Some weeks ago, I went on a blind date of sorts with Peter, a business developer working for a somewhat reputable cell phone provider. Though it was a Tuesday night, I agreed to meet up with him at Third Floor at “10:30-ish” (his time designation) since he had a product launch to attend, and I had nothing else better to do that night. I showed up at 10:40 to find him waiting for me at the door. Right as I was about to pat myself on the back for showing up just late enough to be fashionable, Peter held his wristwatch up at me.
Peter: I thought we were meeting up at 10:30-ish?
Me: Yeah, it’s 10:40. That’s 10:30-ish.
Peter: I said 10:30-ish. Not 10:40.
I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt. My lenience was largely because I had already judged him for being born and raised in New York but still speaking in heavily accented FOB’s English.
Guilt is a powerful motivator.
We made our way into the bar-lounge, where we were seated at a two-seater table near the bar. I opened my menu to peruse my drink options, while Peter declared that he was “SO hungry” and began looking through the food section. When he asked me what I’d like to eat, I politely declined, saying I didn’t like to eat so late at night.
Apparently, Peter doesn’t like to take no for an answer.
Peter: You have to eat.
Me: (?) But I don’t want to.
Peter: You can’t make me eat by myself.
Me: You’re hungry, it’s fine.
Peter: Come on, is it the chicken you want? Or the fried rice?
Me: (Awkward smile.) I’m really alright.
Peter: Are you playing that game where girls pretend they don’t want to eat, but they end up eating everything?
The same thing happened with drinks.
Peter: What would you like to drink?
Me: I think I’ll get the white grape-tini.
Peter: What about soju?
Me: (Demure laugh.) I really can’t do soju, it gives me the most terrible hangovers.
Peter: But I want a soju pitcher. Waitress! (Waves the server over.) We’ll have a soju-tail pitcher, please.
Things were off to a banging start. They improved when Peter complimented me on my choice of venue.
Me: So are you Korean?
Peter: No, I’m Chinese. But I get Korean a lot.
Me: You must.
Peter: That’s probably why you assumed I knew what Third Floor was, huh?
Me: Um, I thought everyone Asian knows what Third Floor is.
Peter: No. None of my Chinese friends do.
Me: Mine do…
Peter: Well, you’re lucky that I knew what it was. What would you have done if I hadn’t?
Me: Texted you directions.
I gave this about an hour. Over the course of this time, Peter forced me to eat his fried chicken while he lectured me about how all journalists are corrupt and biased agenda-pushers and how the only way for a business to really take off is by way of bribery, stealing clients from competitors, and escaping taxation. While he blabbed on, I noticed a guy at the bar. He had approached just about every girl in the place but was striking out with astonishing dexterity. Score, I thought.
“I’m sorry,” I told Peter, interrupting him mid-sentence as he talked about his aspirations to jump into the blood diamond industry. “I just saw my high school friend standing over by the bar. Could you excuse me a second while I just go quickly say hi?”
I walked over to my unsuspecting victim and leaned against the bar next to him.
“Hi, I’m sorry to interrupt,” I said, tapping his shoulder. “I have a big favor to ask of you.”
Me: So I’m on this really terribly blind date. I was wondering if you could help me get out of it.
Jay: (Looks at me strangely.) How terrible could it be?
Me: (Gestures at the two of us.) I’m resorting to this, so take a wild guess.
Jay: (Laughs.) Err, what do you need me to do?
Me: If you could just pretend to be my high school classmate so I can tell him I need to hang out with you for old times’ sake.
Jay: Wow, you’re brave. Is this like a really slick pickup move or something?
Me: Not even. (Points toward my table.) See? The bad blind date. Sitting right there.
Jay: Nice. Wait, what do I get out of this?
Me: Well, I’m a pretty fun person, and I think I’m decently witty and charming, so if you help me get out of this, I can keep you company for the night.
We shook on this. I proceeded to bring Jay over to the table where my date was patiently waiting.
“Hey, check this out!” I said to my date. “Jay and I went to high school together in Korea. Isn’t it amazing that we ran into each other?”
Jay was perfect. “I haven’t seen this girl in ages,” he declared, throwing his arm around me.
“Remember Mr. Natzke? From band?” I began.
“He was such a douchebag!” Jay responded in stride.
“Where are you sitting, Jay? I’ll come over in a sec,” I said, beaming. I turned to my date as Jay walked back to the table his friends were sitting at. “I’m so sorry, Peter, but I haven’t seen Jay in years. You don’t mind if I hang out with him tonight, do you?”
Peter gave me an exaggerated wink and pulled out his wallet. “I get it. Yeah. Uh huh. I’ll pay for everything.”
“You’re just trying to get me to foot the bill without having to stick around, right?”