An Oral History Of The Time I Had 14 Drinks Before A First Date
The following is composed of interviews from all the relevant parties involved in the time I showed up borderline black out drunk to a blind date. Among those quoted about the events are: my roommates, who I drank with beforehand and who were well aware of the months long bender I was in the midst of; the girl who set me up with her good friend, and her boyfriend at the time, who gave me advice I took too much to heart; and, of course, the girl I went out with, who graciously agreed to be interviewed about what was no doubt the worst date of her life.
*All the names have been changed on account of no one wanting to ever be associated with me again.
In the winter and spring of 2009, I was pretty depressed over a confluence of a few shitty things. In October, my girlfriend of two years dumped me, although we would continue to torment each other over the ensuing half year. In January, I moved back from San Francisco after a year there and I was supremely unhappy about being home. Perhaps worst of all, I hated my job. I was working for a construction company as a field superintendent, and after an awesome time out West, I came back to the crappiest project possible. My new boss took an immediate disliking to me and he stuck me on the crappiest shift possible, with no responsibility at all. I worked noon to midnight, and my only job was to supervise a cleaning crew. I would show up to work and all the people above me would say, “I need this section of the site cleaned.” Then I’d tell the crew to do it and spend the next 12 hours either sitting on a frigid port-a-potty reading articles on my flip phone, or standing on the roof smoking cigarettes.
My boss required me to work seven days a week.
I started drinking a lot.
Roommate 1: Your typical night when you moved back involved filling an entire pint glass with bourbon and some ice (you once tried to order this at a bar). After drinking that, you made a second one that consisted of whatever was left of the original ice and another full glass of bourbon. The third glass included no ice and enough bourbon to put a horse down.
Roommate 2: You were getting wasted every night. Like really. There was one weekday when you were drunk trying to get me to look at all your photos from your trip to Europe, so you could wistfully reminisce. This was early in the evening and I told you I didn’t give a shit and went to bed. At three a.m. I woke up to you banging on my door screaming at me to “get off my high horse.”
The situation with my ex got much worse as well. In early April, we went on a short trip to the beach together, just the two of us. Halfway through, I found out she had a new boyfriend, one whom she’d been texting with the whole week about how much she missed. We spent the last two days not speaking to each other and I went home with basically nothing in my life going for me.
A couple weeks later, on one of the first warm nights in April, I went to a popular outdoor bar with a couple I was close with, LA and Steve. We were putting beers back when a foursome appeared. None of them were happy.
Amanda (the girl I eventually went out with): I was on the worst (well, at the time) first date I had ever been on. It was a group date that was supposed to last two to three hours, which turned into 12, and we ended the night at Carpool. The guy didn’t talk at all and I ran into LA and Steve [the couple I was with that she also knew well] and I was mostly just happy to see someone else I knew and have an excuse to leave the guy in the shadows, at least for a few minutes.
Amanda began relaying to us how awful the guy she was with was. He, like, took her to the zoo, then dinner, and kept trying to make out with her.
LA (her friend): We hung out the next day, and you asked how the remainder of her date went. I told you she said it was miserable, that the guy tried to make a move, and you said “I can take her on a better date than that. Give me her number.” I thought you would at least be an interesting date, so I did.
Amanda: You called me and in so many words said since I had just been on such a horrible date you couldn’t be any worse, so I should go out with you. I figured at the very least it was something different to do and I remember thinking, “what did I have to lose?”
We made plans for that Sunday. During that week, I texted Steve. He also knew her from college. I asked what she liked, what she was into. How I should act.
“She likes big, fat, balding assholes. And since you are none of the first three, you should really play up the asshole part.”
Steve: I thought it would legitimately help. I didn’t think you would take it so far.
The Day Of
Aside from the little vacation I took, Sunday, April, 26th was something like my 70th straight day of work. Boring as always, but at least that particular day I had something to look forward to. Not the date. The Caps were playing the Rangers at noon in Game 6 of a first-round playoff match up. No one above me ever came in on the weekends (only I got that pleasure), so basically, after unlocking the job site and telling everyone what to do, I was free to pretty much fuck off. I recruited a foreman to head to an Irish bar with me to watch. My plan was to nurse a few Guinesses then head home and freshen up before meeting Amanda at 7.
That is not what happened. I started drinking. Heavily. Me and the guy did Irish car bombs after the first and second periods, all while putting back beers. When the Caps won, we had shots of Irish whiskey. All along, I kept telling myself I was fine, that I had plenty of time to sober up. I’ve got five hours! I’ve got three hours! I’ve got … err, It’ll be alright.
When I got home, I knew the only way I could maintain a façade of an even remote presentableness was to keep drinking. You know, nurse a beer or two to stave off the headaches and grogginess that are the onset of a day drinking hangover.
Roommate 1: You came back and insisted we drink gin and tonics. Without tonic.
Roommate 2: You didn’t seem all that excited for the date, but I remember asking you if you were okay. You said yes, but I thought, there’s no way he can actually go out on this thing.
Little did they know, I had one card left to play. I had drugs.
