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Story Sent in by Doretha:
Al and I met online and spoke for a few weeks before we met. We had a lot in common, and I was uncharacteristically smitten with him before we had even met. We'd be on the phone for hours, talking about movies, politics, our pasts, and so on. I found myself structuring my days around when he'd call, and the memories from that part of our "relationship" were all pleasant, despite not having yet met in person.
On our first date, he showed up to the restaurant with another young woman, about my age. Bewildered, I sat down to the table and he introduced her: "This is Pamela. My girlfriend."
"Girlfriend?" I asked, then thought about saying a few more things before deciding to just up and leave.
Al chased me outside and stopped me. "It's not what you think," he said, "She's only my girlfriend right now, but I'm going to stop seeing her soon. She knows that. I know that, and now you know that. This is me passing the torch to you! Don't you get it?"
"No," I said, blinking to fight back tears. He hugged me, but I shoved him away. "What are you talking about?"
He said, "I have a girlfriend now. She and I both want to break up. Tonight. Right here. But to do that and to get my new girlfriend, who I'd like to be you, I want her to pass the torch. The torch of being my girlfriend."
His explanation didn't really help. "What?"
He groaned and said, "It's really clear. She's my girlfriend. She and I are breaking up. I want you as my new girlfriend. She's going to pass the torch to you tonight, she'll stop being my girlfriend, and you'll start. Like an Olympic relay."
"Pass the torch?"
He laughed. "Not an actual torch. It's pretend! She'll say something like, 'I am no longer Al's girlfriend,' and you'll say something like, 'Now I am his girlfriend,' and that's it. She'll get up and go and you'll sit with me and we'll have our first dinner together."
Was this the same sane-sounding guy I had spent all those hours talking to, interested in, and by whom I had been enraptured? That couldn't be. And besides, if this was so important to him, then why didn't he mention it at all while we were planning the date? Something stank. I didn't like the situation, and I left him standing there, torch un-passed.
I didn't answer his calls, and he wrote me a long, involved email in which he related his whole dating history, and how one girl had always "passed the torch" to another, and how I was the first "unreasonable one" to refuse the offer. He wrote about how great he was and how he could probably do better than me, and so on. I was just glad to be rid of his nonsense.