The Lychee Nut…
An odd and truly unique flavor. A flavor that until a few years ago I had never tasted. And more importantly for this story, a flavor that will forever be tainted with a disaster date. A date so bad it caused me to dramatically re-evaluate two important dating assumptions.
The story unfolds…
It’s 4 years ago. And much to chagrin of my future self, I think that posting dating ads on Craigslist is a good way to meet women. (No this is not one of the lessons I learned from the date that follows unfortunately.)
A quick aside: Craigslist is good, even great, for many things.
- Finding great apartments for rent: Check!
- Finding furniture: Check!
- Finding non-crazy individuals for dating: Ugh, not so much…
In any case, I’ve just written and posted one of my personal ads. And I like the responses I’m getting. An email comes in from “Jill” (honestly I really don’t remember her name). Her response is passionate, intelligent and intriguing. She mentions that she is Chinese-American and seemed very eager to learn and share more about her culture.
(A bit of background: at this time in my dating life, I rather foolishly believed that I didn’t need to see a photo of someone before I met them in person. This hypothesis was founded mostly on the fact that I was tired of getting emails from Craigslisters with one sentence “Do you have a pic?” So my goal was to try to focus on who the person was outside of a photo. As you will see, this was not a good idea…for both of us.)
We move from talking over email to the phone rather quickly. The problem quickly becomes that she doesn’t seem to want to do more than talk on the phone. Herein approaches the first lesson the lychee date taught me.
(At this time, I really didn’t have a problem spending a long time on the phone with someone before we went out. That would change utterly.)
Everytime I say, “when can we actually meet?”, she says, “I’d like to talk more on the phone…is that ok?” I agree and our conversations are pretty good. She tells me about her recent trips to China. What real Chinese food is like. What lychee nuts are and how they taste. How they have holes in the ground for toilets in the rural areas where she stayed. Really interesting stuff.
Six weeks (I wish were kidding) pass. I really feel like I know this girl and that we have great chemistry. Of course, we haven’t exchanged pictures and we haven’t met in person. But then, miraculously…
…the date arrives.
The foundations of lesson #2 are laid while setting the date up. Jill says that she leaves near me and she can pick me up. Hmmm. Sure. Why not?
The time of the date arrives. I’m waiting outside my place. The car pulls up. A Honda with a sullen Asian girl inside, it stops. The driver, Jill looks over at me. Honestly I was definitely feeling disappointment. I didn’t find her attractive and from my reading of her, the feeling was mutual. The passenger door props open.
I walk over. Sit myself in. Before I can shake her hand, give her a hug or even put on my seatbelt, the Honda jerks forward and is off. I steady myself and belt up.
“Hi. It’s a pleasure to meet you,” I say, trying to make the best of it.
The radio is on. She turns the music up.
How bad was it?
Have you ever had a date that you knew was going south in the first 3 minutes? Did you say something?
A minute after she turns up the radio, the level of awkwardly leveled disgust coming from the driver of the car prompts me to say, “If this doesn’t seem like a good fit, we can turn back around.”
She speaks, “No. No. I just need to focus on driving. I brought you some lychee nuts.”
I stare straight ahead and try to ignore the fact that the next 2 hours are going to the dating equivalent of waterboarding. (It’s the same feeling you have when your friends talk you into see Patch Adams and you know it’s gonna suck; you just don’t know how much it really does. Two hours later, you’re craving a bulk erase tablet for the night.)
The date continues…
She speaks to me during the drive to the restaurant as often as someone for whom words are very expensive and sentences even more expensive.
She puts the Honda in park. Awkwardness. Anger. Hostility. They’re all boiling up inside of me. Once again, I try to end it mercifully. “This doesn’t seem to be working. Why don’t you drop me back home?”
“Oh no. Now I’ve parked and I don’t have to focus on driving.”
I think to myself, “please kill me now or God, give me the power to fast forward.”
None of those happen. The next two hours, spent at the most awesome restaurant in San Diego, she manages to ruin it up. It takes real work not to enjoy yourself at this restaurant but somehow she does it with great aplomb.
For the next two hours, very few works are exchanged and I truly feel the misery that is the life of the unhappily marrieds. The folks who sit at Denny’s or Hometown Buffet and whose glares of contempt bore through each others skulls. I feel the misery of a truly God awful date.
The merciful end…
The Honda pulls up pretty much exactly where it had at the beginning of the night. I flee the car as fast as I can. I don’t say goodbye. A voice comes from within the Honda as I sprint to my house…
“Don’t forget your lychees.”
I freeze. Should I get them or not?
I walk over. Snatch the lychees out of the passenger seat.
Get into my house. Take said lychees to the trash receptacle in the garage. Throw said lychees in the trash.
The lessons for me for the lychee date that I learned immediately after, were and still are:
- Don’t talk on the phone for more than 1 time. Real chemistry is only determined in person.
- Never, never, never, never have someone else drive you to a blind date. Ever. Ever. Ever.