Many Moons Ago…
I was nervous. It had been seven years since I’d been on a date, and things seemed much different now. I’d come out of a long-term relationship a while ago, and it was time to get back in the game. The café was about half-full. A youngish guy in his early twenties was idly stroking the hand of a woman at the table next to me. He had a bored, half-lidded look on his face. He jerked his head slightly in my direction, and we exchanged knowing smirks. Yeah. I was back in the game. Cooler than cool. It was fitting that my first date would be here, my regular Starbucks. I’d read recently that home court advantage was important. I was pretty sure it had been an article on dating. Or was it that article on the Raptors chances in the playoffs? Hmmm. It didn’t matter. I forced myself to smile and slowly fixed my coffee.
“I’m the coolest guy in the world.” I muttered to myself. “I. Am. The Man!”
I turned and nearly spilled my drink.
“Uhhhh. Hi, Kim. Can I get you a coffee?” I said.
She looked down at the coffee in her hand.
“No. I’m okay.”
Kim was tall, with short blonde hair and an easy smile. I had met her a week ago, and that night the conversation had seemed easy. But as we sat down at an empty table, I found myself drawing a blank. What should I ask her? I closed my eyes and tried to calm my nerves. I hadn’t called any of my female friends for advice because I was sure that it would just confuse me and then I would say something really stupid. Kim didn’t know that she was my first date in eight years, and I wasn’t going to give THAT tidbit away. I had to be sure about our future first. Be patient. I took another deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Much better.
“So you work at a high school?” She said, raising her cup to her lips.
Why did she ask me about my job? Didn’t I already tell her where I work?
“Yes. I work with developmentally disabled students.”
“But you’re not a teacher.”
I shook my head.
“Still, that must take some patience.”
“How long have you been doing it?”
Again! What is this, a date or an interview? Maybe I should have filed an application first...
I snorted under my breath and buried my face in my coffee.
Nice? All she can say is 'nice'? What does that even mean? That it's acceptable but not great or that it's really swell in a different way than what I think it means, as in, its a good enough job for me to be datable?
She put her coffee down and with an excited look on her face told me about her job with the government.
“And next year they’re sending me to Japan for five months. How great is that?”
“Good? Are you kidding? I love this. Every Friday we all gather after work we all dress up, go out for martinis… talk about the week… I love it!”
“Hmmm. It sounds like you’re happy.” I said, in a slightly disapproving tone. “But is this what you really want to do?”
I found it difficult to believe that someone could be that happy working for the government. She looked at me as if I hadn’t been listening.
“This is my dream! It’s great!”
I nodded gravely, and gave her a faintly condescending smile. If only she had my wisdom, I thought, reassured by the noticeable absence in her life. Pah! The government? Enjoying her job?! As if THAT was enough. I obviously had something to offer her, something very real and very important.
Still, maybe she could be my next wife. I studied the small dimple in her left cheek, the way her left eyelid didn’t seem to open all the way, giving her face a smoldering, sensual tilt. And I liked her laugh. Soft and firm at the same time. It was time to tell her.
“Did I tell you that you’re my first date in seven years?”
Her face twitched for a second.
“No.” She said finally. “That’s… interesting.”
I barely heard her response as I launched into a description of my last relationship. I asked her a few personal questions along the way, but only to enough for her to acknowledge what I’d said before skimming along again into another vignette from my life. When I finally looked at my watch, I realized it was eleven o’clock. We’d talked for three hours.
I felt a strange rumbling in my stomach as I walked her outside to the edge of the snow-covered parking lot, as if I’d missed something or done something horribly wrong. I shook my head at the annoying thought.
“Hey, listen. I’ll call you tomorrow." I said. "We can make plans for the weekend.”
Her mouth twisted downwards. She must be cold, I thought. I gave her a hug, but she was stiff in my arms. Good heavens, she must be really cold.
“Well, I know you’re cold, so I’ll let you go. See you tomorrow!”
She made a funny motion with her hands and looked like she was going to say something before nodding quickly and running to her car. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Women were just no good in the cold. I waved one last time before heading back into the café to get my things.
One of the baristas approached me when I came inside. She had a strange smile on her face.
“How was the date?” She asked.
“Sounded like she was grilling you. Every time I walked by, you were talking and she had this dazed, almost dreamy look on her face. Like she was sad or something?”
“Uh, no. I don’t think so.”
I suddenly realized that my throat hurt. All the way out to my car I thought about my date, and our conversation. It was weird, but I still couldn’t remember a thing she’d said. Of course, I couldn’t remember what I’d said, either. Still, it’d been so long since I’d been on a date, I wasn’t sure if this was normal or not.
No worries, I thought. I. Am. The Man!
Kim didn’t return my calls the next day, or the day after that. For the next two weeks, I tried to call, but she never did get back to me. It was very odd. It didn’t occur to me that I’d done something wrong until I told one of my friends about it.
I think he’s still laughing…
Thinking back, it probably ranks as the worst date of my life. However, I’ve been doing dumb things with the opposite sex for a long time.
What about you? Can anyone relate to my ridiculous (and true) story? What’s your most humiliating date story? Post it or email it to me and I will post our tales of relational ineptitude. (I'll post it anonymously if you like) Learning to laugh at our own silliness brings people together and helps us move forward, especially for us dorks. We’d love to hear your story…