Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Worst Date

Jenny Slate recently recounted her worst date experience ever on a podcast with Sam Fragoso, who provided a transcript to Nylon.  It’s a pretty remarkable story, one so cringe-worthy that even the writers for The Office would find it over the top.  (Well, the writers from the Mike Schur era, at least.  After that all bets are off.  Good lord, “Scott’s Tots” is still just the worst.)

Anyway, reading this article inevitably puts one in mind of their own worst first date, and mine is pretty easy.  Now, to be technical, should we be calling these (both Slate’s story and my own) “first” dates when they’re actually the only dates we had with these people?  “First” implies at least one more, right?  “Worst” date, no question, but “first” is an improper usage.  Then again, it’s not like I get many second dates, so boo to me.

Okay, so my worst date came via an online dating site.  Let’s call the woman in question Sandra, for the sake of anonymity.  Sandra’s profile was well-written (big plus for me) with actual proper spelling and grammar (BIG plus), and we seemed to share a lot of common interests and a common sense of humour.  Plus, she actually responded to my initial message, proving that even a broken clock like me is right twice a day!

We set up a dinner date at a local restaurant, and we mutually arrived five minutes early.  Over-punctuality, nice!  All seems well until her phone rings as soon as we sit down, and she apologizes about “needing” to take the call.  I say no problem, thinking what harm could it be.

Anyway, this call proceeds to go on for at least FIFTEEN MINUTES.  I kid you not.  It seemed like kind of a heated discussion so I tried not to listen in, and thus the wallpaper next to our table got a good stare for the next little while.  (A quarter of an hour, to be specific!) 

Sandra finally ends the call and apologizes profusely, saying it was her mother on the other end.  Without wanting to be nosy but, feeling that the sheer length and clearly heated tone of the call demanded some acknowledgement, I asked what was wrong, or maybe even something as innocuous as “nothing serious, I hope.”  This led to another solid 15 minutes of her describing the issue at length.  As I recall, it involved her mother getting re-married, she and her sister were both co-maids of honour, and either Sandra supported the marriage and her sister didn’t, or it was the other way around.  You’d think I would remember a notable detail like that except I think by this time, the blood was pouring out of my ears. 

Now, we did manage to order in between the call and her extended rant, so at least I wasn’t sitting there starving.  But almost the moment she concluded her explanation about the call, the wedding situation and essentially a detailed history of her family, Sandra’s phone rang once again.  This time it was the sister calling, and of course, she just had to answer.  I once again say no problem, though by this point, I’d mentally checked out on this date about five times over.  This was another marathon call, even longer than the first.  Must’ve been easily 20 minutes, maybe even closer to thirty.  Sandra left the table at one point so as to make less noise (or perhaps to hear more clearly) in the crowded restaurant, and I could see her outside on the patio area, gesticulating away.  Apparently she’s the type that makes big sweeping arm gestures when talking, which I now discovered once she was free of the confines of this fine eating establishment.

On the plus side, the food was good. 

Once that call finally wrapped up, Sandra came back in, apologized again, and said we should probably call it a night as she had more wedding stuff to get settled that evening.  It’s worth adding that she seemed legitimately chastened about all this phone business and she was aware that the evening had been a bust, so it was pretty unfortunate.  She promised to message me on the dating site again once things were “less crazy” in her life.  I was lukewarm about ever getting that message anyway, though as it turns out, I never heard from Sandra again. 

“Mark, is it possible she made this whole scenario up, in order to get out of the date?”

First of all, gee thanks.  Am I that repulsive at first sight?  I wore a 75% wrinkle-free shirt and everything!  To address the question, no, this would take some pretty elaborate performance skills to carry on two elongated phone conversations, not to mention her whole story connecting the two in between the calls.  Again, this was easily over an hour of talking.  If you’re going to make up an excuse to get out of a date, you wouldn’t spend that much time backing up your story. 

So that was it, my worst date.  On my next date (which actually led to a relationship of over a year), my first question to her was “you don’t have a sister named Sandra, do you?”

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