You're alone. So very, very alone. And regardless whether you're unhappy about this, content with it, or have fooled yourself into thinking you're happy about it, your friends have decided that it's time for you to go out and meet someone. Suddenly playing Madden alone in a pitch-dark room covered only by a blanket and your own self-loathing isn't an acceptable way to spend an evening anymore. Who the hell are they to judge you? Fuck them. Fuck them all.
None of that matters now. They've committed you to this outing. And maybe it's for the best. Will this person be the one you're meant to be with forever? Someone to support and love you unconditionally? Your soulmate? The one true love of your life? Take a breath buddy, how about you make it through dinner first before you go checking out China patterns for your dishes.
• Go into the date with an open mind and positive attitude (in other words, actually shower for a change): Go to #1
• Cut down on the time it takes her to realize that you're a sad-sack son-of-a-bitch and just let her see it up front: Go to #2
• Blow the whole thing off: Go to #3
You're ready to go. As you stand around waiting for your date to arrive, you check yourself out. You even had a gay friend look over your outfit to makes sure you match and don't have the faintest hint of blood on you. You look good. You look really good.
You've decided on a casual look, jeans, button-down shirt, nothing too fancy, nothing all that- Oh my God, SHE'S HIDEOUS!
As she lurches toward you, all you can think about is what the hell your idiot friends were thinking. Oh, sweet Jesus, she looks like she was disfigured in a fire, then hit in the face with a sock full of nickels.
Gut-check time, what do you do?
• Run! Run far and run fast! Just run! Run now!: Go to #4
• Realize, over the course of the next 15 seconds, there's more to people than meets the eye and decide that perhaps you're finally the kind of person that can appreciate inner beauty as much as physical beauty. To go introduce yourself: Go to #5
Not even going to shower or take off your sweatpants, huh? Wow, classy. Well, fair enough. After a quick couple of squirts of Febreze to momentarily ward off the stench of desperation, you're off.
Unfortunately, while the air freshener might have masked your pungent body odor, it does nothing to attract women. The only thing is does attract is bees. Lots and lots of BEEEEEEES! OH MY GOD! BEES! JESUS, THEY'RE EVERYWHRERE! IT'S WINTER FOR GOD'S SAKE, WHERE DID ALL THESE- AHHHHHHHHH, THEY'RE IN MY EYES, BEES IN MY EYES!
And while everyone enjoys your suffering and frantic flopping around on the ground as bees turn your face into a puffy mess, fans of the Nicolas Cage film The Wicker Man find it especially delightful.
Surprise! You die alone.
Your fight or flight reflex kicks in with a resounding "flight" and you immediately back out of the door, careful not to make eye contact with your potential date. When you deem it safe, you turn and begin to sprint away toward sweet, sweet freedom.
Unfortunately, as both fate and genetics have withheld any sort of grace or athleticism from your person, you slam directly into the person walking behind you. Fortunately, she's beautiful and not at all litigious. As you pick yourself up, you notice that she has flowing blonde hair and an inviting smile. She also has an eagerness for sex that isn't generally seen outside a porn film or prison cell after lights out.
After a brief conversation, you're on your way back to her place. Is this twist of fate too good to be true? Of course it is. For you know what else this mysterious stranger has? The hint of a penis. And testicles she refers to as Megatron and Optimus Prime. And you know where the battle for the Allspark raged on? In your mouth. You can still taste the shame.
Maybe next time you won't be so quick to judge someone by their looks. Did you learn nothing from the film Shallow Hal? Nothing?!? Besides, maybe the burn victim was rich. Never thought of that did you? Bigot.
You step forward, looks be damned, anxious to meet this person your friends thought you would match so perfectly with. Unfortunately, as you extend your hand and smile at your date, she looks at you as if you're batshit insane and brushes past you, giving you that "get out of my way, loser" body check you've grown so accustomed to as she passes by. You watch as she warmly greets a man standing behind you.
