Story Sent in by Margaret:
James and I were out to dinner on our first date. We met online, but were surprised to find out that we shared a few mutual friends.
"I'm surprised that I never met you before," he said, "I would've asked you out earlier."
I smiled at the compliment. "Well, I'm glad it worked out."
"Hopefully," he said with a sigh, "It almost never does."
I wasn't impressed with his lack of confidence, but I reassured him, "We'll see what happens."
"I know what'll happen. It'll go great for a date or two, and then I'll never hear from you again. Always happens. No explanation. Just silence."
I changed the subject, "You work for an Internet startup, right? How's that going?"
He said, "Great. Here, take a look." He pulled out his phone and handed it to me. It played through a photo slideshow of a series of guys in cubicles, making awkward smiles at the camera.
"This is where you work?" I asked him. He nodded, and the slideshow continued to play. It wasn't all that exciting, and it didn't give me a good sense of what went on there. Then, a photo of a penis appeared.
I yelped and handed the phone back to him. "What is it?" he asked, then looked at the picture. "Oh, God!" he said, then hit a few buttons and then handed the phone back to me. "Here you go."
"I'm good," I said.
"You don't want to see what I do?" he asked, then handed the phone to me again. "No more raunchy shots. Promise."
I took the phone from him and flipped through the pictures. I made it through three before another photo of a penis popped up. I handed the phone back to him at once. "Okay, I think I'm done," I said with a forced grin.
He looked at the picture and shoved the phone in his pocket. "See?" he asked, "Everything gets ruined."
I replied, "Don't worry about it. One of your coworkers probably stole your phone and had a bit of fun. I was just surprised, is all."
He shook his head. "No, those were all shots of me. You were supposed to like them and ask me, 'Where can I find this penis?' and then I'd have showed you. But now everything's ruined." He sighed and gave me a sad look.
Suddenly very uncomfortable, I said, "Uh, I think it's a little early to think about that, don't you? We only just met."
He was quiet and despondent for the rest of dinner. When it was almost over, he asked me, "Hey, do you think I could text you a picture?"
"No, thanks," I said, anticipating the worst.
He went on, "It's a picture of me with my friends. One of the best that I think has ever been taken of me. Please?"
After dinner was over, we went our separate ways. I woke up the next morning to a picture text of three penises, taken from the top down, as if three guys were standing in a triangle, comparing… stuff. The words "Thank you!!!" accompanied the image.
Just as James had predicted, I vanished from his life.