Your Own Kind Of Weird: Floppy John

I recently read that Millennials and Gen Zed tend to do all their dating online and don’t go out much like their predecessors.  This is a shame in many ways as it reduces those moments of having a great conversation in a bar, supermarket or, a fitness centre or bumping into someone by chance and experiencing a huge belly laugh that you’ll remember the next day and start to giggle all over again.

A lot of online dating initially relies on the written word and whilst I am a big fan of engaging in text chat, too much of it is not a good thing. For one, someone can be anyone over an e-mail or text, they can be the biggest braggart and tell you all their imagined accomplishments or personality traits, and you aren’t there in person to question them and clock the guilty look on their face as their spin a yarn about a recent adventure. “Hang on,” you say, “Wasn’t that the plot from The Fast and Furious?”  making them aware that you aren’t falling for the type of excrement that comes from a male, bovine animal.

For me, online dating always lacked warmth, depth, and realism. The amount of photos of decrepit, unsightly penises is also unappetizing. Of course, I have dabbled online in the past to see what all the fuss was about and even ended up dating someone from a website for a little while. In dating, most people are looking for their kind of weird, and perhaps online dating is not always conducive to that. You list your preferences, favourite things, it makes it very easy for a thirsty person to see what you are into and claim to be the same. ‘Oh, but that can happen in person.” I hear you say. Yes, it can but at least you have their body language as an additional factor if you meet someone in real life, rather than building up a mental image of someone, who turns out to be very different in the cold light of day. 

My very last dabblings with online dating was quite some time back and with a guy, we’ll call ‘John”. (Not his real name).

He was from a different culture to me and I found this interesting. Perhaps my big mistake was engaging with texts and a couple of calls for two months before we met. We seemed to form an easy friendship, and as a busy person, it was easy for me to fire back a text when it suited me, without the pressure of rushing into anything. At first, he seemed very sweet, committed to his work, and a gentle person, which I am sure these are still true. I’m fairly quirky, and so although he was quieter than me, he would occasionally act in a wacky manner after a drink, which I saw as letting his hair down and approved of. On that first date, I said I wanted to keep it casual and wasn’t looking to become exclusive at that time. I told myself it was because I didn’t want to rush things but my gut must have known it wasn’t a long-term match way before my conscious mind did. We only met up every 4-5 weeks and it felt more like a friendship, especially as the physical side didn’t develop in a way that I would generally expect. For one, he struggled in that department and two the chemistry was not particularly strong, at least not in a romantic way.

It was a few more dates in when I started to notice a few odd things about John. He claimed not to be a big drinker, but when I suggested we hit the water, get a boat, kayak, or go to the VR centre to play some games, he showed zero interest and suggested the pub instead. He’d say he was scared of the water or was feeling a bit tired and would rather drink Cider.

Another time, I had some vouchers for a local pub, I got dressed up to go out during the scorching summer and sit in a beautiful beer garden, as planned. John said he would rather sit and drink at the table with my Mum. She is a fabulous lady and we spend a lot of time together, so I was put out to miss a beautiful summer’s evening on the lawn, especially when he’d waited to say that until after I’d spent a long time getting ready. He seemed to want to spend a lot of time with my Mum, to the point it felt a little unhealthy and I’m sure he was looking for a replacement mother figure. 

His odd behaviour slowly increased. On a Sunday, I cooked a roast dinner and had some huge chicken portions. Asking how many he’d eat, he said, “Only two, I’m not a big eater.” I replied I’d pop an extra one on for him, one for me, and four pieces for the cats to share, so eight in total. I usually let people serve up their roast in case they don’t like one of the dishes and feel obliged to eat it. Then he took 6 of the 8 portions I’d cooked, and in a painstakingly slow manner, piled them onto his plate, pulled off half a reel of kitchen roll, and spent the best of ten minutes slowly dabbing at them, almost in a zombie-like state, while the rest of the food grew cold. When I queried this, he replied he had a history of diabetes in his family, so he preferred to soak up any trace of fat. I found this odd, given that he’d eat a huge dessert after every meal, snack on chocolate, and would text me to make sure there was a suitably stodgy ‘dessert.’ Plus, as we all know, diabetes is either hereditary or can be triggered by too much sugar in the diet. It has nothing to do with chicken cooked in a small amount of oil! Not my kind of weird.

That morning we’d popped over to my sisters and he’d interrupted every conversation. I said we were too busy to stop for tea as I had some important work calls to make. He attempted to contradict me and settled into a big chair. I politely pointed out it would make me late and it wasn’t possible, as much as it would be nice to stay. As we were leaving, my sister spotted a tiny wasp on the window and asked him to swat it out with a cloth, as we were both too short to reach. “Where is it?” he asked, his eyes spinning all around the window in every direction, except onto the wasp itself. “There, there!” we cried, looking at each other in both bemusement and exasperation. After several minutes, he still failed to ‘see’ the wasp and luckily it flew out of its own accord. It was like the lights were on but no one was at home

That weekend, I found my irritation levels rising and was glad when Monday morning arrived and he set off again, but he’d arranged a London show for me a month later, which was sweet and I thought maybe I was being too judgemental and irrational.

