Adult Onset Allergies
Shoshana Rubin

one night, i got home and went to check my email this was taking place back in the day when i was living on the edge, doing what they call “online dating” crazy, i know no, it really was crazy i mean it got to the point where i was like, really? as if i don't meet enough psychotic people on any given day? i am actually paying? to have crazy people look at pictures of me? and send me weird messages? for some reason such messages would make me want to throw up this is terrible of me but true i am, clearly, a terrible person i learned that i despise online dating

once i had the non-privilege of hanging out with my old neighbour, annie steinberg, and her boyfriend at the time who thought it was his business to question me as to why i was single he then told me that i should try jdate to which i was like, "i already have" to which he was like, "and?" and i was like "i hated it" and he was like, "that's positive" but it was said very obnoxiously now it would be one thing for someone who knows me who is actually my friend to mock my negative thought patterns but for a complete stranger who i had just met that night to be ridiculing me for not liking online dating is like well i hated him

on this particular night

i was in a bad mood i saw that i had "a new message!!!!!" from jdate member ben goldstein!!!!!!!!! i did not know who he was i went to read it it made me laugh not like fall-off-my-chair, oh-my-god, funniest-thing-i –have-ever-read-in-my-life laugh not even laugh a little-out-loud laugh not even giggle laugh and not even ha! laugh

okay maybe i laughed

looking back on it i think if i laughed it was cause i was happy to get my mind taken off whatever it was i was in a bad mood about so anyway i do not recall what he wrote but it wasn't bad it seemed decent and he seemed decent so i wrote back then he wrote back and i wrote back and then he asked for my number so i gave it to him

the night he called, i should have known there was something wrong cause he was like, "hiiiiiiiii!!!! this is BEN!!!!!! BEN GOLDSTEIN from JDATE!!!!!! how ARE youuuuuuu?????" and i rationalized that he was nervous cause he was talking to a stranger

note to self do not rationalize for strangers ever

he then went on to talk about his love for reality tv which i could not understand

he then told me a "funny" joke that he heard from woody allen i did not get it he told me some other "funny" jokes none of which i found funny

for some reason i thought that if i got to know him better i would find him funny

then he was like "what do you say, we set up a BLIND DATE!!!!"

which i found strange forgive me but isn't a blind date like, i don't know. isn't it when you get fixed up by someone, and you don't know the person you're meeting? i mean i don't know

i never heard of anyone asking someone out on a "blind date" so i thought that was weird but as i often do i then thought that maybe i was weird for thinking it was weird and that i should stop being a jerk and give the stranger a chance BIG MISTAKE

huge, furry mistake

furry mistake? yeah furry

so then he had decided it would be fabulous were we to meet at MOMA on a saturday at like one-ish well no i don't remember exactly what he had said but he asked me to pick the time and he had some sort of problem with 1 i don't remember what the problem was but he was somehow offended at my choice i don't remember why

so i went to meet him he did not look like his photo. no first of all he had massive receding hairline we're talking massive there is nothing wrong with receding hairlines, baldness, or hair loss but in his photo he was wearing a hat this was deceiving and he looked good with a hat he did not look good without it

and in addition the receding hairline in this case was unattractive that would be because of his face

oh, that is so mean. god help me but anyway in his online photo, the photo was taken from kind of a distance and all one could really see, looking back on it, was his smile, which was actually his best feature a very happy one his actual face it didn't really show up in the photo and in person i kind of just um did not like looking at him

that is TERRIBLE!!!!! but true

also he wore his pants up to the top of his chest you know, grandpa style? and he had a backpack and not just any backpack he had a backpack that looked like it was stuffed with his life

in short he was an adult. i think. but he looked like he was a prematurely aging 9 year old

we entered The Museum

disaster i am not sure why he picked MOMA since he clearly hated it had no interest in the place or any of the art or anything inside it at all i was confused by this one might guess that he was more interested in me but no he wasn't we had nothing to say i think we talked about the weather six times which is fascinating since we were indoors fyi, it was a cold day

so we breezed through the museum and then i thought it was over and that i'd get to go home but alas i was mistaken he was most eager to get coffee in the museum i didn’t understand why as museum cafes are usually like ten times more expensive than real food places and aren't really special anyway but i was like okay i got hot chocolate and listened to him tell me that he did not have a job, nor did he want one that's right he was sort of working as a substitute teacher in an elementary school which to me was just screaming CHILD MOLESTER but anyway he was saying how he couldn't find a full time teaching job and that even subbing was waning and i was like, "oh, well, a teaching job will probably open up, you just have to keep looking" and he was like, "no, i don't want one" and i was like "you don't want one?" “no” "but what are you going to do?" “i don't know, sub” he did not seem upset or distraught or concerned it was just like, yeah, whatever he is probably secretly independently wealthy and perhaps i should have latched onto this had i done that i would currently be on some cruise ship in the caribbean getting my nails done and planning an excursion to africa

i do not think he was independently wealthy he was from new jersey i forget what part and he made up a story (i'm pretty sure he made it up) about how he lived down the street from his parents i am pretty sure he made this up since he went on to tell me about how he had to “stop off" at his parents house to pick up all his ski equipment when he went on a ski trip i mean really? down the street? really? and he has no job? how does he pay rent? HOW??????

