CLICK HERE FOR FIRST WORST DATE STORY
A couple of years back, I wrote a story on here detailing what I consider to be the worst date I’ve had in my entire life; it was a story of shock and horror that involved a girl with a mustache and strange phony accent. Just about everything that could go wrong when meeting someone from a dating site went wrong that day and it put me off to those kinds of meetups for years afterwards. I decided that I would just focus on schoolwork from that point on and not worry so much about meeting a girl to get into a relationship with. I dated a couple of girls afterwards, but nothing was ever that serious and I was okay with that.
After school, I was ready to once again leave Indiana and start a new chapter in my life. I had nothing tying me down to any one place and began looking all over the country for job opportunities. There was no place in particular that I wanted to move to and had applied to jobs that sounded like they would be fun (or at least interesting enough to make it worth the move). One of the first places that I got a call back from was SeaWorld in San Antonio, Texas. I had never worked at a theme park, but thought that it might be a pretty easy yet fun job. So I flew down for a couple of days to interview and was offered the position before I had returned home. I accepted, packed up everything I owned into my car, and started the long 20 hour drive down. The trip to interview was the first time I had ever been to Texas and moving there would be the second. I stayed in a hotel for a few days before finding a room in a house that a woman owned. The plus was that it was only about a five minute drive from SeaWorld and in one of the few decent areas in that part of San Antonio.
Starting over in a thoroughly new place wasn’t unfamiliar for me, as I had done it multiple times in the Army and after getting out. The job I started with wasn’t very difficult to learn and I never have a problem getting to know new people when it came to work environments. I was making friends with my new colleagues and things were going well. The one negative aspect, or what I thought of as one, was that I hadn’t really met any girls that I was interested in. As I had mentioned in my previous dating story, after that awful date I had, I basically just kept things casual with girls. By the time I moved to San Antonio, I had been single for about two years and wanted to find something more serious. The downside was that I wanted to avoid anyone from work (that is never a good idea) and that didn’t leave me with many other options since I didn’t have any friends outside of SeaWorld.
So it was back to the dating websites! This was around 2012, but even then the whole “there’s an app for that” thing wasn’t really…a thing yet. I signed up for the same site that I had originally been on, because frankly the other choices seemed like either strictly hookup sites or full of fake profiles. I made a promise to myself that I would just be laid back about it this time though and give people a chance, regardless, if they seemed interesting; because even if we didn’t make a good romantic match, it would have still been great to make a new friend or two.
I had a few decent matches after being on the site for a couple of weeks, but I did not have a lot of time to dedicate towards actually meeting in person. The summer season hadn’t yet kicked off at SeaWorld, but they were building a new children’s area and needed us to be there most of the day to oversee people coming and going. It was a pretty tedious job the first month or so, but I was told that it got a lot better when the park opened up for the year (which was very true, as it was a great experience). I was at least able to use my phone a lot while I was out there and that’s when I first spoke with the woman who would end up being my second worst date ever.
When it comes to my personal attraction to women, I would say that I don’t have a specific “type” at all like most. I’ve been attracted to and dated a number of different types of girls over the years and very rarely would I turn someone down for their “style” or something along those lines. But at first sight, this girl wasn’t exactly the kind that I would ordinarily notice first just based on physical features and clothing choices. She was an active duty Navy girl and half of her photos were taken of her either riding a motorcycle or in uniform. She seemed to dress and look like most people you see in the military, which wasn’t a bad thing, just not my first choice. Still, our conversation was very easy and we both had a lot in common beyond just the military aspect. In fact, I downplayed my own service while speaking with her just because I wanted to seem as though I was more interested in her own, which frankly I was.
We spoke for a number of days during the week until finally agreeing that it would be fun for us to meet up that weekend when I had the next day off. It was going to just be an easy kind of first date of dinner and drinks after if we hit it off. San Antonio is famous for its River Walk in the downtown area, which is full of restaurants, bars, and shops. I hadn’t been there yet since the move and thought that it would be a good place for us to meet up, since it’d be a new experience for us both. The whole area has that Spanish vibe to it that you think of when you think of San Antonio. And it turns out, that would be part of the problem and why the date was one of my worst.
First off, the parking in that area isn’t the greatest if you’ve never been there and don’t know the good places. So I spent twenty minutes just trying to find somewhere that seemed safe and didn’t cost too much to park my car. It made it nearly impossible for me to have that much needed alone time before the date to get a bearing on my surroundings and to calm whatever nerves were there when meeting a new person for the first time. She called me before I could find a place and directed me to come to the parking garage that she was in. I was ready for that always awkward “pull up and wave” moment but it still wasn’t ideal.
The first thing I notice about her as I’m pulling up and see her is that she’s driving a gigantic black truck with her motorcycle in the back of it. She basically drove what the majority of the annoyingly macho Infantry guys I served with drove down to the tacky firearms and flag stickers on the rear window. As I have mentioned, I personally don’t care what a person wants to do or how they present themselves to others as long as we get along. I’ve had friends from all kinds of different backgrounds (another benefit of the service) and knew that I shouldn’t take it as too bad of a sign. But it was just the first thing that came to mind as a negative of the evening. Her appearance was at least the same as in her photos, unlike the girl from the previous tale, so she had that going for her right away.
