August 3, 2007

Blind date

Oh my God.

That was my first thought when I spotted him across the street, walking toward me. I knew it was him. There was no mistaking it, but I was still praying that I was wrong.

I had agreed to meet one of the men I met online Friday night, despite the fact that I already knew I wasn’t interested. I figured I’d at least make a friend and have someone fun to hang out with. Nothing, however, could have prepared me for this.

We chatted on AIM Thursday night and agreed that I would call him (I didn't want to give out my number) Friday to let him know whether I’d be free that night. We'd been talking online for about two weeks, and he had sent me a photograph a while back, so I knew he was Indian.

It didn’t bother me – I’ve been infatuated with men of many different ethnicities over the years, but I made the mistake of assuming he was like them. Americanized.

He wasn’t.

I knew it as soon as I called – I was answered by a very thick accent. Very.

He was fresh off the boat, all right. And that's not a bad thing...unless I'm hoping to be attracted to you.

But what could I do at that point? By the time I had registered the fact that I had to decipher his every word, I already heard myself telling him I was free that night.

So it was settled. I would meet him in the village for dinner at 7:45 p.m.

The time came and went. He was still on the road. I waited. He was still trying to get there – did I know where 258 was? This wasn’t happening.

It’s one thing to have to wait for a date you’re excited to go out with. It’s another to have to wait for one you’re dreading. On top of that, he couldn’t understand my directions, and I was getting irritating.

“Go down 110 and make a right on Main Street,” I instructed calmly.

“What?! Whoa – you want me to come to your place?”

“No! Take a right on Main. Main street!”

So this brings us to me, watching him cross the street, an hour and a half later. I saw him from a distance. He was like a lanky ape, with his mouth hanging open, lumbering toward me.

I’ll skip the brutal details of dinner, and get to the point.

Yes, he bought me dinner. He called he gorgeous. He opened the door for me. But it was awkward, and I found myself watching the clock (conveniently hung on the wall opposite me) and stretching for something to talk about.

The point is, don’t go out with someone you don’t like. That “free” meal you’ll console yourself with later? It’s not really free – you paid for it with the hard work you put into acting like you didn’t want to run away all night. It was also work trying to think of a reason to skip drinks and head home early.

In the future, I screen all dates by phone before making plans.

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