now at this moment i was mostly convinced that i had not been wrong to think that he was odd when i had spoken to him on the phone he then confessed that he hadn't written his profile and his emails, and that, indeed, his friend had written them for him, because, you see, he was dyslexic this explained why i had not realized why i couldn’t tell he was a freak of nature

i drank my hot chocolate as fast as i could and we left and i was just about to say goodbye! when he was like, "do you want to walk?" and i was like “walk?” and he was like, "yeah, it's early, let's take a walk" and i was like, “a walk?” now we have established that he was odd but i think at the same time he was not a bad person he was clearly socially inept and troubled but he seemed to be trying and i had nothing else to do so i was like “okay”

it was like - christmastime so i suggested we go see the tree at rockefeller center to which he was like “okay, great!” and i was like, “okay!” and i started to walk along with my backpack-clad 9 year old, high-waisted pants grandpa man to the tree when he slowed down and said this: “Are there going to be a lot of lights there?”

i stopped i just stopped and i was like "well. um, yeah. i mean. it's the christmas tree"

now i get that ben goldstein was jewish but i mean i don't care what you are if it is like, december and you are going to see the rockefeller CHRISTMAS TREE in NEW YORK CITY i mean what do you THINK there is going to be?????? pumpkins?!!!??!?!?!?!?!!

so after i said, "well. um. yeah, i mean, it's the christmas tree." he was like, "so there will be a lot of lights" and i was like "um, yeah" and he was like, "ohhhh okay. this may be a problem"

at this point i started to think that maybe his secret funny side was coming out and that maybe by chance he was actually really funny

well he was not joking

and i was like, "really?" and he was like, "yeah" and i was like, "really?" and he was like, "yeah, i may freak out" for some reason maybe i'm dumb i still kind of hoped he was trying to be funny but after 2 milliseconds i was like "wait. do you mean you are going to freak out like, for real? like, what do you mean by freak out?" to which he was like, "yes, i may freak out" and i was like, "like, be bothered or, really, WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT???" to which he was like, "well, bright lights give me seizures"


so i was like "well then we should not go there!"

and he was like, "oh really, is that okay with you, are you okay with that, if we don't go?" and i was like, “YES”

so then i was like, “how about we just go to fifth avenue” and he was like, “okay”

so then we started to walk and he was like, "do things bother you?" and all i could think to say was, "fyeh?" and he was like, "do things bother you, like, do you get seizures from bright lights?" and i was like, "well, um, no" and he was like, "does anything bother you?"

now i can be overly sensitive but the truth is i can handle stuff i mean even if i'm annoyed it's not like i'm going to have some kind of nervous breakdown or fit or stop breathing or have a seizure or panic attack or whatever due to "stuff" but i felt bad for him so i figured i'd make something up just for the sake of camaraderie i told him that i didn't like crowds

anyway we get to 5th avenue and yes it was christmas time 5th avenue was packed and really i didn't care i was actually kind of relieved cause it made it impossible to talk to him HOWEVER HE flipped out he was like – “oh, this is bad” and i was like, "huh?" and he was like, "this is bad for you" and i was like, "what?" and he was like, "this crowd! i can't do this to you! you shouldn't have to deal with this!" and i was like, "no, no it's fine" and he was like, "NO! i must get you out of here!!!" and he was all chivalrous sort of in that super awkward sort of way and i was like, “no, really, it's fine” and he was like, "no this is not okay, i am not putting you through this" and i was like, “no really” and he was like “NO!” and i was like, “um, you know what, it's okay - how about we just find a subway, and you know, i'll just go home. i had a nice time, but, you know” and he was like, “WHAT?” and i was like, “it was a nice day, but, you know, it's, um, i mean, i can just go home now, okay?” and he was like, “you do not want DINNER????” i was like, “dinner?” and he was like, “DINNER” and i was like, “um, oh, i didn't think about dinner” (it was 5pm) (i had been tortured since 1) (technically, 1:15, since he was 15 minutes late. ahem.) so he was like, “i have a place picked out” he pulled out a card of some restaurant and he was like, “it is TURKISH it is on the upper west side! we were going to walk there!” and i was like, “we were?” and he was like, “YES! i planned it all out”

he was all upset and standing there. i just remember thinking he looked like an angry and very hurt bird

so i figured really he was harmless and really i had nothing else to do, nowhere i had to be so i was like “okay”

that was like my 80th mistake of the day cause then we walked, i think something like, 40 blocks in DECEMBER and yes it was COLD

