If you thought my dog, Valentino peeing on my last date was bad, picture a young, innocent Mary, fresh out of the gate after her painful divorce from Burak (circa 2006), ready to get back in the dating ring once again. I was so sweet. So vulnerable. That is why the guy I’ve come to call Slot Machine has continued to rank as one of the All-Time Worst of the Nicknames, even after all these years of Dating Hell!
Not that I knew this from the get-go. Slot Machine and I met on the dating site Plenty of Fish—long before I realized those were toxic waters. We even made it to the five-month mark, which, although I had no idea at the time, would be a true rarity in my “drive through” boyfriend history. I use the word “boyfriend” very generously.
I’m going to call Slot Machine “SM” from now on, because this is a long story and Slot Machine takes a lot longer to type! I suggest you sit back, relax, and sip on wine or better yet vodka for this story; and because it's so long I'm going to split into to two articles. You see, SM had a serious case of separation anxiety. He had finally moved out of his Mommy’s house to take a job in the wilds of Connecticut. He still made the round-trip, four-hour drive every weekend to catch up with Mother, however.
Unfortunately, being a relative dating novice at this point, I completely overlooked the substantial significance of his weekly journey.
String issues aside, I must admit that the first couple of months were fantastic. He sent flowers to my office, which made me the talk of the town (or at least the seniors I worked with). I recruited him to run with me as I trained for my second marathon. Okay, he could barely keep pace with me, but it was nice to have the company. It was nice that he cared.
The day I noticed he had changed his Facebook status to “in a relationship,” I felt a tingling all the way down to my toes. This was the first “relationship” since my ex. I was so excited!
Have you ever heard the saying, “be careful what you wish for”?
Because SM loved to play the slots, we decided to have some fun and take a trip together—our first—to Vegas (nickname alert!). He took care of all of the details and even arranged a suite for us at The Venetian. It was very exciting. Except this one little detail…
Why on Earth did he book our round-trip flights to Vegas out of Delaware?
Turns out he wanted me to meet his beloved Mother, as well as the rest of the family. To be honest, I was honored.
Like any good guest (that wasn’t raised by wolves), I baked my famous chocolate chip cookies, bought a nice bottle of wine, and even borrowed my friend Fiona’s favorite summer dress. I was, ready, willing, and actually quite anxious to meet his “awesome” relatives.
After what seemed like several days on the road, we pulled up to his house in some random suburban Delaware neighborhood. His family was in the midst of having a barbecue. Awesome! I love barbecues! It’s so nice to escape the city on a hot summer afternoon for some greenery, good food, and scintillating conversation.
Unfortunately, number three was not an option.
SM’s family from Nepal was also visiting—and I swear, they were like an Eastern Hemisphere version of the Honey Boo Boo family. Who knew there were white trash people outside of the good old US of A? The most memorable was SM’s cousin, who had married a beautiful Nepalese woman and brought her to the barbeque to meet the family. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what her home life must have been like to drive her into the hairy arms of this beast. ‘Cuz was a big-boned dude, drunk out of his mind, and walked around the party with his hands down his pants. Yes, I know—a charmer. The other uncle, aunts, and cousins in attendance weren’t much better.
But back to Cousin One. The day before I arrived, he had resurrected his homeland’s custom of sacrificing a goat; right there in the back yard where we were eating. Apparently, goats and other animals are ritually slaughtered and eaten during the Hindu festival of Dashain. SM’s family even insisted on showing me pictures of the barbaric event, which was not a lot of fun seeing as I’m an ardent animal lover.
Thank God they didn’t wait for my arrival to perform their ancient ritual. I probably would have thrown up.
However, they were thoughtful enough to bring out the poor goat’s horns and insist that I smell them, including the left over brain parts still inside. I wanted to be polite—I didn’t want to be the Ugly American who looked down on their custom—but I just couldn’t. When I declined, word immediately circulated that I was a stuck-up NYC bitch.
Suddenly, I was the butt of all their jokes. They insisted on pouring my beer—mine alone—into a glass. I tried to explain that I was perfectly happy drinking it out of the bottle, but they wouldn’t hear of it.
Meanwhile, SM, apparently in his excitement to hug and kiss Mommy, left my cookies in the sweltering car, along with the wine. His mother finally insisted he retrieve them, but thanks to the heat they had reverted to batter. The litter of kids who spent the day jumping all over me devoured them (probably with spoons) in about ten seconds. No one drank the wine, so his mother kept trying to pawn it off on me.
I honestly don’t think they knew how to open anything that doesn’t come with a screw-off cap.
Then there was the aunt who made Honey Boo Boo’s mother look like Princess Grace. When she found out I was from New York City, her only question for me was how many hot dog vendors there were on every street.
Sadly, I hadn’t bothered to count before I left. Who knew how important this information would be for making a good impression?
As the evening progressed, the boys (who I believe are never to be men) came up with the genius idea of smashing a watermelon over one of their brainless heads and videotaping it. I happened to be sitting squarely in the blast zone; meaning Fiona’s favorite dress was instantly splattered with bright pink goo.
(THERE AREN'T ENOUGH GIFS TO DESCRIBE HOW HORRIBLE MY EXPERIENCE WITH SLOT MACHINE WAS!!!)
I instantly yelled, “Shit!”
At this point, SM joined in the family chorus that yes, indeed, I was one stuck-up bitch.
When the Evening from Hell finally ended after what seemed like an eternity, I slept on the couch alone. The next morning, I awoke to a glorious surprise. Right next to me sat SM’s gorilla of an uncle with his hand down his pants, holding a beer and snoring like some zoo animal.
All I could think was that I would have preferred the goat. They should have sacrificed this hog instead!
An hour later, the hoard of kids woke up and started jumping on me all over again. Time to get the hell out of Dodge. We said our goodbyes and Mommy Dearest dropped us at an airport just outside the Delaware state line.
We were finally on our way to Vegas, albeit with a few stops along the way....
Stay tuned for next week's "totally awesome adventures in Vegas (eye roll)" and the conclusion to how Slot Machine and I came to a very dramatic ending that thankfully did not involve me being chopped up into itty bitty pieces and left for dead on the Vegas strip....
Follow me on Odyssey for next week's wrap up!