The time I inadvertently dated a Vampire.
After spending seven or eight years in the TV business, I was starting to get burned out with the constant work. It made me slow down and consider that living was not just about the career. This new attitude gave my space to work on other things that I had neglected somewhat since college, such as family, marriage, etc. I hadn’t been on a date in a while, so I decided that I was going to work less and date more. After looking into a few dating websites, I discovered they were all a scam designed to bilk money from lonely men. So, I got a Facebook account and searched for people that I already knew. I ran across a girl from my hometown that I remembered fondly, a genuinely nice and all-around attractive girl. Her profile said she had gone to graduate school and was now a professional in Dallas. I reached out and she quickly messaged back, happy to hear from me and verified that she was indeed single. We started up a long distance friendship which turned from chatting online to talking on the phone. I was elated. I had always liked this girl and it turned out we could talk for hours on end without any awkward pauses. I couldn’t believe she was single. After a few weeks, we decide to get together. We were living 200 miles apart, but there was a mutual attraction and I guess we were both looking for something serious, so neither of us thought distance was a problem.
One day, I made up a lie about having to go to Dallas for business and she said that we should hang out. I made the trip and pulled up to her apartment which was in a nice part of town, not fancy but she had clearly done well for herself. When she came to the door, we were both excited to see each other and I was not surprised to find that she still had her good looks, Texas hospitality, and native accent. We went out and had a good time at dinner where we talked about many things, art history among them. She was a hobbyist with a paint brush and enjoyed photography, evidenced by the picture that she pulled out to show off. Imagine a pretty young girl around 28 years old with jet black hair at a formal dining table in a strapless jet black dress sporting a coy smile. In the middle of the shot is a vase with a single vibrant red rose. She, with her long black hair, peeks out from behind it.
She was a little self-conscious of her smile in the photo saying that she didn’t like her cuspids. I didn’t know exactly what a cuspid was, but she occasionally used big sciency words that I would pretend to know so as not to look stupid or make her sound like a nerd (she had been a science major.) So, I told her I thought it was a really nice picture and her smile was perfect. I noted the black/red color scheme and we now had something in common that we could discuss. Recalling something from my own art history education, I followed up with a comment about symbolism and how meaning changes from one culture to another. She sounded interested so I elaborated. It had been a few years since college, so I had to wing it. The only example that I could remember from class was how the color black in western culture means death but in other cultures it symbolizes life. Just my luck, she took it the wrong way and thought I was calling her goth. Even though I hadn’t thought of that as a possible meaning I back peddled and did my best to recover from the faux pas. Fortunately we had a good rapport so it wasn’t a deal killer.
We went back to her place to continue our conversation. By now we were well acquainted and started to talk about family history, personal stuff that you don’t tell just anyone. After a little while she said something that I interpreted as a sign of our friendship moving onto a new level. I had been explaining that my family had suffered some obstacles that go back several generations and she sympathized with me saying, “Well, you’re in my family now”. I smiled and thought, “Damn. This is going really well”! It was only the first real date, so we hugged, said our goodbyes. I drove back to Austin since the business meeting story was a fabrication. As the end of the year approached, I started planning a New Years eve date in my town. During our next phone call, she beat me to the punch and invited me first. Now, I’m thinking,”Maaaan, we are on the same wavelength.”
So, she made the dinner plans on new years eve while I was on the road and I arrived in time to hang out for a hour or so before dinner. We catch up and then head to a semi-nice restaurant thats about $75.00 per plate. We had good conversation and a couple of drinks each. We leave in good spirits and she invits me back to her apartment for a night cap, an invitation that I gladly accept. Back at her place, she puts on some music, we have a couple more drinks, and we danced a little. Soon we start to kiss. After a month of just talking, this is the moment I had been eagerly awaiting. A couple seconds in, I’m stunned. Strangely, there are no sparks, no chemistry. My mouth continues kissing while my brain is desperately trying to make sense of this extreme paradox. Then it happened……She BIT me!
