Monday, May 30, 2011
I Was Someone's Date From Hell
I should have told this story to my friends 1000 times in the 24 years or so since it happened, but I swear to no God I forgot all about it. This is a true story, every incredibly embarrassing word of it.
When I was 18 I was working, to nobody's surprise, at a Radio Shack at the North Shore Shopping Center in Peabody, Massachusetts. Across the hall and one store over from the Shack there was a record and tape store (yes, records and tapes - kids, googlewiki it) called Musicland. I think they folded into Sam Goody or some similar franchise, but no matter, no matter. More to the point, the girlies at Musicland would come visit us, and we, them. In return for a steady supply of pretty much whatever they needed under $10, they'd copy pretty much any album they had for us. They were cool and for a bunch of Shackies, that was important.
Well I was sweet on one of the girls in there, the assistant manager, whose name I can no longer recall. And I decided that seeing as I was an adult now, all of 18 hormonal years old, that I would no longer admire any damn body from afar; if I wanted something, I would simply ask for it. It was a moderately successful formula that summer. I did better than, say, Bob Ueker but not as well as Ted Williams (in other words, me asking someone for a date, and getting one, happened more often than twice out of ten tries, but less than four out of ten).
Anyway I decided that I wanted a date with this girl (maybe Julie? Julia? Judy? Something like that I think). So I asked.
And got rejected.
So I asked again. And again. And again.
And got rejected, again and again and FUCKING AGAIN. It started getting pathetic, and I did nothing to dispel that perception. The next time I asked, I actually said these words: "Aww, come on, pleeeeeease??" And she finally said yes. I suspect that instead of my slightly goofy, playful charm getting the better of her, she started getting genuinely concerned that I would find her outside of work and chop her into small pieces while muttering, "shoulda said yes...shoulda said yes...shoulda said yes..." Either way, from a strict results standpoint my gambit succeeded; I hate a date with what's-her-face.
We went to the pub three stores down from where we worked (I know: smooth, Gary, really smooth). She was around 22 and I was a freshly-minted 18, relying on a moustache and beard to convince the bartenders that I was of age. I did end up getting busted and banned from that joint, but thankfully not this night. No, this night would end up distastrous all on its own, without having to rely on the Massachusetts Alcholic Beverage Commission to fuck things up.
She didn't really like me much, this girl - let's call her Julie, I think that was her name, or something close to it - and agreed to go on this date on the express condition that this would the the first and last date we two would ever have. In fact, her one condition when I spilled out my "aww, please" line was "Just ONE date?" and she only said yes after I confirmed the non-repetitious nature of the evening.
I've been told that some girls go out on dates with guys they don't much like in the hopes that during the date they'll find something in common, or their pheromones will drive each other crazy and they'll end up fucking like jackrabbits, or something, some potential that they hope for. In this case I'm convinced that she went on this date only because she was sure we'd never go out again and all this nonsense about me begging her for a date would go away permanently.
So we sit at the bar and order drinks. Now, my friends and family know of me that I'm not a drinker, but she didn't know it, and right exactly then I was thinking with the head that didn't know it either. Let's-call-her-Julie was a good and practiced drinker, and thought nothing of knocking a bunch of them back without that much disruption in The Force.
I made the fatal mistake of trying to impress her by keeping up with her.
And 45 minutes in to the date, this date in which I had a .00000375 percent chance of scoring a second date going in, I was sloppy drunk, laughing at my own jokes, nearly falling off my barstool twice, asking her what it was about me that made the thought of bedding down with me so abhorrent, and trying to kiss her, and missing by a good two feet.
The evening was over for me before the mall locked its main doors at 10:30, so that means the date lasted less than 90 minutes before it degenerated so far that she just told me to fucking leave.
If it is any consolation, she probably remembers this date with greater clarity than I do. The fact that I was pretty solidly drunk added to the fact that I didn't remember it until basically now, but mostly it's because it was so damned embarrassing.
I never did score a second date with let's-call-her-Julie; in point of fact we two never spoke again. But remembering this story was really good for me. It let me know that which I did not know before, namely this: I was someone's date from hell. When date-from-hell stories are swapped around the table at some Mexican restaurant, around a pitcher of Margaritas and a basket of tortilla chips that they're all ignoring, let's-call-her-Julie will take a big sip of her drink and say, "Oh - I got one for you," and shudder, as she thinks of me.
Hey, at least she's thinking of me, 24 years later. That's not creepy, is it?