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Anatomy of a First Date

By: Jack Amos

Recently I have found myself, often in public spaces, intuitively drawn to observing my fellow man. It has gotten to the point where the prospect of watching and recording, in my cardboard bound notebook adorned with panda bears, has become absolutely irresistible. So while it’s slightly perverse and I acknowledge that I may have some underlying psychological issues, it’s also exhilarating. The impish possibility that I may get caught doing what I am doing; eavesdropping and recording strangers' conversations, is quite an entertaining notion. Is there no greater thrill? Judging strangers! The risk of my audible voyeurism being broadcast to the awareness of my ignorant victims is tantalizing. I can only imagine their horrified expressions, as they realize that everything they said over the past half an hour is now cemented in permanence within the confines of a stranger’s notebook.

As judgy as I am though, the majority of people who I’ve watched do genuinely seem to be polite, respectful, and intelligent human beings. I just feel bad that they happened to wander into my unforgiving gaze.

There are things in this world that have the potential to make anybody, no matter who you are, want to swallow a metric ton of Advil and step in front of an eighteen wheeler. To me, first dates are one of these things. I despise watching people who are out on first dates. I loathe with complete vehemenance, their general mannerisms, tone, and insufferable conversation topics. “Got any siblings?” “What’s your favourite colour?” “What’s your star sign? I’ll let you know which one of my distant relatives shares the same one with you”. It’s a public disgrace. These are things that no sane person in their right mind would ever actually want to talk about, but then the moment they meet up with a match that their iPhone spat at them, it’s all they can seem to think about.

If I am being completely honest though, as awful as the tripe is that budding romantics spout on first courtings, the overall tone of the interaction might just be the worst thing about it. The anxiety! The nauseating nerves! The ego drenched vocal notes that preclude even the most remote potential for joy! It’s this tone that first brought my attention to the Wednesday Addams look-alike and Tie-Die hedgehog that are, coincidentally, on their first date in the empty cafe that I am currently working in. A hippie-ish dude complete with a drug rug sweater and white dude afro, and a laid back dark haired artsy type girl are sitting across the room from me, in the attic of the cafe. And oh boy, is the social carnage bounteous today. They’re talking about the comparison between horse girls and car guys. It’s a notion that one of them definitely stole from a stranger's Tinder bio, but then again they almost certainly met on Tinder. Or one of the other two hundred online dating “Alternatives” that offer the premise of emotional fulfillment over actual emotional well being.

Even so, it’s times like these that make me scared that I’m sexually attracted to eavesdropping. It’s a serious condition.

Oh, I just heard audible gold from our Jerry Rubin look alike; “I try not to be too much of a hippie.” Well mate, I hate to break it to you, but you might want to try a little harder, cause whatever it is that you’re doing? It’s not working. Again, you wore a drug rug sweater to a first date. Heck, if that’s you trying then I wouldn't have liked to be on your junior Co-Ed basketball team. Oh damn, now they're talking about subjective perception and sunglasses. And love. Wowee Jerry, sure seems a little early to be throwing around THAT four letter word, don’t you think? Not entirely sure how they wound up here from that whole “Horse Girl-Car Guy” convo.

But yeah, apparently the guy tries not to look like he just got off the bus back from Woodstock. If this is an actual genuine desire, then I would recommend changing your clothes. Just saying, many sexual offenders don't try to hide the fact that they are priests by wearing collars.

Enough about our tie dye loving friend though, let’s listen to what she has to say. The girl, with her full moon face and plaid dress shirt, is in the middle of saying that she is done with school. A surprisingly understandable state of emotion. She went to a Christian school as a child, not that she’s religious; always convenient to clear that up on a first date. Actually quite a smart tactical decision on her part. Too many times have I been deflated by not noticing an all too vital crucifix necklace, or handbag bible. She’s at the University of Victoria now though, studying anthropology or some other shit, and she even went on exchange to live in New Zealand. Well that’s cool! Oh wait, it was only because of the “Lord of The Rings” films? Nevermind.

Again though, along with trying not to look like a hippie, I am also quite familiar with the sinking realization that your education has let you down. Don’t worry, if it’s a lingering epiphany, it’s easily remedied by packing your bags and dropping the fuck out.

“Have you ever tried psychedelics?” “No.” “I’d recommend that you try them at least once.” “See! You are a hippie!” “Well yeah, but I’m also a math major.”

Hold up, what? Jerry Rubin is a freakin applied mathematics major? I did not see that coming. Seems a bit cheap, don’t you think? I mean, you can't act the part of a liberal man with liberal ideologies, and then go and make actual money after you’ve finished school. Sellout. If he really wants to make cold hard cash he should do it the old fashioned way, by doing stand up and selling cocaine like his forebears did. If that’s not Yippie resourcefulness then I don't know what is.

Still, I feel a bit let down by our mathematical Bob Ross over here. I was really looking forward to hearing how he pays for tuition, let alone his monthly rent, but now it turns out that he’s just a step up from my bookie. Goddamn disappointment.

Oh the big one just dropped, inter-familial relationships. This has got to be good. Turns out that she has a little sister, and the guy is a middle child. The dude used to hate his sister but they're supposedly “better now”, whatever that means. If avoiding each other until mandatory family holidays and funerals is “doing better”, then me and my mother are also a landmark for improving domestic relationships. Then again, he did just compare his hometown to the Hulu original “Letterkenny”, and in my experience, that is an excellent way to showcase the unique culture of Southern Ontario.

They are now bonding over the mutual realization that their parents are just normal people after all. He has a poster of Stevie Nix on his wall. A person who, up until editing this article, I had been led to believe that they were male, and a close advisor of John F. Kennedy. turns out SHE is a musician. So that just shows how much I know, doesn't it?

Well he just came back from the bathroom and she’s asking him if he “wants to go on a walk or something” which, and this is just my personal opinion, is the social equivalent of asking for sex. They’re gone now, and I’m left all alone in the drowsy Canadian cafe. I’m a self admitted creep, but at the end of the day, I had a blast of a time, so in my mind? Worth it.

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