I Went On Her Date Too
It was several years ago, when the first Dark Knight movie hit theaters. One evening I got a text from a friend of mine, Alfred, asking if I wanted to go see the movie in IMAX that night. Excited, I agreed, and offered to drive. We were later than I wanted arriving to the theater; while the previews hadn’t started quite yet, a lot of the seats were already taken. Therefore, no matter where we sat, one of us would have to be next to a random stranger. We also had not had time to get food. Not a huge deal, only we had not eaten dinner and Alfred is something of a bottomless pit of skinny-boy hunger.
As we stood in the front of the theater contemplating our seat options, I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. It was my best friend, Nadia. “I see you,” she said cryptically. “I’m in the back row of the theater! Come sit with us!” I looked towards the back, and there she was, sitting next to a shadowy figure, waving frantically. Alfred and I started up the stairs as I tried to figure out who Nadia was sitting with. Judging by the body type, it was a man, but from the distance and in the dark I couldn’t place him. I figured he must be one of her guy friends from work – Nadia was always going on and on about her work friends.
We arrived and quickly took our seats – I sat between Nadia and Alfred. I looked over at Nadia’s movie companion. He was no one I recognized. Now, I’m a rather outspoken girl – more so around and pertaining to Nadia. We’ve been best friends since I moved to town in 4th grade – that’s about 14 years, now. She is a little shy and way more of a people pleaser than I am, which has made it easy for a lot of her “friends” to take advantage of her. As you might imagine, it’s also affected her romantic life – seems like my constant line is “where do you FIND these guys?” because the men she has attracted are the most eclectic bunch of fellows I have met – but they tend to all be losers. It’s taken years for her to be able to emerge from her shell and stick up for herself. These days she is fine, but at the time I was extremely protective of her, and suspicious of people I didn’t know – which she invariably, to this day, thinks is awesome/hilarious.
I offer all this random extra information because, when I tell you all that I narrowed my eyes at Nadia’s date and said “Who are you? I don’t know you,” and that Nadia started cracking up, I don’t want all of you to think that we’re both horrible judgmental brats. It’s just the way we operate.
The strange guy looked a little taken aback, but introduced himself as John and actually countered by saying “I don’t know you, either. Who are YOU?” Score one for John – usually Nadia’s dates are men of few words and fewer brain cells. I shook his hand, saying “I am H. You don’t know me, but you will.”
The four of us chatted for a moment. Alfred mentioned his hunger and John offered him the remaining half of his dish of cheesy pretzel bites, claiming that he had bought too many refreshments and was full. While they negotiated that, I quietly asked Nadia how she knew this guy. She told me that he was a random customer who had walked up to her cash register at work and asked for her phone number. Admiring his forwardness, she had complied.
Then the movie started and we all sat back to watch it.
About twenty minutes into the movie, I turned to make a comment to Nadia to find that her face was attached to John’s. They stayed that way, noisly sucking face, for a quite a while. At least Alfred was there, but it was still supremely awkward to know that two people were making out directly next to me. Later, Nadia told me that he had just sort of swooped in and she went with it because she didn’t want to be rude (like I said, people pleaser. She knows better now).
Halfway through the movie John detached himself from Nadia’s face long enough to decide he was hungry, and asked Alfred for his pretzel bites back. By this point, Alfred had devoured the entire dish. John shrugged it off, but I could tell that he was really annoyed that Alfred would presume to eat his food. My thought: if you don’t want someone to eat all your food, don’t offer all your food. Offer a few bites. Alfred clearly felt terrible about it for the rest of the movie. We both offered to reimburse him, but he refused, getting even more annoyed about it.
When the movie finally ended, it was a relief to part ways with them. I had not really dated much at that point – I wouldn’t know how to conduct myself on my own date, much less one that I accidentally hijacked!
I called her the next day and asked that next time she is on a date and I run into her, to please not invite me along. The whole episode remains a joke to this day – “we’re such close friends, we go on each other’s dates!”
Nadia got a few texts from John after that, but they never went out again – she just had not felt any chemistry. Several months later, he texted her to wish her a happy birthday – three days later she received a call from his number. When she answered, there was a woman on the other end asking how she knew John. Turns out it was his girlfriend of three years, acting on her suspicions that John was cheating on her! Nadia explained that they had, in fact, gone on a date several months before, but that he had neglected to inform her that he had a girlfriend. Then they had a very nice conversation about how men are pigs. Nadia never heard from either of them again.
When she told me that story, my only response was “Where do you FIND these guys?!?”