Sitting in the airport a minute ago, I thought I saw someone I had known in Sweden, with whom I once had a bad date. Now that I think about it, I realize all my dates in Sweden were pretty bad ones.
I met this particular bad date at my roommate Anders’ 18th birthday party. We spoke for a few minutes in the stairs as I was leaving for another party. A few days later I’m flying out of the house in a hurry to get to class, and there he is, barking out “vill du gå på bio?” at me (want to go to a movie?).
I didn’t even recognize the guy at first. Like a deer caught in the headlights, I freeze and hear myself say Ja, okey. About fifteen seconds later, I’m thinking “what am I crazy? I need to get out of this”. It’s like I was too embarrassed and surprised to flatly reject him. I plan on getting out of it, but the next day he calls, saying he’s bought the tickets (in Sweden, going to the movies is a much bigger deal than here; there’s assigned seating, and you usually buy tickets days in advance, and it’s about 20$ a person). So I’m stuck going.
He picks me up and in the air between us, there’s that embarrassing “date feeling” that you sometimes get on an outing-with-a-member-of-the-opposite-sex-that-you-don’t-want-to-date (this most often seems to happen on business trips when you’re looking for a place to have dinner with a colleague, and end up somewhere uncomfortably romantic). As we drive to the theater he tells me he doesn’t work, isn’t looking for work, doesn’t go to school, doesn’t plan on it, he just lifts weights all day. Accordingly, we’re going to see an Arnold movie. In Swedish, of course. I so want this night to be over, right now.
We get there and to my great amusement, I notice that the two last rows in the theater are made up of two-person loveseats (with no armrest in between). Ah, you gotta love those crazy Swedes… But my amusement comes to a screeching halt when I realize that our tickets are in those rows. I want. To die.
I spend two hours in the dark, scrunched into my side of the way-too-small make-out seat. I have never – never – tried so hard not to touch someone next to me, as I did that night. When we came out, he mentioned his age, 17. It was 1999 and I was 27 at the time, but I lied and said I was about to be 30, thinking this would turn him off. It did. After a very hurried stop at Booger King (believe it), he dropped me off without ceremony and I never saw him again.
I had totally forgetten about him (and undoubtedly him about me), until I thought I saw him today.