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A few minutes later she made a fatal error. In the midst of some incoherent sentence she mumbled, "So if we get married someday ..." I didn't hear the rest of her flirtatious babbling. I internally pondered that if there was a guidebook for what to never say to a man, especially on the first date, she had not read it.
At this time in my life, I was getting my master's in psychology and was becoming a psychotherapist. As I sat across from her, I could not help but internally diagnosis her personality disorder, but, I tried to remain calm and interested. Hell, I had a drama minor in college. I swatted away her flirtatious statements gracefully, in my opinion, but as I was gazing over at the musician playing the harp in the corner of the cafe, I was immediately jolted back into my unfortunate reality. My date violently blurted out, "Do you want me to leave?" I was shocked. I calmly told her that I was just noticing the musician. She seethed and reminded me that I was on a date with her. With fear, I glanced down at my watch and suggested that we go to the movie theater. It gets much worse.
As we walk in silence toward the theater, I notice that I am starting to feel sick. I feel a sore throat coming on and I am feeling vulnerable to the cold outside. I start to shake. I look to my left and see her scowl and know that there is no comfort to be had by her. As we buy tickets, we are told that the heating system in the Parkway is broken and that they have blankets if we are too cold. Here I am shaking and feeling sick and we are heading into a meat locker. As we made our way to the couch, I notice that I can see my breath. I sit on one end of the couch, arms crossed and shivering. She looks at me and deadpans, "You are sitting so far away, why don't you just sit on another coach." Somehow she is missing my "I don't want to cuddle" cues. Again, I nervously laugh and pray for the previews.
I glance around at the other fortunate souls on dates and turn to see my ex-girlfriend's best friend a couple of seats behind us. Let's just say that my ex and me did not end on a good note. Her best friend would most likely tag team with my date and say unkind things to me if I was spotted. I quickly turned toward the backs of heads in front of me and slid myself down on the couch in a fetal-type position. My date was talking to everyone around us, as an obvious defense to my abandonment of her. I could tell that her mania annoyed others too.
Toward the end of the movie, (which sucked by the way), I realized that I was in a triple bind. One, I am feeling colder and sicker by the minute; Two, I need to find a way to avoid contact with my ex's friend; And, three, I have to go to the bathroom so badly that I ache. Not to mention that I have an angry tattooed woman in a tank top sitting next to me.
As the ending credits begin to roll, I tell my date that I need to run to the bathroom. She rolls her eyes at me and tells me that she is going to talk with her new friends (who, by the way, look at me pleadingly to take this woman away). I run past my ex's best friend without her noticing me and get to the bathroom. Apparently the movie in the other theater got out minutes earlier and there is a long line out of the men's bathroom. What is this, a Coldplay concert? I stand and shake from side to side, to keep me warm and to avoid peeing in my pants. I look to my right, and as if in slow motion, I see my ex's best friend walking down the stairs towards me. She has not seen me yet, so I do the unexpected. I run. I literally run out of the theater to my apartment, which is a block away.
After I relieved myself, I text messaged my date and told her that I was home. I turned on the heater, crawled into my warm bed, and thanked the heavens that I got out of my date without any bruises. The next morning, I saw an e-mail in my inbox that I knew could not be too good. It was a 10,000-word e-mail from my date. She told me, in a number of creative ways, how horrible I am going to be as a therapist, because I obviously had no heart, and no humanity. I read her words and literally doubted my new career path for a moment. Was leaving her at the theater so heartless? Does a choice like this reflect my ineptness as a therapist?
No. To this day, I do not regret my decision to run, for SO many reasons. But mostly, I avoided the prospect of seeing the rest of her tattoos against my will. Yes, she was that scary.
Paul Ginocchio, Oakland
A Painful Experience
Worst date ever? Is that for me, or for the woman?
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