That's right, the burn victim is in a loving, caring relationship, while you are alone. Wrap your brain around that one for a second. But cheer up, loser, here comes your date. And guess what? She's pretty cute. And guess what else? The look of only moderate disappointment on her face when she sees you suggests that she thinks you're pretty, sorta, okay looking too. And you'll take that, my friend, you'll take that.
After quickly introducing yourself, you both decide to grab something to eat. But where to go?
• To the local novelty restaurant: Go to #6
• Straight to Hooters: Go to #7
• Forget about dinner and go dancing instead: Go to #8
• To the local art house to check out the new foreign film all the kids are talking about: Go to #9
So you've decided on dinner at Red Out Chilibee's Friday Garden. How can anyone not love Red Out Chilibee's Friday Garden? Look at it, there's a stop sign ON THE WALL! That's crazy! Stop signs don't belong on walls! Plus, there's unlimited breadsticks and you'd kill your whole family for unlimited breadsticks.
You're seated comfortably and you gaze across the table at your date. Ten seconds pass. Thirty seconds pass. A minute…oh Jesus, now you have to think of something to say to this stranger. You weren't prepared for that. You search your brain for something, anything, to drown out the deafening silence.
• Engage her in a discussion about politics: Go to #10
• Ask her about herself: Go to #11
• Try to impress her with tales of your drunken tomfoolery: Go to #12
Hooters? HOOTERS!?! Jesus, how socially awkward are you that you actually thought bringing a girl to Hooters for your first date would be a good idea? Have you ever met a real woman in your life? Why not just take her to a strip club or a massage parlor? Unlike you, women generally don't like to eat their meals with a little "bouncy-bouncy" on the side. Real women aren't like the ones you read about in Penthouse Forum (sigh). Perhaps if your father actually loved you, he would have shared that fact with you years ago.
Oh, did you want to know how your date ends? She sneaks out from the restaurant during one of the several times you were mesmerized by a pair of orange hot pants. Now you're just the sad bastard eating alone at Hooters-and that won't change for the next 20 years.
It's Saturday night and, goddammit, you just gotta dance, dance, dance! You've decided to head to the nearest club to show off your moves and impress your date. And Lord knows you have some killer moves. After all, you don't just get drunk one random Tuesday night and decide to nickname yourself "The American Dance Machine." That's a title you have to earn through blood, sweat, and tears. Just like in Flashdance. Or something.
Unfortunately, somewhere between performing that thing where you grab your leg and pull it back and forth, and a move you refer to as "the Reluctant Gardener," your date storms out of the club, never to be seen again. Perhaps, you tell yourself, it's because she's jealous and can't handle how much attention you're getting from all the sexy ladies in the club. In reality, however, it's because you're a white guy from Connecticut and are, in fact, dancing exactly like a white guy from Connecticut. You have forever shamed your family. Again.
Wow, pretentious much? I mean, seriously, come on, you can't even read for Christ's sake, what are you going to do at a foreign film? Sit alone in the dark and pretend you enjoy films that don't include lots of explosions or robots fighting each other, and eat escargot or whatever the hell it is the French eat? Jesus, you're lame.
Politics, huh? Yeah, because nothing screams "fuck me" like telling someone you read The New Republic. I hope that works out for you. You know what else I hope works out for you? Celibacy. Good luck with that.
You decide to ask her about her day, which is smart because it shows you've taken an interest in her and also because NO ONE gives a damn about your fantasy baseball team and we all know that's what you were going to talk about anyway. Seriously, none of your friends give a fuck if you're willing to trade Mariano Rivera for someone who can generate more steals. Let it go already. So instead you decide, "Hey, look at all that cleavage!" Jesus, how did you miss that before? Your date is a little bit rack-tastic. Well, that's a pretty- hey, there's a baseball game on that television over there! Look, sports! Yay sports!
