I told her telepathically that we were absolutely, positively not a really cute couple, but I don’t think she heard
I tripped on my heels as I came down the stairs and I bashed my shin as I climbed in his car and by mistake I called him Ta while trying to break the awkward silence and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad date.
When we arrived at the lounge, the other frum couples had already snagged the comfortable, secluded couches. We had to sit on creaky barstools between rowdy sports fans and a drunk old woman.
I said I was comfortable. I said the cheering and hooting didn’t bother me, not one bit. I said it was totally fine that the old woman pitched forward and spilled her drink all over my brand-new dress, it wasn’t really my color anyway.
I think I’ll run away to Arizona.
He brought up Eretz Yisrael. I said I didn’t go to seminary in Eretz Yisrael.
I brought up vacations. He said his family doesn’t take vacations.
He brought up the Daf. I said I left my Gemara at home.
I pretended to sip my soda. I pretended not to notice him peeking at his watch. I pretended not to be spying on the other couples, who all seemed to be making normal conversation.
It was shaping up to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad date.
My ice cubes melted and made my soda watery. I hate watery soda.
He fidgeted with his tie and cracked his knuckles. I hate the sound of knuckles cracking.
My stomach growled for the plateful of rugelach we’d left at home, untouched. I hate missing out on perfectly good rugelach.
The bartender leaned on the counter and shook his head. It’s unusually busy here tonight, he said. Come back next week, you’ll see how quiet this place can be.
Next week, I thought, I’m going to Arizona.
We headed to the garden out back so we could at least talk about the weather.
It was drizzling. My carefully curled hair erupted into a ball of frizz.
It was freezing. I was only wearing a light dress coat, because heaven forbid I should go on a date in a warm, puffy one.
It was absolutely, positively not a good night to go on a stroll. But that’s exactly what we did.
As he walked and I heel-hobbled, we passed my classmate Ayala with the guy I’d almost gotten engaged to before he told me he decided I’m not what he’s looking for, and sayonara, he’d be moving on to girl number 633.
So of course my eyes got wet and my nose got burny, and of course my date noticed.
He asked if everything was okay. He asked if it was something he’d said. He asked if I wanted him to take me home.
No, no, everything’s fine, I said. Just thinking about how warm it must be in Arizona.
Then I politely excused myself and spent the next few minutes in front of the bathroom mirror wiping mascara off my cheeks and de-puffing my nose and yanking off a tag that I somehow left on my dress, while listening to a girl gush into her phone about how awesome a time she was having and how she hoped her date would just propose that night.
“You have lipstick on your teeth,” I interrupted, and stalked out.
It was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad date.
He clearly thought the same, because he suggested we leave after only an hour.
As we headed to the car, a lady said we were a really cute couple. I told her telepathically that we were absolutely, positively not a really cute couple, but I don’t think she heard.
I fell asleep on the car ride home. When I woke up, he’d missed an exit and the next one was closed for repairs and the detour we took was so long, I thought we’d end up in Arizona.
Well, have a good night, he mumbled when we finally pulled up in front of my house, and by mistake I said, see you tomorrow.
He didn’t walk me to the door.
When I got inside, the lights were off and the rugelach were gone and the shadchan was waiting for an answer.
I told her he’s a great guy but the conversation was stilted. She said a second date would change that.
I told her there was no chemistry. She said chemistry comes after marriage.
I told her it had been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad date, and besides, I was going to Arizona next week.
She told me some dates are like that, and I should enjoy Arizona.
But first, could I give it one more try?
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 786)
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