The show went well and we had arranged to meet 7 weeks later during the festive season at one of my family’s infamous get-togethers in the South. As the weeks wore on, it was a case of out of sight, out of mind for me, then suddenly Christmas was upon us, and that creeping anxiety set in. It seemed incredibly harsh to finish with someone during the festive season and also leave them at a loose end for the holidays, so I reasoned that having an extra person there wasn’t that big a deal.

More of ‘not my kind of weird’ began as he arrived. I’d prepped that him we were going to a coastal town, that he’d need trainers and warm clothes and we’d maybe go out once. He arrived with a bag of suits which he insisted on putting in my wardrobe, faffing around moving things. The next incident was at the car. He’d packed 20 pairs of shoes (but no cosmetics as he’d figured he could just ‘use mine!’) and the car was already loaded up, not leaving much space for the other two passengers.

When one of the other passengers moved a few things to make space, he snapped at her and said the presents were all in order as they didn’t have names or tags on. When I discovered a week later that a box of chocolates a friend had bought me a month before was missing, I wondered if this was the reason for his meltdown. He’d given the same chocolates to my family and so perhaps he’d taken these and hidden them under the pile. I cannot prove this, but they had been there up till then and it seemed very coincidental.

We arrived at my sister’s place and the first night was Prosecco, food, and socialising, so everything ran uneventfully. Then I got a 24-hour sickness bug in the night, which my Mum had suffered with two days before and I threw up about 5 times in the night. I can stomach my drink well and have never been one to waste it by throwing it up, but John suggested it was the Prosecco. I just wanted to be left alone and told him to go back to bed as I needed to lay on the nice cold floor for 5 minutes. 

The next day I didn’t drink and the day after, I had one Prosecco as we only tend to have one drinking night down South and then do other things. John drank steadily though, asking if I minded. 

“Go for it, I’m not the boss of your drinking.” I laughed. 

“Oh, but the rule is either we both drink, or neither of us do,” he said. 

“Well, I’ve never agreed that.” I shrugged, thinking it sounded like an odd thing to say.

During the holiday, my patience wore as thin as the ice that he was skating on. It was glaringly obvious he couldn’t even sit through even a short comedy show without blathering on incessantly, so my favourite Christmas movies went out the window. It became clear that everyone felt the same and I gently pointed it out to him multiple times, using humor, but he still failed to take it on board. One example was, “You boys watch the sport, I’ll pop next door and watch Cinderella.”

“Wait till the footie finishes, I’ll watch it with you.”

“You’ll only chatter through it and I really want to see it” I chuckled. He laughed but took no heed. 

In the lounge, I then sat Mum between us as a buffer, hoping he’d quieten down. She’s hard of hearing, so I hoped he might give up with the relentless drone and let everyone have a bit of oxygen. Mum, being a bit canny, switched her hearing aids off and concentrated on the subtitles. Struggling to get her attention, John proceeded to continually tap her on the arm to engage her in conversation much to her irritation. He took no notice of her furled brow and continued to tap away like a needy toddler. Later, my sister and brother-in-law said to me, “Doesn’t he ever stop talking?”

His slovenly ways surfaced that week. My family was laying on all the food and drink but he seemed to expect to be served and catered to without lifting a finger, watching us all fetch and carry dishes, and clean.

The final straw for my Mum was on our last day. We visited the pub. He was on cider and I ordered my classic Bloody Mary, which my brother-in-law is a fan of too. As I’d bought the rounds and didn’t want another till we got back, Mum said she would buy 3 bottles of Big Tom for me and the BIL to take back. She asked if anyone else wanted one and John said he was sticking to cider. When we got back to the house,  BIL poured the Bloody Mary’s, and John’s eyes went out on stalks and he said, “Oooh I wouldn’t mind one of them!” 

Over that duration, he started to copy everything I did and followed me around like a needy child. If I had something, he had to have the same too! It was unnerving. When I’d first looked on that dating site, I was looking for fun, maybe more with the right person, but not some kind of weird mime act that copied my every movie. 

As the designated driver, he had planned to stick to a few of his usual Ciders as we had a long journey the next day. Instead of sticking to the plan of playing it safe and “he wasn’t a big drinker anyway,” he proceeded to down a huge Bloody Mary, helped himself to Prosecco, then finished his Ciders too. The next day, I ran around cleaning the apartment, while he lolled around in bed, making excuses about his state. When we were served breakfast, he looked up at me as if I were his waitress and asked me to make him a coffee, despite letting the last one I made grow cold. This was another annoying trait. He’d constantly go to the cupboard, getting a fresh glass every time, for water, tea, Cider. The cup would be abandoned and he’d collect a fresh cup, expecting the fairy hosts to run round behind him and magically vanish them.

