You always remember your firsts, you know? For normal people, it’s their first kiss, or the first time a woman’s smile took their breath away, or the first time they fell in love. For me, it’s a little different. I still remember the first time an Internet date stood me up. Or the first girl to tell me about a date that set her hair caught on fire. Or, and I’m starting to get a little misty-eyed here, the first date to confess that she kinda hates the Jews. Ahhhhh the memories. But when you’ve been on as many Internet dates as I have, you start to worry that maybe you don’t have any firsts left. I’ve kinda done everything. My first date with a zombie would be notable. Or a vampire. Or a zombie-vampire pair of Siamese twins? That was all I saw on the horizon of new experiences, until now. For just recently, I experienced a first I’d never imagined, and one that surprised even my withered, senile heart. And it came in the form of an excuse.
I had been seeing a girl for a few weeks that I genuinely quite liked. As the girls that I genuinely quite like often are, she was a little kooky. And while kooky is great in conversation, and totally endearing on email, it’s not necessarily ideal when it comes time to make plans. On the plus side, she was so nervous before our first that as the evening ended, she genuinely forgot where she’d parked her car. That’s gotta make you smile, right? On the minus side, she also genuinely forgets what her schedule is pretty much every night of the week. Not as smiley. Finally though, after a bit of back and forth, we achieved a plan for Friday night drinks at 8pm. Sure enough, at the stroke of 7, I get a voicemail.
Hey, it’s me. I’m sorry, I really wanted to see you tonight, but I’m going to have to cancel. I’m feeling sick, and I’m seeing someone with full-blown AIDS this weekend, so I can’t get him to get sick too.
Now that is definitely a first. The first time a terminal disease is used as a reason to cancel a date. Honestly, it was amazing. Partially because I knew it was true, I mean, who make such a thing up? And it fits her personality – some people are just not the sort to cancel because “something came up.” That’s what makes those people great. But mostly because it blew me away because, well, it’s AIDS. You don’t hear AIDS too often in the early stages of a relationship. Certainly not as a reason they need to cancel an evening. “Sorry, I can’t make it to the movie tonight, my Aunt has Polio, and I really need to check in on her.” “Oh, I’d love meet your parents for dinner, but my leprosy has been acting up, so I better stay close to home.” And thank goodness she the included the “full-blown” part, just to give the whole thing a little legitimacy. I mean, if I found out her friend only had HIV, I would’ve been PISSED. And she topped it off with the potential of death. I think that’s the hat trick. Now, I don’t want to be making light of someone having a serious disease here, obviously that’s not funny, but to have said disease used as an excuse for missing a fourth date, well, that was really something.
Now, what you are wondering is…what would be a good excuse for missing a date? And as always, dear reader, I have the answer. The sure-fire, guaranteed, never fails, break glass in case of emergency explanation for why you have to back out of a date is…a friend’s birthday party. Works every time. Makes you seem loyal and reliable as a friend, and cloaks your plans in the perfect combination of vagueness and specificity to seem plausible. Just make sure that the next time you seem the person you’ve cancelled on that you’re prepared for the “Oh, so how was your friends your birthday party?!” follow up. Because I can tell you from experience, “Uh…what, uh, what birthday party?” is not an impressive response. Also know this: from now on, whenever someone tells they can’t hang out because a friend’s bday just came up, you’ll wonder whether they’re making the whole thing up. So…enjoy that!
Wow. That AIDS excuse is like the golden fleece of all excuses.
Unless it wasn’t an excuse. Let’s hope it’s not. For your sake. But if it is…that girl WINS.
Acceptable excuses for canceling a date:
1.) Illness. (Your own.) — I’ve canceled dates because I had a bad cold and didn’t want to get the other person sick. I did, however, say when canceling that I wanted to reschedule for later, once I felt better, and then followed through on that promise.
2.) Family obligations. — Whether it’s a death/illness in the family, or a command performance at dinner when Aunt Jane just happens to pop into town, you get a pass on this. Again, suggest rescheduling, and follow through.
3.) Last-minute work obligations. — For example, if you’re dating a trial lawyer, it’s entirely plausible that the judge said “I want that brief on my desk at 9am sharp.” Or if your paramour works for a tyrannical boss who says “Nobody’s leaving tonight until we get the Erickson proposal finished” or whathaveyou. On the other hand, I suppose this could depend on one’s job.
4.) Honest statement that you’ve lost interest in the other person (better to cancel than go when you know you don’t like ’em). — I’ve actually been on the receiving end of this. It sucks on the one hand because why the hell did you accept the offer in the first place? On the other, it saves both of you from wasting an evening (and money) when the end result is a foregone conclusion. That said, the person who initially cluelessly accepted the date deserves a raft of shit for not knowing their own feelings better.
5.) Unavailability of transportation (depends on distance and environmental conditions). — If your date lives in the ‘burbs, and you live in town, and your date’s car breaks down, it MAY be excusable. On the other hand, if there’s safe public transportation, or if you could have maybe picked them up and driven them back, no, not cool.
It also depends how often any of these things happen. If you’re constantly using any of these excuses….maybe you’re not in a position where you actually have time/ability to date.
I know when I’m not interested in a guy pretty quickly. If I ask him at a bar that has 6 specialty beers what he’s drinking and he answers, “…………………………um, beer” I know that he’s an asshole and want to leave asap. What is the etiquette for ending a bad date as soon as humanly possible?
B, one of these days I should tell you about the ebola date.
This made me laugh out loud! Great Post!