On Wednesdays, Amanda Chatel will be sharing stories about her strange, fascinating and sometimes wonderful dating life. If it makes you want to date, check out TheGloss dating page.
“I thought you’d be much taller,” said my date in his thick Russian accent as he ran his eyes over my 5′ frame. “You’re really short.” Tolstoy (we’re calling him this for obvious reasons) looked at me as if he were truly disgusted.
I smiled weakly, looked down at my turquoise blue flats and agreed: “Yes, I am really short.”
It was the girl at my neighborhood coffee shop who, after several months of me going in there and ordering the same thing everyday, suggested I date her boyfriend’s brother. The brother was new in town and since I was trying to put an end to a messy fling I was having with a bartender on my block, it seemed like a good idea.
I met Tolstoy outside a sushi restaurant on 1st Avenue. It was mid-summer and having scurried along so as not to be late, I stopped a block away to blot the sweat from my brow and to see if I could spot the Russian with whom I was about to dine. However, it’s hard to see around a kabob cart that you’re hiding behind so no one can see you trying to make sense of the moisture on your face.
When I arrived a few minutes later a tall, frail man in his late 20’s asked me if I was Amanda. His features were cold and his personality even colder; I said yes and promptly received my first insult. I could have come back with more than a few if we were going to go head-to-head on the matter, but decided to behave.
We were seated in the window and from the first moment the waitress asked us what we wanted to drink, I realized that this person had some serious superiority issues. Not even looking at her, he snapped: “Can’t you see we just sat down? Why don’t you come back when we’ve had some time to look at the drinks menu!”
Again, I smiled weakly, but this time at the waitress and tried to apologize desperately with my eyes. However, having not honed my acting ability yet, I fear my excessively long stare that was meant to console probably came off either weird or, like my date, rude. I have since become a much better thespian.
Tolstoy asked me what I was ordering. I told him the spicy tuna roll and watched him roll his eyes. “Eel,” he said, “eel is the only reason anyone should go out for sushi.” I hate eel.
The waitress returned to take our order, and just as I started to say what I would like, Tolstoy interrupted me. I’m not saying that I should automatically order first, but I am saying that you shouldn’t interrupt people. However, Tolstoy was clearly concerned that if he didn’t get his order in as soon as humanly possible, he was going to miss out on all the eel in the world. It was a dire situation obviously.
I stared at him in shock, ordered my spicy tuna and sat silently. He attempted to make conversation and I attempted to make sure he knew that I thought he was an asshole. Tolstoy did not pick up on it; he even suggested another sushi restaurant we should try “next time.”
Our food arrived and he slurped away at his eel, commenting on the waitress’ inability to be efficient and his overall disdain for New York City. He had been here for less than a month, and in my eyes, that is not a sufficient amount of time to determine the worthless of any place.
I listened, I scowled, I pushed the ginger around on my plate knowing for sure that if it had a mouth, it would be a far kinder and wittier specimen than the creature across the way from me. I also considered dropping a $20 on the table and running for the door but felt it was my duty to stick it out, if only as some sort of back up for the poor waitress who, by the time I had finished my rolls, had already been snapped at and had her intelligence questioned about five times.
On her final attempt to get her job done and probably send us on our way, she came to the table and asked if we would like anything else. I immediately said no. Tolstoy, being the gentleman and charmer that he was, looked up at her angrily and said – quite passively aggressively – that he would ask for the check when he was ready. But what Tolstoy didn’t know was that as he said this, in his vain attempt at putting the waitress in her place, a decent size piece of eel was attached to his bottom lip. I was surprised that he couldn’t feel it, and equally surprised that, considering the size, it didn’t fall off onto his plate. It was a beautiful moment.
The waitress tried not to smile, I tried not to laugh and Tolstoy, in all his cluelessness, just continued to be a raging dick. A few moments later, with a swift wipe of his napkin, the eel was gone.
When the check came, Tolstoy tried to pay for me and tell me that he didn’t tip. I insisted that I was not only paying for myself, but that I did tip, and I tipped quite well–especially under the circumstances. According to Tolstoy, tipping was a waste of money.
We parted ways just outside the restaurant and he told me he’d call me–and he did a few days later, but I didn’t pick up. After that, he never tried again.
On the way home, I walked past the Tarot card reader on 1st Ave and figured I’d go in for shits and giggles. Among all those things that people tell you when you’re paying them to do so, she also told me that my next love would be from a “cold country.” My brain immediately raced to Tolstoy and I snowbound in an empty house all Dr. Zhivago style. No thank you. I would not be his Lara.
I politely informed the reader that she was mistaken and headed home.
Not all dates have to happen at a restaurant like this one. Make up a date of your own on TheGloss’ dating page and find someone to join you.