A Goose and A Gander

By Dan Teano and Amanda Gabriel

Elm Staff Writers

This week Dan and Amanda are talking about bad dates. Not all dates are created equal and some are just awful and awkward. Dan and Amanda share their own experiences with bad dates as a way to show us that we are not alone in the bad date department.

Dan says…It was an uncharacteristically beautiful summer day in Philadelphia. The sunny clear skies reflected prominently off of the glass buildings. Several young professionals strolled with their well-groomed pets through verdant Rittenhouse Square. It was near perfect that afternoon, except for the date I had to endure.

Prior to that day, my mother cleverly arranged a date for me with a family friend (for confidentiality purposes I’ll refer to her as Luna). I knew very little about Luna. I didn’t even have her number. I wildly guessed she liked Chinese food, so I reserved a table at an upscale Asian fusion restaurant.

Following my mother’s instructions, I left work promptly and arrived at the restaurant just before 1 p.m. As I spent 30 minutes re-ordering water and getting up to use the bathroom, I could only hope Luna’s mother told her the same time. Fourty-five minutes later someone entered the restaurant. After a quick exchange of graceless glances we confirmed that we were each other’s blind date.

The date began with rehearsed introductions, staggered questions, and a lot of thumb twiddling. From our gradual questions and answers, we realized how different we were from each other.

I listen to hip-hop music. She despises Kanye West for interrupting Taylor Swift. She works closely with her advisor to avoid taking any science courses and I’m a biology major. I prefer spicy food. She can hardly tolerate a mild hot sauce, and how appropriate, the restaurant’s menu only features Schezuan-style cooking, the spiciest of all Chinese cuisines. We had just ordered a customized non-spicy dumpling dish, and I had already run out of conversation fillers.

After a round of awkward questions, it turned out that we actually had something in common. “So where do you work,” Luna said. “Oh, no way.” Finally, one of us responds in a non-robotic manner. “Which floor of the research building? The sixth floor? Get out. My boyfriend works on the sixth floor.” My fork dropped. My jaw probably dropped as well, but it was numb from my appreciation for spicy food. I unconsciously pulled out my phone to text my mom if this was her vengeance for when I rear-ended her car. I stumble over my words and in broken English, I ask if she can repeat what she just said. “My boyfriend is your co-worker,” she said slowly.

The words cut a little deeper this time. “I’m sorry,” I quietly apologized. “I just thought this was a blind date that our mothers organized for us.” It turns out, I wasn’t wrong. Luna’s mother did schedule a blind date for Luna to spite her boyfriend who she adamantly disapproves of. Ironically, after we talked about our very unlikely mutual friend, we began to laugh. Then, we talked endlessly on the most trivial topics without pause. It was as if all tension was alleviated, and we could finally start being ourselves.

It was an interesting date to say the least. In fact, it was quite successful as I still managed to complete all my objectives, which were to get her number and split the tab. More than anything, through the comical plannings of my mother, I took my co-worker’s girlfriend on a date and that’s how I met my best friend. Indeed, it was an uncharacteristically beautiful day in Philadelphia.

Amanda says…When it comes to dating, everyone loves to brag about the romantic nights they have had with their sweethearts. Candlelit dinners, late night walks, kisses in the rain, but what people tend to avoid talking about are the dates that have gone south. Whether you admit it or not, we have all had at least one dating downfall, including myself.

It was a cool Friday evening in late April. My boyfriend and I just made it official two weeks prior, so we were excited to go out on our second date. We planned a typical high school get together dinner followed by a movie. He picked me up in his big pick-up truck around 5 p.m., and we drove together to Olive Garden.

When we arrived, the waiter took us to this quaint table in the back lining the wall. The smell of garlic and parmesan cheese lingered throughout the room, which only made me want those breadsticks even more.

I looked at my boyfriend and he seemed a little pale to me, so I asked him if he was alright. “Just take a sip of water,” I said. I figured he was probably just nervous. As more time passed, my boyfriend barely said a word. Instead, he stared down into his drink and fiddled with his straw. Great. I was so excited for this big date only to come here and receive the silent treatment.

Suddenly, he decided to get up. “I’ll be right back. Bathroom.” As soon as he left, the waiter came with our entrees. Five minutes passed. Still no sign of him. My phone buzzed with a text from my date which read, “Start without me.” Now I was seriously starting to wonder what was going on but gave it another few minutes while I took a few bites of my meal.

Eventually, I had half an empty plate. At this point all the other couples started to stare at me with pity. Did he ditch me? Finally, he came back and said, “I think I better take this to-go. I just threw up.” Perfect. This is exactly what every girl dreams of happening. “I feel better though,” he told me. “Let’s still go and catch that movie.” Okay, so maybe this isn’t so bad after all. We still have half our date left.

We packed up and headed to the theater with just enough time to buy tickets and find seats.

“Two tickets to ‘Avengers’,” I said.

“Can’t do that. This movie is sold out,” said the employee, “but we have the next showing in about an hour and a half if you’d like to wait.”

Like to wait? My curfew was in three hours. No thanks.

“Well, what other movies are playing now?”

“The only other one is ‘Paul Blart Mall Cop 2’,” said my boyfriend.

“Fine. Why not.”

At this point, I didn’t care about what movie was playing, because all I wanted was a little alone time. We purchased the tickets, but when we walked into the theater, we noticed it was packed with people. How are we supposed to have a little privacy in this place? Luckily, I ended up finding two seats tucked in the back corner. We made our way up the steps to claim the seats. “Finally!” I said. “Something in our favor!”

I guess I spoke too soon because a few minutes later, we had an old lady sitting directly beside us on one side, and a mother and little boy on the other. That’s it. I give up. What a great night.

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