
Ruth: It was a very close girlfriend of mine who had a friend who said her guy friend was looking for somebody. And so we exchanged numbers and took it from there.
Jodi: What made her friend think of you for this guy?
Ruth: I think just because we were two single warm bodies, I don’t know that there was much more to it than that. There wasn’t a lot of science to it. I didn’t know her friend and she didn’t know me.
Jodi: Exactly. You just never know. What’s the name of the guy who you went out with?
Ruth: His name is Mark.
Jodi: Tell me about how Mark got in touch with you.
Ruth: Mark first texted me and just, “Hi. I’m so and so’s friend and let’s get to know each other.” And so we spent a lot of time texting one another back and forth. We eventually talked on the phone. He seemed very nice. He was intelligent. He was an attorney. And so of course I made a lot of assumptions about that – educated and professional – but maybe I should have asked more questions.
Jodi: Did you ask many questions through texting and on the phone?
Ruth: Looking back on it, not so much. We talked a little bit about things we like to do in common. We both liked similar music. We both liked the same kind of food. But we didn’t go into a lot of details. I think at that point I had been dating so much that I really thought anybody can text or say anything over the phone. But the truth comes when you meet face to face. And that’s exactly what happened.
Jodi: Did you have any idea what he looked like, since your friend wasn’t the person who knew Mark?
Ruth: He was described as handsome and he was very handsome. When we did finally meet, and he came to the door, he was dressed really nicely. He had a nice car. He was handsome. He was polite. So he made a great first impression.
Jodi: He came to your door. You invited him to your…?
Ruth: It was old school.
Jodi: Okay. You went very old school. Did you usually do that with your blind dates?
Ruth: I felt that I knew my girlfriend and trusted her enough with her friend’s recommendation. So yeah.
Jodi: So Mark qualified?
Ruth: Yes. Yes.
Jodi: Were you excited that day?
Ruth: I was. Dating can become a grind, but I tried to always stay positive and take it as an adventure. And even through dating, I’ve made some good girlfriends just because they were a friend of somebody I went on a date with. I always tried to keep it upbeat. So I was very excited.
Jodi: Had he come up with an idea for what the two of you were going to do that he shared with you before he showed up at your doorstep?
Ruth: Well, I think in hindsight, he said, “I’ll pick you up around 6:30pm and we’ll take it from there.” And we had talked quite a bit about loving Mexican food. When a guy says, “I’m picking you up on Saturday around 6:30pm,” I just assume they’re taking me to dinner. That wasn’t his plan.
Jodi: You open the door. He’s standing there. Did you invite him in?
Ruth: I think we just got into the car. He started driving. We’re just kind of making small talk. Again, in hindsight, I should have been paying more attention. The next thing I knew, we were at a park and I remember thinking, “We just met each other. What’s going on here?”
Jodi: He’s driving into a park?
Ruth: There was a little playground and there were trees and we’re in the parking lot of a park. And I thought, “It’s a little early to be parking!” (Laughter)
Jodi: And we’re not in high school.
Ruth: Exactly! So we’re sitting at the park and we’re chatting a little bit and I’m kind of wondering what is going on here and he reached over and I thought, “Oh my gosh, he thinks we’re going to be making out.” But really he was grabbing for the glove compartment and pulled out a joint!
Jodi: What in the world did you say after seeing him pull out a joint?
Ruth: I just kind of looked at him. I didn’t really know what to say, but he just lit it up, took a hit, passed it to me. I just kind of looked at him like, “What?”
Jodi: He just said, “Do you want some?”
Ruth: He just kind of passed it over. Yeah. Just assuming this is what we do on a date when we’re in our 40s! (Laughter)
Jodi: That’s nuts!
Jodi: That he would make that assumption as a grown man.
Jodi: Did you wave him off?
Jodi: Did you tell him off?
Ruth: No. I don’t think I told him off, but I think I was more in shock than anything that here’s this nice-looking, educated guy thinking that this is what we do on a date.
Jodi: So he’s there just getting stoned next to you.
Jodi: And what’s going through your mind as this is happening?
Ruth: I just want to go home. It’s like, “Where’s my dinner?”
Jodi: “Where’s my Mexican food?” (Laughter)
Ruth: Exactly! Exactly!
Jodi: Did you ask him at any point, “Where’s the Mexican food? Are we going to dinner?”
Ruth: Well, I kind of said, “I expected dinner, not the munchies tonight.” And he looked at me a little confused. (Laughter)
Jodi: He must have been pretty stoned by that point.
Ruth: Actually, no. I wouldn’t have let him drive me home. But I said, “I think it’s time you drive me home, especially before you get too stoned to drive.” He was just shaking his head, not really understanding where this all went wrong.
Jodi: At any point, was he trying to get to know you and have a conversation that one typically has on a date?
