Jabbing a Knife Into the Heart of a Date

by LF (5/12/00)

So I was sitting outside on a bright Monday, enjoying a really beautiful day, when I met this woman who lives in the same apartment complex.

She's good-looking (would've been a perfect Size 4, but her chest is, uh, too big), 29, no kids, never married. So I'm on her like stink on an ape. She mentioned that she was gonna be off the next day in order to get cable hooked up in the morning, and then had an interview scheduled for 3:30. I was already pretty stewed, and did not fully process that information until later, but then a plan occurred to me. I took the following afternoon off, swung by her place just before noon, and asked whether she'd be interested in checking out Haiku. According to the local free papers it's a new "eclectic" pan-Asian joint on High Street which serves Chinese, Thai, Korean, and Japanese food.

She said yes, took a short timeout to shit, shower, and shave, and then offered to drive, which was cool with me (made sense -- probably'd make her feel safer with a total stranger that way, right?).

At Haiku

So we ended up driving downtown around 1:30. I liked the looks of the restaurant, which was still under construction: there was some wiring work going on during our visit, and the narrow fenced-in "patio" was not yet open.

Even though it was late for lunch and the place was more than half-empty, leaving plenty of roomy booths available, we were shunted to a small table uncomfortably crammed right against the glass fish display. If it wasn't a touchy first-date situation, I would've bitched heartily.

The menu was chock-full of interesting stuff, but it turned out that my date had never tried Asian food which'd not come out of a steam tray, causing our waiter a case of the snickers (perhaps eclectic is restaurant guide lingo for "snotty homosexuals"). I ordered Pad Thai for her, which went down really well. Luckily she knew how to use chopsticks, as we were not asked if we wanted silverware.

After a fashionably long wait I received an attractive sectioned combination platter containing minnows with their little eyeballs intact, middling kim-chee, very good fish-skin-out sushi rolls, and a lot more. The decent kal-bi (the beef could've been a bit less stringy) was unfortunately plopped on top of what looked and felt like the kind of white rice you can get at any grocery store for about 40 cents a pound, which completely confounded all attempts to pick it up with the provided sticks. The tempura was also disappointing. The wasabi was weak. The pea pods were completely inedible.

I ordered a side of crab dim sum for about seven bucks, and really liked the steamed minibuns that actually contained crustacean. But they were way outnumbered by units containing only vegetables or pork. That's fine, but I was expecting crab! A final minor irritant was the spit glistening on the well-chewed cap of the pen our waiter brought over after I put the bill on my credit card. Luckily I always carry a red Uni-Ball.

On balance, the meal was a pleasant enough experience, and most of the food ranged from fine to at least acceptable. But feel free to bark at your waitperson to keep the lazy sack in line. Or call the manager. That's what they're for.

Overall rating 2.5 out of 5.

Back to the Date Thing

My companion and I found plenty to talk about, so I'm thinking that things were going really well, and that I was going to make it home without shitting myself in public, so to speak. Looking gooood. Feeling gooood.

Then she says, "It's so nice! Want to go to a park?" Turns out that her interview had been canceled . . . and well, sure, what could it hurt, right? I figured that Columbus is probably like Cleveland, where you're never more than twenty minutes from a MetroPark.

Well, we're in the car for 45 minutes before she reveals that she's aiming for Alum Creek, which is way the hell out in the sticks. 90 minutes in she reveals she's never been there before. After I insist on stopping to ask for directions we finally make it . . . and the place is about as exciting as a toxic waste dump, one of those US Army Corps of Engineers-looking deals. And the wind's blowing real hard, and she's wearing shorts, so we only stay for like a quarter of an hour.

So it's back to the car. All told, I had to come up with 3.5 hours worth of additional non-confrontational chatter after blowing my entire supply of "A" material back at the restaurant.

Now, see, if I had been driving and pulled a total boner like that on a first date, I would've gotten my dick slammed in the car door. But on the other hand, I'm almost glad that the annoying side trip took place. The painful extra talking time yielded a number of useful nuggets.

The prime example was the context of her stories. In the course of over five hours, she did not tell a single one which even mentioned another woman, aside from extremely short, painful-sounding mentions of her childhood.

Now, a woman without any female buddies is generally a red flag for me. Gals are normally plenty gregarious, and one without same-sex pals worth mentioning may indeed have several reasons why . . . but after way too many years of often brutal dating experiences, the most prominent one is the need of some to be constantly surrounded by horny men.

So I probed further, and learned that her old "boyfriend" was actually her old live-in, and that they shacked for two years. Oh, wait, make that four years -- the story got better as it ran on. So much for having a good Catholic girl to introduce to Mom.

The capper for the day came when we got stuck in heavy 270 Beltline rush-hour traffic on the way back. She started reaching under her shirt to play with her stomach, and I cracked a snide joke about readjusting a belly-button ring.

Turns out, she actually was. Foot in fucking mouth time?

Luckily she missed the slight, then went on to describe various possible tattoos under consideration. Ugh. My tolerance is reached when a cutie gets something like a Thrush Muffler logo on her ankle. That'd be OK. And guys can get any sort of ridiculous crud scrawled on them because I don't care how they scar themselves. But beyond that, I'm just not a believer.

But she pressed the issue, forcing me to admit that the only ink I was ever interested in having done was the logo for the old punk group Black Flag, four black bands in an up-and-down sequence which looks (in these high-tech times) like nothing more than a chubby barcode. I ended up having to explain that no matter how fat, thin, pumped-up, or old I might get, the beauty of that design lay in the fact that it would always look the same. That did not cut it, as she assumed that I was indirectly calling her old, fat, or out of shape. Dammit. That sort of crap is exactly why I prefer to only do a brief lunch on a first date.

When she got me home we parted amicably, but I wrote her off. A good thing, as it turns out, as she started seriously entertaining some gent just days later. She spotted me on my patio the next weekend and explained that her brother over in Hilliard had been stopping by. Since the guy's car was parked in front of her place from 8pm to 6am every day for many days, I figure that she's either full of it, or her familial relationships are way too close for my comfort.

Up the spout