The Dastardly Date… the last straw.

I don’t go on a lot of dates – I don’t get asked out much. And while I would like, perhaps even crave, a more romantic action in my life I am very bad at eliciting it. Part of my reluctance comes from the fact that I am choosy when it comes to men.

The reason why I have a current policy of being so choosy is that I have terrible taste (in people generally, perhaps). I sometimes think that I have a Neon sign mounted over my head that everyone can see except me. I suspect that it says something like “Arseholes, please queue up here!” Then, quite apart from that, I also transmit what I like to call my ‘rogue Mummy vibe’ or my ‘Auntie Harsimran’ vibe. Life’s losers and professional victims tend to circle me like sharks circling a bleeding person. In a room full of crowded people, they elbow others out of the way to come to my side. Their eyes alight on me and a look of hope and great interest spreads across their faces. “Ah!” they say, “if only that nice lady could be my friend then I will finally have my perfect match…. And if I impress her with the tragedies of my life then I am sure that she would willingly, and at short notice, make herself available, without demur, for
· Sex
· Sympathy
· Life coaching
· Counseling sessions
· Organizing my life
· Walking the dogs
· Making peace
· Watering the plants
· Other
· (circle any that apply according to desired relationship status and sexual preference)
“I am sure she understands,” they say to themselves,” that she was put on this planet to fill the aching void within me, and free me from having to do so myself.”

Why have I started the Dastardly Date Blog with this long vitriolic ramble? Because it explains a lot about my romantic past. I have not had many dates in my life, but a high percentage have been bad. But the trick to writing a good blog is, I think, to pick a bad date that was interestingly bad.
So who to choose? The cute upstairs neighbor who took me on a date in an auto-rickshaw and allowed me to pick up the tab for the ride and the lunch, and serve myself and him, or the strappy young lad, with a distaste for correct grammar and full words. Or the guy who proposed to take me to a Gurudwara on the first date, and told that his favorite author was Chetan Bhagat, or the guy who asked, in his opening line if I knew how to cook, since he liked to eat…

The actual story I want to relate revolves around a man whose name I realize I have now forgotten. I went out with him a couple of times a few months back. I can see his face clearly in my mind, so I am quite startled to find that I have forgotten his name.

He was a tall young man, around about the same age as me. He had dark, curly hair cropped short, and a lanky build. He was not handsome but had a pleasant face, with intelligent eyes and a ready, quirky smile. His manner was diffident and good natured and he was an articulate conversationalist. I met him when I went to meet a friend of mine from college. One thing led to another, we met a couple of times at joint gatherings, and a couple of meetings later, he said he’d been promoted and he offered to take me out for dinner to celebrate. I appreciated the invitation, actually.

We met in a café, and he announced that he intended to show me a really good time, but that I would have to pay for both of us because he didn’t have any money. He then gave me a card with an amusing message. The card depicted a grumpy old lady with her face screwed up as if revolted by something bad. I forget the exact wording but the message was something along the lines that the first bad date was akin to lingering around like a fart. Maybe my mood was affected by the fact that I was mentally doing sums and wondering if I could afford to take me and my swain out for a meal, but I found that I didn’t like being compared to one of the grosser bodily functions. When I turned the card around, I noticed the tell-tale pencil marks addressing the card to someone else that had been crudely rubbed off… I was in receipt of a recycled greeting card. How novel.

One very cheap and nasty pizza meal later, we retired to a cheap and sticky cup of coffee. My new age beau had been regaling me with stories of various psychic development workshops he had been to. Now, I find this kind of stuff interesting but I was wondering why he had been to so many – how to draw your spirit guides, reiki, tarot, astrology, recovering past lives, discovering future lives, talking to the angels, swimming with the dolphins, sending healing to the planet, sending psychic messages to the extraterrestrials – believe you me he had done them all. Finally he started telling me about the extra-curricular groups he was attending. One was for men to get in touch with their emotions. His particular challenge was to get in touch with and express his ‘feminine side’. He went on to explain that he had tried on lipstick and nail paint just to see how he ‘felt’ about it. While I was still processing this and willing myself to be okay with it, he dropped another bombshell. He asked me how I felt about same sex relationships. Interesting topic for the first date, I say. I told him it was an individual thing and I thought people should celebrate their individuality. “So”, he said, “you would not have a problem if at a later date I turned out to prefer men?” I laughed. He MUST have been joking, right? Right..?!Wrong. He regarded me with an expression that conveyed that I had been clubbed with the rest of ‘Judgmental Indians.’… And to make matters worse, for the life of me, I could not stop grinning. It’s what I do… in utter shock – I grin, if not laugh.

Somewhat composed, yet amused, I kept a straight face as he continued to tell me how life had dealt him the wrong cards, how the system was wrong, the society was prudish, the academic system was shaky, the industry was biased, people were ‘blah’ and this and that. I could almost see a green aura of negativity surround him. I did not voice my thoughts out loud, lest he decide to reiki everything right then and there. After allowing him to beat around the bush, I could hold back no longer and I asked him why we were here having this coffee and conversation if he thought he was gay… He replied that he wasn’t sure that he indeed was gay. I lifted my eyebrows in question, daring him to say what I thought he was saying… He held my gaze and shrugged what I assume was a “Why Not?”

Now either this guy was what he thought to be the smoothest shmuck I’d met or he was the most self-assured gay guy out to nail a girl. Unable to deal with the entire absurdity of it all, I concentrated on my watery brown water that the café passed for coffee, wondering why my maybe-gay date had picked this place… I had nothing quite appropriate to say. For a self-proclaimed writer, I never have much to say. Was I being too judgmental? Was I being shallow? Was I superficial to want to run away from this place arms flaying shouting “ Wourst Daate Everrrrrr…”

When we finally parted ways, I realized this was the best worst date I’d ever been on. There were so many levels to this date… not the least being that when I was paying the bill, my date was putting on Vaseline lip guard ‘to protect his sensitive lips.’ And I was biting my lip to keep from laughing and crying at the same time.

I later found out that the guy was as straight as a guy could be, considering he has a steady girlfriend now… Just a deceptively rugged looking feminine guy… I still wonder if he made up the entire “I-don’t-know-if-I am-gay-can-you-please-help-me-figure-it-out” episode. If he did, I am the biggest moron in town and if he didn’t his current girlfriend is the biggest moron in town.

Just as well… after a spread of disastrous dates, I have sworn off dating. And anyone who ever wanted to date me would reconsider after reading this blog.

As Alex Stephens said, “Never date a writer… She’ll write about things you have done to her or things you never did for her.”  Now Alex Stephens knew what he was talking about!

G’bye suckers. I aint available no more.



Disclaimer: “Characters & incidents may or may not be fictional.”

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