I’ve had my fair share of sketchy dates, but this one takes the cake. My date had aged from 21 to 29 in within a short few hours. How did this happen?
Well, that was the question I found myself asking an hour into my date with Jackson.
Jackson and I had first met last year in January. I was stretching in the dance studio at my university’s gym after completing my daily hour of cardio. Jackson walked into the studio looking confused. I decided to be a helpful person and asked him if he needed anything.
He said he was touring the university because he was considering it for his master’s program next year and he was looking for the boxing equipment. I explained to him that the gym he was looking for was in the other dorm building.
We hit it off and continued talking for a few more minutes, covering the basics: major, year in school, how we got here, age, etc. He asked for my number and I happily gave it to him—surprised at the unexpected question due to me looking like a hot mess.
He left—and embarrassingly—I found myself flustered. The guy wasn’t the most attractive guy in the world, but he had some mystery to him. Never in my life had I met such a mature 21-year-old.
After constant texts for nearly a week, I received a phone call from him asking if I would like to go out on a date. I excitedly told him yes. So we began to make plans. He said he wanted to cook me dinner and then take me somewhere to dance—which he knew from our exchanges, I loved to do.
When our date-night came around, I got all dolled up in my black lace dress. My hair was curled and I had on my usual red lipstick. I texted my mother all the details about the guy and set off to hail a cab.
When I arrived to his place, he came outside to greet me and then walked us both into his apartment. I was charmed at his gentleman-like gesture.
Inside the apartment, I was introduced to Jackson’s roommate and what appeared to be his roommate’s girlfriend. I suddenly realized this was a double-date—which I had no problem with. The girlfriend and I laughed and gossiped while the men made us dinner. We made easy conversation together.
Soon after we ate dinner, Jackson and I sat on the couch while his roommate took a quick dive into the shower and his girlfriend freshened up. Jackson leaned in close after moment and told me he had something to confess. He was actually 23. I told him that I wish he hadn’t lied to me, but it was OK.
The four of us decided to go to a club—a usual hangout spot for Jackson and his roommate. I worried a bit because I was not 21 yet, but Jackson said it would be fine.
Surely enough, when we arrived at the club, I walked in without a problem. I figured it was because I looked older when I’m all dolled up. I was oblivious to the real truth.
Jackson set off to go check all four of our coats and steered me towards a relaxing area near the windows on the second floor. The area looked straight out to the busy street. It was pretty the way the street lights lit up the whole avenue I peered out at.
When Jackson came back, he had two drinks and handed one to me. I hesitated, immediately insecure of my age. He assured it was fine and no one would think twice about it.
Throughout the night, I laughed at his jokes and listened to the soft grumble of his voice over the music. I danced the night away. Time passed and Jackson pulled me onto the couch near us.
He said he had something serious to say. I listened carefully, unsure of what to expect. He admitted to lying to me again and told me that he’s really 25-years-old and he felt guilty. I told him it is no issue at all and I would just prefer honesty from that moment forward. He smiled shyly and put his hand on my knee.
More of the night went by and I noticed Jackson was not being his usual self. I tried telling him stories to get him laughing, but it didn’t work. What was going on?
Immediately I began to think critically of myself:
Had I done something wrong?
Did I look good enough for him?
Did I have bad breath?
What was so wrong?
The questions kept rolling like film in my head as I replayed the evening in my mind. I excused myself to the powder room. I splashed some cold water on my face to wake up, poked a stick of gum into my mouth, touched up my lip gloss, and returned to my suddenly moody date.
When I found Jackson, he had placed his drink on the ledge of the window and was staring out—just as I was doing a few hours prior. I tugged at his hand lightly and he turned towards me. His face was no longer warm and welcoming. I asked if something was bothering him and he stared into my eyes before turning his gaze to the floor. I waited for a response—even a nod of his head—and got nothing.
I felt like a stranger suddenly and turned to go find my coat. Jackson let me take a few steps away from him until he called my name. He asked me to sit on the couch with him once again.
He turned towards me with a completely serious look. This is it. He’s going to tell me it’s not working, I thought to myself. Instead, he began saying how ever since he told me he was 25-years-old, he has felt guilty. He said he felt awful for lying to me and said he wants to give me complete honesty—what I had asked for.
The next four words to come out of his mouth were nowhere near what I had in mind.
“I’m actually 29.” WHAT?
The only thing I could do was stare at him. Twenty. Nine. That’s eight years older than he claimed to be when he met me. That’s the reason why no one even took a second look at me when I walked into the place. No one would expect a 29-year-old to be hanging out with someone under 21.
I don’t have a problem with age, but lying about your age four separate times is bad. I can’t trust a person who does that.
I needed to end this date before he aged anymore.
I ended up excusing myself ten minutes later. I went to the coat room and retrieved my coat. I snuck outside peering over my shoulder for Jackson, and then quickly hauled a cab home.
I had officially—for the first time ever—ditched my date.
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