On Wednesdays, Amanda Chatel will be sharing stories about her strange, fascinating and sometimes wonderful dating life. If it makes you want to date, check out TheGloss dating page.
The best part about coming to New Hampshire to visit my family is all the town gossip that I get. My decent grasp of the French language allows me to pretend I’m not Amanda Chatel but some foreigner when I come across someone from my past, but staying with my parents doesn’t allow me to escape certain facts.
I was in NH for two days before we headed to the Cape for a couple days, only to return to my beloved NH again. It was during this ride back north that my father brought up someone I had dated casually after college who was from my hometown. It was someone whom I had not thought of in years and who took me a forever to remember his name.
“Mandy, you remember that guy you dated?” asked my dad.
“The one from Londonderry…”
“I’m really going to need you to specify, daddy,” I explained.
“The weird one… remember the weird one?”
My mother laughed, as she said, “Seriously, Al, you’re really going to have to narrow that down.”
I paused and tried to figure out the weirdest of the weird. I began to dole out names that might ring a bell to my father. Each one was greeted with a “no, that’s not him.”
Finally, after almost 20 minutes, my mother piped up: “Oh! You mean the flasher!”
“Yes, yes,” continued my father, “Him!”
“Who?!” I screamed.
“The guy named J something — him!”
I knew immediately of whom he was speaking.
“He’s a flasher now?” I asked.
“Yes!” exclaimed my dad, “He was caught in downtown Manchester, NH flashing people along that main drag there — women, kids, men — it didn’t matter. He just whipped open his coat and voila!”
I paused and leaned into my mother. “He’s kidding?” I asked.
“No, it’s true,” she said, “it was about a year ago and the worst part is that his wife stayed with him. Who stays with a flasher?”
“Another flasher?” I asked, trying to deflect from it all.
“Maybe,” said my dad. “But the point of the story, Mandy, is you once dated someone who is now a convicted flasher. How do you feel?”
“I feel like a I need you two to pull over to the closest bar so I can get a whisky to make sense of this.”
“Oh, please! I’m sure he’s not he first or the last — just look at the men you date! Look at them!” My dad was being necessarily harsh.
To recap: I’ve been with a flasher, a drug addict, a married man (although I didn’t know), an asshole Swede, a condiment hoarder, a dick pic texter and a whole slew of others. Maybe I should start this whole Internet dating thing? I do know almost ten people who are about to get hitched thanks to such an outlet. Or maybe I should just succumb to the fact that I do have the worst taste and men, and just go for every pervert in sight — it could be my schtick. At least in choosing complete whackjobs, I’ll never be surprised when I get a call at 4am from the cops because my fiance was humping a fire hydrant.
Is having dated a flasher the end all, be all?