This scene is fiction. Probably. A little fiction never hurt anyone. You know that.
There are two of them seated at the table, and he’s having a better time than his date. That shouldn’t really surprise you. Most times when you see a couple, you know one of them is fighting above their weight class. There’s no way it’s going to end well for those people; they’re the ones who are going to spend the night pounded into the mat. But for a while there they’re can dream. For a while they get to be a contender.
“This feels weird,” he says. “Does this feel weird to you? It feels weird.”
He’s sweating. Fidgeting. They haven’t even got around to entrees yet, but you want to applaud him for getting through ordering without fucking up.
“I just don’t ordinarily do this,” he says. “Going out, I mean. Dating. It’s one of those things you see on the telly. A little bit American and all that. Never really occurred to me that it was a thing people actually did.” He frowns and takes a nervous sip of water. “God, that makes me sound like a bit of a loser, doesn’t it?”
“No,” she says, “I understand what you mean.”
“I don’t think I’ve ever really been on a date before,” he says. “It just seems a bit forward, you know? Very upfront. No pretending that I’m not interested in you.”
She doesn’t have anything to say to that. She lifts her wine-glass and holds it.
He swallows. “Have you?”
She pushes back thoughts of the night Chris first charmed her. The small car idling its way through Athens. The quiet bistro. The bottles of wine. “A little.”
“I’m sorry,” he says. “That’s a terrible thing to ask, isn’t it? Christ, I’m sorry.”
He giggles. It’s not a pleasant sound. “You really think that”ll help?”
“It can’t hurt, right?”
“Depends.” He picks up his napkin and starts worrying at the edges. Where in hell are those entrees? Shouldn’t there be entrees by now? “Probably not a great idea if there’s a ninja attack, yeah? Never hurts to be a bit on edge when ninjas are about.”
“My parents were killed in a ninja attack,” she says.
His eyes go wide. “Shit,” he says. “Shit, I’m really sorry. Damn. I’m such a fucking idiot…”
And you watch them like that, watch the look on her face as she realises she’ll have to explain that she was just making a joke. I mean, seriously, ninjas. Whose family goes out like that?
First dates. You don’t really miss them.
Expository Note: I’m still recovering from the last of my throat infection, so I’m spending the next couple of weeks tackling some writing prompts I found on the internet. Partially I’m interested in seeing what comes out of it, since I’ve never really been a follow-the-writing-prompts kind of guy. Partially I’m just looking to take the thought of blogging for a stretch while I rebuild my enthusiasm for the task and get back into the routine of not-blog-writing. Partially I just figured it’d be far more interesting than another week of youtube clips.
This one proved to be tough. Is it clear I have no real frame of reference for bad first dates? Or, for that matter, good first dates? Somehow I always did the opposite – get to know women I liked, hang out with them for a while, start going out, then go on dates when we were already a couple. It took a hell of a let of pressure off. I did ask a woman I liked to an art gallery once, but it wasn’t a date. Just, you know, hanging out, sharing a mutual interest in photography.
Apparently that would have been a date if I was smarter, but I wasn’t. It took a lot of hanging out before I finally woke up and that relationship got started.
I’m curious about this now. Do Australian’s date? I always did assume it was an American thing.
Also, writing to prompts is weird.