June 4, 2012
“Hi Erika!It's Seth.”
The subject line of an email should not be enough to throw a girl into a panicked frenzy, complete with wringing of hands, pulling of hair, and whimpers of despair. And yet, there we were. Me and my inbox, caught in a classic tug-of-war battle: To open or not to open.
I knew this email would be coming. My overly ambitious, Jewish mother had taken it upon herself to play (what else?) matchmaker after my first failed college relationship. I had known for the past few days this “Seth” would be reaching out to me. A supposedly educated, strapping young Jewish gent, Seth was the grandson of close family friends who had seen a recent picture of me and just knew he would think I was the cutest. Oy vey. I felt just as bad for him as I did for myself; I had no doubt he was probably coerced into dropping me a line via an epic guilt-trip.
After a few deep breaths (and a few swigs from a bottle of sweet wine my roommates and I had hidden in our room against Sorority house policy, of course), I finally opened up what I surprisingly found to be a funny, flirtatious, and genuinely nice email. “Wow, my mother actually scored with this one,” I thought. After a few easy emails back and forth, I put aside my aversion to blind dates and told Seth to pick me up Friday night.
On Friday, I opened the door to Seth standing there, a beautiful bouquet of roses in hand. Crap. He had no clue how allergic I was. Okay, not his fault. “If anything it shows how respectful he is,” I thought to myself as I made an excuse about why they should go in the backseat and not my lap for the hour-long drive to Laguna.
30 minutes in, it was no use. No excuse could hide the fact that my nose was dripping buckets and my eyes were itching to the point that I didn't care if my makeup was going to get smeared in the process –I had to rub. Once my sneezes reached 2-second intervals he politely (thank god) pulled into a gas station parking lot and told me to run to the bathroom while he got some medicine. Still super sweet, right? Right. “This could turn into one of those hilarious stories that we tell our friends,” I thought happily (naively) as I blew my nose and freshened my lip-gloss in the mirror. I didn't look so bad. The night could continue as planned.
We arrive at our destination, Pageant of the Masters, mind you, and settle in our seats. Butterflies are still afloat in my stomach when he whips out his camera.
“I must show you pics from my latest vacation!” he exclaims, and up pops a picture of him, a palm tree, an island cocktail, a beautiful Mexican Rivera sunset in the background...and his ex-girlfriend. “Whatever,” I think, “it's only one picture.”
Pic #2: “That's us on the beach we played volleyball on every morning. Doesn't she have great form?”
Wait, what did he just say?
Pic #3: “Here's us at this great little bar a block from our hotel. Check out that amazing tan she has!”
Boy must be tripping. I have a great tan, too. And guess what? Me and my fine, tanned self are sitting right next to him.
Pic #4: “This was the night she got food poisoning. It started with her sneezing, coughing, itching… just like you in the car tonight! How funny is that? Yea, her sneezes were the cutest.”
Alright Mom, you owe me. My mind starts drifting into daydream mode, fantasizing about the different types of gifts I’m due from her as pay back for this date. Drift back to reality –he's STILL talking about his ex, and there's not even any pictures left to “justify” it! When is this darn program going to start?
Lights dim. Perfect! Here's to utter silence until it's over, and then a quick, no-traffic drive back home.
Except it's not utter
silence, because the man in front of us can't stop talking to his wife next to
him. Seth has a great solution for
this. He takes an extra cheesy
chip out of the nachos we ordered and flicks it at the guy's neck.
Oh. My. God. This date just went from bad to worse in a heartbeat! As the man turns around, cheese dripping into his collar and ready to knock someone out, I grab my purse and run up the aisle and out of the auditorium. Seth is right behind me, not alone, but with two security guards. He looks at me not sheepishly, but with confidence, as if he expects a high-five.
“Take me home, please,” I say. He shrugs his shoulders and off we go. We arrive back at my sorority, where his parting words are to the tune of: “Sorry I acted out tonight. I'm sure you didn't realize you were my first date since my breakup.” Awkward pause. What does he want me to say? “Oh I had NO idea! You poor thing.”
“Anyways,” he continues, “don't forget your flowers.” I turn to look at the half-wilted cluster in his back seat. I think of all the sneezes I still have left in me, and all the time I have to find the guy who thinks they're the cutest. And I'm supposed to take these up to my room, now, alone, and have an allergic reaction all night because of some guy who has already declared another girl “World's Best Sneezer?”
“We'll be in touch,” I say as I exit his vehicle, sans bouquet.
We were never in touch. But I did get dinner on my mom next time she visited... As well as a great blind-date horror story to tell friends at parties. Sorry Seth.