Not a fan of dates. Many reasons.
Here are a few:
So. I’m sitting at a candlelit table in some lovely, classy, fancy, prancy indoor-outdoor-patio-garden-cellar style, over-priced restaurant in West Hollywood with that lovely date ambiance I’ve read so much about.
Across the table from me is a beautiful blonde; let’s call her Kyate, typical LA name. Kyate’s gorgeous. Big blue eyes that suck you in, voluptuous lips that keep you mesmerised and Farah Fawcett hair with just the right amount of bounce and curl that your head starts bobbing along like a dog as she speaks.
My eyes drift down to her low cut, intricate and exquisite one-off Vivienne Westwood dress that probably cost more than my car.
Oh Betsy. Kyate’s looking unreal.
I’ve been trying to meet up with her for ages and now that we’re here, all that’s going through my mind as I pretend to listen to the story she’s telling me is: I swear to God I’m going to punch the waiter.
Dating is some laugh.
In fairness, maybe it’s less dating’s fault and more me. I’ve never been good at them. Don’t really get the dating culture in LA. Intense. Rules. Structures. Formalities. Forced fun. Every date feels like an over planned New Year’s Eve.
When I first got here I was going on dates without even knowing it. Bump into someone on the street, that’s a date.
Talk to someone in the coffee shop, that’s a date.
Meet someone in the pub for a drink and have a wild passionate night together, that’s a date.
It was all so confusing.
The first date I unwittingly went on was a man date with a Swiss guy named Ozil. Met him at an acting class.
Told me he was going to a pub with all his buddies, I should come. Having no friends at the time and seeing how he seemed to know enough about soccer to keep me entertained I said cool, see you there.
Show up at a bar, it’s just him sitting at a corner table, dressed in a nice shirt and looking like he just came from Mass. After an awkward pint I asked where everyone else was - there was nobody else.
He lied about liking soccer too. It was grand until Ozil - who told me previously that he had a girlfriend and was straight - started aggressively asking,
“Ever thought about doing something crazy and fun like hooking up with straight Swiss guys?”
You know what Ozil, I haven’t. Thanks for asking though.
Pretended to go get another pint and just kept walking out the door.
Second date I unwittingly went on turned out to be an orgy.
This girl Cat, who I met while viewing apartments, asked me if I would join her at a party that was going to be all European people. Despite Cat seeming like a nut job, I said sure, sounds good (again, no friends and she was hot).
Show up, Cat’s the only girl. Just me, Cat and three muscular Scandinavian guys: Klaus, Jurgen and Jan, all smiling deranged smiles and asking if I would like to take some ecstasy. Ehh, I’ll pass lads.
Ten seconds later they’re all stripping off. Cat’s telling me to relax while I’m telling Jurgen I don’t want to go into the bedroom to help him pick out music.
Instead I pretend to go outside to phone a Swiss buddy to come join us. Sprint on.
Many more unwitting dates after that - The yogi with the leprechaun fetish; the hippie who picked me up coming home from the gym and tricked me into going to a ritzy restaurant with her while still dressed in my UCC soccer shorts and gym attire; the Satanist who thought I looked like Jesus. Eventually I just embraced the dating culture.
First proper date was with a girl I met at a supermarket. Texted me saying she had a pitcher of Guinness waiting for me at the bar near my apartment. How could I say no? Halfway through the pitcher I asked how she knew I was at home.
Told me she’d been hanging around my street. Knew where I lived because she followed me home from a distance one night. By the time I finished the pitcher she was asking me when I would take her to Ireland and if she thought our kids would be hot (no spoof).
Told her maybe it’s best we were just friends, let’s not get too carried away. She smiled and left for the bathroom. Seemed to take it well, until she came back and tried to fight me. She looked like a Playboy model but threw a punch like an MMA fighter.
For a second I bobbed and weaved, hands up, wondering if I was really about to wrestle and fight a girl. Instead I took the high road and ran out the door. So that was fun.
After that I avoided dates like the plague. Too dodge. Did meet some nice girls but it never worked for one reason or another.
There was the actress who turned out to be a sloppy alcoholic; the singer with the psychotic ex-husband; the model who was ridiculously smart, intelligent and kind but lived in Silverlake which is about a 45 minute drive away from me in traffic so that put an end to that.
I blame my lack of dating in Ireland for being so clueless about the whole process.
All I remember from those dates was how finicky I could be. Like when I was 15 and went to the cinema with a girl in Douglas who I thought I liked but halfway through the movie I saw she had a hole in her sock so that turned me off.
Or when I was 17 leaving the cinema with a different girl and it started raining so she ran for shelter and I remember thinking she looked like a mix between an osterich and a chicken as she ran, so that turned me off too.
Anyway, back to the Kyate and the waiter. He’s just after telling us that they’re not doing the usual menu, they have a special set menu just for tonight. Only option. $150 per person. Seven mini-courses. Capers, sardines, poached eggs, oysters, veal and peach flavoured chocolate mousse.
I’m sitting there fake smiling, nodding along, politely trying to ask if I can just get a $50 roast chicken or a $70 steak as I planned on doing after checking the menu online before booking the restaurant. No. Everything he just listed off on the menu sounds mank.
Kyate is confused too but the waiter says this is your only choice so we both nod and say OK, thank you!
Looks like I’m spending $300 on food plus an extra $200 on drinks and tip. $500. Some chunk on a meal I won’t even eat. Let’s be honest, that’s why I don’t like dating here. Expensive. I’m a simple man with particular taste.
Porridge, roast chicken and Guinness will do me just fine. Fancy stuff makes me queasy. But, can’t cause a fuss, oh no, I’m on a date and all.
Except, to make matters worse, while Kyate is telling me a story I hear the waiter telling the table next to us that if they don’t want to do the special menu they can order from the regular menu, something he does for special customers.
Pardon me? Call him over and politely ask what that was about, you told me I couldn’t order from the regular menu? Looks at me shocked,
“Oh, did I not tell you that you could do that too?”
No. You didn’t.
“Sorry, it’s too late to change your order now. I could add chicken or steak to your bill if you’d like that though?”
He saw me coming. Prick.
And that’s why I now want to fight him.
In the end I sat there spewing in my own bile, giving the waiter dirty looks. Ruined my night. Obviously ruined Kyate’s too.
So much so she insisted on paying half the bill just so she didn’t owe me anything ever again.
So that was nice that we split the bill, equality and all that. Oh and Kyate also bought me a Christmas present seeing as it was Christmas Eve and I didn’t even think of that so I had nothing to give her. So that was fun.
1. Assume at any given moment a date might turn into an orgy.
2. Be prepared that your date might try to fight you.
3. Wear comfortable shoes in case you need to run away quickly.
4. Be prepared to spend your rent money on one date.
5. Never go on a date with me.
In case you’re wondering, I’ve yet to hear back from Kyate since our lovely meal.
I did, however, receive a refund for my half of the bill after going back and complaining to the manager.
Also, the chain that Kyate got me as a present is pretty slick so at least I’ve something to show for the date. And really, isn’t that what it’s all about?