When I joined him we exchanged pleasantries and began chatting. He told me how he had spent the day at an anime convention. He had dressed up for it and said with a smirk “my outfit was a little revealing, but I’ve got a good body so I figured I might as well show it off.” He proceeded to show me a picture on his phone. He was wearing black pants and a black half top, revealing his midriff. I wouldn’t consider 80 pounds for an adult of normal height to be “a good body,” but, of course, I did not say this. I opted for a more diplomatic, “no wonder you could feel the draft,” and asked what character it was. He told me and showed me an illustration of her and admitted he wanted something that would show off his hair which he said was his best feature. “It is nice,” I said.
When I ordered the shrimp tempura roll and a spicy crab roll, he told me, “good choice. Unfortunately, I can’t eat that. I have a gluten sensitivity.” Not celiac disease, mind you, a “gluten sensitivity” Apparently he discovered this himself when he got sick this summer and started eliminating foods from his diet and discovered that he felt better when he stopped eating gluten. You know, the way anyone with a subscription to Goop claims to discover that they have special dietary needs and decides to become even more high maintenance. I got a rundown of many of the things that have gluten in them that he “can’t eat.”
He talked about how he is a member of an orchestra/choir that only performs music from video games and how he has the lead tenor solo in an upcoming performance of the music from Something or Other 4. And about how his friends who had previously put on “Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog” might do “Spamalot” next. This is because we had discussed this online and I had told him about my performance in Spamalot and what the play is about. He said, “Of course, I would want to play Arthur because it’s the lead.” I told him that Robin actually steals the show, but he insisted that he would still want to play Arthur since it’s top billing.
He talked about belonging to two different gyms and the various workouts he does. He asked if I did anything active and I told him that I run and dance, but quickly the conversation returned to him. At some point he asked what other activities I did. I said that currently I tend to spend extra time doing school things like volunteering to be a speech/debate judge or judging the science fair, but that I also write and have even been published. “I’ve had something published,” he chimed in. It was for a Dungeons and Dragons magazine.
He talked about how he envied his friends who got married right out of college. I said, “I feel that way too sometimes, but other times not so much.” He asked me to elaborate. “I think my friends who got married right out of college are probably sometimes envious of me too. I’ve traveled to some great places and I can get up and move across the country if I have to without worrying about how it will affect anyone else. It’s good to remember that the grass is always greener, you know?” But I don’t think he appreciated my Zen-like attitude on the subject.
He talked about how he’s starting a business as a real estate evaluator and drives a bus for Fairfax Schools as a part time job while he’s getting his business up and running. (I asked if he ever felt like Otto on The Simpsons. He doesn't watch The Simpsons.) He said, “I’m hoping that in six months or so I’ll be making $100,000 a year.” Am I wrong in finding his discussion of salary to be gauche? I might be a rarity in this, but a guy’s paycheck is way down the list of things I care about when dating. What a guy makes isn’t nearly as important as how he uses the money he has, which brings me to what happened next.
When the check came, I pulled out my credit card and offered to split it as a good woman does on a first date, to which the guy who asked for the date is supposed to say, “No, I’ve got this.” But he said, “yeah, let’s just split it.” First of all, on a first date, the person who asks for the date is supposed to pay. Even I, with my limited experience, know this. Some of my friends say that the guy pays on a first date regardless of who asked. I personally disagree with this, but either way, he should have paid. Second of all, he ordered more than me, so by splitting the check I actually paid for some of his share.
So I drove home, annoyed that I spent time curling my hair and fretting over shoe choice for what turned out to be an almost sitcom-worthy bad date and hoping that I could one day recoup my losses in the form of an entertaining chapter in my best-selling memoir.