I went on a date a while back with a guy that I met at a bar. I met him on the last night that I ever let Mr. Wrong crush my ego. I was so drunk and so crushed that I cried in the bathroom of a restaurant while my friends were sipping at their drinks. I wholeheartedly sobbed, reeling from the harsh words that had been directed towards me, and flailed about in my fear that I had deceived myself into thinking that someone would actually be interested in me.
Needless to say, I was vulnerable. Some guy at the bar started chatting with me, telling me I was beautiful, asked me out to dinner, and I might even have drunkenly made out with him in the middle of the bar. After subsequent phone conversations, we made plans for dinner the following weekend. I was excited to have a bona fide date - a date for which I needed to preen.
As for the date: Originally he was going to pick me up from my place, but then thought it would be better if I took public transportation. I took a bus quite a ways out, and he picked me up at the bus station. He honked the horn when he pulled up to the bus station. I climbed into car, and as with most of my romantic encounters, felt a wave of regret.
We arrived at the restaurant at the geriatric meal time of 5:45 p.m. The restaurant was in the suburbs of the city and I thought I had walked onto the set of an 80s hair band video. We sat down to eat and ordered wine. I love red wine and felt a little thrill when he ordered the zinfandel. Such a delicious red wine, California zinfandel. Except the wine that came out was bright pink. I've had my fair share of white zin in my life, and I'm not an elitist, so I sipped at my white zin.
"Do you like your wine?" he asks.
"Yeah, it's nice," I say lamely.
He sipped at it, making small smacking noises with his mouth. "Tastes like Beringer's. Kinda dry. Sutter Home is sweeter."
I was speechless. It's one thing to be unpretentious about wine, it's quite another to pretend to be a wine aficionado and say the equivalent of, 'Well, I can tell that it comes from a bottle and not a box.'
I try to get through dinner but I had long decided that this would not happen again. It was painful. We tried several attempts at conversation, but I found themto be unsuccessful. For instance, he unveiled his brilliant theory that NONE of us are actually American, because we're not Cherokee, or Navajo and they're the only REAL Americans, the rest of us are from somewhere else. "So none of us are actually American," he concluded, citing several TV shows he'd watched on the subject. Then he ended triumphantly: "See? I didn't need to go to college to be smart."
At the end of dinner he suggested we go to a bar for a drink. I agreed, hoping that at least I'd be out in the city somewhere where other people would be, and maybe there'd be a good band or a pool table or SOMETHING to make the night better. Where does he tell me he's taking me?
At this point I decide I need to reel him in. I told him that I was new to the city, and that I could go to an Applebee's ANYWHERE. I wanted to go to cool neighborhood, IN the city, somewhere we could sit down and chill out, like a neighborhood bar. He looked at me nervously as I was saying this, dumbfounded, and then finally stuttered, "Well, we can just, you know, TRY it, and if you don't like it we can go somewhere else." He could not comprehend why I'd object to Applebee's for an after-dinner drink. At 7 pm on a Saturday night.
So I went. And I was home and in bed, gratefully all alone, by 9 pm.
And that was the last time I went on a date.