To recap the previous parts I and II, I went out on a date with Frank*, a guy I matched with on the world wide web. While he didn’t appreciate the culinary delight that is Chili’s, we seemed to have other things in common such as music, TV, and books that we liked. Frank was in his mid-twenties, a lawyer, spiritual but not religious, and funny. He also had claimed to be 5’9”, and he also had claimed, on the date of our date, to be running just a few minutes late.
Twenty-five minutes after we were supposed to meet, I was standing eye-to-hairline with a very petite man, and yes, that man was Frank. To clarify, I was not on a date with a little person – I was out with a very thin, small-framed man. As I shook Frank’s hand, I felt like Andre The Giant in that scene from ‘Princess Bride’ when he catches Buttercup. God, compared to Frank, I was a behemoth. It really set my loins on simmer, if ya know what I mean. I mean, the real kicker was that I was seated at a high top table, so I had to watch Frank boost himself up like a child into the seat, using his arms and kind up shimmying up the side and scooting with his butt. As I was gathering my wits about me, Frank spoke first: “Sorry I was late, I was helping my coworker with her rolls.”
“Oh – well – wait, what were you doing?” Even though I had already finished one (1) beer waiting for Frank to finally get his dainty ass to our date, I knew I wasn’t even close to tipsy. Yet my brain was slowly processing… helping, someone… with… rolls? I only knew to take that as one way.
“Yeah, I had the lunch shift today, so it was slow and I was just hanging around, but I wanted to help my coworker out since she covered for me last week,” Frank squeaked out as he flagged down the waiter. “Jeez, is it slow here?” he muttered as he held up his (tiny man) hand, waving it for attention. A lot of things don’t embarrass me, waving down waiters and waitresses included because it mortifies me. Talk about degrading behavior. I could feel my cheeks glowing red as I sunk down in my chair a bit – even then, still taller than Frank – and began picking at the label of my beer, as I cleared my throat and asked, “So, are you a server and a lawyer?” My voice did that typical thing where it trails off because really, I knew the answer before Frank even said it:
“Oh, I’m not a lawyer. I’m in law school – well, applying at least.” He continued to wave down our server, rolling his eyes and making a slight huffing noise. The waitress approached and I thought about cutting Frank off as he ordered a beer, just throwing in the towel and calling it a day. Instead, I just focused on peeling the label off of the Stella in my hand.
“What, no margarita?” Frank interrupted my escape plan daydreams, and he seemed slightly annoyed with me. His tone and his facial expression mirrored someone tasting actual shit as he eyed my beer up and down.
“Uh – um – no, just felt like a beer today,” I replied, realizing that I shouldn’t be rude. I sat up a little straighter and tried my best to put a smile on my face. I took a deep breath and asked, “So, how else has your week been?” I figured some easy banter back and forth would really lighten the mood. (Wrong.) Instead of answering though, Frank scoffed a little: “But we only came here so you could get a margarita…” He shook his head as though I was just another silly ‘ol lady with a silly ‘ol lady brain. “My week was pretty good, made some good money …” And then he just kind of droned on about making money. (Reminder – as a waiter, not a lawyer.)
Look, I knew within five seconds of meeting this guy that he was not the one for me, I can fully admit that. It’s not because of his job, his height, or his tiny hands. No, I’m not knocking Frank’s occupation. And while I was a little bit in shock that Frank was a cool 5’3” (in the morning), despite claiming to be 5’9” – many a man in this world has, ahem, fabricated about six inches before – it wasn’t his petite size that was the problem. The problem was that he lied. And he was a dick to the waiter, waving his hands around like a fucking back-up dancer Vogue-ing in the 90s. Oh, and, his overall demeanor and tone were slightly off-putting. Not to mention he was pretty late. So to sum it up, Prince Charming he was not. But because I am a nice (!) person, I decided that finishing my beer, splitting the check, and calling it an evening would be the mature thing to do. It was a nice night, and I was safe, surrounded by people. Everyone has had shitty dates before, and I was definitely not intimidated by or afraid of Frank – he practically needed a phone book under his ass to reach the table top for God’s sake.
After he finished talking about how much money he made, we had one of those general, run-of-the-mill conversations going back and forth between us… Well, mostly Frank just talked about himself, cutting me off between his gulps of beer to interject all of his opinions and ideas. By this time, I had already finished my beer. Frank seemed to be chugging his, and almost immediately after finishing his first beer, he excused himself to go to the bathroom. I had to watch as again, Frank boosted himself out of his chair with his skinny arm strength and hurried to the bathroom. I took the opportunity to check in with my friends and send a dozen versions of the same text – “This is not real life, WTF” – to various people and group chats in my phone. When Frank returned, I took my turn to use the bathroom and continued my texting spree. Upon my return, Frank informed me that he had taken the liberty of ordering another beverage for me and food for himself, did I want him to flag down the waiter for food for myself? Remembering how he just about waved a yellow flag at our poor waitress for a drink earlier, I declined food, despite being hooked in for another beer.
