A tale by guest blogger Brigitte, of Shaun White look-a-like fame.
There are certain things that one assumes to be common sense rules when it comes to dating: wearing something nice on a first date, being polite, attempting to get to know the person, and not telling your date with complete and utter sincerity that you’re a cyborg spring to mind. You know, simple things. Friends, the old cliché “common sense is not so common,” is unfortunately true. Apparently, I went on a date with a cyborg.
As a single twenty-something woman in New York City, I inevitably attempted the online dating thing. My date, let’s call him Brian, looked good on (electronic) paper: he could form cohesive sentences and string together intelligent thoughts, he seemed to have a good sense of humor, we had a number of things in common, and the pictures of him weren’t entirely unattractive. Worth a shot, I thought.
There were so many things that should have made me immediately run for the hills, before the cyborg conversation even began, but being a nice person with an unhealthy sense of Jewish guilt, I felt obligated to at least sit through the entirety of our dinner. Yet within seconds of meeting him, I knew this was not going to work out.
For starters, this 30-year old male who went to an Ivy League School (as he reminded me no less than seven times during the course of our date), did not even live in an apartment. Oh no. He was staying in a hostel on the Upper West Side, and apparently had been for longer than, well, anyone who considers himself an actual inhabitant of a city ought to stay in a hostel.
Brian immediately brought up his new friend Tim, an Australian with a drinking problem, who might be joining us for dinner. Tim didn’t speak French (Brian and I both did), but was trying to get laid by some random French woman he had met the night before, so Brian had offered our services as both wing-people and translators. Generous of him, no? I know that on a first date with an Internet stranger, all I really want to do is help get his mildly-alcoholic friend laid. Tim did not wind up joining us for dinner, which, as I look back on the experience, is actually unfortunate, because I would imagine that watching Tim the Trainwreck would have been infinitely more entertaining than what I had to endure instead.
Brian chose a decent-looking Mexican-infused restaurant near his hostel, and I was thrilled when they brought out thin-sliced banana chips and some fresh tomato salsa, but I committed a horrifying faux-pas when I (gasp!) used my fork to scoop some of the salsa onto my chip.
“Don’t put metal into the salsa!” Brian admonished, “Metal causes a chemical reaction with tomato, and it will spoil it much sooner! Use your finger, we’re family here.”
Ok, first of all, maybe I don’t want to get tomato and onion all over my fingers. Maybe I think it’s not polite to dip your fingers into food shared with other people at the table. Maybe I like using utensils. Also, we are not family, we have not known each other for more than twenty minutes. And even if we were, I don’t want my family’s gross fingers all over my food—it’s still flu season, and I don’t want nasty germs all over my salsa, thank you very much. Also, I don’t think that my metal fork is going to so rapidly deteriorate the quality of the salsa that we won’t even be able to finish all of the chips. I’m not a scientist, and I didn’t go to Brown, but I would imagine that the salsa could easily last for the next half hour.
After the incredibly informative science lesson, I was next subject to a Mandarin lesson. His ex-girlfriend was Chinese (more perfect first date conversation), and he had me pronounce over and over and over some completely stupid and inane phrase in Mandarin, making sure that I got it perfect because intonation is key. A) I don’t care, and B) f*ck you (emphasis on the “uck” and “ou”—those are very important consonants in this, my favorite English language phrase).
But oh, if this does not sound bad enough, it still was going to get so much worse. Not to mention they messed up my food order, but I was so miserable that I didn’t want to prolong the evening any more by waiting for a new dish, so I ate it without saying anything.
The sort of funny thing about Brian is that not only did he go to Brown, but he also graduated from the hospital, after falling off of a stage. He did some serious injury to himself (obviously…) and lost hearing in his right ear, as well as his sense of smell. Now, I get it: traumatizing, life-changing accident. Makes you rethink values, what’s important in your life, how to be grateful for the moment, et cetera et cetera. If he had talked about anything remotely related to those sorts of things, he would probably have been an interesting dinner companion. But no: I got to hear about which foods he could no longer taste, due to the lack of smell. Multiple times. Thanks, buddy, but you only mentioned your inability to taste mint 5 minutes ago—I still remember that you can’t taste mint anymore. Oh, yeah, mojitos have mint in them, but you can’t taste the mint anymore. Yep. Yep. Yep.
I tried to make the best of it for a while, but then, f*ck it, I was getting out of this situation as fast as I possibly could. I briefly recalled a high school classmate who could make himself vomit at will, and wished I had the same talent. Instead, I faked a coughing fit. Multiple coughing fits. Meryl Streep didn’t have shit on me and my Oscar-worthy performance as “a woman with a bad cough.” I was coughing up not one, but both of my lungs– and oh boy– I was just so darn sick, I needed to go home and rest!
While I was coughing, he decided to continue to ramble on about completely absurd topics, since I was unable to talk. I got to hear all about the many kinds of karate he can do, and the fact that he could “break me” (was I supposed to swoon? Because really, I wanted to run away very fast). During one lull, he gazed deeply into my eyes and with complete and total sincerity, uttered the six words every woman dreams of hearing from the perfect date: “You know I’m a cyborg, right?”
I kid you not.
To be fair, even though he doesn’t deserve it, he was referencing the titanium mesh netting in his skull. But really: he didn’t have to call himself a cyborg, and he also didn’t need to go on an on about why the titanium in his head didn’t set off medal detectors. I had enough metal science lessons what with the fork incident, thank you very much.
And finally, finally, we were finished with our meal. I threw in another epic coughing fit for good measure, but this backfired when he came over to my side of the table and put his arm around me to comfort me. I cringed in horror, which he took as a cue to touch my hair lovingly. I frantically searched for our waiter, but he seemed to have disappeared. More coughing. Copious amounts of coughing. Tears streamed down my face, and my lungs got angrier and angrier, but I was determined to avoid even talking or listening to this dude anymore—I just wanted to cough. After what seemed like an eternity, the waiter finally reappeared and I managed to pause the coughing long enough to gasp a request for the check.
Brian didn’t even pretend like he was going to pay for the whole meal. In fact, despite the fact that he had ordered something more expensive than me, and we both put in a twenty, when the change for the check came, he grabbed the ten-dollar bill and handed me the five, triumphantly declaring that I was going to get screwed over on this bill. What a gentleman. Though, he was kind enough to insist that I take both of the after dinner mints, but– of course– only because he couldn’t taste mint.
I walked outside of the restaurant and said “Okay, well, I’m going to the subway now, good night.”
Ever the gentleman, Brian insisted on walking me to the subway. After all, he, being a prime thirty-year-old male, said, “If I’m going to go on a date with a twenty-three-year-old, I am at least getting a good night kiss out of it.”
I was too shocked to even respond to this, but fury ran through me. First of all, did he not see me literally cringing in repulsion when he came within my safety zone of personal space?! Did he seriously think that this date had gone so well that he was going to at least get a kiss?! Had he actually expected me to be so overcome with attraction to him with his cyborg line that I would rip my tights off, jump across the table and tackle him in a fury of lust?
And second, buddy, I may only be twenty-three, but I have a full-time job and an actual apartment. I don’t live in a hostel. I don’t think I’m a cyborg. And I get a real sense of joy from sticking my fork in a fresh plate of salsa. I win.
We reached the subway, and after my final coughing fit I blathered something incoherent about him only getting a cheek kiss. I bumped one side of my cheek against one of his, and dashed down the subway steps, triumphantly–finally–escaping from the worst date of my entire life. In all, I have lost about an hour and a half of my life, but I gained two after dinner mints and a really good story to entertain my friends with.