during this walk we had nothing to talk about and that was when he said "do you have any adult onset allergies?" and i was like, "what?" and he was like, "do you have any adult onset allergies?" and i was like, "um, no?" and he was like, "nothing? no allergies?" and i was like, "well. i'm allergic to mango" and he was like, "mango! wow. at what age did you realize you were allergic to mango???" and i was like, "i think i was 12" and he was like, "12! that's not adult onset" and i was like, "no"

then i counted the cracks in the sidewalk i did this until we got to the restaurant but really i lost count okay i did not count the cracks in the sidewalk that is a lie for effect

then we got to the restaurant and the waitress put bread on the table and ben pushed the basket to me and i took a piece

i should note here it really wasn't that bad i mean i felt like i was babysitting and once i rationalized it that way, it was okay ish

so then the bread was good and i was like "oh, this is good bread! have some!" and he was like, "no" and i was like, "it's REALLY good" (it really was) i kept trying to convince him to have some bread finally he told me he couldn't and i was like, "you can't" and he was like "no" and i was like, "oh. how come?" and he goes, "allergic to yeast" and i was like, "oh, yeast?" and he was like, "yeah" and i was like, "oh, that sucks" and he was like, "yeah, i miss pizza" and i was like, "you weren't always allergic to yeast?" and he was like "adult onset allergy" and i was like "ohhhhhhhh"

so then he couldn't eat anything i mean the waitress came over and everything he was like, "does that have yeast in it?" he ended up with some chicken kabobs yeast free

and just to be polite actually out of curiosity i was like, "so, what happens to you, if you eat yeast?" and he was like, "oh, you don't want to know" so i accepted that

but then he couldn't resist so he told me and it was like this story he was telling that he was clearly very proud of like he thought, "she's gonna LOVE this one" and he was like:

"okay. SO. i was in costa rica, on a "Jewish Singles Adventure". and there were these chips and i was like, you know, i'm on vacation, i should let loose. And. You see, I KNOW, that if I give myself a certain amount of time to get from the eating process, to the TOILET! i will be okay!!!! and so (insert 'i'm such a wise-guy' laugh) i ate the chips. And then (wise-guy laugh) i went back to my room. Well. I couldn't unlock the door!!!! (wise-guy laugh, followed by, a, you're really gonna love this next part transitionary breath and hand gesture) (really) So there I am, struggling to get into my room and my BOWELS are just, BOILING! and i'm DYING and i know that it's all just gonna come out at any second and there i am STRUGGLING with the key. So i RAN to the front desk and i told them, I was like, 'Listen, you have to help me get into my room' and they were like, 'just a minute sir' and i was like, 'no, you don't understand, i have a serious bowel issue and if i don't get into my room right now i am just going to have an EXPLOSION OF FECES on the floor' And they helped me and I got to the toilet JUST in time."

um, yeah

i sort of sat there like speechless random people were looking at me like, "where'd you find this one?" i know they were looking i didn't look back i was too embarrassed indeed at THIS moment i was strongly considering becoming either a lesbian or a nun instead i asked the only thing i could think to ask which was "why couldn't you unlock your door?" to which he had to tell me, "i didn't know how to use the key card"

i ate as fast as i could then we left he wanted to go to some jewish club after and i was like, "no" and then he was like "i have something for you" and i was like "you do?"

and he pulls out of his mega backpack a box of chocolate

this is bad cause i love chocolate i mean i love chocolate and i was really happy about this but i was really like, hi, i am never going to talk to you again for the rest of my life and if i ever see you on the street i AM going to hide but i mean how does one turn away a box of chocolates? how???? so i took it and figured that i would make it less bad if i offered him some chocolate he didn't want to take it but then he did and he was happy about this then i got on the subway and went home and ate the entire box it was good

two days later my phone rang i did not answer it the message went like this "hiiiiIIIIIIIIII it's BEN GOLDSTEIN!!!! how ARE you? i had a GREAT time with you the other night and i think we should go on a SECOND blind date"

(again - i don't get these "blind date" references, but i digress. he went on to say:)

"You don't have to call me BACK i will call you AGAIN in a few days!!!! byeeeeeee!!"

i was very happy that he told me i did not have to call him back so i did not call him back

a few days later he called again and i did not answer my phone and the message went like this:

"hiiii Ben GOLDSTEIN again! i haven't HEARD from youuuuu. i'm getting a little concerned about this. not sure what this means! this could mean you do not LIKE me!!! i hope that's not the CASE????!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?!?!? i really hope to HEAR from you. okay? okay? okay bye? okay? okay, i'm hanging up now. okay bye okay. talk to you soon. bye"

i did not call him back i never heard from ben goldstein again but at least the chocolate was good really it was

Shoshana Rubin is a television news writer and Emmy Award-winning producer living in New York.  She likes to make people laugh with the stories she writes