Dave had tried several times to take me out. I wasn’t quite sure why I was so reluctant to accept. Dave was a very quality dude: passionate, handsome, spiritual, family-oriented. I just wasn’t feeling it. Eventually I decided to agree to a Sunday afternoon dinner at his house. The way he described it sounded relaxed, casual and low-stakes, which was what I was in the mood for. Plus, I don’t usually have plans on Sunday afternoons so I wasn’t experiencing FOMO by committing to this.
On my way over to his apartment for the first time I received a text from Dave saying “I invited Evan and his girlfriend to dinner with us. Hope you don’t mind.” I did mind. Evan was a recent ex-boyfriend and a not-so-recent ex-boyfriend. We had dated freshman year of college when his foreign accent was so thick I couldn’t understand a word he said. We had dated again a few months ago when he moved to LA for work. The last time I saw Evan, I had graciously accepted to be his plus one to a Christmas work party. I was charming to say the least. I even got the CEO’s wife to start the Electric Slide with me. At the end of the night he drove me back to my car in Santa Monica and then drove off to make out with another girl. Weeks later he tried to pimp me out to another friend who needed a plus one to a work party, to which I replied I was not for hire.
I immediately started searching for reasons to bail on the dinner. I mentally sorted through my To-Do list for the week, which was pretty unimpressive. I assessed my Netflix queue, which was similarly unimpressive; I had tried and failed to start Felicity, but I guess I could give it another go. I texted my best friend who reminded me that I was a strong, independent woman who wasn’t scared off from a free meal because of a little discomfort. This was true. I replied to Dave’s text “The more the merrier.”
Google Maps alerted me that I was close to the location. “Funny, this is right by 29 year-old’s house,” I said aloud. 29 year-old was the nickname I gave to the guy I dated when I first moved to LA. He was 29 years-old and just starting grad school. Further, he told me he was pro-polygamy and asked me how much money would constitute a prenup, on the first date. Delightful. I found a distant parking space, this was Santa Monica, and made my way towards the red pin on my phone. “OMG, Dave lives in the same apartment as 29 year-old.” As I punched in the familiar security code and headed up the elevator, I thought “Dave lives on the same floor; I hope I don’t run into 29 year-old.” I walked down the hall, inching closer and closer to the red pin only to find myself stopped at 29 year-olds doorstep.
I was about to have my first date with Dave at my ex-boyfriend’s house with my other ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend.
“Deep Breath…. No, screw that. Run!”
Unfortunately, Dave sensed my presence lurking outside of the front door and welcomed me in. Evan was there, beckoning me up to the roof to witness the sunset, like our last interaction wasn’t offensive at all. Um, no thank you, Skeezeball. Instead I followed Dave into the kitchen.
Dinner began and I couldn’t help but make more sarcastic remarks than usual towards Evan. It was unclear whether Dave was a sadist who wanted to punish me for not going out with him earlier, or if he was genuinely oblivious to the palatable tension. Halfway through dinner, Dave’s roommate Jason walked in and said, “Oh hey Cait. Haven’t seen you here in a while, since you stopped dating 29 year-old.”
The chatter stopped.
“Yup,” I responded.
“You dated 29 year-old?” Dave asked.
“Wait,” Jason continued, “Didn’t you guys date?” Jason pointed to Evan and me.
“You dated her?” Evan’s girlfriend asked him, red-faced.
“Um…” Evan sunk into his chair, cowardly, trying (I assume) to find a way to make this into a joke.
“Good to see you Jason,” I said, desperately wishing I had chosen to start Felicity instead.
At the end of the night Dave walked me back to my car. I felt bad for not presenting myself in the best light. I imagined that at best, I looked like a whore to him at this point. I reassured him that I was interested in getting to know him better on a one-on-one basis, although “interested” was a reaching a bit. He agreed. The conversation on the walk had started to make up for all the lousiness of the evening until we approached my car.
“You have a Rav4?” Dave asked. “I thought only dykes drove Rav4’s.”
And with that, I was gone.