This is a story about someone I went on a date with when I was 17. I know that the people on this site don’t look kindly on spinelessness, and I make no excuses for my actions. I think that at the time I was too anxious to say anything and didn’t want to look bad in front of others. Now I look back at it I think about what an idiot I was!
An acquaintance set me up on a blind date with a guy I will call “Peter.” I spoke to Peter a few times before we went on the date, and he was nice to me, but said a few things that made me uncomfortable. For instance, he said my interest in horror fiction was a waste of time and that women weren’t able to write good books. He seemed to have little social awareness, and told me that he became very nervous around girls. I thought he probably didn’t understand that he sometimes sounded rude.
Peter and I arranged to meet at a London Underground station. He said hello and called me “Lizzie”, but my name is Lucy. He had my email address, he had spoken to me before, and should have known what my name is. I corrected him and he apologized, but continued to call me Lizzie all through the evening. When I told him that this was beginning to upset me he said it shouldn’t matter as it was “not my real name”. (I am Chinese, and Lucy is the name I use in English.) I was annoyed that he couldn’t even remember something basic about me, but it was not the worst thing that happened that evening.
We went to a coffee shop where there was a woman serving alone at the counter. As Peter ordered our drinks, he was obviously leering across the table at the waitress, and she was becoming uncomfortable. At that stage I was worried and not sure that I wanted to stay, but I was willing to give Peter another chance, and I knew I’d have nothing to do for the evening if I left now. During the course of drinks he spilt hot tea in my lap and began talking about very personal things relating to his mental health and social anxiety. So I tried to change the subject to more appropriate topics like family and hobbies. When I mentioned that my sister and I each have a different father, Peter said something like, “No offense but your mother must be kind of a slut!” I was shocked by this and decided there wasn’t going to be a second date.
Peter wanted to have dinner in Chinatown so we walked there and looked for a restaurant. The first restaurant we looked at wasn’t to his taste, and when someone came over to ask if we wanted a table, Peter said to the waiter’s face that the restaurant “looked too cheap.” While we were walking around the streets Peter went into an alleyway to answer his phone, apparently to his father. Peter was near enough for me to hear the conversation, and at one point he said I was not as pretty as he thought I’d be! We went to another restaurant that Peter preferred, and we finally sat down to order dinner. He expected me to be able to converse fluently with the waiters and was irritated to find out that not all Chinese people speak the same language; I speak Mandarin, the staff spoke (and the menu was written in) Cantonese. Peter’s antics were quickly making me lose my appetite, and when he noticed I wasn’t eating much, he began eating the food off my plate.
We left the restaurant and Peter got on his phone again to his friends or family. He was asking, while standing right next to me, what to do next on the date and whether he should try to kiss me. When the call ended I tried to tell him I was leaving now; but then his phone rang again. Peter answered it and then said that he was going into a nearby McDonald’s to use the toilet – I took that to mean that he didn’t want me to hear his conversation. As soon as his back was turned I ran and got on a bus to go home. Peter didn’t contact me again. I suppose it was just too much trouble for him to remember my name and not to insult me to others. 0625-12
OK, readers, I really do not want to see a plethora of comments suggesting that Peter has Asperger’s. Enough of blaming Aspergers on every maladroit, socially awkward young suitor.