Bitter Without Continues

When not to trust a 38th level Sorceress.

Oh, it is a red letter day for Bitter Without Continues readership, as i have cranked the proverbial bitter-gauge to Eleven.

Three months ago, I started this column at a point in my life that was desperately seeking change in scenery and situation.

One of the major aspects, was that I (unbeknownst to me at the time) was just getting out of a turbulent relationship, which feels like marks the billionth time in a row that I’ve been involved in a crazy pairing that just wasn’t going to work, for whatever various reasons that are at hand.

I’m writing this today, single, and after a couple of months of waiting to get back on the dating circuit, looking like I’m about to get stood up on a goddamn date that was really looking forward to all week. So I’m in less than an enthused mood as I currently write this.

Kismet provides, however. For my best friend, Luis, has asked me to find a way to intertwine one of my “whores and horrors” -type stories into a way that can be accessed by the retrogaming community.

And I think I just happen to have the tale to meet that criteria.

You may find it hard to believe that someone who writes a regular video game column has a pretty difficult time with understanding a whole lot of goddamn anything about women, but it is, in fact, true.

In fact, it’s almost been persistently tantamount throughout my entire life thus far.

I didn’t have my first girlfriend until I was 17 years old, and that couldn’t have come into a more awful time,  because our coupling happened to be cutting into my precious Final Fantasy VII and Final Fantasy Tactics playing time – and finding a balance between the three turned out to be a herculean task unfit for that of a lazy, angsty youth type.

The predictable outcome eventually happened, and I grieved my way through the loss. (By playing a bunch of Final Fantasy Tactics. Science Fact: Orlandu sure is a badass.)

Seriously. This guy was the kind of hardcore badass that I wish was included as an option in EVERY VIDEO GAME made since FFT.

My post high school years taught me that simply being a terrible cog in the mandated system of “GO here and do this” wasn’t going to cut it.

I barely had any social skills, was incredibly goofy, and lanky (these were pre-“I can eat candy every motherfucking day I want.” days, and was pretty much a living skeleton at the time, until my metabolism just STOPPED working and I’m now the robust, jolly fellow I am today.)

I could probably more easily tell you the locations of all fourteen energy tanks and four reserve tanks in Super Metroid than honestly know how in the hell to romantically satisfy a girl. (To be honest, I might still be able to do that.)

In my mind, this still stands out as the perfect example of what a satisfied woman looks like

In my mind, this still stands out as the perfect example of what a satisfied woman looks like.

Anyway, I had just started work in the internet problem call center monkey job I’ve mentioned in a previous article. (The one that fired me for apparently not doing any real work. What a bunch of assholes!) And it became apparent through the social conditions of ONLY knowing people that I apparently work with, and not much else, that I’d have to come out of my shell.

(unrelated fact time: I totally have this cassette still, AND totally went to this as a kid.)

I put all of my cunning to the task of meeting women in a world where I’m not arbitrarily forced to walk in hallways and attend classes with them. (And also, at this point in my life, completely drop out of college. Which was great thinking all around.)  And this meant I would have to use the same technology that gave me no-CD cracks, free music and whackin’ material to help find me the perfect female counterpart.

Yahoo Personals.

I would rely on the marvels of personal computing to do my dating for me. Because this couldn’t backfire in any completely unimaginable way.

There are many bad stories that have stemmed from this experience. Enough to fill a separate book i plan on writing one day. But in the meantime, enjoy the one most pertinent to what we’re on subject with.

Enjoy with me, the time I met a girl that dumped me on my ass for Diablo II.

It was 2001.

I had a full head of hair, a head full of unrealistic dreams, the Hackers soundtrack was pretty much locked in my 1999 Plymouth Neon’s CD player, the GameCube had JUST came out, and I was living it up at home, eating my parents food, wasting their electricity on all night romps into Super Smash Bros Melee, and refusing to accept the responsibilities to be a grown up.

AND best of all? I had time to get in the car and drive the fuck off to god knows where for the same of internet dating! A proverbial golden age!

Where’s that era-pertinent music file to simulate the joy of retrospect?

So I met (I don’t wanna reveal her identity publicly, since it’s not nice to do such things, so we’ll call this asshole Madam X) her online, amid being frustrated telling some octogenarian the difference between left and right as I made the desperate endeavor to configure their POP3 mail account via Outlook Express and failing miserably.

