Before one of my close friends met her long-term boyfriend, her friends were going through this phase which was basically, ‘let’s set her up with anyone we know.’
This, my friends, is how the following story was born.
My friend met a guy at a bar when she went out with a few friends from work. He had seemed nice enough, so she decided to give it a go and take up his offer to go on a date.
He called her soon after to let her know the date was a surprise – and leaves the conversation with a simple question: “What sandwich do you like most?”
She replied that anything was fine – which was a lie – but she was put on the spot. Even though she felt no initial attraction, she thought, “What the hell, I’m single, why not?”
So, on cue, the guy shows up at my friend’s house in a white tank top. Correction: short white tank top, leaving some of his stomach exposed. My friend, being sweet and very unlike me, still decided to go on the date after realizing she was most likely going out with the male version of Britney Spears.
They get into the car and arrive at a duck pond where she used to go when she was a little girl and play. With a grand hooray, the guy pulls out a red and white checkered table cloth. To my friend’s horror, she discovered they were going on a picnic – which she later realized was what the sandwich question was about.
“Imagine us sitting on this blanket. He’s on one side and I’m scrunched in a corner on the other side,” she said. “The sandwich he picked for me was some kind of huge Italian Lovers thing because it had all the meats, dressings, the WORKS – what happened to turkey? Lisa, we looked like we were straight off an episode of NEXT.”
To make matters worse for my dear friend, people were walking by, pointing them out as she tried to conquer this enormous sandwich and saying, “Awww, how cute!” This, she let me know with the utmost seriousness, was not cute.
See, the problem was while this guy was nice enough, my friend never had any real feelings for him and now he had placed her in such a publicly couple position. Also, the teeny-tiny white tank top probably wasn’t helping the cause.
Halfway through the date, the poor guy decided to keep it going and took the “next time we’re together” plunge.
“He starts suggesting other things we can do together, like go to a jazz concert,” she said. “To which I answered in the most evasive way possible, like, ‘Oh, my uncle is a jazz musician.’”
Finally, my friend who is always genuinely honest, had had enough. She looked past her four pound sandwich, around the tank top, over the next date question and said what was on her mind.
She explained that she appreciated all the effort that he had put into the date, but she really only felt a friend vibe. While that might have sufficed for many, it seemed to not exactly kick in – so she took a better approach.
“Then I dropped, “‘I’m sorry, I’m just not really attracted to you,’” she said. “Blame it on the religious reading of “He’s Just Not That Into You,” or the fact that that I’d never really had to remotely reject anyone before, but at least I was honest.”
And the date capper? After my friend had been honest – which was the best move possible – the guy decided to just be himself.
He pulled out a cigarette and said, “Well, I wasn’t going to smoke in front of you before, but I guess I can now.”
And she agreed.
“I was glad and thought, ‘You smoke that cigarette, buddy,’” she said. “At least one of us should be comfortable in this situation.”