I was at a party the other night listening to a woman my own age describing what is perhaps the worst date of which I have ever heard. It had everything: lack of manners, inappropriate comments, disgusting revelations, and the whole gamut of deplorable behaviors sometimes exhibited by my gender. I was honestly appalled that anything like that could happen. While I'd love to recount the experience, I certainly wouldn't do it justice, and I don't think I could finish this post before I collapsed into fits of laughter.
So instead, I can describe the worst date to which I have every subjected anyone...
I had been eyeing this girl most of the summer. In retrospect, my advances were CLEARLY unrequited, but I was blissfully oblivious. So, in August, I asked her out, and planned, in great detail, an evening to remember. The date even coincided with my 24th birthday.
Hence begins an infamous evening. First off, I arrived at the door with flowers (yes, a bit much for a first date, I know.) We then took off to this wonderful little Italian bistro recommended to me. As we approached the intersection nearest the restaurant, my wonderfully vintage 1985 Mercedes (eg., old) began to sputter and lurch unexpectedly, dying at the stop light. I said a quick prayer, willing my car to NOT die on this evening of all evenings. The car started back up, but as I begin the turn into the parking lot, it gave up again, this time entirely.
Clearly flustered and baffled, the date and I did a "Chinese fire drill", where she ended up in the driver's seat, and I ended up in the back, pushing. Outfitted in my finest "smart casual" clothing I strained against the weight of 2 tons of German over-engineering as she guided the car about 50 yards, past the restaurant, to the parking lot in the rear. Sounds embarrassing, doesn't it? Well, now consider that the restaurant offered wide expanse of cozy patio seating, and I was actually pushing my vintage car past about 20 diners in various stages of dinner.
I was determined to not let the car troubles ruin the evening; we went into the restaurant and had a relatively enjoyable meal with the typical level of awkward first date conversation. Throughout dinner, I had been praying that the car would start working again, and my prayers were answered about an hour later. At this point, you might think that I would take the hint that the night was not to be, but instead, I a soldiered on with post dinner plans. What I didn't count on, though, was that my car would again die, about 3 blocks from my house, in the busiest intersection of my college town.
This time, three guys took sympathy on me rushed into the street to push my car into a nearby parking lot. Finally resigning my car to its non-functioning state, I searched the car frantically for my cell phone, but then remembered that I hadn't brought it! I had been so petrified of committing that most grievous of date sins by using my cell phone, that I had left it at home. (Yes, this was a moment of brilliance on my part.) So, we went into Ruby Tuesday's where I explained that no, I didn't need a table, just to use their phone.
I called my apartment. My roommate came and picked us up (thank goodness he was home!) We drove back to her house, me in the back, and her in the passenger seat. At this point, I think she took pity on me, because she volunteered to go back to my place and watch a movie. So, we sat, and watched, on two separate sides of the couch, Ocean's 11. I definitely was not channeling the rat pack that night. At the end of the movie, I walked her down to her car where we shared an awkward hug. And, despite it all, despite the fact that fate had clearly spoken ... I asked if I could see her again.