James* – Student

My next potential suitor after the not so suitable cage fighter was a set up by a friend of mine. She insisted that her boyfriend’s mate James* would be perfect for me! How wrong she was.

Now this one most certainly is not the worst date I’ve ever had but it quite possibly makes my top 10 of the worst. I should probably explain that when this date took place at my ripe old age of 18 (2008), I wasn’t the person I am now. I was quite shy when meeting new people and got nervous easily so never liked speaking up about things; this is an important thing to know about me for this date.

James had chosen for us to go to the cinema for our first (and last) date. Personally I think the cinema is a rubbish idea for a first date. How can you possibly get to know someone by sitting silently next to them, while you both watch a film neither of you probably even care about seeing? Answer is, you don’t get to know them! Although saying that, I got to know that James most certainly was not the man for me during our cinema outing.

So, it’s a Thursday evening and James picks me up from my house for our date. The drive to the cinema is fine. The car is filled with small talk and awkwardness for the 20 minute journey but I feel pretty good about it all. How naive I was at eighteen. Anyway, we arrive at the cinema and decide what film we’ll watch because it’s the only one on at that time. I can’t even remember what film we watched but that’s irrelevant anyway. We walk inside and up to the desk. Now, call me a feminist or whatever but I’m all for splitting the bill or whatever even on a first date so I paid for my own cinema ticket and James paid for his, which I was more than happy with. To be fair, he didn’t offer to pay for mine so I didn’t have a choice but, as I said, I am all good with that…. Until it came to buying snacks!

After getting our tickets James starts walking over to the snack counter and tells me he’s going to get some popcorn and a drink. I politely tell him that I already ate dinner so I wasn’t going to get anything. What happened next was not at all what I was expecting. James ordered a large popcorn, large coke and a bag of chocolate buttons (that wasn’t the problem). The girl behind the counter put everything into the till and told James it would be a total of £18.00 (also not the problem). James, without any hesitation whatsoever, turned to me and said the words “so you’re getting this right?” (PROBLEM). Hang on a minute, I’m getting this? Why on Earth would you think I am going to pay for all of your food and drink when I had already said I didn’t want anything and I’ve already just paid for my own cinema ticket! Now the current me would have told him where to go, however the eighteen year old me politely got my card out of my purse and paid for the greedy bastard’s food and drink.

Yep, I know what you’re thinking – Why would you pay for it? Why not tell him no? Well as I said previously, I was shy and nervous and figured that this was maybe normal etiquette for a first date so I went along with it and didn’t want to cause a fuss. Besides, I’d already decided there was no way I was seeing this guy again after that. So anyway, we make our way to the screen and sit down. As the film is starting I look over and see James holding that popcorn and think to myself ‘well I paid for it so I’m going to have some’ and I innocently reach over to take a few pieces of popcorn. James isn’t having any of that though! He pulls the popcorn away from my hand and whispers “You said you didn’t want any” before he then moves the drink, chocolate buttons and popcorn over to his other armrest; out of reach from me! What has just happened?! So we fairly split the costs of our tickets for the film and yet I’ve somehow now ended up paying for £18 worth of food and drink that I’m not even allowed to have any of! Correct me if I’m missing something here but is that really normal dating behaviour?

Once the film had ended I was just ready to get home. I got in the car and said almost nothing the whole way home. James kindly dropped me to my door and just before I opened the passenger door to get out and slink away inside the house he turns to me and says “So have you got any change to pitch in for the petrol money?”

I got out that car, slammed the door shut and walked inside my house with my head held high promising never to see him again! Of course before doing these things I rummaged around and gave him £5 towards petrol because little me back then was too scared and shy to say anything otherwise. I definitely learned from that date!

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