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Dating, a Series: The Camel-napper

By: Brianna Weitz, Creative Director

My name is Brianna and I’m a serial bad dater. If you too, have had some bad dating luck, or your love life is amazing and you want to laugh at mine, read on. I know what you’re thinking: “But Brianna, if every date you go on is a mess of awkwardness and disappointment, couldn’t that mean you’re the common denominator? The problem, perhaps? Why are you still single?” It’s definitely not me. It’s them. The camel kidnapper. Let me tell you a story and you’ll see.

I grew up on the mean pastures of Matthews, North Carolina -- a town close enough to South Carolina to smell the belt-buckle polish and oozing disappointment of Gamecock fans. This is often a fact that need not be said, since as soon as I open my mouth and Larry the Cable Guy flies out, it becomes evident. You don’t get the joy of hearing my banjo-backtracked stories, so I thought I’d set the scene and make it impossible for y’all to continue reading this column in anything but a southern accent.

During my time in Richmond, I’ve tried to experience as much of this “northern” life as I could. This list includes -- but is not limited to -- getting my car stuck in snow, trying a pathetic concoction of iced tea and sugar these hellion retailers try and pass off as “sweet tea” and, of course, northern dating, thinking perhaps my luck would be better here.

Well, y’all, I was wrong.

I found myself in a local Starbucks face to face with a feller (we’ll call him Dale) I had met on Super Bowl Sunday. We had connected over all-you-can-eat chicken wings and the destruction of the Patriots and chose to continue that night a few days later. Our coffee connection was full of conversations about sports, family and the fact that I’d most likely have to teach him how to fish. Oh, and did I mention he was 31 years old? Imagine, a grown-a$! man that can’t fish, bless his heart. Our time together that day went well and, while I was still skeptical, I decided to see him again, despite his inability to bait a hook. One more thing about Matthews, North Carolina: it is a darn near requirement to know and love cars in my part of town. What I saw when I walked out to his car was borderline criminal, literally.

I sat in the passenger seat, looked up and witnessed this man brandishing a pair of rusty pliers. I swear to the good Lord my heart hit the floor. That was going to be how it ended for me, I just knew it. It was an episode of Dateline in progress.

He took the pliers and pulled out a metal rod that was still attached to the dashboard. I loudly asked him what the absolute heck he was doing as I frantically calculated my nearest escape route. He claimed the knob fell off and he needed to start his car. Yeah, right! I don’t know for sure, but all I’m saying is I watch Live PD and I know that’s some shady stuff.

This prompted a full-on investigation. Not to give away my secrets, but let’s just say I gained access to his record, completely legally. ‘Twas not what I saw on his record that’d scare the skin off a deer, but rather a news article that said he was associated with -- one might even say an accomplice to -- a crime. I kept reading.

Apparently, Papa Dale had purchased a camel named Jacob from Craigslist, which is shockingly completely legal. What’s NOT legal is malnourishing your camel and then causing a high-speed police chase through Chesterfield with your camel strapped in a trailer on the back of your truck, which is exactly what Papa Dale did.

The police showed up at his home on a welfare check and noticed Jacob was too skinny and was missing his hump. While Papa Dale swore the camel lost his hump from natural causes, experts disagreed. I know this from watching the multiple news videos from stations across Virginia that covered the story, featuring none other than my date, Dale, standing next to the trailer with Jacob inside. I’m no zoologist, but in my years, every camel I’ve encountered, which has been a surprising amount, has had a hump. So does the camel emoji. That’s three for hump and one against.

While the police were on their way back to repo the camel, Papa Dale kidnapped Jacob, shoved him in the back of a horse trailer, which was not camel sized, by the way, and took off down the highway. The police quickly caught the truck, camel in tow, going, um, 15 miles under the speed limit.

The fact that the truck struggled to tow the camel is almost as upsetting as the camel kidnapping.

I was on a mission to get Dale to admit to and elaborate on the camel-napping. I needed to know more. I brought up the casual, every day, topic of camels and, slicker than a pig in mud, I Youtubed a video of a camel and sent it. I tried to ask what his parents did. I asked if he had any pets. Did he like animals? Nothing. Until finally I received a picture. A picture of Dale and Jacob standing in his backyard, just smirking away. Naturally, I asked why he would have a selfie with a camel. To this day he sticks by his story that he just “happened upon a camel at a zoo and took a selfie.”

Absolutely not.

The story of Jacob has never been discussed between us, but, needless to say, we have since not seen each other again. Jacob spent some time at an animal conservation center to regain his health, and hump, and has since been adopted by a new family. As for me, I’m still single but happily not connected to any camel-nappings, or nappings of any kind. So the next time you come at me with the question, “Brianna, why are you still single?” think of Jacob, the humpless camel, and pray for me.

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