I parked and got out of my car, and we exchanged our first greetings in person. I could tell immediately, as you can, that she wasn’t attracted to me. There’s just that vibe that you get from a person and is the risk that you run when you’re trying to date and meet people from the internet. It didn’t bother me at all, because I’ve had that same experience from her side of it. But I needed friends and thought that there was still the possibility that she and I could become “bros” and so we made our way down towards the River Walk. It was her first time downtown, as well, since she had only been at Fort Sam Houston for training for a week or so before we met.
Our conversation was just as easy in person as it had been via messaging, but what I noticed rather quickly about her was that she was incredibly loud. I’m sure everyone knows that kind of person; who doesn’t seem to realize they’re the loudest person around. We sat down at this Mexican restaurant for dinner and she ordered shots of tequila right away. When I say shots, I don’t mean one for each of us, but instead it was two for her. After pounding the two shots, she went to work on the pitcher of beer that we were sharing. I’ve been around people who drink because they are nervous and people who just drink too much no matter where they go out and she was very much the latter. I’ve had periods in my life where I also enjoyed drinking a lot, but this was not during one of those periods and being around someone who was drinking that much was just another downer of the night.
She spent most of the first part of the date talking about the Navy. She had volunteered to become an E.O.D (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) Technician and was just going through the process of attending the school. Anyone who volunteers to play with bombs had to be a little bit crazy, as I’ve seen what kind of damage they can do first hand. But I didn’t say that to her, and just did the usual thing of asking a lot of questions about it and the rest of her time in the Navy. I had been out of the Army for four years and forgot just how annoying it can be sometimes to only talk about the military. But that was all that she seemed to want to bring up and it’s all we spoke about. It wasn’t all that engaging for me, but I was playing nice and she was getting more inebriated.
But the worst thing that happened was after the alcohol started to really hit her. She was already being incredibly loud, but was now becoming belligerent. The most disgusting part of it was that she began to make offhand racist remarks about everyone from black people to Mexicans. It was this exact comment that made me realize that not only was romance out of the question, but any type of friendship would be too:
“I can’t stand Mexicans who won’t speak English when we’re in fucking America.”
Mind you, this is in the middle of a Mexican restaurant on the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas. All I could do was cringe and hope that anyone listening could tell that I wasn’t agreeing with her or shared the same opinions. Oh, and it was also around this time that she pulled out a package of cigarettes and began to light up at the table. We were outside, but were still around other people who were trying to eat. I’ve never smoked, and never saw the appeal. In fact, it’s a major turnoff for me. But by that point just being around her was a turnoff. I think even through her now drunken haze, she could tell that I was ready to call it a night and offered to just skip the second half of the now disastrous date. I agreed, of course, and we made our way back towards the parking garage. That’s another unfortunate aspect of parking near the person you’re meeting for the first time; you have no good way to escape.
Along the stroll back to our vehicles, I asked her if she was going to be okay to drive. She wasn’t stumbling down drunk, but I could tell that she had too much to drink to drive. But she was convinced that she was fine and that she’d make it back to the base without any troubles. I probably should have done more to stop her, but I was just glad to be getting away from her. We didn’t even share a pity hug and just said goodbye as we were both getting into our rides. I stayed in my spot just to see her leave first and watched as she barreled out of the parking garage front gate at an entirely too fast rate of speed. She clipped the arm that was on the gate with her bike in the bed of the truck, but didn’t seem to notice and just sped off into the night.
I don’t remember now whether or not we even spoke again via text or that dating site, but it did not really matter. She was an abrasive, rude, and racist mess that I had zero interest in getting to know any further than one wasted night. I didn’t delete my profile like I did the last time, but I also didn’t rush into anything too serious for a while after. I went on a couple of dates, some from the site and others from people I knew from work. And I also ended up getting into a long-term thing with a girl I met on there, so it ended up not being that horrible of an overall experience. I still wouldn’t recommend it if you had other, more natural ways of meeting potential love interests.
Sergio Leone’s 1966 “spaghetti western” masterpiece The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is perhaps the greatest directed film of all time. It is truly one of the closest things to the “perfect movie” that you’ll ever see. The acting and writing is superb; the imagery is engaging and fits perfectly with the feel of the film; the balance between story and action is perfect; and it does all of this while telling a deeply intriguing story of the struggle to balance good and evil in a world in which neither is as clear as it seems.
At its roots, it’s the story of three men in a race for $250,000 worth of Confederate gold. Those three men are shown as being “The Good”, Clint Eastwood’s unnamed character known as ‘Blondie’, “The Bad” played masterfully by veteran western actor Lee Van Cleef, known as ‘Angel Eyes’ or Sentenza, and of course “The Ugly” Tuco Benedicto Pacifico Juan Maria Ramirez, also known as ‘The Rat’ which is perhaps Eli Wallach’s most memorable role.
