You know the chemistry is lacking when you make it home in time to watch three episodes of Big Bang Theory. Granted, it was Bang-a-thon night so it wasn’t terribly difficult to watch three episodes in a row but there’s something wrong with this picture: I met Date #14 for a drink at Amada in Old City at 7:00 and was curled up on the couch watching TV before 9:00. And that includes walking home. In heels.
The last time I donned my pjs that early on a date night was during my first month in London. I agreed to meet one of my TigerTiger fellows for a drink in Kingston and was in the corner shop buying McVitties ginger snaps to keep myself occupied on the walk from the bus stop in Roehampton back to campus by 8:45. “You’re home?” one of my flat mates asked upon her return to the flat an hour later. “I went to church and you got in before me? Any date that ends earlier than church cannot have been a very good date.”
So let’s get back to #14. I was looking forward to meeting him because I was under the impression that he was Brazilian and Brazilians are so in right now (just read Eat, Pray, Love or All Over the Map if you don’t believe me). I even went so far as to pull out my strapless dress and when my usual fashion advisor did a double take, I informed him that I was meeting a Brazilian and Brazilians, according to one of my South American classmates from grad school, are all really hot.
“Brazil is the plastic surgery capital of the world,” I announced, “and I didn’t even have time pluck my eyebrows today, let alone arrange for a nose job, so I have to at least wear a nice dress.”
But I was wrong. Brazil is not the plastic surgery capital of the world, Argentina is. And to make matters worse, I was actually wrong on two counts: Date #14 wasn’t from Brazil, he was from Argentina. Maybe the next time I’m decorating my room with wall maps, I should actually stop and take a look at the geographical make up of South America.
I knew, approximately 60 seconds after greeting my new Argentinean friend that this would be our first and last date. It wasn’t that there was anything wrong with him (he was on time, nicely dressed and had clearly made an effort to get to know me, as demonstrated by the fact that he began his last email, “Longgg legs, haha!”). We just had nada chemistry.
So what’s a girl to do in this situation?
Snapping into anthropology mode, I asked Date #14 about his Match.com experience. Any keepers? Any horror stories?
He shook his head. “No one really bad, just bad dates.”
“So what do you do in that situation?” I asked. I kind of hoped that he would disclose some Top Secret South American ditch-your-date technique that I could translate, perfect and market… or perhaps try it out, right then and there.
“I just end the date early.”
“Like this,” he said, taking my hand and giving it a shake. “It was nice to meet you.”
I would have happily taken my leave at that point but I couldn’t figure out if he was just demonstrating his technique or actually employing it. Additionally, I still had half a glass of perfectly good sangria in front of me and it’s a sin to waste food, especially fruit of the marinated-in-wine variety.
Nonetheless, I cursed myself for having not worn my watch. How can you hint that you’re ready to call it a night when you don’t have a watch to politely-but-not-so-politely glance at? I considered checking the time on my phone instead but that would have been way too obvious, I thought, not to mention rude.
Instead, I grabbed my purse and excused myself to the ladies room, declining the bartender’s offer of another glass of sangria and requesting a water instead. Once out of sight, I checked my voicemail, fiddled around with my phone book for a while and sent a variety of telepathic messages to Date #14.
Please, can’t we just call it quits? You have a good job and interesting hobbies and you’re well travelled but two people can only wax poetic about the splendor of Madrid for only so long. Plus, I’m too tall for you.
On my way back to the bar, I experimented with various lines:
But “So then?” and “Shall we?” can so easily be misconstrued; indeed, they often comprise the introduction of the “Your place or mine?” talk. I figured it was safer to just finish my water and avoid eye contact and hope that Date #14 got the hint.
He did. “Shall we call it a night?” he asked.
“We shall” I replied. Thirty seconds later, we were standing on the corner and I found myself invoking the kiss of death: Thank you for a lovely evening.
On my way home, I called my friend Date #6 to commiserate, left a voice mail and decided that I need to start wearing my watch again. Even though its solar powered battery kicked the bucket months ago (and I still haven’t sent it in for a repair), I’ve decided that the wristwatch comprises an integral component of the ditch-your-date technique.