I couldn’t even begin to tell you how or why it all happened, but I remember the highlights of her dating profile. X said she was an artist, liked comics (in an era before the nerd life bum rush, and was something I had never encountered in the “wild” before), and she said she played video games (even going as far to mention playing Half Life and Counterstrike, which of course meant serious business.).

We had an exchange of email, which lead to some kind of phone number trade,  and through there, we talked about actually (gasp!) meeting.

In public.

Where we can hopefully talk about all sorts of things that didn’t connect to the fact that I’m a 20 year old that still lives at home with my parents and devoted a large portion of my time playing Nintendo.

We met at a neutral meeting point that seemed like would be less prone for either of us to pull a knife,  and possibly abduct the other and then harvest them for organs to sell on the black market.

Boom. A solution presents itself.

Did I mentioned that I had no idea how the female brain worked at the time? Good. Cause that’s important.

Like most available women my age, that weren’t inside of their fourth marriage, plagued with baggage or had a flotilla of diseases and/or children, they lived outside of the hellhole city I resided in.

Madam X lived just an hour away.  I was no stranger to the idea of driving miles and miles out of the fog of war, just to interact with the fairer sex at this point. So this worked out. I mean, gas was apparently A DOLLAR AND FIFTY TWO CENTS A FUCKING GALLON BACK THEN. *shakes cane*

Anyway, I was looking forward to an evening of getting to know someone new. I was dumb, gullible, but charming enough to believe that tonight gone well meant that we had the fundamentals of a healthy and functioning relationship down pat.

Oh, how little I knew.

My initial opinion of X, is that she was super freaking tall, (6’1. I’m 5’9-5’11, depending on who I’m trying to impress.) with long brown hair, a build of a runner, with great legs. And she had an amazing smile, and was one of those girls that liked to crack herself up at most remarks she made. And that worked out, because I recall she was actually pretty funny.

Things were great. We talked – for hours. We held hands. Embarassing stories were shared. After we ate, we went on a long walk around one of the lakes. And then since we didn’t want the evening to end, we drove around. In fact, we drove BACK to where I lived, just so we could have more of a chance to talk. I found out that in addition to all the comics, and her artwork (which she had some with her), she could sing (and in fact was actually good at it.) We talked about PC games we loved as kids (and shared this exciting enthusiasm about X-Wing, although my story had more potential cat death than hers), and a bunch of games we looked forward to coming out.  She showed me a local Internet Café she hung out at, where she LAN partied all the time, and invited me to come up so we can play. And yeah, after all of that, we had the customary about-an-hour’s worth of  ‘I really had a great time with you’ makeout.

It was the kind of sweet movie type date situation that lasted into the wee hours of the morning.

(Seriously. Daylight came up. I somehow drove myself home groggier than I can possibly imagine, but with my heart racing from fulfilment, to later be coined in a term known as ‘all the feels.’)

Oh, the sappy sentimentality of younger days.

I was totally smitten. I thought X was too, by her heartfelt smile, her sweet responses, and the fact that this chick, a total stranger, ended her evening by proceeding to throw out some hot, hot makeouts.

She requested we do this again and I stay at her place over the following weekend. Ooh-lala.

Things were proceeding exceptionally well. This was all so new and so different, and I was looking forward to the the days ahead.

For the first time in my life, I might have a serious relationship in the early stages of foundation, and with it, all the good things I’ve heard people talk about that come from something that just works.

You know. Like doin’ it and stuff.

The next workweek flew by, and I was gleaming with anticipation of seeing Madam X.

I was looking forward to it like the Christmas I got a Super Nintendo and five games. Except, you know, this was a girlfriend. (At least, that’s what I called it.)

I made the rocket-propelled hour-long commute north to the sprawling metroplex of Lakeland,  to meet her at her apartment.

A weekend away from any single living soul that I knew, to stay with someone I barely knew, and my naivety was telling me couldn’t possibly have the potential to be dangerous to be a horrible internet murderer or something.

And we had a good time.

We ate shitty Chinese food from some place that has hopefully been burnt to the ground or shut down by the county health board by now. We exchanged more jokes and smiles and good times. She sang to me that Dido song that was really big for twenty-something white girls who just were getting out of college to all know.