Ruth: Not so much. It wasn’t even that. He thought, “Oh, well, this will relax us and we can sit back and talk and get to know each other.” It was kind of like this was the main event of the evening, like, “Oh, we’re going bowling or we’re going to a movie. Oh, we’re going to sit and get stoned.” So no. I think we had more conversation in our texts.
Jodi: So there was no conversation. He basically drove the two of you to a local park. Was it pretty close to your house?
Ruth: Fifteen minutes away.
Jodi: So you knew this park. He pulls in. You’re wondering what’s going on. He pulls out a joint. Offers it to you. You say, “What?” Or you say nothing. But your eyes say, “What?” And then he sits there and keeps getting stoned. How do you think he got the assumption that you were up for getting stoned when it had never come up before that evening?
Ruth: I don’t know. I think maybe at one point we had said, because we were talking quite a bit about music that we liked in common, and I’m sure I had mentioned going to concerts when I was in high school, and I’m sure I got stoned. But that had been a while ago, a marriage ago, and by then it was a lifetime ago, and not really what I was doing in my 40s.
Jodi: But it was what Mark was doing in his 40s.
Jodi: So you’re sitting and getting all this secondhand smoke?
Jodi: So you’re getting stoned.
Ruth: A little bit.
Jodi: Little bit. You’re getting a little high. What kind of car was it?
Ruth: I think it was a Camaro or a Trans-Am. That should have tipped me off right away, the coolest car when I was in high school. (Laughter)
Jodi: This guy was still in high school, it sounds like.
Ruth: It sounds like it. Yes.
Jodi: What did you do next?
Ruth: Well, I asked him to take me home. He was polite and cooperative and took me home, but the whole time he had this baffled look on his face.
Jodi: There are so many crazy assumptions built into his actions.
Jodi: It’s baffling in a way, unless he just wanted somebody to get stoned with and he didn’t have any more friends to get stoned with.
Ruth: Maybe they’d all grown up. (Laughter)
Jodi: They’d all grown up and he was still…
Ruth: There he was in Neverland. (Laughter)
Jodi: Exactly. Well put. Do you remember what he said to you when he dropped you off at your home?
Ruth: I think he just said goodnight.
Jodi: But it was around 7:30 or something.
Ruth: I don’t really recall it. I just remember the look on his face more than anything. I could tell he was just confused by the whole thing. So I remember that much more clearly than anything he said.
Jodi: You decided to get out of that car. It wasn’t in the park that you got out of that car, but you decided to get out of that car as soon as you could.
Ruth: Right. I just thought I’d been on so many dates and I just decided it’s better to be home enjoying myself alone than to be on this crappy date.
Jodi: Well done.
Ruth: Thank you.
Jodi: He drives off. You go back into the house. What did you do next?
Ruth: Oh, I called my girlfriend right away. She’d never steered me wrong before, but I had to let her know, not to recommend this guy to anybody else. She was so apologetic and of course I’m sure her friend spoke to him. I never heard from him again. But it was another little adventure that I went on and a story that I can share.
Jodi: What did you learn from this date with Mark, the stoner?
Ruth: I learned to ask more questions ahead of time to clarify whether we’ll be eating or not. If a date is at 6:30pm on a Saturday, don’t assume it’s dinner. Also, double check with my friends and get better references. Maybe put a little criteria out there.
Jodi: But you also, from what I heard, stood up for what you wanted, which was not to be in a car with a lot of smoke around you.
Jodi: You could have gone on with that evening.
Jodi: But you didn’t.
Ruth: Definitely advice I would give to other women is, if you’re in a situation that doesn’t feel right to say something and go home or call an Uber or have them drive you home. Whatever you feel is safe. But just don’t give up. Every pot has a lid. It’s just finding it. And in fact, because I didn’t give up, my next date was an online date and turned out to be my husband.
Because I still trusted my friend, she called me and said, “Please, Ruth, don’t be upset with me.” And I thought, “What could I ever be upset with this lovely woman about?” And she said, “I went and I filled out an online dating profile for you. How I thought you would fill it out and I’ve got a couple of guys who’ve responded who’d like to take you out.”
Jodi: What a great friend!
Jodi: Had you been reluctant to go online at that point?
Ruth: I was. I had heard some horror stories and booty call stories and all that. But there are some people who are out there actually looking to meet somebody.
Jodi: You went on all of one online date?
Jodi: And you met your husband?
Jodi: Those are incredible odds! That is amazing!
Ruth: But I paid my dues with all those blind dates.
Jodi: Yes, for sure. You went old school. That was the way you met a lot of people, just being out and about in the world. And then you went the technology route and you ended up meeting the man who you married!
Ruth: Yeah. So, you just never know.
Jodi: That’s wonderful! Great lessons and I thank you for sharing this memorable first date. It’s been terrific to have you on the show.