• Dane

First Date - Blind As A Bat



They walked into the restaurant, snaked their way between chairs to the back of the room, one of them glanced at my date as they walked passed. They went to the other side, sat three tables away from me. I glanced at them, and they smiled at me, gesturing "You go, girl!"


It was a blind date. My first ever.

I was in college, the day of internet chat rooms (mIRC - old school!) when this all happened. The city where I studied was, well, somewhat reserved, but it was not to the extent where the LGBT community hid somewhere in the dark. There were a handful of gay people at the university. However, I didn't want to date anyone within the same campus, imagine the possible scandal. So one day, I went to the internet cafe and logged onto one of the gay chat rooms.

After thirty minutes or so, someone sent me a message.

"Hi, ASL?"

So I gave the person my details, he gave me his, we chatted, exchanged names, and we seemed to hit it off. After several messages, he suggested to meet up, a casual dinner he said. I did not know how to respond, so I said yes, without thinking it further. He gave me his phone number, and I gave him mine, then we logged off.


He called me that night, and I heard his voice for the very first time. Deep, masculine voice, and I can tell that he was as nervous as I was when we chatted. It was the year where we cannot send text messages between phone carriers - not until 2001. After a short phone call (it cost a lot to have a mobile phone), we decided to meet on a Friday at a steakhouse near my campus. The busiest night of the week when most students will go after school and hang out there before hitting the clubs - perfect.

Went to my classes the next day. During the lunch break, I grabbed two of my girlfriends and told them about the 'date'. They shrieked with joy and started planning things, what I should wear, where to sit, what to do, blah blah. I was anxious as fuck. After class, we went shopping and bought some clothes for me to wear the next night for the date - a long-sleeved black shirt, a pair of dark grey trousers, and they raided my closet to find other options.


Could not sleep that night. Too anxious for the blind date. Luckily we had two classes cancelled that day so I managed to rush back to my room and took a nap - until...


BANG BANG

"OPEN UP! WE NEED TO GET YOU READY FOR YOUR DATE!!"


The girls.


"GO AWAY! I still have three hours!"

They kept banging on my doors, I reluctantly let them in.


"Okay, what's the plan?"

"What plan? I'm just gonna go and meet him tonight. I'll walk there, it's only 15 minutes away."

"What if he's not your type?"

"Huh?"

"What if he walks in and he's, you know, ugly?"


I hadn't thought of that. What if the guy's not my type? What should I do? Do I tell him off? Should I go on with the date? Now, this was the day where digital photography was not accessible to all. There was no camera on our mobile phones yet - think brick phones - thus, we didn't know how we both look like in person.

I sat down on my bed.


"Hmm. Fuck", I sighed, thinking, I need a backup plan, and an idea popped in my mind.

"You girls are coming with me."

"What?"

"You made me supper worried now. You both are coming with me."

"Huh? No, it's your date, you go."

"Well, now I'm not sure if I want to go! It's your fault, you know. I was not worrying about anything until you mentioned that. You are coming with."

We devised a plan, an escape plan, should I need to bail - they are to come to the steakhouse half an hour after the initial date, sit a couple of tables away from me. I will signal them if anything goes wrong. We decided on that signal, me placing my hand on my right cheek and tap my index finger twice. I was young, I was shallow, it was my first date, so don't judge!




They went home to get ready, I took my shower and got ready. Around 6.45 PM, I walked down to the steakhouse just in time, 7 PM. I got a table towards the back of the place, ordered myself a drink and sat waiting. He told me he will call me once he's arrived. It was 7.10 PM, still no sign of him yet, and then a phone call.


"Hey, just got here, where are you?"

"I'm inside, towards the back, black shirt," as I talked to him on the phone, I saw a guy walking in, tall, black fitting t-shirt, black jeans, white sneakers, looking around. I waved at him.

"Ah, there you are."

I stood up, shook his hand, and we both sat down, both nervous. He ordered his drink and looked at me, smiling. He asked me how my day was, told me about his, I found out more about him, how he is in a choir group at his uni, among other things. It went quite well.


He was taller than me, had a pleasant looking face, fair skin, thick wavy hair, bit of brownish highlights here and there. I can tell he used quite a lot of gel as that hair ain't going to move even if we're in a storm. You know when you used a tad too much, and it started to look crusty? Yeap. But that' didn't bother me at all. His arms were big, filling up the sleeves of his t-shirt. His voice was not as deep as it sounded on the phone, and once in a while, he would fling his hands as he talked, but that did not bother me either.


"So, what's your plan later?" he asked.

"Well..." I sat there fidgeting with my napkin, looking across the crowded restaurant.


The girls.


They walked into the restaurant, snaked their way between chairs to the back of the room, one of them glanced at my date as they walked passed. They went to the other side, sat three tables away from me. I glanced at them, and they smiled at me, gesturing "You go, girl!"

The date continued, I was having a good time, we chatted over our dinner told each other stories about ourselves, our families, our school. He excused himself to the restroom, and I sat back smiling, it went better than I thought. I leaned forward, leaned my head on my hand, daydreaming, and tapped my cheek.

FUCK!


One of the girls saw it, mouthed "Gotcha!"


Just as I about to tell them that it was a mistake, he came back, sat down, smiling at me.

"Everything okay?"

"Yeah, why?" I replied tensing as I saw one of the girls got up and started walking towards us.

"You look tensed," he said, "I'll get you some more water".

"Oh my God, here you are!" she said as she came to our table, "Hi, excuse me, I need to talk to him, it's urgent" she dragged me out of my seat.

"I'll be right back, excuse me," I said, getting up.

The other girl was waiting for us outside, I told them that it was a mistake, I didn't mean to 'signal' them, and the date actually went well, didn't need to be rescued.


"Stories later, now go," I told them as I pushed them out of the restaurant, "Bye girls".


As I came back inside, my date was getting up, about to leave.


"All good?" I asked

"Yeah, listen, I have to go," he said as he left some money on the table.

"Ah okay, sure, no worries," I signalled the waiter for the bill, "It's been fun. Call me when you get home."


We shook hands, and he went out of the restaurant. Then my insecurity set in - the what-if thoughts ran through my mind.


Did he not enjoy the date as much as I did?

Did he find me unattractive? I've been so worried about myself that I didn't think what he would feel.

Did I do something wrong? Well, obviously I screwed it up.

Did he...

Did I...


So I paid up, called my girls and met them at their place. Told them that generally, I had a great time, but he left after the mishap and not sure if he was going to call me back. I let my worries - and my gal pals' worries - got the best of me and it just snowballed after that. Lesson learned. Let things flow, Que sera sera, whatever will be, will be.


Did he call? No. He did not, well, not that night anyway.


He called me on Monday explaining why he had to go and he did enjoy the date. We went out on another date after that - and I decided not to tell my friends, just to be on the safe side. But after the third date, we decided just to be friends, as much as we enjoyed each other's company, the chemistry wasn't there.


So what did I learn from that one night of going out with a total stranger? Basically nothing, nada, zit, none. I still make similar mistakes along the way, you will learn more in the next "Did That Just Happen?" posts coming soon.


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