Monday, November 03, 2008


As long as we're hanging out here in the way-back machine, how about one more story of social ineptitude from days long gone? I assure you, I won't spend the whole month on these. (I couldn't if I tried--late bloomer, remember?) But I do have at least one more.

Saturday I told you about the one and only "official" date I had in high school. Today I thought I'd tell you about the one and only "official" date I had in college. Yep. Two dates in all of high school and college. You totally wish you were as smooth and popular as me.

It was in my fourth year of college, also known as "my first senior year." (I had two of them. No shame in the five-year plan, I say.) It was Homecoming weekend, and I had been out at some terrible bar with a group of so-called friends who managed to lose me in a suffocating crowd of sweaty, drunken boys in baseball caps. When I finally gave up on finding them again, I left the bar by myself and started walking back towards my dorm. I got about a block before I decided I really didn't feel like walking home alone very late at night with very many shots of Schnapps in me. (Yes, Schnapps. Clearly dating wasn't the only area in which I had no idea what I was doing back then.) I knew that a friend of mine with an off-campus apartment had hosted a party that night, so I decided to call over there to see if there was anyone sober enough to come and pick me up. This was in the days when cell phones were the size of a Chipotle burrito and were owned only by girls with rich fathers who instructed them to keep the phone in their glove compartment and use only in case of emergency. Hence, I popped into McDonald's to use the pay phone. (Remember pay phones? Remember when we actually had to memorize our friends' and family members' numbers in case we needed to use a pay phone? Ah, what a crazy world it was back then.)

I managed to get a hold of my friend Tracy, who assured me that her roommate's best friend was sober and would swing by in her aqua Geo Storm to get me in just a few minutes. (Do you remember Geo Storms? I think they were about as durable as a Happy Meal toy, but I loved that car anyway.)

Have you noticed that so far this story has absolutely nothing to do with any dates? Huh. I noticed that, too. Moving on.

While I waited in the entryway to McDonald's, I noticed that a friend of mine from my Creative Writing class the previous year was sitting in the restaurant. She waved at me enthusiastically, and I went over to say hello. She was there with her brother, a guy named Patrick who I later found out lived in the same giant house diced up into efficiency apartments in which I'd been hanging out earlier that same day. (It was too bad I didn't know Patrick several hours sooner, as the friend of mine who lived there turned slightly sketchy and inappropriate while two friends and I were hanging out with him that afternoon, and it might have been nice to have a nearby place to which to escape. But that's a story for another time, as I'm already on a "story within a story within a story" roll here.)

ANYWAY, Patrick and I didn't talk for particularly long, and given that I was only slightly more experienced at that point than I was when I didn't realize a teddy bear and a rose on Valentine's Day meant I probably had a boyfriend or at least an admirer, it didn't even occur to me that Patrick had any interest whatsoever in me. That is, until a few days later, when Jenny, the friend from Creative Writing (who'd never actually been a "phone friend" before) called me and awkwardly asked what I thought of her brother. Apparently he'd asked questions about me after I left, and she said she would talk to me and see if I'd be OK with her giving him my number.

You know, it occurs to me only now, seven paragraphs down the long and winding road that is this post, that I believe I've actually written about this date once before. Hold on a minute; let me check. Yep. I did. Two and a half years ago. (Anyone pass the reading comprehension and retention test on this one?)

Know how I found that so quickly? I searched for one word: Gizzards.

Allow me to summarize this date for those of you who don't feel like clicking that link to go back and read the original post. Patrick was a perfectly nice young man whom I probably could have gone out with any number of times. Since we went out only once, however, and since I never really got to know him very well, the bizarre and amusing details from that date are all I choose to remember at this point. Which details are those? I'm glad you asked.

On our one and only date, my friend Jenny's brother Patrick...

  • Took me to a restaurant with a fiberglass chicken on the roof.

  • Ordered a side of gizzards at said restaurant with the chicken on the roof.

  • Enthusiastically explained Internet message lists to me, in the context of telling me about the 500 messages he received each day regarding Babylon 5.

  • Cried out, "SING IT, DOLORES!!" when a Cranberries song came on the juke box in a bar.

It's a wonder I didn't snag that guy up, right?

I kid, I kid. As I said, in all, he was not that abnormal. I'm sure some other less nervous girl probably fell into easy conversation with him and knew exactly how dates were supposed to work and the two of them hit it off just fine. In fact, I'm pretty sure he found some other girl not too long after our single, awkward date, because I saw him one Saturday afternoon a few months later at the discount department store where I worked part time. I was at my usual post behind the jewelry counter, and he didn't see me as he hurried over to the registers. I got a good enough look to see what he was purchasing, however: a new set of sheets and two pillar candles and nothing else. I may have been naive, but I was pretty sure what that meant. I hope he and his new lady friend had a lovely time.


3carnations said...

New sheets and a candle. You sure missed out. Heh.

Do people like candles as much as they used to? I used to light them constantly, but gave up on them years ago. Between a child and a wagging cat's tail, they just seemed dangerous.

flurrious said...

I like gizzards, although I can see where that would be off-putting on a first date. "Yes, m'lady will have the liver and onions, and I will have the animal's remaining internal organs."

lizgwiz said...

Back in my carnivorous days, I ate plenty of gizzards. Of course, this is Oklahoma. We'll eat anything deep-fried.

I give the guy huge props for the new sheets and the candles. Believe me, there are plenty of guys who never would have considered that maybe their lady love might not want to do it on a bare mattress in a room that smells like dirty socks. ;)

Noelle said...

I had exactly no dates in high school or college, so you are not alone!

Sauntering Soul said...

I have now caught up on your first three NaBloPoMo dating stories and they are great. And so is the comment from Flurrious to this post. I'm cracking up.

We have a Kentucky Fried Chicken here in a 'burb of Atlanta and it has a GIGANTIC chicken on it with eyes that roll around and everything. Many people give directions by saying stuff like "turn right at the Big Chicken" and you always know exactly what they mean. I've never been in there so I don't know if they offer gizzards or not. I could not date a boy who ate gizzards on a first date.

Aaron said...

"Sing it Dolores"?! Jesus, I'm sorry.