The buildup was pretty grand. We had met a couple times through mutual friends before he got the courage to ask me out, which I happily accepted. A dinner date for Tuesday night at Arigato was penned in my calendar, and from our past interactions, it seemed it would be an easy-to-talk-to, fun date.
He called to follow up, using sentiments such as, “I’ve had a crush on you since day one,” and , “We’re going to have a great time!” It was sweet. He was excited. I was weary. If I’ve learned anything about dating it is do not, I repeat, do not have expectations. You will always be let down (life lesson). But, of course, I allowed myself to think this would be different. Especially when I received a text the night before: “Tomorrow is Tuesday! I’m so looking forward to our date!” Expectations had me by the ovaries, and I was the next victim.
Tuesday, I find myself traveling up State Street. I take one last glance in a reflective store window (best way to fully scan an outfit, pre-date) and stroll up to the future scene of the crime. He greets me with a slight hug, no smile. What’s his deal? He mentions there is a 45-minute wait and asks if I prefer to sit inside or out. “Whatever is easiest!” And whatever will lighten the mood.
We grab a drink and sit. It was awkward. I start the 20-questions game – my interview skills kicking in, in the clutch – to do something, anything to make time to go by. He’s quiet, despondent, and a little… hmm, what’s the word… a wet blanket, that’s it. (We will now refer to him as, “WB”.) But his attitude was not going to ruin my evening. Not one bit. And yes, I thought about calling it a night right then and there, but I had driven all the way downtown and made the effort. Plus, I was having a good hair day.
After what seemed like three years, the host asks if we’d like to sit at a table or the sushi bar. With pleading eyes, I say, “Sushi bar, please!” hoping it didn’t come out as desperate as I felt. (Sushi bar = more people nearby and more distractions.) I set my drink down (Sauvignon Blanc), and we get settled. As soon as the server leaves with our order of sea urchin and salmon roe on oysters on the half-shell with quail egg (called the “Up All Night”, I highly recommend.), I ask him the question he’s been fishing for the entirety of this date. “So…are you okay?” This is how the conversation went:
ER: “I don’t mean it in a bad way, but is everything all right?”
WB: “Really? I thought I was doing a good job at hiding it.”
Um, no. Not at all.
“I found out some really bad news from work this morning, and I’m kinda depressed about it.”
Did you find this out before or after you called to confirm the date this morning?
[Gulp of wine]
“So… what happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
[Twenty minutes of “not talking about it” and a second glass of wine later…]
“I tried to pump myself up today, to get excited for the date.”
“Actually, I thought about canceling…”
“You should have! I would have understood!”
Seriously dude. You should have. I totally get it. Now.
“I’m really sorry, I feel like a putz.”
“It’s okay. You just need time to yourself, to digest everything,”
“I just want to go home and watch Netflix.”
Holy sh*t, did he just say Netflix?
“Please, do! Please go watch Netflix.”
That was the best idea I heard all week. I promptly drove to my friends house to spill the beans so I wasn’t the only one existing in quiet disbelief. So, ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another story of expectations swallowing a victim whole. Thank goodness Netflix stepped in as my wingman to save the night.