Last week Missy and I went on a date, part of which involved walking around the campus at OU. As we passed by buildings, we remembered classes we once took in them. As we walked through a garden in between buildings, we remembered walking through that very garden on one of our first dates and sitting on a bench talking.
As we walked on the North Oval, we passed by a college-age couple who appeared to be on a date. They had blankets out with some wine and cheese between them. But they were sitting six feet apart and both wore masks. What a weird sight.
I can’t imagine dating in the year 2020. My dating career lasted from roughly 1996 to 2005, and at best I was a league-average player. But I do have some entertaining stories to show for it.
The foundation for my dating woes was laid in elementary school. In third grade I developed a crush on a girl. One day, one of her friends walked up to me, told me the girl liked me and asked if I liked her back. This was the moment I’d been waiting nine years for! I got so nervous that my response was, “No way, she’s gross.” So that didn’t quite pan out.
In sixth grade I got another crush, and this time I locked up my first ever girlfriend. On the last day of school, I asked her to be my girlfriend and she said yes. Then she gave me her number. Then school let out for the summer. Despite my procurement of said phone number and the fact that we only lived three blocks away from each other, I never called or saw her. I thought about her a couple times. Told some people I had a girlfriend. But a month or so later I decided I needed to spread my wings and fly. No more locking this stallion up in the barn. I called her up — literally the only time I ever called her — and said we should just be friends. What a whirlwind romance.
I didn’t have a real girlfriend or go on a real date or have a real kiss until I was a sophomore. Back then the prom was only for juniors and seniors. Anyone else could go but they had to be with a junior or a senior. When I was a sophomore, my girlfriend was a senior. I assumed that she would want to go to her senior prom, and I did NOT want to attend the prom. None of my friends were going. I didn’t particularly care for her friends. I’ve always hated dressing up and formal events of any kind. So I did the responsible, mature thing and broke up with her without giving a reason or even discussing prom. Then, when she agreed to go to prom with another dude (just a friend), I tried to woo her back as my girlfriend. That worked out about as well as you might imagine.
The next year I started a three-and-a-half year relationship. (Even though many of you will know some of the people I’m talking about in this blog, I don’t want to include names since I didn’t ask their permission and they might not want anyone to know they were ever associated with me.) I went to prom with her twice, which actually turned out to be kind of fun.
She was a year older than I was and went to college in Texas during my senior year of high school. One weekend I went to visit her, and we were doing a little smoohcie-smoochie at the end of our date. I noticed that there seemed to be a little extra slobber than normal. (Can’t say that 18-year-old Matty Frankles was the best or neatest kisser in the world, so on its own this didn’t seem worrysome.) But quickly it became apparent that this was not in fact slobber. My nose was bleeding all over both of us. And not just a little blood. It was messy.
[Gross sidebar, skip to next paragraph if not interested: I actually had a nose issue that required surgery within a couple weeks of this incident. Sometimes my nose would just start pouring blood and wouldn’t stop, particularly if the temperature changed suddenly. Happened a couple of times when I would walk out of school and it was particularly hot or cold outside. And a couple of times in class when the heat or AC would kick on. Quite embarrassing, but this was the only time it happened while I was making out. I got a deviated septum from a basketball injury, and no skin was growing over the wound, which was way in the back in my nose. So if anything dislodged the scab it would just pour blood. They cauterized it during the surgery and I haven’t had a problem with it since.]
The bloody nose did not end our relationship, but eventually it fizzled out and I was back in the game. And since my nose was no longer at risk to randomly spew blood onto women, I was an especially eligible bachelor. I found a very nice girl at OU and we dated for a good six months. Things were going smoothly until one night when she took me home to meet her parents. There was nothing at all wrong with her parents. They were just as nice as she was and we got along great. The problem came when we all sat down at the kitchen table to play a game of rummy. She attempted to play a straight, but laid down a 5, 7, 8. I politely pointed out that she did not have a straight. She apologized and proceeded to lay down a 4, 5, 7. It was at that moment I knew we could never be together.
In hindsight, I realize that she was a perfectly intelligent person and that I was a complete douchebag. But we can’t change the past, so I hope she’s living her best life and knows how to read her cards now.
Next batter up was another chick I went to OU with. At the time, my net worth was in the low triple digits, and my first-date budget was about $10. I got off especially cheap on this date, as I talked her into just getting a slushy at Classic 50s. Saved about $8 on that deal. We took the slushies back to her apartment and watched TV while we ate them. She talked a lot about her ex-boyfriend, and it was apparent there were a lot of unresolved feelings there. Not long after we got back to her place, her phone rang. It was her ex-boyfriend, calling to say he’d been stalking us. He accurately told us what car I drove and what we were both wearing. And he was in the parking lot of her apartment as he called. That was my cue to get the hell out of there. Those two actually ended up getting married.