We ended up playing in some incredibly terrible D&D game that some friend of hers (some high school confidant that had some stoner/animal nickname variant that currently escapes me, but I can assure you, was stupid) for a couple hours.

And yeah. Without kissing and telling, a favorable encounter occurred.

I had become the ever-hopeful optimist! My proverbial chalice was overflowing with good intentions, defying all precedence and horror stories that usually come about from interacting with someone primarily through text on screens. Life was fantastic.

Until…the incident that became known as THE incident…happened.

The beginning of the end. It all went down through an innocuous bit of conversation, and quickly digging through my gigantic software cd booklet as I left her apartment.

X: “Oh, hey, sweetie. Can you let me borrow your copy of Diablo II? I think one of the guys at the shop stole my play disc.”

Me, in full delusional mode: “Okay. Anything for you, you (sap-riddled affectionate nickname). Am I still seeing you this weekend?”

It was at this point that the playdisc, extended from my hand, made contact with hers, with a slight amount of force exerted.

It was at this moment that I witnessed the full transformation of a human being into a terrible nightmare beast.

The playdisc for Blizzard’s formidable “i can’t believe people will not shut the fuck up about it” click-click-RPG-clickclickclick fest was in her possession. And thus, all the cards were now on the table.

Girls be actin all cray for Dibizzle II.

X: “Yeah, about that. I’m busy next weekend. Later. *And I was basically shoved me out aforementioned door, my duffle bag of my stuff in tow, and then door was then slammed shut.*”

A pause. A perplexed moment of confusion, and after picking my jaw off the floor, I drove myself home with a empty feeling in my stomach.

I thought to myself, ‘Oh, no worries. It can’t have gone THIS bad. Really. We had fun…right? I’m sure this is a matter a simple phone call could fix. Maybe when I get home?’

I had one more phone call with X.

It was like, five days after the above incident, not for lack of trying, as she was ducking my calls.

And sure enough, when I was finally able to get through, it didn’t go well at all.

Her voice was chock with annoyance that I had even bothered to call and interrupt her – her Sorceress JUST hit Level 38, and that she had to go, because she needed to play more with this new group of cool ass dudes that she met through her terrible D&D animal/drug nicknamed DM. Talking to me apparently kept her from playing more Diablo II, and that made me, in her words,  a total asshole.

In fact, the bulk of the couple minutes of  phone conversation was about phat lewtz she had picked up. I was dejected, to say the least.

There weren’t any more sweet jokes. No more cute comments or doe-eyed, listless staring at each other. The movie score that accompanied the situation in my head quit. It was now just this goddamn bullshit about numbers and purple gear and scrolls.

Someone should have helped this bitch find self-respect on her tech tree.

I suddenly felt the exhaustion that I imagined most non-gamers feel when dealing with someone that exclusively rattles on about this kind of nonsense, especially when i was trying to get a simple validation that I hadn’t wasted my time buying into something that wasn’t really there.

By the end of it, I was told that this wasn’t going to work out. Which I concurred. I mean, seriously. What the fuck?

And it hurt. It hurt way more than something that lasted TWO weeks should have. But again, I was younger. And that kinda rejection seems to hurt more when you don’t know any better.

And that was that. At its core, I surmise the event as the time some chick screwed me to save herself $49.95 SRP for a product key for Blizzard’s game of the year – a game, in which, even to this day, I refuse to replay ever again in spite of the fucking situation.

Eventually it became the kind of thing you can sit back and laugh at, because of it’s sheer absurdity.

It remains one of my favorite stories to tell because, to be honest, at 30, I still don’t exactly understand what happened.

And to be fair? This isn’t the worst or craziest dating story I’ve ever had.

I’d love to hear anyone else’s hilarious online dating stories worth sharing in the comments, with bonus points if you can make them somehow compatible with gaming in any stretch.

I apologize for those who came here expecting to read a different tangent  this week, and I do promise more gamey-related stuff next week.

(Oh, and to everyone, happy three monthiversary, and thank you for continuing to read.)

I needed some catharsis from a fairly dumb week, and this seemed the best avenue to take for finding that peace of mind in the current annoying situation.

Until then, excuse me. These broken wings aren’t gonna mend themselves, and learn to fly again, learn to live so free.

Or something.