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Once upon a time, back when guys actually asked me out, I went on the a very weird first date. Now I’m not saying this is the weirdest first date, just that it was weird.

It was the summer of 1998. I don’t remember the particulars of who he was or how we actually met – I think it was at the gym. Anyway, he asked me out on the standard date set-up of dinner and a movie. Nothing exotic or creative, just the tried and true date formula. (I mean c’mon, dinner and a movie is classic. TBS even had that as a TV show for a while.) 

So, off we go to dinner to a steak house, some regional chain – nicer than TGI Fridays, not as nice as Ruth Cris. You’re probably thinking to yourself, okay, that doesn’t sound too weird. No? Well, here’s the weirdness. The guy, who suggested the steakhouse, proceeded to order a salad. Not a side salad. Not a salad before the entree. A salad. As the entree. Yep, you read that right. He ONLY had a salad. As he had let me order first, I had ordered a steak. It’s a steakhouse. And it’s not like I ordered a prime rib or some other fancy, uber-expensive steak. I think I ordered like a regular ole sirloin. Probably the 4 oz, as I was in college and very conscientious about eating.

A steak salad would at least be a step up from a regular ole salad.

A steak salad would have at least been a step up from a regular ole salad.

Alright, so we get through dinner. Him, eating his salad and being very particular about the dressing. (I’m pretty sure I remember him sending it back because of some issue with the dressing, but I may be mis-remembering with another story.) At this point, I’m already thinking this date is not starting off with a bang. But I give him the benefit of the doubt about ordering a salad a steakhouse because he gave me some fitness nonsense excuse (we did meet at the gym). Maybe he was in training for something – I honestly don’t remember. It doesn’t matter anyway. The point is you don’t take someone to a steakhouse and ordered only a salad. Ever.

At least get the grilled fish.

At least get the grilled fish.

So, after dinner, we head to the movies. Now, I’m totally on-board with not seeing a girly romantic comedy, a la most Sandra Bullock movies, on the first date. It’s not fair to the guy to have to sit through 90+ minutes of Ryan Gosling being all deep and perfect. Typically, I say go for the comedy.

I don’t remember the exact movies that were out that summer, but here’s an idea of what could’ve been playing (from AVClub.com):

  • Almost Heroes (comedy)

    Husband plots to kill his wife - a better 1st date movie.

    Husband plots to kill his wife – a better 1st date movie.

  • Armageddon (action)
  • The Avengers (comedy/action)
  • Basketball (comedy)
  • Can’t Hardly Wait (teen comedy)
  • Dirty Work (comedy)
  • Dr. Dolittle (children’s comedy)
  • Godzilla (action)
  • Hope Floats (romantic comedy)
  • Jane Austen’s Mafia (comedy)
  • Lethal Weapon 4 (action)
  • Mask of Zorro (action adventure)
  • Mulan (Disney animated)
  • Out of Sight (crime)
  • The Parent Trap (Disney remake)
  • A Perfect Murder (crime)
  • Saving Private Ryan (period drama)
  • 6 Days, 7 Nights (romantic action comedy)
  • Small Soldiers (sci fi)
  • Snake Eyes (action)
  • The Truman Show (comedy-drama)
  • Virus (sci fi)
  • X-Files (sci fi)

So, out of this entire list of potential movie choices, I voluntarily eliminated the romantic comedy and the romantic action comedy, and for the sake of argument, we’ll throw out the Disney/children movies and teen comedy. That still leaves us with a list that’s dominated by regular ole comedy and action/sci-fi. I would’ve been perfectly happy to see Armaggedon, Lethal Weapon 4 (hey, Mel was still cool then), Godzilla, or X-Files.  But no, what does the GUY PICK for a FIRST DATE?

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN.

It may have won awards, but it scarred me for life.

It may have won awards, but it scarred me for life.

Yep, for a first date, he took me to see a fictionalized story set in the very real backdrop of World War II. Now, I’m not saying it wasn’t a well-done movie – it did win awards. However, I don’t do realistic violence, especially when it’s based on real events. The first scene of the movie is the Normandy invasion. It’s all blood and death. And when I say realistic, I felt like I was there in Normandy. Then to make matters worse, unlike, say Lethal Weapon, Normandy actually happened. Real Americans died in Normandy. As a very empathetic pacifist, I was completely traumatized by this movie.

Needless to say, there was no second date.

So, point number two is don’t take a first date to a violent movie with a realistic story background. Maybe ask your date what she might prefer. At least give her a choice. Like I said, even Lethal Weapon would have been better. Shoot, a movie like Jaws (never go in deep water), The Blair Witch Project (didn’t sleep for 3 days after that one), or one of Steven King’s movies would have been better (cannot view it in its entirety).

Okay, maybe not. Clowns are really frickin’ scary.

Overall, a very weird date, and ranks as the worst one I’ve ever been on. And that includes the guy that showed up drunk. At least he was funny.