Step back in the dating time machine to one of the most mindblowing failures of a year, 2008.
Around Halloween, I began casually seeing a law school acquaintance who lived about 250 miles away from my current home of Austin. We'd hang out when I went to Dallas, he took me to some nice dinners, and I watched his band play at local clubs.
The last time we hung out, he invited me to his law firm Christmas party. I heard the words "law firm" and "Christmas party" and imagined a fancy hotel, dressing up, free-flowing liquor, plentiful delicious foodstuffs, and other young attorneys with whom to drink and party. I of course said yes, thinking it would be in Dallas. I was instantly corrected - it was going to be in Longview. Never heard of Longview? There's a reason.
I was less excited, but figured at least the local Holiday Inn and an open bar couldn't be that bad, I mean, they're lawyers - lawyers throw nice, expensive parties. And the whole firm was going to be there, so it had to be huge. I made plans to come to Dallas to have a goodbye dinner with friends, then head out to Longview with my date. I was moving to Missouri in one week, and wanted to have a last hurrah with my law school crew.
The next day, my date and I headed on the 2 hour drive from Dallas to Longview, basically a tiny town in northeast Texas. He mentioned he "cleaned up his whole place" for me, which I thought was a nice gesture, and was looking forward to the party. That would soon change.
I walk into his house, which is a duplex, and it looked like it hadn't been cleaned in MONTHS. Papers, dvds, dirty dishes, and random crap was strewn along the floor, on the couches, and completely covering the kitchen counter. Not only that, but there was a foul smell, like spoiled milk or something. Neither of us could figure out where it was coming from. He actually thought perhaps an animal had died somewhere, since he was really close to the woods. After 20 minutes of searching, we find the culprit - a cooler that hadn't been cleaned out and contained POUNDS UPON POUNDS OF GROUND BEEF...obviously rotting. His response?
"Oh, I guess I forgot to clean out my cooler when I went camping TWO WEEKS AGO."
I was horrified, and the smell didn't get better after he removed the cooler and meat from the room. I'm immediately wanting to go home, knowing that I have to come back to the house of death after the party, probably intoxicated, and have to smell that all night as I attempt drunken sleep.
I go take a shower, where I have to make do with one bar of soap as my shampoo, face wash, and body cleaner, since I mistakenly assumed he might have BASIC HYGENIC NECESSITIES at his home. I dressed, and he took forever. He changed his clothes 50 times, asking me very self-consciously if he looked alright, and which outfit I preferred. I didn't give a fuck, but apparently he wanted a really excited reaction so I pretended to be thrilled with a shirt and jacket combo.
We get in the car, and start driving. It didn't even occur to me to ask where the party was, but I soon found out I was not sticking with the theme of the evening. He pulled into what I can only say looked like a pasture, and we walked on the dirt road to a BARN and were greeted by a bunch of older people in western attire. I, however, was wearing a plaid skirt, cute sweater, and knee-high leather stilettos - NOT cowboy boots or western wear of any kind.
Turns out his law firm is small (20ish people), he's the YOUNGEST MEMBER, and everyone is madly in love with country music, dirt floors, and Bud Light. If I could create my own personal hell, it would be nearly identical to this "party." They have a country band, which makes me nearly deaf, and he's apparently been talking about me around the office. An older woman comes up to me as he's making a speech on the stage and says "Oh I bet you're so proud of him, I bet you're like 'That's ma baby!'" I vomit a little in my mouth and attempt a smile. Then she asks what we're going to do when I move to Missouri. Seriously, did this guy tell them my life story? If so, why didn't he say WE AREN'T EVEN DATING?? I just HAPPEN to have gone to dinner with him a few times over the course of MONTHS and agreed to be his date to this rodeo-gone-awry.
Not only is there no one my age to talk to (he has left me to my own devices while he socializes with random old men for over an hour), but even if there was I felt like I was at a political rally for GW Bush, the lonely liberal city girl surrounded by drunk rednecks with money. I was so miserable I thought about resorting to drinking myself stupid, but then couldn't fathom having to go home with this guy later in the night to his putrid-smelling home. I kept reasonably sober, and then I pulled the ultimate bitch move...I asked him to take me home.
I'm really not sure how I pulled it off, but I managed to tell him I was leaving without a big confrontation, and at 11:30pm I began the 2-lane road drive to Austin through the tiniest towns I've ever seen. I managed to get back to my apartment at 2:30am, fall into my bed, and relish the fact that the horror of a weekend was the last one I'd ever have to spend in Texas.