A Night On Mute

Cinco de Mayo.
A time for drinking.
For celebrating.
For disrespecting the Mexican culture.

For me, however, it was just like any other day of the week when I could schedule yet another  disastrous Tinder date. Or Bumble, or OkCupid, or whatever dating app I found this gem on.

We met at a local bar because it’s a public space but mostly because I can’t suffer through anymore first dates without a few drinks in me. Seriously, I have to pregame for these things now.

Usually this bar was empty during the week, making it the perfect date spot, but I’d forgotten that it was a drinking holiday. Turns out, we didn’t need a quiet place to chat anyway.

This guy was nervous. Like, wide-eyed shaking in his Converse shoes kind of nervous. I did my best to make small talk but I couldn’t even drag the words out of him.

After a few embarrassingly awkward attempts, I still couldn’t get a single word out of the guy. He was looking around the bar like he’d never seen a drunk crowd before, and since my hands were empty, I was running out of patience rather quickly.

I went to the bar for a drink, leaving him to fend for himself. Part of me expected him to run out of the bar before I got back. Another part of me wished he had.

Since the guy wasn’t talking to me, I had no idea what kind of drink he wanted. I bought him a Guinness because that’s what I was drinking and if he didn’t want it I’d be happy to just drink it myself.

When I turned around I was disappointed to see that he was sitting at a table. He appeared to have stopped shaking, so that was a plus.

When he finally spoke for the first time, he mumbled something about not having been out in a while. Out in public? Out on a date? He wasn’t very specific.

I asked him questions.
He nodded.
I commented on the festivities.
He sort-of smiled.

After a while, we sat in silence instead. I let my head move to the music in attempt to reduce the awkwardness. I sipped my drink. I checked my phone. Only ten minutes had passed.

I chugged my beer and excused myself to use the ladies room. I didn’t have to go, I just hoped that if I stayed in there long enough he’d give up and leave.

I fixed my hair.
Checked my Facebook.
Sent a text.
Reviewed my date’s profile.
He looked nothing like his photos.
I wanted to make sure I was out with the right guy.
I was.

I’d spent more time in that bathroom than we had on our entire date. I figured it was about time I reappeared. When I walked out I didn’t see him at our table. My heart leapt with joy, and then dropped when I saw him at the bar trying to get the bartender’s attention. I sighed and sat down.

For a short period of time I considered walking out. Never in my life have I been so rude as to walk out on a date, and this was the only time I’ve ever seriously considered it. I got up once, but quickly sat back down.

My apartment was a 90 second walk from the bar. The temptation continued calling me while I watched him fail to get the attention of the bartenders. When he finally managed to snag two more beers, I wondered how he did it without talking.

He apologized again for not being able to talk to me. I intimidated him. I was prettier than he expected. I suppose I didn’t look like my photos either.

Part of me felt really bad for him but a much bigger part of me knew I would never see him again. I knew the time I was spending with him would be a waste.

Finally, after some pushing and a ton of reassurance, the guy was finally responding to my questions. In his own way, at least.

I’d ask him something.
He’d respond in two or three words.
I’d ask a follow up question.
He’d nod.
I’d ask a new question.
Same reaction.

The pattern repeated until we both finished our second drinks. Our last drinks. He’d yet to ask me a single question. It was time to leave. I gave myself props for making it almost an hour.

He walked me home, even though I encouraged him not to. He attempted to shove his tongue down my throat, even though I clearly didn’t want it. Perhaps for him our date was better than most. For me however, it was just another awkward evening for the books.