Monday, June 20, 2016

Smart Phone, Stupid Date

I went out on my first date in a hundred years. Maybe less. It was definitely my first date since Ryan. It was my first first date since high school.

I was supposed to have a date with a guy I met on New Year's Eve, but I had a touch of the bird flu and he didn't want to wait. Six months later, I was back out in the jungle. No one has ever accused me of moving too fast. Knowing that this was my first first date since high school, I didn't want to put too much pressure on it. Dating a new person is hard enough on its own.

We went to a trendy restaurant. It wasn't the kind of place I would normally go, but I'm trying to be open to new experiences. Isn't that what dating is all about? He had made a reservation and we were seated as soon as we arrived, while other people had to wait for a table.

“They know me around here,” he bragged.

We sat down and the waitress, who did not seem to know him at all, handed us our menus.

“We don't need that,” he proclaimed. “We'll take two dao xiao mian, two wonton soups and some hunhe shucai.”

I don't mind if someone orders for me, but I generally prefer it when they know the first thing about me. This guy had absolutely no idea what I like or don't like. I could hate bok choy or be allergic to the peanuts in the noodles. Thankfully, I'm not, but my date never knew that. You want the first date to go well. My favorite food in the world could have been on that menu, but since he didn't know me, he could have ordered something I can't stand. Trying to impress someone can seriously backfire if you're too cocky.

He also tried to order in Chinese, which is a bad idea if you don't know Chinese. The people who work at the tourist restaurants will smile and try to figure out what you're saying, but at the local restaurants, they'll look at you like you're crazy. They were used to foreigners at this restaurant, but they were too busy that night to smile and play along. I'm not complaining that my date didn't speak Chinese. I don't know it as well as I thought I would have by now. It just seemed like he did it for my benefit, but all he did was show me how bad his Chinese is. If you want to impress me with a foreign language, speak Catalan or Swahili. Chinese is not all that rare around here.

Waiting for our food, I was fully prepared to play 20 questions. Isn't that what a first date is? You tell him your life story and he tells you his. Maybe I should just refer future dates to this blog. Maybe that's what first dates are now – reading each other's Facebook page.

What I was not expecting was for him to immediately whip it out. His phone, that is. Instead of asking me my favorite color and where I went to kindergarten, he had to update all of his social media statuses. Instead of talking about each other, or even just talking about himself, he talked to the internet.

I was immediately annoyed, but tried to be patient at first. These “smart phones” are my generation's technology, but I never got into it. I can appreciate what today's phones can do, but I think people should interact with the other people around them more than shut out the world and look at cat pictures.

When the food came, I thought he might put his phone down. This shows you how little I know about how important it is to show the internet pictures of every meal you eat. The good news was that he never tried to take any pictures of me. But while he was looking for the perfect angle to capture the oil glistening off his fried vegetables, I casually got up and walked out of the restaurant.

At least half an hour later, I got a text message.

Him: where r u
Me: I don't know what that means.
Him: where are you
Me: What difference does it make? I left an hour ago and you just noticed.
Him: (some kind of smiley face)
Him: r we hooking up l8r
Me: I don't know how to do a “not in a million years” laughing emoticon on this thing.
Him: i dont get it
Him: (cartoon question mark)
Me: No harm, no foul. Enjoy your phone.

Call me old fashioned, but I think you should date a few years before you ignore each other in public.

2 comments:

  1. That's crazy. Was this guy American? Maybe I am too old, but what is so damn interesting about chronicling every second of your day on social media? I can understand a blog - a once daily update about things. But, I just don't get the folks that have to post to Facebook, Twitter, instagram, and whatever else every other minute or else are afraid they will just shrivel up and vanish.

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  2. Blogs are narcissistic enough. Facebook and the other sites seem pointless to me, and I've never understood Twitter.

    I think people post endless pictures of their meals because they don't have enough to say to fill up all the space, but they know they have to constantly update or they'll lose their followers. I think that's the main objective - to collect as many followers as possible.

    This guy was Canadian, but I didn't point that out because I don't want to make Canada look bad. They're mostly good people. I'm sure he's a decent human being, too. He was just far too obsessed with his phone.

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No hate, please. There's enough of that in the world already.