*all names have been changed to protect the parties involved*
Have you ever had a date that was so bad that it became the benchmark against which all other dates you went on were measured against? A date so awful that you still cringe when you think about it some twenty years later? Well I did, and I'm going to tell you about it.
OK, so there was this guy, let's call him 'Fred'. Fred liked me through high school, and I flirted with him and basically walked all over him because he let me, but I never really went out with him. I was bitchy that way. No really, I think that deep down I knew that I couldn't think of him as more than a friend, and I would occasionally try to convince myself that I did like him because he liked me. Hello, here was a guy that liked me. But no, I always went for the bad boys, I had horrendous taste in men. Oh, where was I..
Fred had gone in to the service and I was here at home doing my thing. My thing at the time was working at the Spencer Gifts store at the mall and running around with my friends. Fred would write to me occasionally and sometimes I would write back. When his two years in the Army were up, Fred came home and asked me out on a date. I reluctantly said yes. Reluctant, becuase I still knew that deep down I only thought of Fred as a friend, and no matter how delusional I tried to make myself, I would never think of Fred as a boyfriend. Reluctant, because in the pit of my stomach, I knew this date was going to blow.
Still, I duitufully bought a new date outfit at the Merry Go Round store at the mall, and got ready. I teased and fluffed and sprayed my hair to heights never before seen, put on my big, dangly earrings, my white lace socks and my black patent leather flats (did I mention it was 1987?). Fred picked me up, looking well groomed and a bit like an eager puppy. I was immediately in a bad mood, but I just pretended it was nerves. How dare he be eager, I thought. He better not think anything's happening on this date!
Fred and I drove off, our destination a popular local Japanese eatery; one of those places where they cook in front of you and throw shrimp at you for you to catch it in your mouth. We'll call the place 'So-so'. As Fred and I drove to So-sos, we made small talk, but I was slowly slipping in to full bitch mode. This date was even suckier than I expected. I suggested turning on the radio or maybe listening to a cassette tape (don't be jealous!). He said, 'let's listen to one of my favorites'. I smiled, knowing that I would soon be hearing Iron Maiden or Ozzy or any other heavy metal band Fred was into. Wrong. Somewhere along the way, my friend Fred had developed a taste for Arlo Guthrie, and when he hit the play button, the song 'Alice's Restaurant' started.
Since I had never developed a taste for Arlo Gutherie, I felt I was slowly slipping in to hell. Here I was, stuck in a car with a boy that I would never like even half as much as he liked me then. We were listening to a crap song. And suddenly, Fred realized we were lost. Fred laughed nervously when he told me that he didn't exactly know where So-sos was. Great. Neither did I.
Fred continued to drive around (gee, how about stopping and asking for directions, Fred?), desperately searching for So-sos. It began to get darker outside and so did my mood. My scalp began to sweat under the layers of Aquanet. After several, desperate wrong turns that resulted in us stopping on a dead-end street, I turned to Fred and said, 'why don't we just go to Pizza Hut?'.
With that, Fred turned around and off to Pizza Hut we went. Being the naive girl that I was at the time, I didn't realize that when guys are in the Army and it's chow time, they have to eat fast. Really fast. When our pizza arrived at our table, Fred began to eat with a speed and ferocity that left my jaw hanging on the table. I concentrated on avoiding eye contact and hoping that the evening would end soon.
The waitress was nice enough to leave Fred her phone # on the back of our reciept, so hopefully Fred called her when our date was over. After pizza, we stopped by a friend's house for a quick hello, and then Fred took me home. Fred kissed me sloppily and when I pulled away while simultaneously grabbing the door handle, he asked me if the evening was really all that bad.
Looking back, I can say without a doubt, yes Fred, it was that bad. I still cringe at the memory of that night, not only because of the sheer awfulness of the date, but also for my bitchtacular additude. I've been on the receiving end of that, and it's not fun. I think a lot of the reason I think of this as my worst date ever was because I went in to it expecting the worst. And the worst is what I got! Fred didn't deserve that. Sorry, Fred.
Fred is now happily married, and hopefully he and his wife have had many a pleasant meal at Sosos. I've been there with my husband, and I have to admit, the food is pretty good. I still don't care for Arlo Gutherie, though.