Aw jeez, now you've got a problem. Look up: ballgame, look down: cleavage. Well, this is awkward. Either you look up and completely ignore what she's saying in favor of the game or look down, and completely ignore what she's saying in favor of staring at her ample bosom. Or you could just continue to make eye contact, hoping to God that she doesn't notice the fact that her story about the salon is kinda putting you to sleep.
• Engage her in conversation with witty banter, only occasionally stealing a glance at her chest: Go to #13
• Look over her shoulder and watch the ballgame on the TV behind her: Go to #14
• Play the "strong, silent type" and listen intently to what she has to say: Go to #15
While you've heard that women are impressed by tales of bravery and daring, your date is not at all impressed by the yarn you spin detailing the time you and brothers Jim and Jack fought and defeated the ever-dangerous Dragon of Sobriety. Clearly, chivalry is dead.
It is worth noting that drinking stories containing any or all of the phrases "duct tape," "trunk of my car," or "decapitated prostitute," are probably not the best material for a first date. As your date storms out of the restaurant terrified, it dawns on you that this is probably why your lawyer advised you that it isn't a good idea to discuss any of that nonsense until you're set to be judged by a collection of your peers.
Joke, cleavage, witty anecdote about your first day of high school, cleavage, sip of water, cleavage, and so on. Frankly, you've got this down to a science. Stick and move, stick and move, you're like the Muhammad Ali of sneaky boob looking. Like some sort of cleavage watching ninja. And also quick, like a bunny. Yes, you're like some sort of ninja-bunny hybrid. Wait, what were you talking about again?
No time for that now, as the food arrives. You resist the initial urge to pick up your steak with both hands and tear into it like a bobcat. Well done on not reverting back to being a hobo like you do when you're alone in your apartment. You both eat your meal, while engaging in a light, amusing conversation. No one chokes or spits food on the other, so that's a good thing.
As the meal winds to an end, you pay the check and attempt to figure out a proper tip to leave on the bill:
• To tip 5%: Go to #16
• To tip 25%: Go to #17
• To tip 50%: Go to #18
Here's an important lesson for all of us that we'll be doomed to repeat again and again: watching sports and only half listening to what your date, girlfriend, wife, mother, etc. is talking about will only end in agony. Taking your eyes off the game only long enough to mutter "yup…sounds good" to whatever the hell your date just said can only lead to courtside seats at a WNBA game, a Sunday afternoon spent antiquing, or a promise to take your date and her mother to see the endless pan-sexual delights of Cirque du Solei. Only time will tell what you're in store for now. Remember to pay attention next time and may God have mercy on your soul.
"Why isn't he blinking? My God, WHY ISN'T HE BLINKING!?!" In hindsight, your plan to stare directly into her eyes with a steady and unwavering gaze was less considerate and more creepy. This is going badly. Hey, you know what your date would like to see? That special trick where you juggle some forks!
You cheap fuck. Do you know what a pain in the ass it is to work in the service industry? No, no I bet you have no fucking idea, do you? Five percent? Well, you're not getting laid tonight. No one respects someone who doesn't leave a decent tip. No one. Especially your date, who instantly realizes that this relationship isn't going to work out.
What happens in the end, you ask? Well, your date, she hooks up with your waiter. You? You die of syphilis.
Nice. A better than average tip that lets the waiter know you appreciate his hard work without you ever having to actually look him in the eyes or talk to him directly. Well played, this date is progressing nicely.
You leave the restaurant and, because you're pretty much just making this up as you go, find yourself without a game plan. Your date is looking at you to take charge and lead the way.
What do you suggest?
• Go for a walk: Go to #19
• Go for more drinks: Go to #20
• Go dancing: Go to #8
Fifty percent? Well, I'm sure your waiter appreciates your thinly veiled attempt to impress your date with money. Your date, however, doesn't. Just a reminder, your date is not a whore. The girl you hire after your date complains of a headache and cuts the evening short, never to be heard from again-now she's a whore.
On such a beautiful night, it's hard to resist the simple pleasure of a refreshing walk and stimulating conversation with a new friend. The conversation never falters, and more importantly, neither does your baboon heart transplant (you don't exercise and love the fatty foods).
