Saturday, February 18, 2006

Worst Date Ever

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A Three Hour Torture...the Gilligan Saga

I had been really bummed out about an intense relationship that had ended a few months previously. On the advice of a friend, I perused some personals ads on a free site, and answered the ads of one or two guys who seemed interesting and above all, intelligent but also fun. One of them was "Bob". His ad was short but well-written and made me chuckle, so I wrote to him. He wrote back, we exchanged three or four longish emails, and I learned that he played guitar, worked in a library and was all around intellectually stimulating, well-read and a little adventurous, from various things he'd said (nothing overt, just how you can sense a person's personality coming through in various stories they tell). We wanted to seize the warm spring weather to go kayaking on a local river, but it suddenly turned cold and we decided not to risk it.
The metropolitan area we both live in has an awesome film festival every year, and this year was "From Beijing to Bollywood". As I've lived in both India and China, and was well-versed in the various films coming out of both countries and am interested in the arts in general, I invite him to attend an Indian arthouse film of limited release being shown. He seems artistically inclined as well so I figured it would be a good fit, and he was quite eager to go.
I was upfront with him that I am "curvy" (that means chubby, but not fat), and he was honest that he was rail-thin, and neither of us seemed to care. We exchanged pics. He seemed OK, in that I thought he might grow on me.
I had relatives in town that day and cut off my stay with them early to go to the theater to meet this guy, far away from a metro station but not impossible to reach by public transport. I suddenly had a very "bad feeling" about it all and wanted to be back with my fun cousins and uncles and aunts, sitting around the lobby bar of a fancy downtown hotel drinking, nice and arm and not out in the rain waiting for a bus to meet a guy I didn't even know.
I got to the theater a few minutes late and he was outside under the marquis. "You're late," he said, but I wasn't really listening. I was rather gawking - at the fact that he looked exactly like an anorexic Gilligan from "Gilligan's Island", which hasn't even been in reruns since I was a kid. HE WAS EVEN WEARING THE FISHERMAN'S HAT! Did he really think it was good to ACCENTUATE this? He was much thinner than he'd said, and that annoyed me because I'd been honest. I've dated skinny guys before and it wouldn't have been a problem if he hadn't lied, and only sent a head shot.
He had bought tickets - and by that I mean his ticket. "You better get yours, they said a minute ago they'd sell out soon, we don't want to miss the show. Especially because it's raining," he said to me.
Now I don't expect the guy to pay. When he does, that's nice and I take it as a compliment that I was worth it, and that he wants to impress me. But I won't make a big deal over paying my share and if I like the guy, I'd still see him again. But to KNOW I might not get a ticket, but still not buy it for me? Jeez. Id've offered to pay for dinner or something!
I saw some good friends of mine in the back, and really he and I were some of the only non-desis in the theater so it wasn't hard for them to spot me and wave me over. I went, said hi, explained I was actually with someone else but I'd catch up with them later. When I came back, I told him who they were and that I was really close with them, how it was nice to see them. "Hmph," he said. Okay...hmph.
After the movie, there's a question-and-answer session. I ask the director, in town as a special guest, a question. He just stares at me like I'm a freak. My friend's friend asks about the costume/makeup and how come the woman in the village had perfectly trimmed eyebrows, etc.. Sure, it was a silly question, but she did have a point. Even if she hadn't, I was really annoyed when my date whispered to me "Jeez, [I wish she'd] shut the hell up, how stupid is that..." A guy who doesn't know anything about Indian cinema to begin with!
"I didn't get any of that," he said as we left. "Kind of a boring movie." The director was within earshot. I tried to explain a few various themes to him, but he kept dismissing it with a harshly toned "I didn't see any of that. You're just trying to make excuses for a bad movie." OK, fine. You are free to think that and I am free to think you're wrong. But you could be polite about it...especially on a first date.
We go to eat nearby as he didn't drive in. Soaking wet, we sit down and order. It's a diner-type place so I get a chicken pot pie. "I thought you were a vegetarian," he said. "Why would you think that?" "Well, India, China...eastern know...lots of hippies go there, mostly vegetarians."" In fact Chinese cuisine is heavily reliant on meat, especially pork. It's very hard to be vegetarian in most of China." I went on a little more about how monks in China manage it and the various implications of the Chinese word for "vegetarian", figuring it was a good topic for intelligent discourse. "Well a lot of people have dietary preferences but there's no reason to go on about it. I don't care what you eat."Okkaaay...I was pissed now. "I was 'going on about' cultural mores, not just dietary preferences." We ate mostly in silence after that. On the metro back he turns to me and says "I had a good time. You seem like the sort of girl who can look forward to meeting new people on a whim, but I'm not. Even if I have fun, I don't always look forward to it. So I was pleasantly surprised. " Ummm....right. Bye. Fortunately he never called and I certainly didn't contact him.