I’ve had dental work done that was less painful than the wait for our beers and Frank’s food: most of the “conversation” continued to be one-sided and all around flat. I can only imagine what great people watching we provided that night. I was picking at the label of my second beer on the date and some cheeseburger sliders appeared in front of us. As Frank picked up the slider with his demure-like hands, which made it look like a regular sized burger, he offered me one, but I said no thanks. As he bit into the first bite and chewed with his mouth open (gross), he again gestured to the sliders with his tiny hands and said that I should really get myself one.
“Wow, these sliders look good, but I actually don’t eat red meat,” I explained to Frank.
“Oh, you one of those vegetarian girls?” he asked as he began to devour the next slider. The way Frank was eating made my blood pressure rise.
“Uh, no, I eat meat – just not beef,” I said as I took another drink of my beer. As I was considering chugging it throwing up a wad of cash at Frank and sprinting off into the sunset, he asked:
“Why?” He was staring at me and chewing loudly.
“Well, it just doesn’t sit well, you know?” I explained. And as he (loudly) took another bite, (loudly) chewed with his mouth open, Frank (loudly) gulped down his slider and replied:
“No, actually, I don’t. What happens?” he looked at me with his head cocked to the side, like a freaking dog.
There are just some people who do not get it. I seem to be a magnet for these people in my life, so I’m quite used to it, but it’s still jarring. So I took a deep breath, looked Frank in the eye and said, “It makes my stomach really upset, it just makes me feel fucking awful.” I finished my beer and then continued, “You know, it’s kind of getting late… let’s get the check.”
Mid-chew, Frank looked at me, stunned. He almost looked hurt, and I almost felt bad, but then he said, “Okay, lemme go to the bathroom again, can you get the check?” And before I could answer, he hopped down and paraded back to the bathroom. (Should I really be surprised that the small man had a small bladder?) I politely waited for the waitress to stop by and clear Frank’s demolished sliders, and asked for the check. I wasn’t expecting Frank to ditch me, but I was almost hoping for it. It would make for an easier exit if I could just pay and go. Just as I was getting giddy at the thought of Frank just down and out ditching me, he reappeared. Almost immediately he made a comment along the lines of “Where the hell is the check?” just as it arrived. He began to intensely study the bill. I could practically hear his brain making the calculations.
As I reached for my wallet, Frank held up his finger: he gave me the Mutombo wag. I was thinking that he was going to insist on paying, but again, what a silly lady brain I have. Instead, Frank asked me how many beers did I have before he got there. I explained that I had one before, but that I had already cashed that out. Frank frowned, began tabulating numbers in his head again, and then finally said, “Okay, then you only owe $14. Well, $15 with tax and tip.” I handed him a twenty without protest. Not only do I not have a problem paying my share, I really wanted to get the fuck out of there as fast as I could. But alas, our epic journey continued. Instead of simply just putting the cash down, Frank said that he would be right back to get change from the bar.
He turned to go as I gave a slight protest, asking him to just leave it – I didn’t need change: just leave it on the table and make our waitress’ night. (She deserved it if she had to watch our awkward interactions all night and wait on his snappy ass.) Frank was practically offended that I wanted to leave that much, but I was desperate to leave at that point, so I started to make my way off of the patio and into the night. I told Frank goodbye, thanks for the night, but I really wanted to get home.
“Wait,” he said. He grabbed the $20, put it in his wallet and put down a ten and some ones. I wasn’t even shocked anymore as he came over and handed me back $1 (one dollar). One. Fucking. Dollar. “You were leaving way too much for the tip,” he explained to me like I was someone who had never gone out to eat before.
“Aren’t you a waiter?” I said as I turned and we walked off the patio, on to the sidewalk and down the street. Yeah, I heard the tone that I used, and no, I didn’t even feel bad about being a bitch.
“Yeah,” Frank responded, matching my tone, and slightly huffing as he kept up with me. I swear, he had to move his legs double time to keep up with me.
“Why would you give me back just one dollar, then?” I stopped and stared down at him. It was like I had never left work that day.
“That was way over 20%…” and then Frank’s voice trailed off as he started to look around over his shoulders. What the fuck is he doing, I thought. Wait, was this it – is he looking to see if there are witnesses on the street? Is this… is this my murder? I was pretty confident that I could take him, but in the split seconds that this happened, my mind raced. Is Frank about to (try to) assault me? Should I make a swift kick to his shins and run? Pick him up and put him in my purse and give him a good shaking? I did not need to consider either option, because instead, he began to pucker his lips, close his eyes, and slowly began to lean towards me – while inching up on his toes. The only assaulting Frank wanted to do was with his lips.
“Well!” I exclaimed, interrupting Frank’s romantic gesture, “my car is that way -” I shrugged over my shoulder and began to back peddle a bit. “Thanks for meeting me, bye!” I back peddled a little bit faster, and I began to walk away as fast as I could. I knew that Frank’s little legs would never catch up to me.
Three days later, I received a text message from Frank. While he thought I was a really great person, he didn’t think we had that spark. To be honest, I received the message while I was out on a date, waiting for yet another gentleman caller to arrive. As I was re-reading Frank’s message and chuckling, my date arrived. After we exchanged pleasantries, he asked me what was so funny. “How long do you have?” I asked.