My WORST date was one of the "why not" options....now I really debate if the free meal and conversation are worth it!
Some friends of mine met a guy at a restaurant in Hot Springs one night while they were out. He was (clearly) single and so they thought..."hey we know a girl who is single so you guys should talk". Thankfully they did text and ask permission to have him "friend" me on Facebook before they allowed the stalking to begin.
It was my first date based off the lovely "social media land".
There was the expected back and forth on Facebook where I finally felt safe enough to share the cell number. We arranged to meet up. I insisted that we meet in Hot Springs. Where, I could drive my own car in case I needed to get away. I didn't want him to know where I lived. And, I didn't want to be seen out in my little town with a "new guy" until he obtained the status worthy of being seen "in town".
Of course with the luxury of Facebook I knew what he looked like so just meeting up at the restaurant was safe enough without the proverbial red rose on the book. I really don't remember much about our "hello" because the rest of the evening was so overwhelming that I can't even go back that far in my mind.
Soon after we were seated he complimented my cardigan and jeans. Let's be honest that its a 4 day process to decide what to wear on a first date so to have a guy notice and then comment is always a big deal. So, he did score a point there. The fact that he was so impressed by a cardigan should have been my first clue that it had been a while since he had been on a date.
Somewhere in the course of dinner conversation, we had an argument with our waiter about refried vs. black vs. charro beans. Grown up conversation is so fun!
I could tell this wasn't really going anywhere but I could also sense that he was very nervous. Now, you know I can talk to the wall about pretty much anything and he could talk about toilet paper and be happy so we were never at a loss for conversation. I was however scanning the room at all times to see who was in the restaurant from "my town" so I was ready for the barrage of questions that I might later find myself prepared for.
Post dinner I made the standard trek to the bathroom - not to check my lipstick because I could care less. I needed to make sure my face didn't read boredom and when I'm nervous I drink a lot so my water glass had been refilled 8 times.
When I came back from dinner, he gave me 3 options for something to do post dinner. I do realize that the rest of this story could have been saved by saying something similar to "well, I probably need to head back". But, I don't really know how to be mean or get out of awkward situations and he was at least in a place to pay so I was going with it.
- Option 1 - "we could go to the movies and I will probably try to hold your hand. I'm not sure what is out, but I'm sure we can find something". I politely asked for option 2. Holding hands is a special thing and I was sure he would try something more...I'm no dummy
- Option 2 - "we could go to the county fair and I'll win you an animal."
- Option 3 - "well, there is a county fair in town and we could go check it out"
As we walked out of the restaurant his comment was "well, we are going to have to take your car. I'm embarrassed of mine and we cant drive in it". I thought "ok, no big deal. We are grown ups and I can drive." I hate driving, and usually I would offer to let him drive, but I had no idea who this dude was. Which as I'm typing this kinda makes me nervous that I even got in my car with him.
So, we pulled out of the parking lot and I told him he would have to give me directions because I knew the fair grounds had moved and I wasn't sure where they were. He agreed to give me directions but we needed to make a pit stop first - the bank. It apparently never crossed his mind to think about stopping to financially cover the evening and his "options" before he offered them. So, we took off for the local branch of his bank, which there was only one of on the complete opposite side of town from where we were and where we were going. Not to worry, because of our "new" status, he could of course not give me his ATM card and code so I pulled into the drive thru backwards so he could get out and take care of his banking.
Next fear you need to know about me. I'm not a fan of crowds. I'm less a fan of going to places with big parking lots in fields where you have to sit and wait in traffic. And, I cannot parallel park. All 3 played in our favor that evening and before we even made it into the fair, I was standing in the middle of the road helping him not hit the car on either side of mine as he "made up" a parking spot along the road.
So, we are safely parked and headed into the local Arkansas county fair. Now, I had attended this fair back in college when I was friends with a guy who's family owned fair rides. We could get back door access to all kinds of small county fairs and play on the rides and hang with the "carnies" so that was not my concern. The concern came when he said "stick with me".
Apparently it was "Republican" night that evening (or should I say week) and his parents were the local chairs for a pretty significant candidate and were working that evening. So, something was said about "the Republican party" as we walked through the gate and no money was exchanged. But, in return for our "free" admission, we had to make a stop by "the table". Lucky for me, I actually new this candidate so I was pumped to turn on my charm and have a fantastic convo. Unlucky for me, her night to attend was the previous night and instead manning the both that evening was his...mother. Of course...that's what we all do on a first date is meet our guys mama at the county fair.
But, I was cool with it. She was a Ouachita alumni, I worked with Ouachita alumni. His brother was considering coming to Ouachita on a music scholarship, I used to recruit kids to come to Ouachita on music scholarships. It was all panning out, right? Well, he disappeared. I won over his mom. His redneck dad showed up running his mouth about the "locals" who were enjoying themselves at the monster truck rally under the big top. She thankfully stopped him before the story got too colorful with this phrase - "now dear, watch your mouth. This young lady is accompanying our son this evening". Hold it there Bessie, did we just pull out our antebellum hoop dresses or are we still in redneckville at the local county fair?
Thirty minutes later, he showed back up with some lady and a red solo cup and I'm not sure what had been going on. To his credit he realized it was time to rescue me and take me out to the midway where he could win this prize he promised.
Game one, I beat him. Game 2, I beat him. (you would think he would be smart enough to just let me watch him play but no, he was competitive enough to let me keep beating him). Finally we find a game that was for just one player so he allows the "carnie" to negotiate some ridiculous amount of money out of him as he continues to throw darts and get higher on the prize options until he wins me a large tiger. After all, I worked at Ouachita and if I needed anything to remember our evening, it was a stuffed tiger (thankfully some kid in Africa is enjoying that because it made its way into my Operation Christmas Child box that year!). So, with prize in hand, we could move on to the next phase of the fair - the animal area.
Again, I'm in a cardigan, skinny jeans and some form of sandals not really made for barn animal watching. But, I pulled up my big girl pants and took one for the team...the last thing you want to be on a first date is "high maintenance"! I mean looking at farm animals that the local 4H kids have raised has to be enlightening, and it was.
(I'll go ahead and throw in here that on our way over to the "sale barn", my date grabbed my hand in the dark and said he needed some "consoling" so I was going to have to help his ego through the beating it had taken by me beating him and having to commit his life savings to "winning" me that tiger. I was on to his shenanigans and quickly found a way to pry my hand loose and move the tiger to his side)
There were goats, miniature horses and pigs. Big pigs. Small pigs. Baby pigs. Mama pigs. Pink pigs. Black pigs. Oreo colored pigs. And, pigs with big udders. Or, ones' who's "milk was ready" as I learned from my lovely date who bent over and stood on his head to make some animal observations. I learned more about the "milking" and pig raising process that evening than I could care to know. I guess when you grow up in Hot Spring county, you just learn a few things about the livestock life.
Once I started my sneezing fit and my eyes begin to swell, he realized it was probably time to end our lovely time together.
I drove us back to the restaurant and around to his car. There was not a hug goodbye although I think he did try to go for the lean in while I remained full body plastered to my driver side door.
I did stick around only long enough to hear the high shrill noise come from his car which indicated it was working and he could indeed leave and get home.
(In case you are wondering the ... to this story was a conversation sometime later the next week where I realized with my busy schedule, that he complained about, I probably didn't have the kind of time it took to invest in a relationship at that time. He took it well....until he called me back 3 days later wondering if it was "him" or if he had "done something".....geeze louise man)