Meeting the Parents. Almost.
Scott stops a dating disaster from happening, then makes one happen regardless … or so it seems.
I panicked. Completely panicked. I stared at the screen, where the text message made my heart go into overdrive. My parents were on a collision course with my date, with only seconds to spare.
The worst thing about the impending disaster was that it was a first date. Not the ‘normal’ kind of date where you know the person because you’ve passed the cheesy chat-up stage. No no. This was the 21st Century style of first date where it’s the first time you meet offline, and it was already off to a bad start. I got to the café first, got my own coffee and sat down. When he arrived, I didn’t even think of getting up to greet him, I merely waved. That sent him into an awkward ‘oh, you’re not getting up – oh, you’re not shaking my hand… I’ll go and order a coffee‘ moment. Either he thought I was playing it cool, or I was being a complete prat. It was about to get worse.
“Eh, sorry,” I said nervously to him, who must’ve noticed the look of utter fear on my face. “Do you mind if I make a quick call? My parents are in the neighbourhood.”
“Oh right, that’s a bit forward,” he joked heartily. He was taking the situation much lighter than I was.
Within seconds, I noticed the parents’ car pull up to the pavement near the café. We were sitting by the window, so if they parked a few feet closer, they would’ve had a perfect view at my date. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’ve no problem introducing men to my parents when the time comes. The problem here was that ten minutes had barely passed by since he came into the café. Nice guy, but that’s not enough time to start committing to things just yet!
“Will you excuse me, just for a second?” Without giving him time to reply, I leapt off the sofa and ran out of the café towards my parents’ car, as if it were for my life. All that my parents wanted was to give me money that they owed me, which could’ve been done at any point. When I returned to my date, he quickly joked about them trying to have a sneak peek through the café window, which was all too possible. My parents knew better than to completely embarrass me, though, and kept their heads well and firmly focused on the road as they drove off. We laughed as I slowly calmed down… for a moment.
With the first dating no-no ticked off the list, I quickly proceeded to jokingly calling him a whore as he talked about hoarding things. (Oh, look at me and my wit: whore and hoarder sound almost the same! Someone slap me.) He laughed it off as I instantly regretted my dose of verbal diarrhoea, keeping my smile firmly planted nonetheless. We then entered the tricky conversational landscape that is politics, combined with LGBT affairs and religion. Seriously, it was like I was giving this guy reasons to step away slowly and ask the police for a restraining order. With each topic that came up, I genuinely thought that I was doing worse.
Somehow, he wasn’t scared off. We laughed, and were both surprised at how many things we had in common. He even wanted to stay for a second coffee before asking if I wanted to go for a walk in the park, which was nicer than I expected. More laughs were had, and I calmed down a bit. I had no idea what he really thought of me after my numerous faux-pas, but he ticked the right boxes for me. Rugby build, with gorgeous brown eyes and a voice & accent to rival Colin Farrell’s.
As the date came to an end, he surprisingly asked if I wanted a lift into the city or back to my home suburb. I asked for a lift back into town, but as we were lost in conversation about travel once we got there, he asked again if I’d prefer to be dropped home.
“I’d feel bad,” I said shyly. “I’ve already taken you up on a lift into town; now I just feel like I’m taking advantage.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he said in a very cool, calm manner. “I’m enjoying the conversation.” There was a moment – albeit brief – where we smiled.
Somehow, despite having a terrible case of foot-in-mouth disease and seemingly overbearing parents (who in fairness, aren’t at all) he didn’t seem too fazed. If he didn’t enjoy himself, he did an amazing job at pretending the opposite. There was even a moment of disappointment when we eventually had to say goodbye.
Just to be on the safe side, though, maybe I should just stay quiet for the second date…!
‘Scottie’ Illustrations by Stephen Charlick