Food for Thought

I was on a bus and passed a restaurant recently and thought, I had one of the worst dates of my life there. It’s a crime really when a city, big as New York, becomes a flash back point for men with halitosis, unwanted gropings, drooling and fights about human rights. Ok, I’m exaggerating about the drooling but it’s only a matter of time.

So this particular French bistro, was the site of a beginner’s mistake. I met a guy for dinner who I hadn’t spoken to on the phone. Classic dating 101 and this was recently so no excuse for the beginner’s blunder except to say that I was bored. That is the nexus for a lot of why I do what I know I shouldn’t do but that’s another problem.

So here’s why the phone call is important: just saves a lot of time. For both parties. First of all, for the shallow among us, (notice I didn’t say “you”) this is New York. There are accents from all over and I have a pretty good ear so I can usually understand the mumbling charcoal artist from Romania. It’s not about comprehension it’s about fingernails on the chalkboard. It’s about the guy who sounds like Fran Drescher. Or da gawd fadder. Or just can’t put a sentence together despite a very well written profile and a few comprehensible emails. I have nothing against Fran Drescher, in fact I had a very good friend who sounded exactly like her. She was funny and smart and cute but as nasal as the day is long. The days on Jupiter. But it was ok, I didn’t have to sleep with her.

Let’s face it, Long Island, Brooklyn, New York, they all have pretty strong accents. I’m sure if I lived in Arkansas there would be something there too….I can be a jerk in many states….but let’s just say sometimes extremes can be deal breakers. So a heads up on the phone is nice. If nothing else, you’re prepared that you’re not meeting someone who sounds like James Bond. The Sean Connery one. Rats, but ok, I’m prepared. When dating online being prepared for whom you’re going to meet is a big deal, and after a while online you take what you know and expound on it in your head so you are as prepared as possible.  When what you saw, spoke to, emailed with actually walks through the door the thrill can be akin to finding a good parking space. 

The other thing the phone does is sort of screen out the sad or angry guys. The guys who launch right into how much they hate their ex wives, or living in the city, or the president or their jobs. Case in point. I once spoke to a guy who launched right into his job was awful. They were all conspiring against him. The principal (he was a teacher) didn’t like him. His fellow teachers were trying to get him fired. And it had been the same at his last school. [Go figure]. He wasn’t sure he was going to have a job next week, the bastards. So me, miss diplomat (see post about asking a fat woman when she was due) I say, So, perhaps this isn’t a good weekend to meet up. No, he says, because he’s being evicted and he has to move out and he’s not sure when he is going to have time because he has to get to an AA meeting because he’s missed a few.

Seriously. I’m not making this up. This is his best foot forward to meeting someone you don’t know. It’s when you start to look around for the Candid Camera cameras because there’s really no other explanation.

Or the guy who worked for ABC, or CBS or NBC or something and went on for an hour, I timed it because……yes I was bored…..about how the news media was sitting on tons of conspiracy information, I forget about what, probably Obama because that was a tough summer for dating, but I put him on speaker and cleaned the bathroom until he ran out of steam. Or I ran out of Lysol, I forget which came first. Needless to say, we never met up because my phone melted from the spitfire coming out of it, or was it hell and brimstone? You get the idea.

Or there was the guy who said he would pay for 3 dinners but then he wanted you to sleep with him because after 3 dinners he had enough information about who you were and the next piece he wanted, no pun intended, was to know if you were a good screw. If you weren’t ok with that, he was ok with that too but dinners were on you after that because he had bought all the information he needed up to that point. That’s when you tap the phone and hold it upside down because you’re sure there’s a little elf inside just having a fun time with you.

Suffice to say, the phone call, really, it’s pretty important.

Mistake number 2 is never meet a guy for dinner. Now this isn’t usually a problem because most guys don’t want to meet for dinner. They have their share of dating nightmare stories and ponying up for dinner to meet a woman who says she is a 2 but meant 22 – oops typo – can be a financial drag over and over and over again, and I get that. Plus dinner, you are so stuck with. That’s a 2 way street. You have to endure a meal. And waiters, if you notice, never make eye contact. I’m pretty sure they learn that first thing in waitering school. Waiters 101 you think is handling plates but it’s really practicing 2 things. Never making eye contact and waiting until the client has a mouthful of food to ask, “Is everything ok?” How can they possibly say no? Yes you can nod and the conversation is done but no, you need to explain and with a mouthful of food, that’s not possible. So when you’re on a bad date and you need to catch the waiter’s eye to give him a look that screams, oh my god please speed up the service so I can get out of here (think of the look your dog gives you when she needs to go out) they are never looking back. You are el-stuck-o for dinner and because it’s evident you’re on a date, because a married couple wouldn’t be talking, they figure they will give you time. We all want more time. Just not right now.

So I go to this French bistro…..back to the story…..and this guy is sitting there. Aside from being clearly 10 years older than his photo, which I thought he was a little on the old side to begin with so you can imagine, he has papers spread out before him. I was right on the dot on time. I hate keeping people waiting it’s just rude. It says, my time is more valuable than your time so I was literally on the dot and that included taking a bus cross town besides. (If you’ve ever tried to time anything around a NYC bus you are standing and applauding right now.) So I said, oh I’m sorry was I late or are you just getting work done? He says “no, I got here a little early. I shouldn’t start off with this but I was just reading my mother’s will. She died a little while ago and I’m in court with my siblings over the estate.” And I’m thinking well, you WERE right about one thing. You SHOULDN’T have started off with that. But I’m thinking, well, I asked, he answered and he knows it’s not a brilliant topic so let’s move on.


I got to hear the whole story, in spades, during the appetizers. During dinner. During coffee. When you’re making the “puppy really needs to go out and pee” eyes at the waiter do they really need to ask about dessert? Can’t they say, “would you like a coffee…..oh gee….no of course you don’t you’ll be up all night, I’ll just bring you the check.” No. That never happens. And your inner puppy just wet himself, you know?

Finally, by the grace of god, you get the check and head out. You realize the age difference doesn’t matter anymore because you’ve aged about 10 years half way through the chicken. He’s had a great time though and wants to know if you want to go a civil war reenacment with him next month. As you sprint for the bus you scream “I’ll have to check my calendar. There’s my bus….” (as if there’ll never be another crosstown bus before the end of the century and you have to get THIS one).

I don’t remember if the food was any good and I’ll never know because that place has become a kharmic black hole for me, marred forever.

Epilogue: he did email later asking again for another date and I very nicely said I’d had a grand time but I didn’t think we were match material. That god for for putting that as an excuse for not wanting to follow up. I have received it from guys and sent it out also and it’s just the nicest phrase possible for dumping someone. We’re not a match.

And from now on, it’s coffee or bust.



2 thoughts on “Food for Thought

  1. Very funny, even if you DID have to go through it to get to the humor. Mom


  2. This stuff about the phone call most not apply to men, because most of the women I meet I never do the phone call, and it’s never mattered.

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