Monday, August 22, 2016

That one time I went on a date and did not realize I was in one

Cells have it easy.
Non-verbal communication is a bitch. 

And it's even more so when you couldn’t give a flying a fish about making new friends because you have big plans of staying in your pyjamas for the rest of the semester break. People don't get that. Especially mother. 

I come from a family of extroverts; who thrives on social relationships, and religiously believe that one can attain true happiness only through social interactions. I once witnessed my sister speaking on the phone while eating lunch, making calls after calls to different people, telling the same story over and over again. For 15 minutes. It was terrifying. 

So naturally, I'm their worst nightmare. I don't care for having too many friends. And I'm content with having the occasional conversation with my best friend and some edible vegetables. 

But I do share a world with other humans so self-satisfaction is not enough. My mother becoming convinced that I'm sitting alone in a room and going nuts was no longer an option for me at the time. So when a person asked me for a hang out, I said yes. 

To protect her privacy, I won’t say how I met her. And I’ll call her Salad. Salad’s exact words were, “would you like to have dinner with me?”

I would later realize that it's code for, “would you like to go on a date with me?” Who knew? 

So I went to dinner with her. I felt strange, not just because I was out of my sweatpants after weeks, but because the restaurant seemed rather expensive and had a dimly-lit ambience. The atmosphere was warm and glowy. I guess it's what normal people would call a romantic spot, but what do I know? 

So I went in with Salad, didn’t think much about the location, and began recalling a couple of conversation starters. I always keep some in my repertoire for situations like those. The starters can range from, “what are your career plans?” to “what are your opinions on cannibalism for survival?” 

It’s a fairly diverse collection. 

We were shown to a seat by a fancy waiter, and she sat across from me. 

Aside from the choice in restaurant, my second clue would have been her asking about my interests. No one does that. And it got even weirder when she actually listened to me talk about Jeffrey Dahmer and the mutilated bodies of his victims over a seafood pasta. How do I know she was listening, you ask? She would come up with follow up questions and occasionally touch my arms against my consent.

I would realize a year later that this is a flirting technique. Who knew?  

She asked me about my relationship status and my previous relationships. This was rather embarrassing because I only had one boyfriend in my life before I called it quits when I realized I lacked the capacity to muster romantic feelings for, well, anyone.

After dinner, I pulled out my wallet but she insisted that she pay for the bill. This was nothing short of strange, because even I knew that when friends hung out, usually we go Dutch.

By now you would guess that I would've figured out that her intentions towards me were amorous. I didn’t. I just thought she was weird. 

After exiting the restaurant, she asked that we go for a walk. Naturally, I didn’t complain because I still had the other half of Jeffrey Dahmer’s trial to talk about. And now when I think back, Salad tried as humanly possible to stay close to me. 

During this walk, she talked about her ex-girlfriends and how she had just broken up with most recent one. She suggested that I go back to her apartment since she was feeling a bit lonely. I turned down the offer, of course. I was not getting into some stranger’s home without telling my mother. But tried to sympathize with her and show her a little support. Isn’t that what friends do? 

After we walked to my apartment, she started getting ready to leave. By now, any idiot would’ve figured out that she was courting me. But not me. I had absolutely no clue. I guess between my rants about a sociopathic serial killer and trying to figure out the correct social conventions of comforting a friend, I didn't really pick up the cues. 

So you can imagine my shock when she smiled and stood in front me and said, “would you like to go on a date with me again?”

Thinking it was hallucination, I tried to blink it out. Then I said, “Hold on, this was a date?”

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