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!