I'm having a tough time with Accidental Date Part 2 (I spend an unhealthy amount of time on these essay-length posts), so I have this one for you instead (for now): The most awkward date that I've been on in years:
An especially awkward date that I've been on recently was with a girl that we will call Kim. I've known Kim for a while now and I always kind of wanted to ask her out but the timing never matched up (one of us would be dating someone). When the opportunity to ask her out finally presented itself, I pounced.
Now I kind of regret pouncing.
There's nothing wrong with her per se. She's beautiful, very sweet, driven to success, extremely classy, and cares and only has nice things to say about everyone - she's a genuinely good person (very, very rare). We had a very successful first date (very successful...) - I was interested in her and she showed blatant signs of being interested in me and we had a good time just going on a walk and talking.
But holy crap was our second date awkward! I'm very able to function outside of my element, but there was just a severe lack of "you feel comfortable, be yourself." going on - and I normally love and create awkward moments! But the awkwardness was completely one-sided and too much to bear! If you asked her how our date went, she'd probably say that she had an amazing time and was looking forward to doing it again.
We were originally supposed to go ice skating with my roommate and his girlfriend. I had called up Kim a few days in advance and asked her if she would like to be my date. She said she would love to and that she was excited (take note, girls - that's how you should say yes to ALL dates!). Then a few days later we realized that it was the adult session of Stake Conference that night (it's a Mormon thing). My roommate's girlfriend cancelled the date and said she would rather go to Conference. No ice skating :(
I don't mind skipping the adult session of Conference - that doesn't bother me. Is it something that I should go to? Probably. Does an awesome ice skating date trump it? I'd like to think so. Ice skating dates are always a huge success (if you know what I mean) and Kim and I were already headed down that successful path (if you know what I mean). However, since we couldn't go ice skating, Kim and I decided to just try it again another time.
Then she called me up the day of Conference and asked if I wanted to go on a double date with her friend and her friend's boyfriend.
"That sounds great! What are we going to do?"
"Well, first we're going to go to Conference..." and I stopped paying attention right there. She said some other things; I'm sure they were beautiful, poetic, deep and moving - and she probably included the rest of the night's plans somewhere in there, too. But I didn't listen.
"Oh, sounds like she's wrapping up. Game face, boys."
"Yeah, Kim. Sounds great! I'm excited! I'll see you in an hour."
So I got dressed up (which, technically, wearing a normal shirt and some pants is dressed up for me - but I got dressed up in a nice shirt, slacks, shined shoes, shave - I clean up good). Eric helped me pick out a tie (he always seems to be right there every time I'm about to go on a date); we went for the blue tie for various reasons that only ex-missionaries understand.
I was about to do a Conference-date - something that sounds a little weird, but I was going to give it a try anyway.
This is when I realized that I'm just a big fat liar.
One thing about me - I'm an excellent liar. Like, really really freakishly good at it. I've had a lot of practice (delinquency taught me such valuable life skills!). Caitlin and I play a game where we see what kinds of ridiculous things we can get people to believe about me (she's freakishly good at lying, too). Apparently, I got divorced when I was in prison for two years after stabbing a man (and my ex took my son with her and I haven't seen him since before I went to prison), I was a male cheerleader in high school, and I'm technically bisexual, but since I'm at a Mormon school, it's not that big of a deal for me to just be straight because I'm already attracted to the opposite gender. There are other things that we've made people believe, but these are the things that I remember off the top of my head (I've been awake since 4am after puking my guts out all night, so my memory isn't the greatest right now). Now I try to keep the lying under control, but I'm still capable of great and believable things. So on my date with Kim, I let my inner suppressed liar come out to play.
I came up with a good back story for all the great and productive things I'd done with my day/week that didn't include sitting and playing video games and sleeping in until 2pm and missing all my classes, including great and stimulating conversations that I had with people that don't exist (imaginary people). I grabbed an unused pad of paper and a pen to make it look like I had the intention of taking notes (I didn't). I noticed that the pad of paper was completely full, so I ripped out half the pages to make it look like that pad of note-taking paper had been used extensively.
Lies lies lies.
They show up to pick me up. I'm already waiting outside - looking like I'm looking forward to this night (lies). I get in - say hi to everyone and think to myself "This won't be so bad. She looks great and is talking to me and she's energetic and flirting. Our first date was great. It'll be fine." Then she goes and ruins all of it:
"Ok. Let's start with a prayer."
K. I get the whole "be grateful for God's hand in everything" thing. It's nice, sure. Out loud, I can't say that I have a problem with starting a date with a prayer because I'll get judged for it. But this is my blog so I get to do and say whatever I want. Praying before a date is weird as hell. I'm a religious person, sure. I was a missionary. But, I mean, really? Really?
