Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Unforgettable Dating Moment

The moment our eyes met, a surging wave of emotions held me captive. My heart raced and palms began sweating as he walked towards me, slowly and with a tentative confidence. A clumsy grin on his face and hopeful twinkle in his eyes, he clearly felt the same. Slowly, his feet led him closer and closer to my table in the active café. Alas, he extended his hand, and with nothing more than a brief and lukewarm handshake, the moment had arrived. This was it. They say you just know these things, and I did. I knew he was it. He was the one: the one, the one hundred and fifty third blind date from hell.

It had all the makings: the internet photo of a man two decades younger, 50 pounds lighter, and with a full head of hair; the attempts at conversation comprising awkward tedious sound bites pre and post awkward tedious sound bites. As I pondered whether the photo I had delighted in was actually him or perhaps his son, or grandson even, he suggested we get in line for tea. I must admit, this one was truly different. He stepped in front of me without hesitation to order first. My turn came, and he watched with silent deliberation as the cashier charged me $1 for a cup of hot cocoa that would, in theory, sustain me. The clock ticked, but time stood still. The eager cashier extended her hand to receive the money. The dude looked towards me, a dumbfounded “What are you waiting for?” expression across his face. I furiously dug into my purse for one freaking dollar, one freaking lousy dollar, one freaking stinking lousy dollar! Chivalry was clearly dead.

Back at the table, we alternately glimpsed at our wristwatches every 8 minutes, or seconds, or so. I fantasized about being home alone, clipping my toenails with focus and precision. He opened his mouth to release a barrage of hypnotic verbiage, including his love for his mother, his dutiful dog Edgar, and all kinds of things I could not even begin to pretend to be remotely interested in. His cell phone rang. He took the call, smugly and without pause. The guy proceeded to make detailed plans for an upcoming fishing excursion, glancing at me intermittently with a look that said, “Aren’t I the coolest thing since Kool-Aid?” Moments became years, and he finally hung up, only to begin an excruciatingly specific monologue about his agenda for the weekend.

Luck was on my side, as I happened to notice I had a message on my cell. “Oh, you know, I have the ringer off, so I didn’t hear it. But I’ve been waiting on a call from my brother. He’s been having problems with his ovaries, I mean, uh, ulcers. It’s a bit of a tender subject, so you’ll have to excuse me while I step out to return the call.” I played frantic and distraught, not difficult under the circumstances. I grabbed my purse and jacket and walked away briskly.

I reached into my purse, where I would have had a cell phone had I carried one. I grabbed my car keys and made a mad dash to my Festiva. I never looked back and will never forget that moment.

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