Sarah Wyland | Margarita

The Hillbilly Fiasco: My Worst Date Ever

Sarah Wyland | Margarita

I very rarely talk about dating in a public space such as social media or my blog. One, there is another person involved and its poor taste (in my opinion) to publicly post about them without their consent. Two, until I feel like things are in a mutual, monogamous place, I don’t much see the point of it – figure out where things are going first, ya know?  

Having said that, I did read a dating story last week that made me full on belly laugh. You can read her “worst date” story here, but the summary is that she thought she was meeting someone named Rob whom she had met recently, but another person named Rob that she had also met recently – and wasn’t nearly as interested in as the first Rob – was the one waiting for her at the bar when she showed up for drinks. 

Her story made me laugh so I thought: what’s the harm in sharing my worst date story? Especially since it’s been 10+ years and I have honest to goodness forgotten his name. I’ve thought about it for a few days now and I cannot remember the guy’s name to save my soul. I’m not proud, but here we are.

I was a few months removed from a breakup and starting to “get out there” again. Growing up in a small, rural area, my best bet at meeting someone I didn’t go to high school with was to try online dating. A few days in, I got a message from a guy who seemed to check out. Not the most robust profile, but decent enough – he spelled everything correctly and used full sentences (I know – but that was important). No photos, but I didn’t want to be too vain – looks fade, but kindness lasts forever, as they say, so I overlooked the gray “No Photo” image where his profile picture should have been. 

After a week or so of exchanging emails and AIM chats, we exchanged phone numbers. The voice on the other line was that sweet Rhett Butler-like southern accent. Sign me up. We decided to meet for dinner. 

The plan? 

Meet in the Waynesboro Wal-Mart parking lot. 

I know. Wal-Mart parking lot. But hear me out. 

Waynesboro is “over the mountain” from where I lived at the time. You drive “over the mountain” – Afton Mountain – to get there. It was a 45 minute drive, and I didn’t know my way around the town very well. I did know where Wal-Mart was, however, so it was a logical place to meet. 

I may not remember the name of the guy I went on a date with, but I do remember what I wore. A floral sundress, jean jacket, and low wedges. I did my hair and makeup and drove to Wal-Mart, completely first date appropriate. 

He called when I was a few minutes away. “I’m here, parked in the corner. I drive a really big truck. You can’t miss it.” 

You truly could not miss it. To this day, I have yet to see a truck that rivals it in size. It was utterly massive – think an already really big truck with a lift kit and tires that looked to belong on a tractor, not a truck. I’m not even sure it was legal. I drove a Hyundai Tiburon at the time and when I pulled in next to him, I truly could have driven right underneath it in my tiny car.  

I parked on the passenger side of his truck and got out of my car. He got out of his truck and walked around the back end of it. 

Jesus forgive me for what I’m about to say. 

I was entirely turned off by his appearance. 

He was substantially shorter than me. I’m 5’2” and he was maybe 4’10.” But past that, his teeth were yellow and so crooked they overlapped, he wore a Harley Davidson “Rally in the Valley” t-shirt, stained jeans with holes in them, and a hat from his kennel club that covered up a receding hairline. 

Remember, there were no photos on his profile. I was truly going into this genuinely liking his personality. Beauty comes from within or whatever. And so, I reminded myself of that – we had exchanged great emails and IMs, and our few phone conversations, short as they were, also went well. You don’t judge a book by it’s cover, as they say. Give him a chance.

And so, when asked where I wanted to go for dinner, I suggested the Chili’s right across the parking lot. As we walked there, I continued my pep talk to myself while he rambled on about his drive to Wal-Mart or something similar. I didn’t pay a lot of attention. “Give him a chance. You’ve enjoyed talking to him. Surely you’ll enjoy his company, and looks aren’t everything.” 

I gave it my best. I really did. But I was bored out of my mind. He talked endlessly about motorcycles, his kennel club, and hunting. My life at that point consisted of college classes and working in medical records at the hospital when I wasn’t buried in books. I couldn’t relate to tracking bear or the model of motorcycle he wanted to buy someday. 

And he kept saying “good golly.” 

“I let that dog out of the kennel and good golly Sarah, he tree’d that bear quick as a cat.” 

“We went down to West Virginia and rode through the mountains and good golly, it was curvy.” (side note – you do not go “down” to West Virginia from Virgina…)

“Good golly it was a long day at work.” 

“Good golly, this drink is good.” 

“We should see a movie after this. Good golly, it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a movie.” 

I can’t remember his name, but I can remember what he said while I sipped my margarita and recited the names of the bones in the body – I had a test on the skeletal system in my anatomy class the next week – in an effort to not look as bored as I felt. 

He went to the bathroom when the waitress brought our food and I did something I have never done before or since. I sent an SOS text, begging my cousin who lived nearby to get out of the date. 

She didn’t reply right away, so I bowed out with a graceful “it’s been a long day, and I need to do so and so, and it’s a long drive home…” By the time we got to our vehicles, he had accepted my story as the truth, my cousin had texted, and she happened to be at Wal-Mart. I went in and met her and while we were walking around, he called me “just to check in” – not fifteen minutes after parting ways. 

My cousin grabbed my phone and answered. She spun a story on the spot about how I’d seen her in the parking lot, stopped to say hello, left my phone in her car, and wouldn’t be able to get it until Sunday, two days later. Quite the fib, but he bought it. He IM’d me the moment I logged onto my computer that night and by the end of the night, I had politely told him I didn’t think we were the best fit. 

In some alternate reality, we may have been a true love story: a self-described hillbilly from the valley (his words, not mine) and a college-educated proper Southern girl fell madly in love in a Wal-Mart parking lot and lived happily ever after. But that was not this reality. This reality was a lesson in online dating: looks aren’t everything, but photos are important. 

And I never want to hear the phrase “good golly” again. 

There are certainly much worse first date stories out there than my two hours spent with someone who’s hillbilly description of himself was certainly accurate, but to date, I haven’t had a worse date than that one. 

I have used my dog to help me determine if I liked a guy after a few dates (Knox let me down and later that night proved to be a potentially questionable judge of character) and just a few weeks ago, I took the scenic route home from drinks with a guy I met on Hinge just in case, but here’s to hoping my hillbilly fiasco remains my “worst date ever.” 

But if you know a guy who is taller than me and can benchpress more than me, let me know (I’m 5’2″ and my bench is a measly 128lbs – it shouldn’t be hard!). That’s really all I’m after (must love dogs – long distance okay, ha!).

What’s your worst date story? Leave it in the comments!

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