"But Brandon, it shows that she has a super-strong testimony!!"
It also shows that she's a complete weirdo.
So she prays. I'm sure it was great and that God wasn't planning on watching over and protecting us that night until she prayed. I didn't pay attention. But I pretended like I did and I thanked her afterwards and said that I liked it because most girls get weirded out by that kind of thing.
Apparently I'm most girls.
We head off to conference. On the way over, she talks more about our plans for the night. I still didn't pay much attention (this date was already a disaster - mostly because of my attitude) - I just knew I had to pay for whatever was coming up because I try to be the kind of guy that pays for everything. Frankly, I find the "fake wallet grab" to be a little insulting.
Then I realize that I forgot my wallet (truth).
There are few things more emasculating than turning to my date and telling her that I have forgotten my wallet and that I'm embarrassed. I sit here and rag on her for all the weird things she did and all that, but let's face it - I wasn't much better. I'm sure that if she made a blog post about our date, it would be about all the weird things I did and all that.
But this is my blog.
And she's probably way too kind of a person to do this anyway.
She said that she had no intention of letting me pay anyway because she's the one that had asked me out. She said that she had her checkbook on her.
WHO CARRIES A CHECKBOOK?!?!
We arrive at Conference. She and I get out of the car and start walking in. Her friend and her friend's boyfriend stay behind in the car. I guess they had something to talk about or take care of or something (hopefully gettin' work done). The point is that Kim and I stood awkwardly in the middle of the parking lot in complete silence waiting for them to get out of the car. We seriously stood there for a good 3 minutes of silence; and it wasn't the kind of silence where you sit and enjoy each other's company. It was the kind of silence where we look around at different things, open our mouths to say something, have second thoughts, close our mouths, and just stand there instead. Three minutes doesn't sound like very long - but try it. When groups of people have a "moment of silence" for the troops or whatever, it's usually about 10 seconds long, but it feels like an eternity. Now take those 10 seconds and multiply them but 18. Awwwwkkkkkkwwwwaaaaarrrrrddddd.
We go inside.
The place is already full. We sit near the back. She thanks me for coming with her and says that she knows that I don't want to be there and that she really appreciates it.
"Of course I want to be here! I was planning on coming anyway! I'd be sitting with my friends over there!" I said, pointing to a group of people that I've never seen in my life.
Lies lies lies.
Conference starts. The hymn starts. Being Mormons, we all break out into perfect 4-part harmony. But here's the thing about hymns - most of them have some pretty weird lyrics. Combine that with a lack of hymn book and my inability to learn weird lyrics, and that means that I have to sit and lip sync through it while I wait until the chorus before I can remember the words, while Kim sits there and sings the entire song at full volume in perfect alto harmony with everyone else.
It's Socially Awkward Penguin at its finest (type it into Google).
The people giving talks (what Mormons call speeches) get up one-by-one, talk about the message they want to convey, and sit down. I pretend to take notes. In reality, I'm sitting there writing questions about things that seemed related but really weren't and then answering those questions in my head. Questions like "What are we doing here?" which can be interpreted as "What is the purpose of this life?" but really I meant "Why am I here on a date?" The intent was to both amuse myself and impress her with my deep questions when she glanced at the notes that I've taken. I think she fell for it.
Halfway through the meeting, I got bored. I wrote down a get-to-know-you question on my paper and passed it over to her. She smiled all big, wrote something down and passed it back. She had answered the question and asked me another. Sweet! Before returning it, I made sure to wait until there was a lull in the speaker's talk - making it appear that I was listening intently and didn't want to miss anything important that they had to say. So we sat there the rest of the Conference, old-skool-texting each other back and forth. It was actually a really nice part of the date - the highlight, even. There were some things that I wrote that aren't entirely true about me, but at that point, I was just exercising my lying muscles for funzies. I don't even know where that pad of paper is now.
After conference, we went to watch an improv show (that she payed for) that some friends were putting on in a bookstore. Before going, though, everyone in the car but me decided that they needed to stop and use the ATM. Ok, that's cool. That way she doesn't have to pay for things with a checkbook (?!). I figured me and at least one other person would stay in the car and just wait for the other two to use the ATM.
They left the car running, tricking me into thinking that I would have company, and then they all simultaneously got out and closed the doors - leaving me inside like a sad puppy dog whining and pawing at the window. So I had a choice, now: I could either sit in the car awkwardly and wait, knowing that when they come back they'll all say "why didn't you come outside with us?" or I could awkwardly go inside, getting out and closing the door to a running car (a huge fear of mine), wait behind everyone as they take money out of the machine (being sure to obviously avert my eyes so they don't think I'm trying to learn their PIN), and then climb back into the car without saying a word to anyone.
