Sunday, July 23, 2017

The last date, or, "I don't get it. I'm a nice guy..."

O the other day, Captain Midnight, Miss V, my sister Jenny and I all went out for dinner to The Restaurant That Shall Not Be Named (not because it's Chez Voldemort, but because it was not in any way responsible for the events that follow). We were seated next to a couple on a date, and they were engaged in a spectacularly awkward conversation.

Well, I label it "conversation" in the broadest sense, as it was overwhelmingly one-sided. The guy dropped a metric ton of mansplaining about the meal, not stopping to consider that his date did not seem like an idiot and thus might be familiar with all the information he was firehosing in her direction. He talked nonstop about his place of business, badmouthing everyone who worked there and placing the blame for work-related screw-ups on everyone but himself. He sprinkled his comments with casual vulgarity. He packed all the audible space with his own thoughts and experiences, hardly letting the woman opposite him -- you know, the one he took out presumably so he could get to know her better? -- get a word in edgewise. And he made no attempt to pick up on his date's body language, which was a real shame as he could have learned a lot from it. She was as polite as her obvious discomfort with the situation would allow, but from my position I could see her hoisting the Oh Hell No Never Again flag and flying it boldly through the duration of the meal.

By the time the bill came, she already had her charge card in hand. Immediately she grabbed the black folder and slipped the card inside without bothering to check the total. (Hint, guys: this is the dating female's equivalent of gnawing off a limb to escape a trap.)

"Oh, I was gonna pay for that," said Mr. Everyone At My Work Is A Total Fricking Imbecile. Somehow he convinced her he should pay the bill, and eventually -- perhaps realizing she could at least salvage a free meal from the smoking debris of her Friday evening -- she let him. A few minutes later, they gathered up their things and made their exit (to separate cars, one hopes).

I waited until they'd left the building, and then: "Well, that was interesting," I said.

And that busted open a virtual piƱata of discussion at our table, because as it turned out, everyone had been listening to their conversation, astonished and slightly horrified at what was going on next to us.

I don't know if we witnessed their first date (it sure felt like one), but I'm certain it was their last. I'm also pretty certain that Mr. See, You Use The Eating Utensils Like This will have a mournful conversation with his favorite bartender next weekend. He'll nurse a beer, musing, "I just don't get it. I mean, you know me; I'm a nice guy. Why can't I ever get a second date?"

Mister, let me count the ways. I mean, we didn't actually catch you picking your nose and wiping it on your napkin, or letting a juicy fart fly in public, but those were about the only social faux pas you didn't commit. You are not a nice guy, you are a Nice Guy -- the kind of oblivious jerk who has to label himself as Nice, because no one else is keen to do it. Mutta.

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