My Date From Deepest Darkest Hell
This was without a doubt the very worst date of my life. That is saying a hell of a lot, because I was single until I was 35 years old, and I went on a LOT of dates. I was living in New Orleans and doing my residency at the time, and I was tired of dating man-children with no aspirations, which is mostly what there is in New Orleans. People don’t move to a city where you are expected to be wasted all the time by accident. Through a friend, I met a doctor, a pediatric intensivist, and thought, a-ha, here is someone who has a promising future. I will go out with this man.
He was late picking me up. He showed up at my house with not much of a plan and a copy of the movie Babe. Babe emerged later as the only positive aspect of the date. And we didn’t even watch it. He forgot it at my house (since he refused to bring me home) and I got to keep it and give it to my daughter years later, when I had a daughter.
We decided we would go to an Ethiopian restaurant I had spotted on Carrollton Street. But first, he had to go get his daughter’s purse. He was recently divorced, and had a 19 year old daughter and a 17 year old son, who were both home schooled. This should have been a warning to me right there. Home schooled kids seem frequently to be whacko brats. Anyway, his daughter had left his purse at some mob hangout Italian place on Carrollton, and he had to stop by and pick it up. So he went in. And left me in the car. In the heat. And I waited. And sweated. And waited. He finally reemerged with the purse. I don’t know what the hell he was doing in there, and I really don’t want to know.
We finally went to the Ethiopian place. I was covered with a glaze of sweat at that point. The restaurant was not really overly air conditioned. And there were flies. I guess this is what one might expect as true Ethiopian ambiance. And there were no waiters. The dining room was completely empty except for another couple. We were seated and then all trace of restaurant workers disappeared. No one ever came back to take our order. The only restaurant-related person we saw was somebody’s kid, who wandered idly from table to table making childish conversation and staring alot. I finally got fed up. I was burning up and wanted a beer, so I went back to the kitchen and got in the cooler and got us a couple of cool ones. That was how we got our drinks all night, by wandering back to the kitchen and getting them ourselves. We did eventually have our order taken by someone, with about another hour wait after that. We had plenty of beer. The waitstaff was completely unconcerned that we were serving ourselves our own drinks.
After the frightful dinner (and the lagging conversation that you might expect if you are both roasting and starving to death), my date announced that we needed to stop by his house for “just a minute” before we continued our date. That should have been my next warning sign. The house was UNBELIEVABLE. His wife had just moved out, and apparently had taken all the furniture with her. There was nothing in the living room at all. The kitchen table had no chairs. There was one ratty couch, and one ratty TV in a room off the kitchen. The kitchen itself was HORRIFYING. It looked just like a scene out of the Young Ones. There were pots full of leftover, unrefrigerated food with tops on them, with spaghetti and unidentified flotsam trailing down the sides. I declare there were tentacles and googly eyes coming out of the pots as well. There was an ancient pizza with that dried-over glazed look that reminds me of cloudy corneas. My date nonchalantly scooped up a slice of pizza, tossed it into a meowing cat’s dish, and dumped milk onto it out of a carton on the counter. His son was there, standing around the kitchen table with a girl who will merit further description later. We were joined by the most decrepit and stinky dog I have ever seen – it was literally missing a leg, blind in both eyes, and deaf. And it stunk to high hell.
My noble date left me in the kitchen with his son and the girl and said he would be right back. He was gone so long, I was trying to make small talk with two teenagers. Turned out the girl was a runaway the boy had brought home. She was wanted in California for something, and had abandoned her husband and baby and moved herself out to New Orleans. She had traded her wedding ring for a hair weave. She and the son were planning on cutting and dyeing her hair so that the police wouldn’t recognize her. When I realized that the weirdo boy was planning on cutting her hair himself, I volunteered. I couldn’t even imagine how bad he would have butchered her up. So I have aided and abetted in helping to conceal a wanted individual. We cut her hair and were putting the dye on when my date FINALLY returned.
He was now clad only in an ancient Speedo with so many runs in it that it resembled plaid. His huge gut hung out over the top of it. He had on a ratty leopard print robe that concealed nothing. With obvious satisfaction, he pulled out a bowl, dumped cereal in it, plopped down on the ratty couch and turned on the TV. He didn’t even offer me any cereal. He did toss some to the disgusting dog.
At this point I seriously needed some air. I went outside by the algae infested pool to catch my breath. The son followed me out there, and lit a cigarette. “You know my dad’s not really divorced yet, right?” he asked me. Gee, now there was a tragedy. I had been really hoping to marry this great guy after this fabulous date. The girl came out with her new short, black hair and lit a joint. At this point, I decided to go back inside.
Inside, my knight in shining armor was sprawled on a mattress on the floor in another room and snoring. He tried to persuade me to climb onto the mattress with him, which caused a wave of nausea that I could barely fight back. “No thanks, I’m ready to go home,” I said. “Well,” he said, “I’m not taking you home because now I’ve been drinking.” So I called a cab, URGENTLY, and took off the hell home. When I got home, Babe the movie was waiting as a remnant of my lovely evening. I thanked God for letting me escape from that house without being arrested or raped and turned in for the night. The best part of all? The guy called me up about a week later and wanted to know if I wanted to go out with him again!!!