The Dating Service Debacle



After having been single for a while and trying several avenues to find a woman; for example, on-line dating sites (still trying that a little), church, (found a nice woman, it didn’t work, but I’m still attending), night clubs, grocery stores, and yard sales, I found a dating service in town and decided to give it a shot. Have you ever bought a new/used car or been to one of those timeshare things? This was kind of like that—let me explain.

I showed up at the dating service full of hope and very broke. It was at an upstairs office building in an area known as Mt. Pleasant, about 20 minutes from my home. The office was decent enough and there was a nice young woman who met me in the reception area, her name we’ll say was “Lisa.” Lisa led me to a very small office in the back with one table, two chairs, and one small window that looked out over a backyard area. It kind of had the feel of an interrogation room. Lisa had informed me over the phone that this would take 1-2 hours. We, she had said, were not a regular dating service, they were COMMITTED to finding me the love of my life.

The first 45 minutes to an hour were all right. We discussed what I wanted in a woman, what my interests were, what I could offer a woman, etc., etc., no problem. Then she asked me about my finances and when I say asked, I mean she wanted to know everything. She wanted my yearly income, my debts including credit cards, my rent, my car payment…everything. Needless to say I starting getting a little nervous, but I was lonely. After this initial phase she asked if I was serious about joining the service and finding my soulmate. I said yes, and she said for me to wait there while she discussed my immense qualifications with her boss.


About ten minutes later Lisa entered the room and once again asked if I was ready to meet my future wife. I replied in the positive and she got excited and said, “Great! My boss wants you in the Program!”

“Program?” I thought to myself, then I asked her ” How much is the program going to cost me?”

“Well,” she started, “we have selected the Platinum Plan for you and that’s $3995.”

“Do you have a Plastic plan, because there’s no way I can do that. How much just to meet a woman who just wants to piss men off, that doesn’t sound platinum to me? Or can I go in with a couple of other people and we share the plan? What if I convert to Mormonism, do I get a discount?” I replied.

She looked shocked and saddened. “Let me talk to my boss and see what I can do.”

Ten minutes later she came back with an offer of $3500.

“Can’t do it.” I said.

She looked like I had just killed her puppy. ” I’ll be right back,” she moaned.

She came in a few minutes later with another woman that I’ll call “The Gremlin Lady.” She was short and squat, wore glasses, and had real stubby fingers with blue ink all over them. “Gremlin Lady” also had a real rough voice. She reminded me of David Johanson from The New York Dolls, the lead singer, who also played the Taxi Cab Ghost in “Scrooged” with Bill Murray. The shirt she wore was button up and a few sizes too small, so that you could see her skin through the spaces in between the buttons. I guess there was no one in her house when she put the shirt on to say, “No, throw that shirt away, you’ll scare people!” I was praying the buttons would hold, as they seemed to be ready to pop off at any second.

“Brian, I need you in the program. I’ve got 5,000 single women and only 3 men!”


I told her it just wasn’t in my budget and we went at it for a good ten minutes. Lisa was blocking the door so I could not escape without running her over and I was starting to get claustrophobic. They finally left me there and I saw my chance for escape, but that was not to be as Lisa brought in another woman who I’ll call “The Warden.” She was a big, tall, robust woman who made the earth shake when she walked and was very animated. She waved her arms around when she talked and it added to her size.

“I thought he wanted to join the program, what’s going on here?!” yelled The Warden.

I told her I couldn’t afford “The Program” and she suggested some type of payment plan. A payment plan that they really weren’t supposed to offer, but would make an “exception” in my case.

“If I’m that much of a catch, why the hell do I need these “ladies” to help me?” I thought.

“Look,” said The Warden ” how much do you have left over each month after paying you bills?”

“I don’t know, ” I said as my anxiety really starting kicking in. “about $100.”

“Well, there we go,” she said,” just put $1500, down and then pay $100 a month.”

“Great, then when you find me a woman, I’ll tell her we can go out as soon as my “Program” is paid off. ”

She ignored me and walked around preaching about true love and how money meant nothing and blah, blah, blah. I don’t know what she was saying, I stared out the window at a tree in the backyard and wished so much that I was that tree. Finally, there was silence and I could feel her staring at me while I had a nervous breakdown.

Then she sat down and I saw my chance. She started writing some numbers on a piece of paper, asking me what I thought about this figure or that figure. I stood up.

“Sit down Brian,” she said,” we’re making progress here.”

“No, that’s ok.” I said, shaking as my panic attack surged.

I reached for the door and she called my name again.

“I’ll talk to my dad,” I said, trying to keep her busy. ” Do you take American Express?”

“Yes, we do” she grinned as she responded.

“Shit…I mean, ok, let me talk to him.” I said.

“We can call him right now.” The sly Warden suggested.

“We can’t,” I said as I opened the door, “He’s…uh…umm…in a meeting!” I yelled triumphantly as I ran out of the room.


Lisa came out of an office across the hall and saw me running for the door. (I had to find the passage back to the place I was before, relax said the night man…never mind.) She waved and said, “Bye, Brian” and that was all. I guess I looked like I was in a hurry. “I’ll call you later” I shouted, just to keep her honest.

When I got to my car, it was kind of like a scene in a horror movie. That scene where the victim gets to their car and they can’t seem to get the keys to go into the door or the ignition. The car never starts right away either. I had some trouble getting in my vehicle, but it started fine. I felt that if I had stayed there another minute I would have seen the three of them bounding down the steps. First there would have been Lisa saying, “Hi,Brian,” then The Warden yelling “How about $850 down and $75 a month?” and the Gremlin Lady, in her David Johanson voice bellowing “We need you in the program!”

My brother is married and has two kids, that should be enough for my dad and my mom. These were my thoughts as I drove away. If it’s going to happen, I’m not sure I’m the one who will put the wheels in motion. There’s no need to mess with fate, she gets pissed when you do that anyway. I’m still very happily single. This story is true and only one name was changed to protect no one. The Warden and the Gremlin Lady are real people, not actors.


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Comedian Brian T Shirley has been in the Business for 20 + years. His act is derived from growing up poor, divorce, the USAF, partying, relationships, infomercial's, sports, and more. He has performed all over the U.S., Canada,The Bahamas and Japan. He also works Country Clubs and corporate events all over the U.S. He has done special engagements such as a tour of Japan to entertain the troops, opening for Huey Lewis and The News, The "Laughter for Love" benefit for Va. Tech, & a Country music festival for Dodge trucks. Brian has performed @ The Jokers Wild Comedy Club inside the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island,The Bahamas & for Carnival Cruise Lines. Brian is also a philosopher.he's written 2 books of wisdom &wise sayings called "Make Love Not Warts", and "Four Score and Seven Beers Ago..." (Which recently won the "Amazing Book Cover Art Award" in a contest sponsored by LeRue Press) BRIAN"S THIRD BOOK , "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Club" contains short stories about his life on the road as a professional comedian. Brian has created and hosts a WEB Series about being a stand-up comedian on the road called "BTS On The Raod" which can be seen on Youtube, American Hearts Radio WEB TV Network every Saturday @ 8 PM EST and in the online magazine No Strings Attached-E News. Brian's a weekly guest host on a segment called "BTS Entertainment Corner" on Janice Hermsen's radio program "What's The Story" every Friday @ 2:30 PM EST on Brian also co-hosts a monthly radio show on The Lina Jones Diamond Network called "The Lina and Brian Hour". Brian has done Voice over work for the award winning WEB Series "U.S.E." (2014) and the feature film "Inside Ben" (2016) and he's a main character in the animated feature "Professor Gravitron Saves The Universe" (2016).


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