Why? Why? Why? Why?
Last week, Brandon Vezmar was thrown into a social media shit storm. After going on a bad first date – which saw his partner text continuously through a 3D screening of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 – the 37-year-old decided to take legal action. In an extremely drastic act of revenge, Vezmar very publicly decided to sue the unidentified woman for $17.31: just enough to cover the cost of the cinema ticket. According to him, her behaviour was a “direct violation” of theatre policy, and “adversely” affected his movie-watching experience. According to her, she had her phone “low” and wasn’t “bothering anybody”. She has since added that his reaction was “crazy”.
“I love texting, probably too much,” Vezmar tells Dazed. “But here’s the deal: you don’t text in a movie theatre. If you do you’re a cretin.” Is this the level of petty we all aspire to be? Or is it all just pathetic to the extreme? Here, he attempts to explain his thought process.
Tell me about your date. Why exactly was it such a huge disappointment to you?
Brandon Vezmar: Whether or not a date works out, it rarely matters to me. Everybody’s different, and oftentimes we’re looking for different things. That’s fine. We all eventually get to where we’re going, and there are a million fun things to do along the way. What bothered me, what led to the lawsuit, is the disrespect I was shown in this particular instance. The story is really, really simple. I wanted to catch this movie. I asked someone to join me, and she said yes. We agreed to meet beforehand to chat over a slice of pizza, and we did. The traditional dating dynamic kicked in right away when she didn’t offer to pay for her food. I’m courteous; I sprung for it. After dinner, we drove to the theatre in one car. Shortly after the movie began she started texting. Much. I asked her to stop, politely, and she left without saying a word. She had the assumption, clearly, that because I’d purchased the movie tickets beforehand on Fandango that my life was one big gift to her. That's not the case.
“I don’t think suing her was a drastic action at all. I think the drastic element to the picture is the slow drip drip of these people ruining reality for the rest of us” – Brandon Vezmar
What made you decide to take legal action? Is that not a little extreme?
Brandon Vezmar: I don’t think suing her was a drastic action at all. I think the drastic element to the picture is the slow drip drip of these people ruining reality for the rest of us. It’s not just me. Everybody knows online dating has come to suck. Constant exposure to unaccountable, entitled strangers demoralizes a person. We all make an investment when we go out. It’s definitely time, sometimes its our feelings, sometimes it’s financial. In this case I was affected in all three areas. Don’t I have a right to be happy? Don’t I have a right to be treated with respect? I do, and so does everybody else.
This person believed wholeheartedly that I was buying a movie ticket for her, particularly one she could use to gain access to a theatre where she would text on her phone until she was virtually destroying others’ cinema-going experience. Her understanding of the situation, implicit only to her, was a false assumption. Perhaps men and women should start suing for cancellations, too. Let’s cement as implicit the understanding that just like in business late cancellations cost a person money. Is that not what time is? Just like the phenomena of texting in a theatre has probably been forever changed after what I did, I’ll bet the cancellations would slow to a trickle, too.
How did she react when she found out you were taking legal action after one date?
Brandon Vezmar: The idea that a man would call her to account was laughable to her. In our text message conversation I warned her I was going to take her to small claims court over her stubbornness and she replied, “Perfect!” My guess is once the story went viral she was devastated. So it goes.
I have to say that I was surprised, though I shouldn’t have been, at the tactics she used to try to weasel out of the public condemnation she received. It’s worth remembering the chronology of her excuses: 1) He made me feel “uncomfortable”. > 2) “Harassment!!!” > 3) Ok, I did it, but my friend was fighting with her bf. > Actually my friend was checking in on me, and it was only 3 texts. > Brandon sucks. The harassment allegation was particularly scary and hurtful. Harassment is serious stuff. That’s not what happened here, regardless of whether or not one thinks I was heavy handed by filing the lawsuit.
What’s been the outcome?
Brandon Vezmar: The outcome is that she settled on an excuse for her behaviour – my friend was checking in on me, and it was only three texts – and she gave me the money for the theatre ticket. So, apart from me tidying up a few rumours circulating online – basically the whole harassment allegation which the idiots at fake news Observer still have yet to retract – this is over and I’ve won a point for civilisation.
What do you hope your date learns from this?
Brandon Vezmar: Treat other people with respect and with dignity. I’ve been a hardass throughout this process because I needed to go up against some hard forces to get my point across. Fact is, this all started with me feeling demeaned. I was hurt. The far-left feminists must think that’s hilarious, a man who’s hurt. A handful of outspoken ones had fun trying to spin this into a story of a violent, fragile male ego run amuck. Yeah, when you treat us like shit it affects us, sadists. But I think now we’re even.
OK then. So can you describe your perfect date?
Brandon Vezmar: Friendship. The unfolding of friendship. Rapport and kindness, that’s all. Like a Richard Ashcroft album. I recall in a French new wave film a male character said of a beautiful woman, “She normal, and that’s rare.” I want to find that person.