Your walk finally finds you at her front door. And now for the most critical and socially awkward part of the evening: the kiss goodnight. You tell some story about how you prefer books over movies (liar) in order to buy yourself some time and figure out your next move.
So, just how are you going to say goodnight?
• Go for the handshake: Go to #22
• Go for a hug: Go to #23
• Go for the kiss: Go to #24
• Just "go for it": Go to #25
Yes, I understand that the very name "drinks," being plural, implies that you'll be having more than one. And that's fine. It does not, however, imply that you'll be having 12 drinks. Over the course of an hour and a half.
You lose track of your date somewhere between the time you accidentally vomit on yourself and when you take a swing at the bartender for having the audacity to cut you off. You can drink as much as you want and no one can tell you differently! Well, no one except the police, who are now dragging you out of the bar by your hair.
The excruciating pain ripping through your scalp reminds you of how pretty you thought your date's hair looked tonight. Gee, you sure hope she calls so you can compliment her on it and tell her how much you enjoyed this evening. But you're not going to hold your breath on that one.
How did this all go so wrong? After all, you did everything right, didn't you? I mean, you're actually wearing pants for Christ's sake! You're practically George Clooney!
After your date calls you a monster, yet before she throws a drink in your face and storms out of the building in hysterics, several thoughts go through your mind. "Where did I go wrong?", "Where did all this blood come from?", "I thought we had a real connection, I wonder why it didn't work out?" and "Jesus, that sure is a lot of blood." You'd reflect on the events a little longer, but you hear police sirens in the distance and you know it's a long, long drive to Mexico.
Maybe you'll have more success with the women south of the border. After all, at least some of them are probably looking for a green card.
A handshake, huh? Wow, nice. Pretty smooth, Casanova. Nah, I'm just kidding you, going in for the handshake is a totally macho, manly move to make at the end of a date. Um, so, should I go ahead and call your parents and tell them not to expect any grandchildren or do you want to? You know, since you're gay and all.
Going to play it safe with a hug and a kiss on the cheek huh? Nice. Of course, you know who else played it safe? Gandhi. And look how that turned out. No, no, I don't know what that means either.
All I do know is that going for the hug means that, while you had a pretty decent date, your date won't be getting any mediocre to adequate sex tonight. And really, that's her loss. At least that's what you tell yourself as you pull your Spider-Man sheets over your head for the night.
After droning on about what a good time you had, you finally gather your nerve up with the thought, "Ah, fuck it." Not exactly something out of Gladiator, but it does the trick, and you lean in and are pleasantly surprised to find that your date doesn't jerk her head backwards like she's Neo dodging a flurry of bullets.
A sweet kiss goodnight. And did your arm just kind of brush against her right breast? Score! You pull back, resisting the urge to grab her ass or shove your tongue down her throat. Classy. After all, there will be time for all that nonsense after your second date. Which, she assures you, will happen. Way to go, Romeo.
Looking back, you recall a pleasant evening in which you got to spend time with someone who was much less of a psychopath than you originally suspected, fatten up on steak and free breadsticks, and avoid being arrested or eaten alive by bears. All in all, a pretty good evening. And there's even time for a quick game of Madden before you go to sleep. Life doesn't get any better.
I bet you thought to yourself, "Hey, what the hell does ‘go for it all' mean?" Indeed. Well, I don't know what country you're from, but in the America that exists only in my fevered imagination (and more closely resembled the decrepit city ruins from the film Escape from New York than anything that exists in our actual world) it means you walk your date up to her door, then take out your penis and make a "hey, look at that, go on, touch it" face while your date stares wide-eyed in horror.
Does she touch it? No, no she does not. Does she spray you in the eyes with mace and run screaming to the nearest police station while you fall to the ground in a heap? Yes, yes she does. Here's a helpful reminder, never "go for it" unless you're the main character in a Rocky movie.