When I met Brian a few years ago, he was leaning over a pool table. He was a Justin Timberlake look-a-like shooting pool – totally my type. A few weeks later, we were a couple; and the fun was just beginning. I learned quickly that he didn’t have a cell phone, and didn’t drive. Both were a bit strange living in LA, but I let it go. It’s easy to let quirks go when the guy in question is easy to look at. Besides, relying on a home phone seemed charmingly “vintage”, and he explained the lack of a car by saying that he had been badly injured in a car accident as a child, and without any peripheral vision in his left eye anymore, he couldn’t get a license. At our first date, he also admitted that he was a vegan. I was only 23 at the time; and ‘no meat’ would typically be a ‘no way’ in my dating life. But when he explained that one day as a child, his body rejected all food except for a vegan diet, I felt for him. I melted when he looked at me with his big brown eyes and whined, “I miss cheeseburgers SO much!” I figured it wasn’t his fault, so why hold it against him?
As we continued dating, however, I started to realize something else was up. With his stunning good looks and smarts, there was no reason that finding dates should have been a problem for him. But the way he poured over me and continued to tell me that he couldn’t believe I was still with him, my sensors went up. I started to realize that there must be something else tucked away; a boy this sweet and cute shouldn’t have such low self-esteem.
Then one evening at dinner, he got quiet and said the dreaded, “there’s something I need to tell you.” I braced myself… and then he opened his mouth. “My parents are gnomes,” he said. I didn’t quite know how to respond, so I asked if HE was a gnome. My 6’1” new boyfriend explained that he wasn’t, but that his 4’11” stepfather had a long red beard, and went around town with his mother wearing pointy hats and tunics. His stepdad was a Chiropractor, and everyone in their hometown went to “the gnome man” to get their back adjusted.
I gave the poor guy the benefit of the doubt. As our relationship developed, I realized that his bizarre family history left him with some deep issues that I couldn’t help him with. The art on his walls seemed to reflect that something was a bit extra twisted in his head, as well. I eventually broke up with Brian before ever meeting his gnomish parents; but to this day, sometimes I open my front door and half expect to see them posed on my lawn asking me to take back their son.