First Date Commentary | The Awkward Tale of ‘Donny and Marie’

First dates are always an awkward event. While enjoying our annual Christmas night out, the yesyesBD gang and myself witnessed a first date so awkward the need to blog was unavoidable.

After a long year, me and the team were in dire need of a night out. Apart from the expected few bail outs we had a good turn out of people and we were ready to party. We had a table booked at a well-known Italian chain and everyone was dressed for the occasion — except a few who had decided to don overly-jolly Christmas jumpers. I kicked myself that I hadn’t thought of the same but swallowed the lump in my throat and got on with my night.

The night was going well, the drinks were flowing, the laughs more so and a few of our more confident male colleagues had made a valient — but unsuccessful — attempt at chatting up our waitress. The conversation quickly dithered however when we witnessed a couple walk in and quietly slump themselves into the table next to ours. We knew what this was, we all knew the signs; the body language, the awkward silences and the avoidance of all eye contact. It was unmistakable. . . The first date!

We did all we could do in such a situation; pour ourselves another drink, huddle closer together and like a flock of hungry vultures watch every move they made. We had all somehow become dating experts in the blink of an eye (despite most of us being what can only be described as ‘single as hell!’) and like an orchestra of giddy sports reporters we prepared to deliver our critique.

We decided we would name this couple Donny and Marie as we felt what followed was a series of events so awkward it was comparable to an incestuous morning after. Also, after a few drinks no fantastic sparks of creativity were going to happen and those names were the first to mind.

The shoes. . . Oh God, the shoes!

“Should I go formal or casual?” “Maybe smart-casual, whatever that means?” “What about how I should style my hair?”

We have all been there, picking clothes for the first date is always a challenge. Trying to play it safe while trying to have an ‘edge’. The smart first time dater understands and respects this balance. Donny however had decided to throw a massive middle finger to this rule and adopted a devil-may-care attitude to his wardrobe. Sporting a pair of white and brown wing tip shoes that wouldn’t look out-of-place on the aisles of the local AMF bowling ally and a salmon (ok, pink) shirt, not that there is a problem with guys wearing pink. My problem wasn’t with the colour of Donnys’ shirt but his decision to undo so many top buttons that he was rocking a ‘V’ that would make borat blush. I half expected some 80’s style hairy chest and an oversized gold medallion to erupt from the deep gorge in his clothing.

“Donnys’ bowling shoes”

The bad touch

It’s scientific fact that body contact with someone can increase your chances of hitting it off. Donny was no stranger to this fact. He knew he had to get the touch somehow. We could see him pondering. His brain strategically planning his next move. This had started a discussion in the commentary booth (aka. our table). Would he go for the cutesy laugh and touch of the arm or maybe the classic yawn, stretch and arm placement. The yawn had our votes. Donny didn’t leave us in suspense long. “My hands are so cold” he explained to Marie, holding out his hands to her. This man was a genius! He had gone half way and waited for her to come the other 50%. This was a brave but clever move from Donny. It almost deserved a round of applause, however given out surroundings I felt this may have made the situation more uncomfortable and opted against it.

This could be it. Donny had her on the rope. This however was clearly not Maries’ first rodeo. She knew the game and instead chose to keep her hands placed firmly by her sides. She stared into Donny’s eyes with a look that said “Is that all you have champ?” A perfect counter. Donny sat there, hands hovering in the void, panic in his eyes.

Our hopes for Donnys’ victory were dwindelling, the voice in our collective head was screaming “Fall back Donny!!! It’s over!”

Donny wasnt going to take defeat so easily. He was tired of waiting. He grabbed hold of her arm, looked her dead in the eyes and repeated again “My hands are so cold” What followed was a long, awkward silence. Donny still locked onto her arm like a pissed off mother telling off a petulant child. Staring into her eyes with intense determination and passion. Our table shared in the feeling of tension in complete silence.

After what felt like a very long time Marie uncomfortably pulled her arm back and responded with a simple “yeah, pretty cold”

The awkwardness was at its peak here. A slight relief was granted as the waitress arrived at their table to take thier order. This gave both Donny and Marie time to nurse their wounds and prepare for the next round. We took this opportunity to fill up our drinks and recap our thoughts on Donnys progress so far.

The massacre

A short while later Donny and Marie were presented with their food. Marie knew the rules. No messy food on a first date, she had gone for what looked like a meat dish or some kind. No messy sauces or smelly ingredients. She proceeded to delicately cut up her food and politely place each piece softly in her mouth. It was clear to us by this point that Donny was no mere mild-mannered pushover. He had no interest in rules or conventions. Donny was his own man. He had ordered an extra large, extra cheesy, runny pizza with what appeared to be half the kitchen on top. He looked at it with a expression I can only assume is pride as the waitress placed it in front of him. He wasted no time in demolishing the first few slices with barely a gap for breathe. Marie watched the pizza massacre in horror.

They both finished their food in silence. They sat, their empty plates in front of them, each one desperately searching for some interesting words to break the silence. No inspiration struck them. Within a matter of minutes the phones came out, we knew this was the throwing in of the metaphorical towel. It was done, despite his best efforts Donny was out.

The bill was paid and both quietly left the restaurant, exchanged an uncomfortable hug and went their seperate ways.

The Verdict

At the time, I thought I knew how I felt about Donny. He had ignored every rule in the book. There were no two ways about it. The date was a disaster. Still, despite his shortcomings I had grown fond of Donny and his cavalier ways. I respected him for being himself. After all, first dates have a tendency to become a bullshit masquerade, each person putting on heirs and graces and on their best behaviour. Later finding out the prince charming or the perfect woman you had met was actually a bit of a dick, inevitably ending in the even more awkward ‘We need to talk…’ conversation.

Upon reflection is dawned on me. Donny had the right idea. He wasn’t wrong. . . he was just honest. He had avoided all the rigmarole and bollocks associated with dating. He was himself and if anyone didn’t like it they could piss off!

I think something important can be learnt from Donny and Marie. Be yourself, be honest and sure, if your a bit of a dick, you may come across as a bit of a dick but if your honest you may find that person that wants to be with you. Even when you are a dick.

Originally published at on December 16, 2014.

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