How a lifetime habit of people pleasing came to a head on one truly hideous first date
“Quik2draw” pulled out his penis with the kind of urgency you might find during a natural disaster or a major security threat. I thought we were just kissing good night in his car until I felt it in my hand. David, that’s his real name, kissed me deeply, too deeply and before I could say, “Thanks for the drinks, good night!” his warm, hard dick was in the palm of my hand, literally. One moment I’m caressing his face, the next he grabbed my hand and put it right where he wanted it. I stopped kissing him. I threw my hands up like a cop had just shined his lights on me and yelled at me to stick ‘em up.
I thought “Quik2draw” was a reference to his love of spaghetti westerns. I was so wrong.
“Sir, that is your penis!” I said, stating the obvious. I was so shocked. I thought maybe saying out loud what was going on might help me understand it. David looked at me like a wild beast, all hands and slobber, then quickly changed into a pathetic, stuttering blow job beggar.
“Will you, please? Will you, please, just …” He pointed with his head, down toward his penis, as exposed as ever, while sitting dumbly in the driver’s seat of his BMW.
“Sir!” I said again, feeling the strong need for formality. “I am not going to give you a blow job in a car parked outside my house!” I wasn’t going to give him a blow job, ever, anywhere!
I always have to be nice. It’s something I learned from my parents. Not because they taught me polite manners, but because they made me sing for my supper. I didn’t mind doing chores around the house — washing dishes, dusting and vacuuming — but it was their lack of affection and praise that created self-doubt and insecurities deep within me. I had no sense of self.
My mother spent most of her time overmedicated, watching judge shows on TV. Occasionally, she would suggest career paths she found suitable for me: showgirl in Vegas, waitress at Hooters, but mostly there was little interest in my life. When sober, my father simply reserved all of his father-daughter time for my sister, and I became a trained animal. I could never say no. I would tell jokes, dance, do anything I could for validation, love and attention. This manifested into many people-pleasing behaviors. I hold elevator doors. I give good gifts. I make strangers laugh at the grocery store.
But this was too far. This was our first date, our first meeting, and as soon as David sat down next to me, I didn’t like him. The chemistry just wasn’t there. I didn’t like him when he sent his drink back twice and then looked around the bar while I was talking instead of at me — blatantly not listening. I didn’t like him when he interrupted me to go in for a kiss as if I were just so irresistible — so gosh darn cute in that moment.
Now, here I was, sitting there in David’s car, his penis pointing at me like a guilty verdict. I began to see flashes of the ghosts of my people-pleasing past. Me at 12 years old, stealing a tube of lipstick at the drugstore because a classmate wanted it. Then offering it to her, a token of how far I will go to be loved. Me at 18, dropping what I was doing to drive all the way across town because my best friend said she needed me, only to get there and have her ditch me 20 minutes later. She didn’t need me. This was our pattern. Jump? How high? Then, in college, me pitching my very own school play to my mom, trying to convince her to come and that I would be good.
It wasn’t my fault that David was so aggressive, but I knew that my need to please others — strangers, even, and guys I didn’t like — is what had gotten me into the situation.
I sighed heavily, then looked up at “Quik2draw.”
“I’m so hard right now,” he said. He was smiling so big, like this never happens.
I felt sick. He didn’t see me. I was a sad version of myself sitting in the front seat. I wanted to float away like a lonely balloon. Am I going to be a person who does whatever anyone else asks of them, just because I want them to like me?
Minutes ago I was standing in the parking lot of the bar when David offered to drive me home. I wanted to say no, that I would walk, that I only lived three blocks away, because I knew if I accepted his offer, I would be isolated in that small metal box, so close to him and he would try to kiss me, again.
“Sure!” I said instead. “That’d be great!” As the words left my mouth, I wanted to reach up and grab them, swallow them back inside like little pills and start over. I wanted other do-overs, too: Only have one drink, not two. Leave after half an hour, not an hour and a half. Politely say, “Hey, it was nice meeting you, but I think we want different things,” or “It was nice to meet you, but I just don’t feel a connection,” or “It was terrible meeting you. You are a pompous ass, and I can’t imagine what woman will ever love you. Good night!”
But instead, I got into David’s car. Like an idiot. He even had a personalized license plate. I don’t remember what it said, but they all mean the same thing: I’m a jerk and I suck at life. He drove me home and, unfortunately, for once there was a great parking spot directly in front of my house, which he pulled into with ease.
“I had a great time tonight,” he said obliviously.
“It was nice to …” I started but he stopped me with a kiss … and I let him. Why? WHY? I thought if I just let him kiss me, it would be over with quickly. I could ignore his future advances or be braver and text him that I wasn’t interested. (Yeah, I just called texting “brave.”) But then so fast — his penis in my hand!
I made a choice. This was my limit. Time to start looking out for myself and not just everybody else. I am valid. I am worthy, and I am not going to touch this gross guy’s dick anymore!
“Good night!” I said. But my tone was more like Go to Hell! I got out of his car, slammed the door and just kept walking. For a moment I could still feel his penis in my hand. Like a ghost dick, a weiner tremor.
“Miss me?” A text pops up on my phone from him. No, I think, not even a little. But I didn’t engage. I refuse to people please. Being caring, being a considerate, nice person, that’s different. That’s wonderful behavior, but my doormat days are done.
I picked up my phone and hit “delete.”