Let’s call him “Brian”.
His name isn’t Brian, because no, I’m not that cruel. Only cruel enough to shame him in the only way I can wield any power in this sinister world. Through the power of WRITING.
So Brian and I met through a friend’s boyfriend’s friend. Which isn’t close enough in relationship for me to feel comfortable with Brian picking me up at my house. So when Brian suggested we grab something to eat, I told him I’d meet him at the restaurant. If things go well, we had a date. If things went south, he would have no idea where I sleep at night. Fool proof.
Brian told me he needed to get started on the date early because he had to work early in the morning, but then when I was finished getting ready and called him he told me he still needed to stop at a friend’s house first to “pick up some money” his friend owed him.
Two hours after he originally called me saying he wanted us to get together, “early” mind you, he calls me back to say he’s finally heading to the restaurant.
Now, in all my dating experience, I have never before been on a date where I knew from the minute he sat down at my table that this just wasn’t going to work. After he sits down I’m already rehearsing in my head how I’m going to close the night,
I had fun tonight, but I’m just not sure I’m interested in anything more than friendship. And by friendship I mean never call me again.
My cat hates you. I don’t think we can date.
I’m into robots.
You know, the normal excuses.
We order dinner and Brian turns to me and says, “So you work at the Jewish Center, yeah?”
“You know, the Jewish…place?…”
There is no such thing as a “Jewish Center” in New Orleans.
“Oh, I work at a congregation. Yeah. I’m the Education Director.”
Brian gets bug eyed, “Oh wow…You prolly think I talk all ignorant and shit.”
Hmmmm. Where do we go from here? I already decided I’m never going to see this guy again, so there’s just no need to teach him when to use “speak” rather than “talk”, right? Plus, I had to give him credit for the proper use of the word “ignorant”.
So I just smile and quietly reply, “No”, and then take a big, long sip of my mint iced tea. Oh boy. We’re in trouble.
The food arrives and as I take a piece of the pita bread and dip it into the hummus I notice he has his head bowed in prayer.
“Oh,” I say, embarrassed that I lunged at the food like a heathen. I look to him for further instruction. Brian says to me, “Do you give thanks?”
With my hand raised midair still clinging to a piece of torn off pita bread, I hesitantly reply, “Sure…”
“Thank you for this meal, oh God, and in the Lord Jesus Christ’s name we pray, Amen.”
No, I’m not against prayer. My whole livelihood is wrapped up in teaching children and adults how to connect to God through prayer and ritual. However, any guy who goes on a date with me should be wise enough to understand that I work for a JEWISH organization, because I AM JEWISH and BEING JEWISH is important to me and further more should be able to deduce from that information that JEWS do not PRAY TO JESUS.
I’m sorry. They just don’t.
It isn’t because we don’t like Jesus, not at all. In fact, Jesus is a cool dude. It’s just more considerate that when you pray with a person from another faith, you make it inclusive. Whenever I have dinner with my fantastic christian friends, they pray in “God’s name” instead of “Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior” out of consideration that I might, you know, be uncomfortable praising a form of religion that was used as an excuse to persecute the Jewish people for what? Two thousand years?
At this point, I’m pretty sure Jesus was sitting up there, watching this date, and burst out laughing, and said (probably to Paul) “Seriously? Did he really just say that?” Because, in my version of God and humanity, Jesus has a mother f*ing sense of humor.
Any who… dinner continues and Brian decides to tell me not only about his baby mama drama (WHAT) but also how someone in his family owes him money because he stole it from Brian and was using it for some inappropriate things.
***Let me take a break from this story to give you youngins a lil advice. When you go on a first date, or a second or even a third for that matter, you NEVER, EVER reveal personal information like this. While it’s true that everyone has some ex they don’t speak to anymore, or maybe a family member who uses drugs, you still do not under any circumstances unload this on someone you just met.
That is, of course, unless you’re bona fide crazy.
I realize now, yes, this man is actually crazy and I need to get out of here without him following me to my car. The meal has ended and we are waiting for the check when he says,
“So what are you up to after this?”
“Um, I’m going to go home.”
Confused, and with an obnoxiously hurt face, he replies, “really?”
“Yes, really,” I say, “I have work tomorrow,” and to just end the possibility of him asking again, I add in for good measure, “Plus, I’m a good girl.”
“A’ight then,” He says. And with anger in his voice he looks at me and says, “Let’s split the check.”
Now, I’ve been on dates where the guy asks to split the check. That’s totally understandable and I never go into a date expecting to be “taken out” on his dime.
But this guy didn’t ask if I would be willing to split the check because he needed help with the bill.
No, my friends. He was telling me that we were splitting it because I was going home. Alone.
“Are you telling me that because I’m not going home with you that you want to split the check?”
“No,” Brian replies, infused. “I can just tell this ain’t gonna work. We different and you don’t listen, I’ve been saying all this stuff and you keep saying “what?” and you don’t understand. Nah, this ain’t gonna work.”
Now I’m incensed. Was this asshole really telling me that I wasn’t working for him?
“Look, did I do something or say something to offend you in anyway?”
“Nah, I mean, you beautiful, but I mean, I rushed out here to meet up with you, I turned my boys down tonight because I wanted to hang out with you. And you telling me you are going home. That’s messed up.”
***Youngins, another piece of advice. When you go out with someone, you should never assume that your date will spend the rest of the evening with you. A date is a date and that could mean a half an hour at the ice cream shop or a few hours at a bar or maybe, if everything is going well, a fun little sleepover. But you do not assume this person is going to forfeit their schedule to spend anymore time than they are willing to give, especially when you are ON A FIRST DATE.
“But we’re hanging out now.” I said, “You know, at dinner?”
He just sat there. In silence. Mother F*er was practically pouting. He kept looking off into the distance to avoid eye-contact.
So what could I do? I had cash (which I never have, another thank you to Jesus with that sense of humor. I gotchu buddy). I took out my sixteen dollars, which was all I had, and put it on the table.
Then, before he could say another word, I got up and left.
When I called my mother that night (because, hello? of course I called her), she said,
“Well, Janine. If it means he’ll never contact you again, that was the best sixteen dollars you’ve ever spent.”
And that’s why I love my mama.