Both options sucked.
For some reason, I created and then chose option D) All of the above. I got out of the car - leaving the door open because I'm too scared to shut doors to cars when the keys are still inside the car - and just stood there, making sure the door stayed open, but while hovering just outside the car. I looked weird. To make it look less awkward, I tried to come up with a few nonchalant poses to make it look like I was just chillin' outside of this car without a care in the world, enjoying the beautiful night and thinking about Conference and stuff. I'm not sure if I succeeded or not.
I managed to take two options, combine them together and create a third option that was leaps and bounds worse than the previous two. I was too far away to talk to them, but I wasn't in the car waiting for them. I hated myself for a brief moment.
Kim walked up to me. "Whatcha doin'?"
"Ohhh, just thinking about Conference." ....bwahahahaha!
"Oh yeah? What about?"
"I was just thinking about what the second-to-last speaker said. He made some really good points."
"Oh I know!! It was so touching!!"
I have no idea what the second-to-last speaker said.
After getting back in the car after awkwardly waiting for everyone outside, we went to the improv show. I like improv a lot and have done it myself for like 10 years. I enjoy watching other people do it and think to myself "Hmm, yes. Good form, good form." It makes me feel smart - especially when I can predict what they're going to do long before they do it. She didn't like it. I thought they did a really good job. She said that improv comedy wasn't her thing. If it weren't obvious enough before, it's quite obvious now that this isn't going to work out.
After the show, her and I stood in awkward silence by the door (again) waiting for her friend and her friend's boyfriend to finish talking to people so we could leave. It's at this point when I decide to break the awkward silence by making a joke about the awkward silence.
She was like "Huh? What awkward silence? I was really enjoying just standing here with you." It was like she had taken all of the shared awkward in that situation and dumped it all on me. It was more than I could bear. I almost puked, it was so awkward. It was at this point that I decided that there would definitely not be a 3rd date. After an amazing first date, you'd think that I'd be willing to overlook a bad date (and I was the one who thought it was bad. she was apparently having a great time). But this was just way more awkward than even I could deal with! And I'm the master of creating, controlling, and loving awkwardness.
We went out to eat.
Now, I come from the freaking nice-restaurant capital of the world. There are literally dozens of places to eat and everywhere you go to eat has dim lighting, waiters dressed up in tuxes, candlelit tables, and that dude that plays the violin. It's all really REALLY nice. So when people around here say that they're going out to eat someplace nice, for some strange reason, I imagine someplace nice. I forget that my idea of a nice restaurant is completely different than everyone else's around here.
We went to Macado's (MAC-a-doo's). Macado's is the kind of restaurant that has license plates, hubcaps and sports jerseys on the walls and black-and-white pictures of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe and stuff like that. It's not a nice restaurant. It's basically a sports bar that you can take the family to.
So the group sat down and Kim ordered a sundae for us to share. How romantic.
It actually was really nice. It was the part of the night that we got to just sit and talk one-on-one and get to know each other and we could fill any awkward silences with a spoon full of ice cream. Of course, I had already made up my mind that I wasn't going to ask her out again. But it was still nice. She ate most of the ice cream (which was fine by me). The waitress was terrible and super slow and rude. I personally would not have given her a tip because she was so terrible. Kim still tipped her, proving that she is a far better person than me.
The drive back was pretty much in silence. At this point, I had pretty much given up trying to charm her in any way. I sat in the back on the left door side of the car, and she sat in the middle right next to me even though there was an open seat on the other side. Under normal dating circumstances, this would be the kind of thing that I would be super excited about - this beautiful girl was sitting right next to me, touching my arm and leg while talking and placing her head on my shoulder. But I had suffered so much awkward that night that I couldn't even bear the sight of her. I saw her last night at a concert and I still felt awkward just waving to her from across the room.
The "goodbye" was pretty awkward as well. They dropped me off, Kim got out of the car with me (for some reason she got out on the other side), and we hugged behind the car with fumes blowing in our faces while my roommates sat on the front porch shouting for me to do things to her that I had no interest in doing.
Imagine something really romantic. Now imagine the opposite of that. There ya go.
I apologized for having forgotten my wallet. She said that she wouldn't have let me pay anyway and said that it's my turn next time and that she hoped we could do it again sometime soon.
I went inside, went in to see Eric (who was playing video games in my room) and said "nope".
That night I texted her and said "Thanks again for such a good time!"
Lies lies lies.