Though the film introduces each character under those presumptuous titles, the reality is that they are all comprised of each of the three traits. Blondie, Angel Eyes, and Tuco are not solely embodied by their respected titles. This is particularly true of Tuco. The term “Ugly” isn’t to represent his physical appearance (though most could agree that he’s not exactly a looker) but rather to represent the true ugliness of his lifestyle. It is made clear early on that he is not a reputable individual, but instead a ruthless, selfish outlaw. He’s also a murderer and a rapist. He is wanted in 14 counties and set to hang from the neck until dead for those crimes. If not for the uneasy alliance he made with Blondie, he would have paid for those crimes twice over.
But if you dig deeper and peal back the layers of the character, or to be more specific, all the characters, you’ll see that Tuco best represents the median between completely good and completely evil. The other two leads seem to float ambiguously between both sides, while Tuco is the purest and most true to his way of life and therefor finds himself somewhere in the middle. He’s a criminal, for sure, but is also shown to have faith in God and a love for his brother (who is a priest, but cannot condone his brother’s actions and casts him away).
Because of this understanding of himself and his actions, he does not live with the moral dilemma or broken compass that Blondie and even Angel Eyes seem to possess. Blondie is far from what you would traditionally call “good” and proves this by killing three rival bounty hunters early in the film in order to protect Tuco. Those men, for all we know, could have been men of the law and righteous. Some of his actions throughout the film make you question his true motives and his label of being “the Good” altogether.
Tuco on the other hand, seems to be completely confident in his actions and his desire for riches. But he’s also quick to gain respect and admiration for Blondie, even after trying to kill him by having him walk through a desert without water. He initially seems to just want to keep Blondie alive in order to find the correct grave marker and final resting place of Arch Stanton’s gold, but in reality, he’s come to have deeper feelings of friendship and a bond for Blondie. Though their relationship was rocky to say the least throughout the story, Tuco discovered that he cared about Blondie, even if he couldn’t trust him.
Blondie is never open about his thoughts or emotions (it’s Eastwood after all) and it’s hard to really gauge his motives during the process of tracking down the cemetery. He’s meant to be ambiguous, but seemingly a good individual, despite adapting to his surroundings and being as much of an outlaw as either of the other two main characters. Angel Eyes is roughly the same sort of character, as we never completely get to see too much detail in to what he’s thinking or feeling beyond just wanting to track down the gold. (There are some deleted scenes without English dubs that exist that add to his backstory and motives, but don’t really add enough worth mentioning.) He seems completely evil, but if you consider that in context, he’s just out to get rich like the other two, than it’s hard to really just label him “the Bad” and move forward from there because he’s quick to kill. He’s much more than that, but we as an audience just don’t get much of a chance to see it, outside of the scene in which he’s on the farm and hunting down his first bounty.
Tuco on the other hand is completely open and blunt about his thoughts and emotions. He has the worst luck of all the characters (almost being hanged, getting beat up by Angel Eyes’ Union Officer thug, etc.) but because of that, the viewers can identify in him the most. We were lead to believe that he was “the Ugly” and the most reprehensible of the three characters, but during the course of the film, we realize that he is the most human; the most “like us” of any of them. We are the downtrodden and ugly, regardless of if we want to admit it; as are Blondie and Angel Eyes.
The true message is that none of us, none of the characters in the story, are “good” or “bad” in that world, in this world. We are all the “Ugly” and would be better off embracing it, much like Tuco, rather than try to fit one side or the other. Tuco is an outlaw; a murderer; but is also a man with a set of morals and values that allow him to experience life in that time period in its fullest. And still be able to form a friendship that he doesn’t want to see dissolve or be broken, regardless of the implications it might have.
Perhaps the most telling moment of this in the film is after the famous final showdown. Blondie tells Tuco to stand up on the grave marker and place his neck through a rope one last time. Eastwood’s character splits up the bags of gold and rides off into the sunset. The realization of what is happening strikes Tuco to the very core and it resonates in his eyes. He’s not afraid to die; he’s not afraid to be missing out on his half of the gold; he’s afraid that he’s losing his friend. The shock sets in that Blondie is leaving him to die and the pain that it causes is incredibly powerful. You feel it through the acting of Wallach and its profound enough to make you question “the Good” in life.
And then, Blondie comes through and fires a shot that sends Tuco crashing back down to the Earth on top of his half of the gold. Tuco gets up and yells out the iconic “Hey Blondie! You know what you are? Just a dirty son of a bitch!” That line, along with the striking cord of Ennio Morricone’s score playing at just the same moment as Tuco’s final words make for one of the greatest endings in motion picture history. It’s just another example (often overlooked) of what makes this movie possibly the most influential and best ever.
Tuco is often remembered as being a vulgar, uninviting, reprehensible, and bad person. But he is by far the most pure and transparent of any of the three He’s the balance between the good and the bad. And just like most of us, it’s who we are meant to be, whether or not we’d want to admit it. Life can’t always be good or bad, but it’s often very ugly.