There’s a cafe downtown that’s perfect for first dates. The food is good, the coffee is excellent, and the seating is uncomfortable. That last part is crucial because it means you’re not stuck with a bad date for hours. After 45 minutes you’re both gonna want to get up and leave.
First test of a relationship: Does it pass the tiny metal chair challenge?
Last month I unfortunately witnessed a REALLY cringe first date between two young guys at the cafe. Yesterday it happened again. I got to the cafe, opened my laptop, took out my earphones…. and just couldn’t be bothered to pay attention to my antibiotics lecture. I kept getting distracted by the couple sitting in front of me.
They were so much more interesting than studying the differences between macrolides and beta-lactase inhibitors.
The couple were definitely on a first date. Their conversation was following a “getting to know me” pattern while at the same time being very flirtatious. The guy was cute, maybe late twenties. The woman he was talking to also appeared to be in her twenties though she was seated with her back to me.
She got up once to get her coffee and I was a little surprised, once I saw her face, to see she was at least 50 years old. She looked GREAT for 50, don’t get me wrong. Great figure, lovely long hair, stylish jacket and a sort of posture that made me wonder if she had been a ballet dancer. The guy she was on a date with was clearly into her so yeah, get it girl!
Ballet dancer came back with her coffee and she resumed her conversation with twenty-something guy. They were talking about their kids. Her kids were in college. His kids were still small and living with their mom.
The date was going so well. It was such a difference from muffin guy and phone guy. And then- then!- the stupid twenty-something guy had to start talking about his ex.
Guys, never do this on a date. Never trash your ex. It’s not gonna reassure your date that you’ll never choose your ex over her. It will just make her nervous that one day you’ll be just as angry with her as you are with your ex.
I could see the vibe shift. Ballet dancer sort of withdrew a bit (“uh-huh, uh-huh…. okay…”) while twenty-something guy went on about his ex.
And it was awful.
Twenty-something guy talked about how his ex had been mad with him back when they were married because he had made his ex pick up his mom from the airport while his ex was two days overdue with their second child. And also watching their four-year-old daughter.
Yeah, he made his heavily pregnant and exhausted ex pick up his mom from the airport. And he was trying to portray her as the villain for being angry about this.
And oh boy did it get worse! After his total bitch of an ex got his mom settled at a hotel, she returned home and five hours later went into labor.
“She woke me up,” Twenty-something guy said, “ She was like ‘You have to drive me to the hospital,’ and it was like 3 am! And I hate being woken up. HATE IT! Like, do NOT wake me up at that hour. I just can’t take it.”
I saw ballet dancer stiffen in her chair. My heart went out to her, having to listen to this toxic garbage.
Listen, if an attractive guy is single there is usually a reason. Period.
The cooling of the atmosphere of that date was so dramatic that I think even twenty-something guy noticed. “Um, I mean, I did take her to the hospital. I did. I was just pissed,” he said.
“Oh, okay,” Ballet dancer replied politely. But he had lost her. I could feel it.
There was some more stuff about how awful it was for him to stick around at the hospital while his ex gave birth to their son. He hates hospitals and needles make him faint and his ex was ungrateful etc. etc.
Oh lord, this date was awful. My antibiotics lecture was looking better and better in comparison.
I scraped my chair back a bit and went to the restroom. The sound of my chair may have broken the awful spiral of that date because by the time I returned to my table both ballet dancer and twenty-something guy were gathering their things.
“…. and I should be there by 12,” Ballet dancer was saying, “But thanks for the coffee!”
“Yeah….” Twenty-something guy responded. He looked a little crestfallen. “I should go too. These chairs are kind of doing a number on me.”
Round of applause for metal seats!