The journey back really was like something out of the Fast and Furious, except without the skill and precision. He constantly kept looking at the passenger in the back instead of the road, or down at my phone to see what I was doing – usually reading Twitter or The Metro. He kept asking what the speed limit was, even though there were huge flashing signs down that stretch of road with the speed limit on. Perhaps the wasp incident should have served as a bit of foreshadowing for me, but I struggled to understand how anyone couldn’t see the huge flashing signs! A metaphor for the situationship perhaps? I chuckled at the irony.

Perhaps, worse than this, was every couple of moments he took both hands from the steering wheel to open bags of sweets and unwrap chewits. I’m not sure what was worse, the fear of certain death as he continuously jerked the steering wheel, or the harrowing sound of chamming noises that came from his mouth as he chewed through several pounds of sugar. So much for being conscious about diabetes!

Finally, the destination was reached after five arduous hours of wondering if all of our nine lives had been used up. I half expected the Grim Reaper to leer through the window, a pointy finger beckoning.

After a week of free food and drinks, he offered to pay for Chinese, then when given the menu, seemed to stutter and stumble that actually he might just have a starter meal that combined various dishes. Sensing he didn’t genuinely want to pay, he just wanted to look good, I said I was happy to buy my own. When the food came, he chucked a tenner towards me which didn’t even totally cover his, then continued to get several glasses out of the cupboard in the space of two hours. Then for the piece de resistance –  he went to the cupboard and took out my Tabstick mug. (It’s my special mug no one uses. It has a photo of my cat I lost in 2022.) I eyed the mug, then him and then the mug again. He knew what he’d done wrong. I could have said something but as I had no intention of persuing things, I simply waited till he went to the loo, took the mug, and buried it deep in a drawer away from his greedy hands and ravenous eyes. Out of everything that took place, this is the thing that I found most irksome from the entire debacle.

I’d also bought him a glass ash-tray as an extra Xmas present after discovering he’d throw all his fag butts down in our garden. On the ashtray it said, ‘John, don’t be an ash-hole!’ As he left, I held it up and said I’d forgotten to give it to him and the gift had been to avoid fag butts in the garden. I’m sure it was a charade by this point, surely he must have known our casual dabblings at dating were now over. After all –  I don’t have that good a poker face! He snatched it out of my hands and put it straight into his suitcase. He was given breakfast (I’m not a total tyrant) and ushered out the door swiftly. Later, I told him, it felt only a friendship, not romantic, and nothing further would develop.

He seemed to take the news well initially. He sent flowers thanking us for a great Christmas. Then he requested a quiz night online. I agreed – as friends, but said I was busy for a while. Perhaps I was procrastinating, but I was very busy and just didn’t have the energy for it, or even the inclination. He then suggested coming down, which I refuted, in the kindest way. 

Perhaps it was the fact that I left him on unread for 5 days during a busy spell (I’d been very clear that we weren’t an item) but I then received a letter in the post. It listed bullet points of why I was great, then what he didn’t like about me. The letter continued blaming his lack of virility upon me and various other factors. He suggested he should have confronted me for being sick the night before Christmas Eve. Luckily, for his sake he didn’t as I would have swiftly transmuted from a friendly elf to the Grinch and he would have spent Christmas on his own in classic ‘Dinner Date’ style with a microwave meal for one, but no bouquet. 

He then asked to meet up as we were “so good for each other” and then – the cherry on the shit cake. He signed off, Love, Floppy John. How do you even begin to deconstruct that? 

Needless to say, I didn’t meet up with him and could no longer even tolerate a friendship. 

Upon first read –  and as a Dominatrix, my initial thinking process was to grab a red pen and correct the contents,  with a return to sender note. Of course, I did no such thing. This would be unnecessary, far too easy, and would most likely encourage an unwanted response. 

I also didn’t bother to mention that he’d be better off with the big-boobed blonde, Carla, that my family saw kept popping up on his phone over the holiday. I’d let him figure that one out himself. 

There’s nothing wrong with writing letters, it can be therapeutic but it was the kind of letter that you burn after writing. You don’t pop it in an envelope, get a stamp, and then pop it in a letterbox, hoping your ex will be back for more of Floppy John. 

Everyone is looking for their kind of weird. We can tolerate other people’s quirks and eccentricities if they match with our own, or are at least tolerable, and if only there are amazing things that outweigh the bad. 

Still, it’s not all bad. I had some laughs along the way, and learned what I can and can’t tolerate. 

This relatively short dating spree was a fascinating insight into why some connections work well and others just don’t. Weirdness is not a bad thing, but it has to be the right kind of weird for you.

For me, using too many drinking vessels, being a carbon copy, or chattering round the clock like chip munk on speed are just not my kind of weird. That’s just not my lobster.

Hopefully, F.J. will find someone nice and they can sit surrounded by cups, with sore throats as they forget to pause for breath, in identical positions, chamming on chewits and trying to find the mystery wasp that’s been buzzing for the last week. 

As for me, I like guys to have interests, boundaries, a sense of purpose, and most importantly, not to nick the last Bloody Mary. 

Kaz B

Writer, podcaster, creator

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