Misadventures in International Dating

Disclaimer:  This will be a slightly different post that what my readers are used to, but I felt it was a story worth telling, plus it’s somewhat cathartic.

Living a stone’s throw from the Canadian border makes the Vancouver dating scene a viable option. Sure, there are a few raised eyebrows from CBSA officers at the Peace Arch Crossing when they ask me what my business is in Canada. Yes, I blush profusely on my return trip into Washington when chatting with the border guards about the same questions. But, I’m lured to Vancouver anyway and have experienced everything from a David Puddy wannabe in a Magic 8 Ball jacket (remember Seinfeld?), to being fed sushi from a guy who wanted to impress me with his chop-stick skills, to one perilous encounter in which a date was attacked by a raccoon in Stanley Park.

When Raccoons Attack...(captured on my camera phone)

This weekend I decided to make the trip again for a British-Canadian who promised me tea in the Kitsalano area at a place called Kit’s Coffee Company. My intuition was screaming at me this time as I waited in the border queue. But when the green light flashed, and I pulled forward to the CBSA officer, I decided to ignore it.

 “Take off your sunglasses, Ma’am. What is your name?”

Removing my sunglasses and handing over my passport I reply, “Jolene Hanson.”

 “What is the reason for your visit to Canada?”

 “Meeting a friend.”

 “How do you know this friend?”

 “Um…” I turn several shades of red. “The internet.”

 Raised eyebrow. “How long do you plan on staying?”

 “Well, if it goes well, until tomorrow. Haha.”  Wink, wink.


I can’t explain I’m just kidding about that last part, and as the officer hands back my passport with a stern look I feel a tad naughty. I quickly get over it and drive away.

The drive into Vancouver was a relatively easy one. What my date did not warm me of however, was that on this particular Saturday a giant street fair in the Kitsalano neighborhood had blocked 4th Street and Kit’s Coffee Co. No problem. I’d park and walk.

And I walk, and walk, and walk uphill until I hit 4th and Yew Street. Sweating, but keeping my composure, I look around Kit’s for the wiry Brit. Nowhere to be seen, I send a courtesy text announcing my arrival.

18 minutes go by, and then my phone vibrates. “Just parking the car. 2 minutes.”

I’d like to point out here that I’m the one who had to drive over an hour to get to Vancouver and then walk 10 blocks, yet I managed to be exactly on time. And yet, more time passes, and the British man remains unseen. Finally, my phone vibrates again with a text. “I’m on the back patio.”


I walk through Kit’s and spot him. Curiously, he’s sitting in the sunshine reading a newspaper with two empty coffee cups pushed to the edge of a small table.

“Julian?” A thin, 40-something man with the blondest eyebrows I’ve ever seen looks up. “Have you been here long?” I ask sarcastically, motioning towards the paper.

“Oh just a couple of minutes,” he says, folding it up.

And you decide to read a newspaper at a dirty table when you are 20 minutes late instead of looking for me, Jerk?

 “Can I get you a tea?” He asks, rising from the table and neglecting to apologize for the growing list of faux pas.

 “A latte would be fine,” I reply. I’m annoyed and hot, and have no interest in him at this point for being rude, but I set my purse down and get comfortable.

A fascinating article about the ubiquitous nano particles poisoning the planet distracts me once he’s out of sight, and I don’t realize 10 more minutes have passed. How long does it take to make a damn latte?

I can’t get a proper view of the front counter, so I pick up my purse and head inside.

No Julian.

I check the bathroom, scour the patio, and the mob of people in the street outside. No Julian.

Well, maybe he’s a time traveler and was sucked inconveniently and painfully into another century? I hate it when that happens.

Or, maybe he’s a villain, and I’m his arch-nemesis, whose mind was long ago erased of my super-hero exploits? But, he remembers me and my secret power to arrive places on time. Of course!

Or, maybe he’s Superman – a skinny Canadian version who rescues men on Davies Street from white leather and duty called?

The reality though, is that Julian had ditched me.

I’m not a hulking gorilla of a woman, but I’m no supermodel either. I’m just a normal person with awesome hair, so I chose not to take this personally. I knew another British guy who was rather skittish and frightened easily, so maybe my enormous personality simply overwhelmed him. Maybe he’s crying in the bushes because he’s ran out on yet another woman, and more than anything he wants to be a normal boy. Poor little guy. He probably still lives with his Mum and wishes he can grow up to be a fireman one day.

No. He’s just a maladjusted asshole who was probably pissed off that I’d ordered a coffee drink instead of tea.  

The border guard on the U.S. side didn’t seem very interested when I told him I’d been on a bad blind date. He simply handed back my passport and said, “Welcome home.”

Indeed. I love Canada, but Canada can come to me next time.

Oh yeah, I sent him a follow up text to thank him for the opportunity to make the lovely drive to Canada and get some exercise.  Or, something to that affect…

16 thoughts on “Misadventures in International Dating

  1. Kudos to you for not only turning his appalling, cowardly, rude behavior into a great story but also for simply putting yourself out there into the world of dating. (Something I’ve stopped doing I’m ashamed to say.) Your gifts extend beyond photography…You’re a great writer as well. 🙂

  2. Oh my! When I was first read this, all I could think was BE CAREFUL, as I didn’t know the ending then. I love to read your stories as you have a great gift of writing. I hope you have better luck next time! I don’t think you will let this person get to you as I sense with what you wrote. Keep writing, keep taking photos and keep believing in the beauty of your dreams.

  3. You poor thing! What an *sshole! I agree though that at least you got a good story out of it. I don’t envy you being out there in the dating world. But on a positive note…I met my husband on the internet (match.com) and we just celebrated our 8th year together…and our 5th wedding anniversary! 🙂 Hang in there girl!

  4. Mike: blech! I don’t hear laughter. Jolene….Whoo…I feel like either break-dancing or grilling a large chunk of meat. If I had two heads one of them would be chewing that aforementioned charcoal hunk of animal flesh, and the other would be congratulating itself on its’ previous astute observations into the socialist’s moral decline. Seconds later, this second head would further the festivities by buying a round, and announcing that all the men in B.C. were guppies and it was high time for sushi! After that things would get a little out of hand, and my first head would end up telling you how much it missed you, the mountains, and a little bit concerning fish taco’s. Yeah, they just don’t make real men like me anymore…..good luck, missy.

  5. The dating scene… I’m not looking forward to going back out there. You maintained your sense of humor, and that’s good. And in my opinion I can’t see any guy walking out on you like that, unless his boyfriend was waiting for him…

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