On the Worst First Date Ever

I met this girl, Summer, at a bar one night. Some friends and I had been out drinking quite a bit, so needless to say I was feeling extremely confident and wonderful in every regard. The friends and I walked into this bar called Nikki’s BBQ, loud disco pumping out of the place, people packed in, dancing, drinking, sweating. Quite a scene.

As I walked in I saw her, noted that she was attractive, caught her eye, walked over, got in her ear, said, I’ll be right back, don’t move, thinking that was the apex of game, grabbed a beer, walked back to her and she was still there. Still kinda can’t believe that worked. We danced, we talked loudly to each other over the blaring tunes, I believe there was a moment where I decided not to drunkenly make a move on her, which in turn got me her number. As I walked out she kissed me. I remember thinking, this could be alright. I called her the next day and we set up a date for drinks the next Wednesday.

I was 27 at the time, so essentially I was broke, but not too broke where I couldn’t afford a date, drove a pickup truck, had a job as writer for some crappy agency, so I wasn’t the most put-together cat in the universe. By put together I mean everything that this girl Summer was looking for and that I was not.

I get to her apartment building and notice that her neighborhood is really nice. In the middle of San Francisco there are a handful of areas that can say that. I notice then that her building is really nice. I buzz her number and she lets me up. I get to her door, Billie Holiday CD in hand (she had mentioned that she like Billie Holiday, like the only thing I remember from the other night’s conversation) and I knock. Im not dressed like shit, but I’m not in a suit either. Khakis and a sweater — green Puma Clydes. I think I look ok. Casual but not too casual, the Pumas say im hip, the khakis say that I own a pair of pants that aren’t jeans. The sweater says that I’m about to go on a date. All together, it says I care, but not that much.

She answers the door and lets me in. She’s still attractive, which was one of my worries before getting there. It was hard for me to remember exactly what she looked like, I knew she was blond, blue eyed, and from Texas.

“Would you like a glass of wine?” she asks me.

“Sure, sounds great,” I say.

“Well I have this great little Merlot from the San Fernando Valley, but I’d have to let it breathe a bit, and then there’s the bottle I have opened, an Australian Shiraz that I just love, the notes and all. But it’s up to you.” Whoa. Easy Wine-stein. Whatever’s open. Like I’m gonna make her crack another bottle of whatever wine she was so eager to shove her knowledge of it down my throat. Plus letting it breathe? Sounds like waiting to get a drink.

“The first one sounds fine. Here,” and I hand her the Billie Holiday CD, “thought you might like this. It’s her concert in Paris in…”

“Oooh! Billie Holiday! Yay! I’ve been wanting her stuff for like, ever. So nice of you!” She puts it on the shelf without looking at the songlist. And then she hands me a glass of wine. I down about half of it immediately.

“Good stuff,” I say, raising the glass, smiling, with what I’m sure were wine-stained lips. I was kind of a pig. But I was 27! I was supposed to be a pig. She looks at me wide-eyed as I take another sip. What? I look back at her.

“Am I not doing it right?” I ask.

“No, no, it’s nothing. It’s just really good wine, I’d think you’d want to enjoy it, a little, I mean, no, it’s ok. It’s fine. ”

“I am enjoying it,” I say, laughing. She’s pretentious, and it’s bugging me already. At least about wine. And she reacted to Billie Holiday like I just handed her a Summer Jams 2 compilation CD that you’d buy from a TV commercial. Ugh, I think. This is gonna take some booze.

We take a cab to the restaurant, Fior D’Italia on Sacramento and California. By no means is this place Tavern on the Green, but it’s got a rich history and the food is traditional Italian. It’s a can’t miss place that is hard to dislike.

We’re seated, handed menus by an older gentleman in a tux, and left to decide.

“Ooohhh,” she sighs.

“What. What’s the matter?” I ask.

“Veal.”

“Not your thing?” I ask.

“It shouldn’t be anyone’s thing. The way the animals are treated. I mean they’re shoved in these horrible pens and …” she goes into a detail for the next five minutes that I can only describe as passionately specific. A couple next to us listened to the whole thing. I shot them a glance and shrugged my shoulders, as if to apologize. Shut the fuck up and pick something to eat. I don’t care what you think about veal.

“Yeah but it tastes amazing. And the veal hear is like, city renown,” I say. I’m going to order 3 fucking plates of it, I think to myself, and punch a cow in the face on my way out.

“Well, I suppose I could have the fish,” she says, almost whining.

“Yeah. You could.”

We order. She of course is super difficult about it, noting to the waiter exactly how she would like her vegetable medley prepared. And of course, the beautiful sauce for the fish would have to come on the side. The old man waiter looking at her painfully as she specified everything. He turns to me.

“Sir?”

“Veal Scallopini.”

“Very good. Something else to drink?”

She orders a $20 glass of wine. He turns to me.

“Whiskey. Double, neat.”

“Of course, sir.”

Middle of dinner I find out that she’s in sales. She sells DSL communication lines that essentially rip up any part of the environment that they’re planted in. I mention to her that this kind of contradicts the very sustainable stance that she took on veal, and she came back with some shitty excuse as to why it was ok, which I ignored and asked her,

“What kind of car do you drive?”

“A convertible Mercedes. White. SLK.” It’s like a $70,000 car that eats gas like we breathe air. Don’t get me wrong, I’d drive that car around every day and twice on Sundays. But she’s contradicting the shit out of herself and I hate her. I hate her so much. I hate that she’s pretty. That she’s successful. I hate that she hates veal. I hate that she’s from Texas. I actually like Texas. But I hate that she’s from there.

“Wow. You must do quite well. It doesn’t bother you that you’re earning money off something that’s horrible for the environment? And driving around a car that shits all over the earth as well?”

“Well, no I don’t see it that way, because…” and blah blah blah. She went on and on about how the communication that she helps facilitate to homes and companies is in direct correlation to their success and happinesses. She goes on. And on. I cut her off.

“But no on veal, huh?”

Dinner ends and it’s expensive but who cares. I tipped 50%. She offered to help pay but I told her to put her wallet away. She said it was a clutch. I almost punched her in the face.

I put her in a cab. “Enjoy the CDs. Hope it reminds you of tonight.” And she was off. Yes I paid for the cab.

I turned 180 degrees and walked right back into Fior d’Italia and drank whiskey with the bartender and the waiter we had until 2am. We talked about the old days, the days my father grew up in, the waiter even swore he’d known my father. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t, but talking to those two guys for the rest of the night made the shittiest date ever completely worth it.

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