To say that I was stunned would be a gross understatement. I kind of let out a muffled “Ow”! It wasn’t a little playful nibble like people sometimes do. She bit me hard. So I’m just standing there and my brain is like “What the hell is going on around here?” Then, in a sultry voice, she whispers… “Bite Me”. Now, my mind is racing because I only have a few seconds to act and I’m really conflicted. I mean, I really like this girl but I don’t want to bite her! Standing there with four drinks in me, with a bloody lip and a strong affinity for this comely woman who, come to find out, is a serious take charge kind of gal, I start to wonder whether my reaction means I like her more (out of respect) or less because shit’s starting to get weird. I come to appreciate how extraordinary the human brain really is as it runs through about two months of memories in a matter of seconds and brings to attention details that had been logged but escaped analysis.
It’s funny how something can be right in front of your face but if your mind isn’t given the proper context, you’ll miss it, especially if your dealing with those well versed in deception. In the few seconds that follow the bite, I remember her flattery from the first date. I piture the scene in my minds eye. She’s sitting, wrists crossed in her lap. As she carefully enunciates, “you’re in my family now,” her body shifts a little and, I can’t be sure but I think, maybe, she raised a hand a little as she shifted? Was this a wave in my direction? Then I picture the photo with her decked out in black with the red rose and remember the goth symbolism from art history. My brain almost puts two and two together when I recall the complaint about her large cuspids and the photo pushes in to a close-up of her self conscious smile… Bam, it hits me…. chick has fangs!
Now, I really don’t want to bite her because I don’t know all the Texas regulations on vampires, like if I bite her back does that make me her minion? I don’t want to be a minion! But on the flip side, I don’t want to not bite her because it might send the message that I think she’s weird and that would blow the whole relationship. I have no idea what to do. So in the heat of the moment, I make a compromise… and… I kind of bite her… a little. Not hard! Just a nibble, I didn’t even break the skin. a few seconds pass and she pulls back and says, “alright, I’m going to bed.” I respond by nodding profusely saying, “Uhhh yeah. Me too.”
The next day, we meet up for a late breakfast. I’m worried that vampire friend is extremely lethargic. I make various efforts to strike up conversation with no luck at all. Even though I’m fully aware of her deal vis-a-vis my conservative upbringing, I’m worried because it appears that the relationship is going downhill. For some reason, my revelation from the night before was not enough to make me want to move on. I’m not sure If she’s just hung over or I’m hung over or the whole bitey thing has ruined our chances. My anxiety is rising. I can’t help but bring it up. I say, “I think you drew blood last night.” She recoils in embarrassment. The wince is unmistakeable and I panic a little. I say, “No, No its fine! Uh…I liked it!” I’m lying for her benefit but she does not pick up on the chivalry and cringes even harder. My eyes bug out and I think, “Oh crap! Now she thinks I’m the weirdo”.
I tried my best to recover but after things have gone this far, there’s nothing anyone can say that will make things any less awkward. I stammer, “I mean…No, I….that’s not what I….Uhh…I mean…Uhh”. We finish breakfast in relative silence, she’s cordial as we say our goodbyes and I head back to Austin. A few days go by and I call her. She does not return my call. I few more days go by and I call her again. Still nothing. Back then, I was not familiar with the concept of ghosting, but I now have a strong premonition that the relationship was torpedoed on the last date and so I write her a letter. She calls me back in order find out what possessed me to do something so weird. Now that she’s dropped the axe, she ends our last conversation with, I have to wash my hair.
I was devastated. The separation pain was intense for the next three weeks. I mean the whole relationship failure was bullshit, I was totally setup. After the fourth week, practically overnight, the spell wore off. My own independent mind was now restored and I was free to undertand that my original expectations were way off and she wasn’t as nice as I thought. Plus, she dabbles in vampirism. So…… That ain’t good.