Here’s my worst first date story: she told me she was lactose intolerant, but ordered the French onion soup. I thought, “How irresponsible.” Every woman I know has at least one horrifying dating disaster tale. Most women have multiple ones. They usually begin with “I met him on Match.com” or “He was the best friend of my second cousin’s college roommate” and end with a daring escape, a mad dash into a cab, and unhinged texts from the guy for the next two weeks.
My dating disaster stories are just… boring. Perfunctory, but very polite. We meet up, engage in small talk, split the nachos, and chew, chew, chew. Then a peck on the check. A bad date for me is like a scene from a Victorian period movie where the two English stiffs awkwardly masticate in total, deathly silence. If there’s no spark, there’s no spark. I’ve been on a bunch of first dates like these that are more drizzle than lightening bolt, about as romantic as two UN diplomats negotiating international policy. That’s as bad as it’s gotten. I’ve never had a woman show up rude, or utterly vapid, or a total train wreck. Sure, over time, they might have revealed themselves to be harridans, or banshees, or heart-charbroiling succubae. But the point is, the truth invariably came out while we were dating. Not on the first date.
Maybe women are better at first impressions then men.
I’ve heard stories about men that make me fear for my gender. I know for a true fact, through completely scientific means, that women talk about dates gone wrong with their girlfriends 38% of their time. (The other 62% of the time is spent talking about shoes, trifling female rivals, and sex. Some of you even speak of things called “books.”) There was my friend who went out with the investment banker who couldn’t get her name right and made the waitress cry. I’ve heard tales of wedding rings, body odor you could taste from across a table, and iPhones deployed in order to proudly show off pictures of hot babes who’d happily sampled the owner’s zipperwurst.
There are the nicknames: The Non-Stop Texter, Rapey Eyes, Mr. Mouth Breather. I don’t normally approve of nicknaming men, but these dudes deserved it. Then there’s my special friend who thought she was at the end of a fantastic date, making out with a handsome new man in his trendy loft on his comfortable, yet fashionably minimalist couch. Until, mid face suck, he whipped it out and began to give it a good strangle. I just don’t understand that last one. Sometimes I like to pretend I’m an FBI Profiler of Love, and get into the heads of dudes like that, to try to understand why he’d pull his penis out of his pants while making out on a first date. All I can come up with is, “Now! While her mind is clouded with passion… she will never notice me masturbating! It’s the perfect plan, boo-wah-ha-ha-ha-ha!”
When my friends tell me these stories, I feel like apologizing for my gender. And apologize I shall. Because I’ve been the disaster date. Never the victim, but the perpetrator. I’ve been a story told over mimosas to eye-rolling besties clucking disapprovingly. One doesn’t always get to be the hero of their own movie. Sometimes, one is the villain in someone else’s movie. Knowing this is the best cure to surrendering to the noise of these modern times and fully becoming a narcissistic douchebag.
She was out of my league, that was for sure. And not in a superficial way, though she was effortlessly gorgeous. Her s**t was just together. She was comfortable in her skin, and my skin was ill-fitting, thrift store tweed. I asked her out, even though I had no business asking anyone out. She was into me, and my ego overruled my heart, which had recently been stewed like a tomato, and my brain, which I had been marinating in whiskey for months. It was a dark time for the rebel alliance. I was in that terribly confusing demilitarized zone between the rebound that proves you’re not a deformed, unlovable homunculus and the point where you’ve completed your emotional molting and can safely rejoin the dating world.
We made a plan to see a movie in the afternoon. So the night before, I went on a bender. An epic, sloppy bender. Fires had to be put out, you understand. I grew gills and swam in an ocean of beer, like a lovelorn souse, and woke up the next afternoon an hour before show time. To say I was hung over is an understatement. My liver was sitting on the edge of my bed, smoking a cigarette and muttering to itself. I bolted for my date in the same clothes I had passed out in, not noticing the splatter of gyro sandwich goop on my shirt.
She had purchased the tickets, and patiently waited for me to zombie-shuffle into the theater ten minutes late. I bought her a box of chocolate-covered peanuts, and one very big bottle of water for myself, which I promptly drank in two great gulps. Lucky lady, she was going to the movies with an apprentice wino! Then I passed out during the movie and serenaded my date with rattling snores. Afterward, because I am capable of shame, I concocted some utterly absurd reason why I couldn’t have dinner. What was I supposed to say? “I can’t eat, because if I do, I will puke up my soul in a viscous, liquid form?” I can’t even remember what nonsensical excuse I came up with, maybe I’m blocking it out. What an inconsiderate jerk I was. We don’t talk much. Which is totally understandable.
So, that’s my dating disaster story. Pick you up at 7?