Of course I was nervous. Who wouldn't be on their first date. Was she nervous too? She didn't seem to be. Perhaps boys are naturally more nervous than girls on their first date. I think mothers rehearse their daughters over and over again beforehand. Girls seem much more relaxed, at least Andrea did at the restaurant on that fateful June night. Everything seemed to be going along fairly well until I reached across the table to grab another roll. My tie barely grazed the burning candle and immediately burst into flame. Perhaps it was something flammable I had spilled on it earlier – I don't know. But anyway all hell broke loose. I won't go into detail, but apparently I had embarrassed Andrea as she left in a hurry, never speaking to me again.
The following weekend, my composure restored, I asked Belinda out. Of course it was a different restaurant this time. Things were progressing nicely, the previous Saturday's calamity all but a dim memory. My ear began to itch; I gave it a casual scratch. Then my nose, my chin, my scalp, my chest. My whole body became a writhing mass of uncontrollable itching. I squirmed, I rubbed, I scratched. Nothing helped. People began to stare. Belinda was horrified; she couldn't take any more of this. Needless to say that was the end of Belinda.
Another weekend, another date. "Never give up", my dad admonished me. It was Connie's turn, and restaurant number three. I doubt I would be welcomed back at either of the first two. Things couldn't be going better if I had rehearsed all day. Then it happened. Without warning, and for no apparent reason, my nose began to bleed – drip, drip, right into my tomato soup. What to do! Not a napkin in sight. I tried sticking the end of my tie up my nose. That didn't help. Then the corner of the table cloth. Connie was no help. What could she do? She left. "Bye, Connie", I mumbled.
If I had nothing else going for me at least I had fortitude. This time it was Donna. Thankfully Donna didn't know Andrea, Belinda or Connie. I thought, "what could possibly go wrong?" I was soon to find out. We weren't half way through our meal when I had an uncontrollable urge to yawn. I don't know why – I wasn't tired, and I certainly wasn't bored. I opened my mouth to yawn – wider, wider, wider. Then 'snap'. O my God! It wouldn't close. I couldn't talk, so an apology was out of the question. I couldn't even smile. I could pretend to gargle. I was more embarrassed than Donna. Need I tell you her reaction?
So on down the list- I was doing the alphabet. Next was Eleanor. Eleanor was the least good looking of the bunch. I could say 'the ugliest', but I'm being polite. I figured she would tolerate anything just to get a date. I figured wrong. We were exchanging pleasantries, when suddenly I began to feel a tickling in my left ear. I stuck my little finger in to relieve the itch and, wouldn't you know it, I couldn't get it out. Putting my hat over the offending hand didn't do much to hide the situation. Thank heaven it was my left hand; I was able to continue eating my mushroom soup, although my heart wasn't in it. A date with his left hand in his ear was definitely not on Eleanor's list of tolerable behaviors. She, too, felt a need to depart, without even a good-bye.
I was now down to the F's. Francine was a good sport. I took one look around the candle-lit tables, recalling a prior incident with my tie. "That can't happen again", I thought, "I'm not wearing a tie." The meal went well, no mishaps. "I have finally mastered the art of dating", I told myself. The waiter was just bringing our dessert when I, filled with confidence, leaned over to whisper something, I don't recall what it was now, into Francene's ear. Then 'poof' – my hair exploded in a puff of smoke and flame. Too much hair gell, I assumed. Not knowing exactly what to do I sat back down and began to beat my head with whatever I could grab. Francine jumped up and as she turned to leave anointed my head with the remainder of her water glass. I sat there dumfounded, smoke spiriling up from my acrid smelling hair, smiling benignly at the other patrons as they turned in their chairs to see what the commotion was all about. When the head waiter approached to ask what the problem was, I lied, "sorry, this is my first date and I'm just a little nervous".