I started dating Missy the last semester before I graduated from OU. After I graduated and moved to Lawton, we had an on-and-off thing for a few years because I didn’t like doing the long-distance deal. She still had a couple years of college left, so even though we remained close and talked the whole time, we weren’t officially together for most of it.
I never had another girlfriend but I did go on some dates. I got set up on a blind date which was comically disastrous. Before our appetizers even arrived, we were making small talk and she asked what my favorite TV show was. I said “Seinfeld” and she responded by saying that was completely inappropriate and un-Christian. I almost asked for the check right then. She also notified me that our children would be home schooled. If that was a deal-breaker then she needed to know so we wouldn’t waste any more of our time. I told her the deal was broken long before then. I kind of wanted to get water thrown in my face but settled for never seeing her again the rest of my life.
One night I drove up to Oklahoma City for a birthday party at Groovy’s for my college roommate Keith. I met a girl there and we exchanged phone numbers before I drove back to Lawton. I still didn’t own a cell phone at this time so this was my home number. When I got back to Lawton, I had 20 messages from this chick. Maybe she thought I had given her a cell number and could have talked on the drive home but that wasn’t the case. At first the messages were friendly but increasingly got more psycho, like “I guess you never were interested in me. Fine, don’t call me back then. I don’t know why you gave me your number in the first place.” I definitely would have called this girl at some point if she hadn’t outed herself as a complete psycho before I even got home. For about a week I enjoyed listening to one or two crazy voicemails from her per day before she finally gave up.
By this time my net worth had increased dramatically from my college days. I went from being worth hundreds of dollars to maybe $1000. I was making a cool 25 grand per year working for the newspaper (pre-tax), so my first-date budget doubled all the way to $20. Suddenly, Chili’s was in play.
Once, I agreed to meet a girl during my one-hour dinner break at work. We had mutual friends and had done a little flirting at previous group hangouts but I didn’t necessarily consider it a date. More like a pre-date date since I only had an hour anyway. We went to an Italian place, she ordered a $20 glass of wine and alligator-armed the check. I had planned to pay originally but thought it would surely be a split when she ordered the wine without consultation. There went my Blockbuster Video budget for the month! Our odds of eternal love vanished along with all of the $48 in my wallet.
I went on two or three dates with one chick, then decided there wasn’t anything there. I wasn’t sure if we had been out enough to qualify for an official breakup or if I could just ghost her and still be within the rules of social norms. I was on the phone with a longtime female friend and told her the situation. I don’t remember whose idea it was but I ended up giving my friend this girl’s phone number, and she called saying she was my girlfriend and she’d better stay away from her man. The chick cussed me out to my friend, said she didn’t know anything about it and I was able to ghost in peace. Mature beyond my years.
Perhaps my most entertaining relationship was one that I was never in. I got off from work at midnight and frequently talked to Missy on the phone after work. So when my home phone rang at about 12:30 a.m. one night I assumed it was her. It was not. It was a dude with a heavy bit of hillbilly in his voice.
[Language warning on this story]
“Is this Matt Franklin? The one that writes the sports stories for the newspaper?”
“Yes, who is this?”
“I got your number from the phone book.”
“Are you fucking my wife?”
“I’m just going to say no, but you’re going to have to be more specific. I have no idea who you are, who your wife is, or what you’re talking about.”
“Her name is (redacted/I don’t remember anyway).”
“I don’t think I’ve ever met her.”
“She’s got huge tits, big J-Lo type-ass. Dark hair. Are you fucking her?”
“I’m pretty sure I have never met her before and we certainly have never slept together. I promise man, I’m not sleeping with your wife.”
“Oh, I don’t care if you are. I’m kicking her ass out of the house and wanted to know if you wanted to come get her stuff and move it in with you.”
“I wasn’t lying, sir. I don’t know her.”
“Well, that figures. She’s a fucking liar. We got in a fight and she pointed at your picture in the newspaper and said she was sleeping with you. I looked you up in the phone book to see if you wanted to live with her sorry ass because I’m done with her.”
“Sorry man, can’t help you out.”
“Alrighty then buddy, you have a good evening.”
Click. Never heard from him again.
After searching everything Lawton had to offer for three years, my only option was a huge-tittied, big J-Lo-type ass married woman I’d never met. Meanwhile, I knew an awesome girl in Norman who was a semester away from graduating. I could tell she was getting tired of my non-committing butt and I didn’t blame her. So I proposed and we got married two weeks after she graduated. This August will mark our 14th anniversary.
Missy — thanks for being the perfect person for me. Thanks for putting up with my nerdiness, my insecurities and my bullshit. We make a pretty good team. I love you.