By now you’ve probably heard about Brandon Vezmar, the raging lunatic in Austin, Texas, who’s trying to ruin dating for straight men everywhere.
For those unfamiliar, Vezmar outed himself as certifiably insane last week when he sued a woman for $17.31 for texting during a showing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The story quickly went viral, and Vezmar was applauded for defending the sanctity of the theater-going experience. The A.V. Club called him a hero, and James Gunn, the man who wrote and directed the film, joked that the women deserved more than a nominal civil penalty.
But a subsequent interview with Texas Monthly revealed Vezmar isn’t the noble crusader the media initially made him out to be. Not by a long shot. It turns out that Vezmar didn’t file the lawsuit because he was distracted by the soft blue glow of some random woman’s phone; he filed the lawsuit because he was on a date with the woman, and his ego was crushed when she decided to end it early.
The woman in question said that she ended the date prematurely because Vezmar made her “extremely uncomfortable.” It’s not entirely clear what Vezmar did to creep her out, but it doesn’t really matter. Her decision seems more than justified given how insane Vezmar has acted since the incident. He sent Facebook messages to all of her friends so he could serve her with the suit, and has publicized their text message exchanges on Twitter.
“He has escalated the situation far past what any mentally healthy person would,” the woman told a local news station. “I feel sorry that I hurt his feelings badly enough that he felt he needed to commit so much time and effort into seeking revenge. I hope one day he can move past this and find peace in his life.”
Oh, but it gets worse. Here’s Vezmar explaining his actions and feelings to Texas Monthly:
“I purchased these movie tickets in advance because the movie was sold out, or selling out, everywhere. This was one of the last places I could get tickets. So out of convenience, I purchased two tickets in advance on Fandango. I think the implicit understanding on her part — in fact, I know — was that this was a date, the ticket was a gift, and she didn’t owe anything. That was an assumption she made, because she believes that those are the rules of the game. She has taken advantage of that. She’s taken advantage of someone else’s courtesy and generosity.”
Implicit in Vezmar’s statement is that he expected something in return for paying for the tickets, and that he wouldn’t be pursuing legal action had the woman seen the date through to its end. It’s shitty to do a minor favor for someone and then lord it over them demanding some kind of reciprocal action. That’s not generosity; it’s manipulation.
If you’d like to pay for a woman’s companionship, hire a prostitute, establish a sugar dating arrangement or book the VIP room at your local strip club. (You’ll need more than a measly $17, though.)
But paying for a date entitles you to nothing. You enter the date with the shared understanding that both parties are there willingly and can get up and walk out whenever they please. If you decide to pony up for the meal, or the movie tickets, or whatever other expenditures may arise, you do so knowing there’s a risk the other person may still not like you and want to make an early exit. Otherwise it’s not a fucking date — it’s attempting to trap someone.
This quid-pro-quo thinking is the exact bullshit that make women so reluctant to accept date invitations in the first place, let alone let the guy pay for their share.
But Vezmar makes it even worse, insisting that he was a perfect gentleman, and that the woman had a great time, in fact:
“I don’t know that this was a bad date for her. I think that this was probably a really great date for her. I was really nice. She seemed to be having a great time up until the point when I asked her to stop texting. I bought her pizza, drove her car — I thought that this was a fun, nice date. I wasn’t actually interested in seeing her again very early on, but she was nice, the conversation was light. I felt comfortable continuing the date. I don’t think that this was a bad experience for her. I think this was a bad experience for me. I think what’s a bad experience for her at this point is being held responsible for her bad behavior. And I don’t think she’s handling that very well.”
You’re the one suing her for less than $20, and she’s not handling it well?!
What the fuck, man?
Vezmar has engaged in an assortment of dating behaviors that range from annoying to predatory — not picking up on a woman’s obvious discomfort, responding to her rejection with aggression, shifting blame to her from himself, invalidating her feelings, mansplaining to her how she should feel and then publicly shaming her about the whole thing on social media.
If you’ve ever thought it unfair that some women assume the worse of men, and stiffen up when you approach them at a bar, or “cock-block” you from flirting with their friend, or question your motives; if you’ve ever insisted you’re “one of the good ones” and grown frustrated that more women won’t give a chance to a nice guy like you, you should realize that it’s because of shit like this.
Vezmar fancies himself some kind of quasi-MRA crusader, standing up to all the women who want to just take a man’s money and not be held “responsible” for doing so.
“Perhaps this is me assuming that empowered women are now playing by the new rules, which is personal responsibility,” Vezmar told Texas Monthly.
But he’s really making dating worse, for himself and for everyone else.