We all like to reminisce about the worst dates we’ve ever had or heard of. Well my buddy “Jack,” a friend of mine, was once set up with a young, attractive magazine editor…great story. Assuming this woman was accustomed to the finer things in life, “Jack” decided to book a dinner at a hot new restaurant in the West Village. He put on his best jeans, his favorite button-down, and got to the restaurant five minutes early. He sat at the bar for about 15 minutes, sweating from nerves and pretending to read the menu in interest. Suddenly, a text came in, informing him that his date was “running a little late” and that he should feel free to sit down at the table. He decided to take her direction and sat down at the table.
Over the next 35 minutes, he had the pleasure of ordering a basket of bread and three diet cokes. Every time the waiter came back to the table, the waiter smiled and asked “Jack” if he “could get him anything else.” The waiter had that obnoxious smile which said, “Hey buddy -- you’ve been sitting alone at this table for 45 minutes. You look like an idiot and diet cokes don’t pay my bills.” “Jack” tried his best to respond with the “I purposely came here early, so I could get a lay of the land… oh and my date isn’t late… she was always supposed to arrive 15 minutes from now…so stop smiling at me…” smile.
Eventually, the date did come. She was extremely apologetic and told “Jack” that he should order two stiff drinks. He ordered two cocktails and some calamari, smiled at the waiter, as if to say, “Why did you ever question me?” The date and “Jack” had a few nice minutes of small talk, when the drinks and calamari arrived. At the very same moment, the date received a call that she “had to take.” She walked outside the restaurant and out of view. After another 20 minutes of painful waiting, he received the following text: “I’m so sorry. I had to run. Work emergency. Please enjoy the calamari for the both of us. Promise not to be so flakey next time.” “Jack” spent the next 5 minutes trying to figure out a graceful way to leave. He downed the calamari, both of the drinks and told the waiter that “we’d” like the check, because the restaurant wasn’t what they were expecting.Until now, I’d put this date up against most. Then I watched Akua’s gut-wrenching breakdown over dinner with Isaac. Here’s a beautiful, capable woman in her 8th month of pregnancy, abandoned by the father of her child and fresh off of a class at MomPrep (where her best friend dropped a toy baby over her shoulder, as though she were fumbling a football). It’s a trying period in Akua’s life (to say the least), yet she decides it’s a good time to get back out on the dating scene. With the help of my wife, she prepares for a nice evening out to dinner with Isaac. Assuming you just watched the painful play-by-play, I probably don’t need to belabor the point or force you to relive the horror. However, Akua successfully covered the entire list of “First Date No-No’s” and may have even invented a few of her own. It’s never good when a date deteriorates to inconsolable sobbing while my wife is trying to coach you back to health remotely through an undetectable earpiece.
As I sit here, trying to compose myself after one of the more emotional episodes of the season, I am struck by the resilience of people. I would never compare “Jack’s” terrible date to Akua’s. However, as “Jack” sat in that restaurant, in front of a plate of uneaten calamari and two large cocktails, his story made me want to crawl into a hole. At the moment, I couldn’t imagine any relief from that embarrassment. However, three days later, it was just another funny story I enjoyed recounting over dinner with friends. As for Akua, I’m not sure I could have rebounded as quickly as she has. However, with a little bit of tough love from Rosie and the support of a wonderful group of friends, Akua is the picture of a happy mother. She has a glow about her that is impossible to deny. And no amount of dating will stack up against the boundless amount of love she feels for her little man.