So, last evening after work I met up with the 22 year old for dinner. Let’s just say it could have gone better.
I walked into the restaurant and he was already seated (promptness, a good sign!). And he was every bit as handsome as his pictures.
And that was the high point of the date. I’m not joking.
We introduced ourselves and I shook his hand. And as I took a seat he said, “And as you can tell by my accent, I’m from the country ‘who gives a shit’.” So I asked where that was, to which he replied, “Who gives a shit?” It took a few more promptings for me to discover that he was originally from Russia and had emigrated to the US when he was 14– so like 7 years ago.
Then we started the obligatory small talk, and it was a bit like pulling teeth. I kept asking questions and he was very twitchy, and also full of bravado about his life so far and his accomplishments to date in his young life. It came across as a bit forced. But I mean, he graduated college in 3.5 years in software engineering, had a job while in school and has already paid off his student loans so….
Anyway, this is the point where things take a turn. Downward. I complimented him by saying that he seems very smart and it appears he did very well in school. “Did you go to the U on scholarship then?” I asked.
“On scholarship?” he scoffed. “Why would I get a scholarship– I’m white.”
Ah. Vaguely bitter, racist comment. Strike one.
The appetizers come and we have some more random small talk, when suddenly he complimented me on my hair. He liked the silver, but also the haircut. “We have the same hair, I think,” he says.
“Well thank you. Since I cut my own hair, I take that as a compliment.” He looked at me rather shocked. “You cut your own hair? How??” So I replied rather drolly “With scissors and clippers, actually.”
“Ah, so you’re your own ‘gay’ then!” he says rather blithely.
“I’m my ‘own gay’…..???” I asked, confused.
“Yeah, you do the gay job of cutting your own hair. So are you your own jew too?” he asks as he shoves some more appetizer into his mouth.
“Ummmm…. I’m not Jewish,” I replied (again, not quite following).
“Who does your taxes?” he asks bluntly.
“I do,” I stated right before he says with a smile “So you are your own Jew too!”
Strike two, three and 12 million.
That was about the time the dinners came. I dug into mine with alacrity, trying to finish quickly while also trying to steer the conversation to benign topics. Things about the house he just bought and plans for his future, etc.
As he continues to talk with big hand gestures and this exaggerated bravado, it suddenly hits me. He is a stereotype. He is the “driven, first gen Russian immigrant kid” who’s out to “make eet beeeg in Ahmereeeeka”. If you can picture all of the Russian characters you’ve seen on TV or in movies that are loud and brash and egotistical (with possible mob ties)– that’s him. I just keep thinking he needs to be on Law and Order or something.
Anyway, dinner progresses and Even with my best tap dancing, some additional topics came up that were just as uncomfortable. Like when he told me about his other dating experiences on “Ok Cupid”. Most of which were disastrous in his opinion. Although he said, “But there has been one really good one– the best one.” And he looked at me with a little moue.
I played coy and said, “Really? Do tell!” To which he replied, “It’s you!….. Nah, just kidding. It was this guy in January. We dated until recently.”
He then expounded on the virtues of dating this older guy and how he wasn’t feminine at all because he couldn’t really stand the really femmy gays (like Todd at his work who was SUCH a GIRL!). He liked the manly gays who did manly things like sports and such.
And oddly enough, this wasn’t even the most awkward and uncomfortable point of the evening. I’m not even going to go into that. Suffice it to say, I was done by the Jew comment and couldn’t wolf my food fast enough.
We paid the bill fairly quickly after we finished dinner (him complaining that his was too salty), and we walked to our cars. Which were most unfortunately parked right by each other. To end the evening, he insisted on a “football hug”. You know, bro-style. This evidently meant first grasping our hands together at chest height, then pulling in for a quick chest bump and back pat.
As I watched him drive off, I thought to myself “Well, at least there was Thai food.”