I remember this coffee date I had once with a girl I met online.
Her photo was a cute, black and white head shot – no nonsense. Couldn’t really tell much about her body but she was a pretty Asian chick, probably Filipino, with long hair and nice almond eyes set wide apart. Her profile was as no-nonsense as her photo – just the basics were listed. You know, banal stuff about her job and her friends, the usual. One warning sign, however, was the ubiquitous definer “I like to laugh” she threw in there for good measure. That line is so lame. Everyone likes to laugh.
Chimpanzees like to laugh.
We decide to meet up at this place called Café Orlin on St. Mark’s between First and Second Ave. I’d been there a bunch of times for coffee dates. I arrived on time and took a place near the window, so I’d be able to notice her approaching. It’s a decent place, not too loud and it has a quaffable brew. I ordered one – hot and black – took off my coat and relaxed.
After about 30 minutes sitting with my thumb up my ass, I started to wonder if this chick was standing me up.
Another ten minutes passed and I was about to ready to bail…then I spotted her walking down the steps. She was definitely sexy. Very well put together, stylish, wearing an expensive tailored coat and carrying a Louis Vuitton bag. She had her hair pulled back tight and looked quite sophisticated. Still, what really struck me about her was the superior air she gave off. It was quite powerful. Her whole demeanor seemed entitled and vaguely bored as if her Lear jet had just touched down and she was casually breezing in to see me before hitting up the red carpet. It was as if I were a nuisance in some way – a pesky obligation.
She instantly irritated me.
We made our stilted introductions and she remarked on how I actually looked like my photos. I assumed that wasn’t a bad thing but she said it in such a monotone, I couldn’t really tell. She continued by noting that she’d met a lot of guys who had lied about their appearance – especially about their height.
Anyway, we sort of fell into a bit of small chat revolving mainly around her job. This was obviously her favorite topic of conversation. She was definitely someone who defined herself by what she did. She told me she worked for a famous fashion designer and every two seconds she’d drop his name. I’m not sure if she was doing it for my benefit or for the other patrons within earshot. It didn’t really bother me all too much. I mean, she’s proud of her job, that’s fine, I’m happy for her. What did bother me was her lazy attitude. She was sleepwalking. I’d bring a topic of conversation up or talk a bit about myself, and she’d flash me a dead-orbed stare. Thorough disinterest. I mean, her lack of response was actually bordering on the overtly rude.
I sat back, taking her in, listening to her solipsistic drone. She was attractive for sure but in a very conventional way. Not in any kind of respect that would especially impress or arouse me, still and all, I could see how she’d be a pretty hot item for a lot of guys. Especially in a city filled with Asian fetishists.
That’s one of Brooklyn’s main exports you know – spindly, paper-white, needle-dicked Asian fetishists.
So it went on like this, her sort of rattling off to me about her job with about as much spunk as someone reading from the phone book, and me struggling to be peppy and affable…and getting absolutely nowhere.
As far as I’m concerned, if you commit to the coffee date, you must put forth the effort of being at least half-way jaunty. That’s the first rule of coffee dating. Be jaunty. It’s not like I ask all that much out of one of these deals, just a smidge of energy, the vaguest hint of interest. It didn’t take very long before I decided that I really wasn’t all that hot on the idea of continuing it any further and was just about to suggest we part ways, when she said in a flat tone, “Hmmm, I kinda wanna eat. I should really put something in my stomach. Haven’t had a chance all day…too busy at work.”
Now I was stuck for at least another 20 minutes…
She ordered the Lobster ravioli and another glass of wine – I stuck with my now-iced coffee. For the next 15 minutes or so I tried to jump start the conversation but she was having none of it. It really felt to me as if she was being deliberately willful in her apathy. So, I just let her ramble on about her work as that’s really all she seemed to have any interest in discussing.
Then a strange memory snuck in through a side door. It was when she started talking about how she was tasked with designing a new line of pajamas for her boss. All of a sudden, I got this funny image in my head of adult sized versions of those footy pajamas you have as a child. It made me free associate to this early childhood moment with my mother. I must’ve been really young as I was wearing my favorite pair of footed pajamas that had these clocks printed all over them. I had done something bad, committed some sort of unforgivable toddler crime and my mother — who is French — told me, “Je vais tu donner un claque.” I remember thinking what she meant was that she was going to give me a “clock”, just like the clocks on my pajamas. However, a “claque” in French actually means a smack.
She was going to give me a smack.
Finally, the food arrives and she kind of pokes at it. I think she took one bite and groaned that she wasn’t that hungry after all, letting the waitress take it away. For the record, I’m not cheap. In fact I’m generous to a fault. I also believe that the man should pay for everything on the first meeting and I was more than happy to, if she had actually eaten it, but she hardly even looked at it and it was pretty damned expensive. Now, if she had displayed any enthusiasm, any spark whatsoever, I probably wouldn’t have said anything but as it was I heard myself blurt out…
“You know I’m not paying for that.”
A horrified expression fell across her face as if I’d just struck her upside the head with a wet trout.
“I wasn’t expecting you to,” she replied. “But you don’t have to be rude about it.”
“I’m not trying to be rude,” I said with a slight adrenalized stutter. “Still, you come in here about as engaged as a goddamned coconut, order an expensive meal, take one bite and have them take it away like you’re a member of the royal court. So, I repeat – I’m not gonna pay for it.”
I couldn’t believe it. I was actually losing my temper. I think I was just as surprised as she was, especially when I heard myself rail on.
“You have got to be the most insensitive person I’ve ever had the displeasure of going out on a date with…and by far the most boring.”
She was really shocked, you could tell. Her cool, aloof demeanor evaporated and transmuted into a flustered, red-faced, cross-armed hunch. I must admit, it tickled me a bit.
“I’ve never had anyone say anything like that about me before,” she said, her eyes wide and directed at the table between us. “I thought we were getting along… everyone always says how nice and friendly I am.”
“Well, I don’t know who these people are of whom you speak but they must be utterly oblivious, because you my dear are a colossal bore. Take my word for it.”
And with that, I threw down a couple of bucks for my coffee and left, leaving her with her mouth agape, searching her Louis Vuitton bag for the cash to pay for her lobster ravioli.
I hit the streets and walked around a bit in order to calm down. Was she crazy? She thought we were getting along? After a while, my nerves settled and I started to feel foolish for letting myself get that angry. Maybe I had misread the entire situation, maybe she had a naturally monotone voice and was just so low key that she came off as bored. Maybe she was just trying to impress me. Could I have been that far off the mark? Could she have possibly thought the date was going well? All I know is, in all my years of dating, I can’t remember a time I just walked out on someone like that. What the hell was wrong with me? Let’s say I had read it correctly and she was acting like an ass, it still would have been an overreaction on my part.
The rest of the night, I kept thinking about those footed pajamas with the clocks on them…I don’t really know why.