In the early 90s, I was a dreadlocked guy living in Austin Texas after a recent move from Houston. I had picked up and relocated after feeling I had burned through most of my good options back home, and had recently gotten out of a long term relationship. I was on the market, and hanging out with a woman that I liked a lot. She was kind of odd though.
I never figured out if she had romantic intentions, or just liked having a guy around a lot… She had a ton of male friends, but liked me to be around a LOT – To the point of taking baths in front of me… Requiring me to avert my eyes until she was in the tub, and more frustratingly, asking me to spend the night with her almost every evening. It is a weird thing to be a 22 year old male, and to have a confusing but beautiful 22 year old female ask you to sleep over at her place without any seduction taking place. I had other options, and being shoved into a weird corner of the friend zone was not part of my plan.
This went on for a month or two, and just got too frustrating for me. I wouldn’t share the same bed and bath time with a male friend, and it was not something I was going to start doing with platonic female pals.
I got enough attention from other women at that time, but was still interested in my confusing friend, and it was driving me crazy. I began to suspect that she either was stringing me along indefinitely until a better option for her came along… Or was a head case with weird intimacy issues. I’m still not sure which was closer to the truth, but I was not the type of guy that was going to wait around forever to find out.
Eventually, Shannon (That was her name), introduced me to a few of her friends… She was one of those people that seemed to know everyone, but liked to hang out with me alone most of the time. I ended up meeting “Carol”, a very attractive natural blonde, that seemed very cool, and somewhat responsible. She had a real job, and didn’t work at a bar or record store like most of the other people I certainly wasn’t a model of career development myself, but it seemed impressive to meet a woman my age with a degree and some ambition.
I offered her a ride home, and we ended up getting along well. Unsurprisingly, Shannon was not pleased with this turn of events, but I figured that nothing was happening between us, so I might as well move on.
So I set up a date with Carol.
The next weekend, I picked her up and drove the two of us to a restaurant on the North Side of town. We hit it off pretty well – She was smart, and that was something I always liked in a woman, she seemed to have a career planned, which was interesting – Most of the women I knew at that time were only interested in who was playing at Emos the next weekend… It was new to me, I guess.
She talked about that and the other thing that were important to her… Art… Music… History… Her Spiritual Guide….. Wait… Hold on a minute – “Spiritual Guide”?
That’s when things got weird… And I was used to weird… This stuff was a little weirder than I liked.
Carol apparently had a trusted Spiritual guide… Some sort of guru as far as I could tell, and the woman seemed to have a LOT of influence over Carol’s life. She never named any specific religion, but the spiel reminded me of the “Ascended Master” junk that new age hucksters like Elizabeth Claire Prophet tried to sell.
Her world view was quite exciting – Of course there was a very real battle between the agents of Good and Evil, and the world was secretly ruled by spirits both low and high. Her “Advisor” – ( I’ll call her “Val”), consulted with Carol on just about every topic that affected her life, and on a daily basis.
While she explained the situation, I tried to politely take it all in, without betraying the fact that I was hearing cuckoo noises in my head as she talked and talked about this Val person, and her enormous mystical powers.
I’m a patient guy. I’ll overlook some pretty massive flaws in a person, and I was used to ignoring some craziness in the dating pool back then. It was the early 90s and Austin Texas after all… You didn’t have to keep things weird, they were already weird. And I was weird too, so I decided to try to get through the date without telling Carol that the stuff she believed was absolute bullshit. Besides, she was very attractive, and I was only 22. These things happened.
Actually two things happened after dinner that night – Carol spent the night. A real “sleep over” between two people of the opposite sex, not the weird naked, non sexual buddy system that Shannon seemed to prefer, and Carol continued to talk about Val, and what Val thought about…. Everything.
Carol just droned on and on about this cosmic battle that her guide was helping wage against unseen demons. Val was so tied into Carol’s life… Approving what housewares she bought, the types of clothes she could buy… Everything… It came to light that Val had even given Carol permission for us to eat at the restaurant I suggested – It was clear that Val was the invisible chaperone on our date the whole night.
I had no doubt that she would hear every detail about what happened over our evening together, and would probably get a very clinical and detailed review of our bedroom activities the next day.
In the morning, Carol called Val from my house, and talked rapidly in a hushed whisper. Her eyes kept darting my way, and it was not a comfortable way to greet the day. After a minute, she hung up and hurriedly excused herself, leaving me and the breakfast I’d been cooking for us behind.
It was a weird first date, but at that point in my life, I didn’t let that sort of thing bother me. I figured that was the last I’d see or hear from Carol though, so I was surprised the next day when She called me and wanted to go on a second date.
That outing was as weird as the first – Perhaps even more awkward. While Carol had been content to talk endlessly about herself, Val, Val’s great metaphysical gifts and wisdom, and how Val guided Carol through a life full of dangers both seen and unseen… Well, this time she wanted to know everything she could about ME.
We went to dinner again, at a different restaurant, but the whole evening Carol peppered me with questions… Some very specific. She wanted to know all sorts of things – Whether I came from money, or had career plans, what my concepts of spirituality were, whether I thought I might be missing anything in life… Lots of creepy questions throughout the meal.
I had mentally decided that I had endured enough, and while I kept my composure, I was ready to just take Carol back to her place and drop her off. The questions were annoying and her company was exhausting.
I guess she picked up on my chilly demeanor as we left, because she started to quickly tell me how cool I was, how much she liked me, and how sexy she thought I was. The flattery wasn’t entirely convincing, but I was still trying to figure out what was happening with this strange woman, and I agreed when she asked me to come in to her place.
We spent another night together, and it was good enough… It even seemed normal. She quit the uncomfortable interrogation, and switched gears into something resembling seduction. She even managed to not mention Val during that second half of our evening together.
But Crazy is resourceful, and Crazy doesn’t like to hide for long, so the next morning Crazy made another unwanted appearance.
“You have to leave now.” Carol grimly told me as I woke up. She was standing naked above me, and looked like she had been watching me sleeping. Maybe watching for a long time. She had a blank look on her face, and her eyes were cold. She may as well have been looking at a strange lizard lying in her bed instead of me. I was relieved and somewhat surprised that she didn’t have a large knife or a hatchet in her hand.
I took her advice – Got dressed in record time, and drove home. Neither of us said anything.
Maybe a week later, I was moving on… I had found someone else to go out with, and the unpleasant creepiness of my dates with Carol were quickly fading from memory. I was lounging around my place when I noticed that I had a message flashing on my answering machine. I went to check it, and sure enough it was Carol.
She had called to let me know that Val had consulted other “Masters” and they had come to two conclusions – I was a “Dark Lord”…. Some sort of fallen angel in human form, and that Madonna… The singer Madonna… Was also a fallen angel.
She simply couldn’t see me anymore, as darkness would continue to grow around me, and I would soon harness evil forces without even meaning to.
I thought about calling her just to laugh in her face, but thought better of it.
This Dark Lord had better things to do. At least I kept good company, what with Madonna and all.