First date blues: mistaken identity

| December 1, 2011

By R. Chase
The Single Pain Columnist

Location. Location.  Location. This annoying mantra is pounding out a drumbeat in my head as I scan desperately for a window in the bathroom to crawl out and escape this tragedy.

Where had it all go so wrong?  When did things get so weird? Why did I pick a restaurant without an outside window in the restroom?

As I eyed the vent shaft above the toilet, wondering if I was slim enough to sneak out through the duct system, I began to sweat.

I met Hot Yoga Girl in a Hot Yoga Class and the sight of her incredibly sculpted rear end underneath those sweat pants in her Downward Facing Dog threw off my Unjaya Breath and ruined my Tantric concentration.

When she gave me her number, I immediately pounced.

There’s no time to waste in the single world. A week is a lifetime. You blink once and the whole scene’s been wiped clean, like a giant Etch-A-Sketch.

I took her to familiar surroundings. I was comforted by the eclectic fervor of the Upper Highlands, and my favorite Bardstown Road sushi bar was owned and operated by a Cantonese family.

Anywhere else, sushi and lo mein may seem like a weird mix, but here in the Highlands you learn to live with odd combinations. It’s just a way of life.

I have a weakness for cold sake, and it loosens my tongue to no end.

In fact, the manager often poured sake and pried me for tawdry tales of single life.  She’d been in an arranged marriage since the age of 16 and had no frame of reference for anything as alien to her culture as the concept of “casual dating.”

So when I brought in a date, she simply could not process the fact that it was not the same girl I had been talking about just weeks before.

The manager walked up to our table and in some kind of cruel, sadistic fit of inspiration threw a live grenade on the table and ran off, laughing maniacally at her joke.

Well, not actually.

But what she said to my date, in her Cantonese accent, might have been the equivalent: “Oh, So nice to meet you. We hear so much about you all the time!”

It may not have been a real bomb, but if you had been me looking at Hot Yoga Girl’s face, you would have preferred to have been blown to bits in a spectacularly violent explosion right there. It would have been less painful.

“We hear so much about you all the time!”

There are no words less appealing that someone could say to your date on your first date.
So there I was, standing on the toilet, trying to unseat the vent shaft cover above with my pocket Swiss Army knife and make my escape.

After I accepted the futility of escape by air duct, I considered faking a terrible case of salmonella hallucinations.

I would run screaming out of the restaurant, I thought, mumbling vague hallucinations of snakes and clowns, but it all seemed too dramatic.

There was really just one option left. It was risky. I was just going to have to hang my head down and tell her The Truth: She was not the first date I had taken to this restaurant.

I considered it in the larger sense. Why must we pretend that this is the first date we’ve ever been on? Why couldn’t I just be honest?

It might be taboo to discuss such things on a first date, but I was desperate.  I explained the entire thing to her.

And you know what? It worked. Not in my favor, of course, she still thought I was kind of a creep, but at least she agreed to go out with me again, and that’s about as good as I was going to get.

Sometimes being an honest adult can be more rewarding than getting stuck in a Cantonese Sushi House ventilation shaft.

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Category: Life & Style Cover Stories, Manhunt

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