When I arrived, I couldn’t talk. There was the initial overwhelming rush of uppers which, combined with… being fucking hammered rendered me borderline brain damaged. But I also arrived a half an hour early, so I had time to sober up.
Or take shots of whiskey. But I didn’t want to be sitting at the bar we’d picked, hunched over, pumping shots. I thought that would look bad. So instead I walked two bars over, to a sketchy lounge, the kind with pink florescent lights and black pleather couches. But there was outdoor seating.
I ordered two shots and a beer and drank them sitting there. I contemplated texting Amanda to tell her to come over here, but I could also see the entrance to the bar we picked and was gonna just walk over when I saw her. When I did, I started to get up and head there.
Then I remembered my friend’s advice about being an asshole.
I concluded, in my addled head, that it would be best to let her go to the bar, wait for her to ask me where I was, then tell her I went somewhere else. That’s dick, right?
I ordered another beer. This would be number 15.
Amanda: I arrived and you were nowhere. I was a little annoyed that I was the first one there because I purposefully showed up a few minutes late. I even went into the bathroom to wash my hands so I wasn’t sitting there waiting when you arrived. Then as time went on, I thought maybe one of us went to the wrong place, which is when I texted you to tell you I was at Liberty Tavern.
I did not handle my response with any sort of deft, endearing aplomb.
Amanda: You wrote “Yeah, I saw you walk in. I’m at Spider Kelly’s.” Immediately a lot of thoughts started running through my head, including “Seriously? What is wrong with this guy?” and “How long was he going to let me sit there?” I asked if I should go there instead and you wrote, “Sure. If you want to.”
I walked over thinking, “He is either a huge creep or a huge asshole. Maybe both.”
But forget how I acted. How did I look?
Amanda: When I arrived, I knew immediately something was off, but I didn’t know you well enough to know what it was. I thought maybe you were high because your eyes were bloodshot and you just kept staring at me and asking me really odd questions. Like you kept talking about Caribou Coffee. It was almost as if you didn’t blink the whole time we were there, which made me really uncomfortable.
But we did have a beer, which I took to be a good sign.
Amanda: I have never gone on a date for the free drinks/food because I would usually rather pay for them myself, but this might have been my one exception. My plan was, when you texted, to just walk over and say I wasn’t going to stay, but as I was on my way I started thinking I could really use a drink and that you definitely owed me one.
I tried to kiss her at the end and she didn’t (at least I didn’t think she did) rebuff me, which I took to be a good sign.
Amanda: I really wondered if you had ever been on a date before. I am not sure if I even made it to the subway before I called LA.
LA: She just said, “Ummm, so that was the weirdest date I’ve ever been. He started out by hiding from me, and he freaked me out entirely.”
I, oddly, had the opposite reaction.
Steve: You called me right after. You were pretty happy with how it went down at the time.
I followed up a day later, and asked her out again.
Amanda: I am pretty sure I laughed out loud.
Although Amanda never responded to my request for a second date, I had no real inklings that the night had gone poorly. I genuinely didn’t. I thought I did fine. But I wound up quitting my job a few weeks later, on a Friday, when I was told I would have to work all of Memorial Day weekend. I walked out, and spent the night on the couch, drinking, as all my friends were partying in Dewey Beach. I was alone, sad, and kind of scared about my future. That’s when my phone buzzed with a text from Amanda.
“I’m here with your friends. Apparently you have a much different opinion of how our date went than I did.”
My roommate texted around the same time.
“We’re here with your girl. She’s hysterical. Apparently you were the worst date she’s ever been on.”
I wrote back to her, both apologetic and curious.
“Sorry, I thought our date went okay.”
“Yea, call me old-fashioned, but I don’t like to be viciously disrespected when I go on a blind date.”
Amanda: We were in Dewey so I don’t remember exactly what I said to them but they’d said you said it went well. I remember being amazed that you actually thought we had a good time. It completely blew my mind. I don’t consider myself to be a very demanding person, but the fact that you never actually showed up for our date, never bothered to apologize and saw nothing wrong with that was absurd to me.
Roommate 1: I remember her being very confused about why a man would get that hammered before a date and then intentionally go to the wrong place. I drunkenly tried to defend your behavior but there really wasn’t any explaining that
Steve: As she mentioned to us, telling someone you watched them from afar for ten minutes isn’t being an asshole. It’s being a pervert. An oddly proud pervert, at that.
That was that, until about a year later when it crossed my mind that it … happened to be a year later. We hadn’t crossed paths since then, but I’m good with dates, and I remembered that it was an anniversary of sort. The worst date of her life. So I texted her, for fun, a simple “Happy Anniversary.”
Amanda: I was coincidently sailing with Steve and LA when I got the text. I had either gotten a new phone or deleted your number, both are equally as possible, but I had no idea who it was. I had LA put the number in her phone to see if she had it and your name popped up. Everyone else on the boat started laughing hysterically while I was fighting the urge to throw my whole phone overboard. Why did you still have my number? How could you possibly remember the exact date?! Or more importantly, why?? Usually when a guy does something just slightly creepy a very small part of me considers it to be flattering. There was absolutely no part of me that thought this was flattering.
Amanda, it should be noted, is very happily married to a wonderful man she loves.
I am still single.