A Stinky Situation

I've been keeping a secret (from most of you), but I can't suppress my frustrations any longer!

On my first date with Wilderness Man, toward the end of the evening, he laughed and I caught a whiff of his breath, which was not great. I gave him a hug at the end of the night, and didn't notice it again, so I just assumed it was a one time deal (who hasn't had bad breath at some point?), and an easy fix with gum or mints.

During our second date at the Leafs game, he leaned in to say something to me, and to my horror, there was that breath again. At the end of the night, he kissed me, and it tasted like dirty old socks. And then there was the kissing...he would open his mouth wide and then open and close it slightly over my mouth, with no tongue involved, as if he were attempting to swallow my face whole. I tried corrective measures, but he was determined to kiss like a sucker fish.

Each date that followed, the problem would hit me in the face (along with my gag reflexes). I began to watch his breath freshening habits. Gum (good), chewing (good), removing gum only a couple minutes later (what? No! What was he doing?!), throwing gum away (FML). I, on the other hand, am so paranoid about bad breath on a date that I chew gum constantly. I'm sure some people consider that rude, but I'd rather be minty fresh than stinky sock. How could he not know?! He lived with his sister, her husband and very young niece. Kids have no filters! Why didn't she tell uncle Wilderness Man that his breath stunk? Or even his sister? I would hope to god that my brothers would tell me if I had such a problem; that's what family is for.

I tried my best to ignore the breath. He was attentive and sweet and always super excited to see me. He invited himself over to my place to watch the Olympic opening ceremonies, and unfortunately, I ended up downwind. I had to twist myself into a very uncomfortable position to keep him from breathing on me. Ugh. Then he eventually leaned in and kissed me. I managed to hang in there for about a minute before pulling away.

Breath aside, he was a great guy, and I really wanted it to be there. I felt like it SHOULD be there. I grew frustrated that when I was with him, I always had a great time, but when I got home, I always felt very "meh" about him. When things start progressing with someone, I always get butterflies in my stomach, but it never happened with him, no matter how badly I wanted it to. Knowing me better than just about anyone, Stef knew this pretty early on. She hinted that I wasn't that into him, that I couldn't force feelings, and that I talked about him like he was just a friend.

Wilderness Man began to make comments alluding to sex, and I knew I couldn't sleep with him, no matter how ravenous The Beast was. If he fucked like he kissed (which is generally a good indicator), I was in for a really horrible experience. The thought of being pinned underneath him while he breathed heavy was enough to make me gag. I also knew that he wanted our relationship to progress, and sleeping with him would equal girlfriend, in his eyes. Maybe it would be different if I REALLY liked the guy, but I'm just not willing to put everything on the line again, especially for someone I feel zero passion about.

Both a blessing and a curse, my intense work schedule has not afforded me much spare time lately, and the spare time I do have has been devoted to running and sleeping. He would complain that he didn't see me enough, and I would feel bad and make time to go out with him, convinced that the horrendous breath would disappear any day now. Yes, I often vacation in the Land of Denial.

Two Fridays ago, we were supposed to meet up for some dinner and mini golf, but he canceled at the very last minute, as his sister had an extra ticket to some spoken word performance (which turned me on about as much as his affinity for James Brown). We made plans to spend Sunday afternoon at Mountain Equipment Co-Op instead, as I hadn't been there in years and was looking for a small backpack for traveling.

As usual, Wilderness Man was making me laugh and I was having a great time until he turned to say something and I was faced with the Breath of Eternal Stench. Walking along, I took out a stick of gum and stuck it in my mouth. I held the pack out to him.

"No, I'm good," he said.

I wanted to scream, no, you're not! You are NOT good. Take the gum! TAKE THE FUCKING GUM!!! Instead, I sighed inwardly and avoided getting too close to him.

After wandering around the store for a bit, we went for burgers and stopped at a record shop on Queen St. I think he wanted me to invite him in when he pulled up in front of my building, but I just couldn't deal with it. He leaned in and sucked my face briefly before I pulled away and got out of the car.

I was talking to my always intuitive mother later that night, and she asked me how things were going with Wilderness Man.

"Okay, I guess," I replied.

"You guess?"

"Mom, he has BAD BREATH!" I blurted out.

"Eew. That's a deal breaker!"

"I feel better now that I got that out," I sighed.

"I knew it was something. You were never excited about him. I figured it would come out eventually. How on earth do you kiss him?" she asked.

"It's...difficult," I grumbled.

"Does he brush his teeth?"


"Well, he's gotta be doing SOMETHING wrong!"

"And he blinks weird, and he keeps sending me crappy emo songs that all sound the same, and on the phone it sounds like he was a lisp, but not in person, and he's an uptalker, and he hates sour cream and mayonnaise. Who hates sour cream and mayonnaise?" I ranted.

She laughed.

I really don't want to hurt his really nice guy feelings, but I so need to end this.


  1. I hope you know that since reading this Tom and I have devoted our kissing to purely "suckerfish" style...haaaaaaaaa

  2. My sympathies to both of you. Tip: bring napkins!