Art by Meg Litter

Art by Meg Litter

About eight years ago, when my insecurity with women and desire to get laid still outweighed my determination to preserve my dignity, I went on a double-date and discovered what a double-date is.  You might think you know the meaning of the term but you haven’t a clue.


If you ask most people what a double-date is, they'll likely tell you that it involves two couples that meet somewhere to socialize and that this arrangement is premeditated; nonsense, that's a myth.  Let us not be misled by such inane assumptions.  A double-date is, rather, when you meet a girl who gave you her number and, by surprise, discover another gentleman at your meeting point, who apparently also fancies himself a member of the date.  Oh, get off the cross, will you?  Did you really think that you were being invited to interact with this girl exclusively?  Why, just because she told you ahead of time that she wanted to have dinner and drinks with you, that you could crash at her place and that, therefore, you can drink all you like - which, incidentally, you commenced with a friend prior to meeting her - and not worry about driving all the way back from the city?  Just because of that?  But what about the backslapping, fat fuck in the cheap suit who looks like a car salesman, probably is one, and calls everyone "buddy"?  What about him?  Is he not entitled to love, to affection, to the touch of a woman?  Does he not have feelings?  Should he be left to perish alone in this cold, cruel world, utterly deprived of love, just because he's a nauseating dullard?


So what are you to do?  Well, it depends on who the "you" is.  If the you is me, then you surrender to the situation because you is self-aware and you understands that you is just a conceptual identity, an ego, and you, therefore, will not resign youself to the limitations of a fictional existence by letting you get the better of you.  Now, of course, when I say "surrender," I'm not using the word in the Buddhist way with all of the unity and the becoming one with the universe and the nirvana and all of that shit.  You see what happened there, you see?  You're making assumptions again, you're jumping to conclusions - just like you did when you assumed what a double-date is.  No, I'm using the term in the passive-aggressive sense, which entails, in this particular context, not speaking very much, saying that you're fine when you're asked and doing so again when you're asked if you're sure, not laughing at any of the jokes dispensed by the car salesman and fundamentally hoping, almost becoming convinced, that this shitheel will vanish of his own accord, without being tapped by a vanishing wand or getting run over by a fucking steamroller, which is a fantasy that you're disturbed to find oddly comforting.  You know, surrender?


So, after a nice drink for which the backslapper insists on paying in a valiant display of alpha dominance, a quick bite at a Korean joint that he attempts to order in Korean to the confusion and dismay of the Korean server and after many, many jabs and backhanded remarks that you gladly reciprocate, you do what you should have done at the very beginning of this fiasco; you give them a piece of your enraged, aneurysmal mind, tell them that you won't tolerate this horse shit and storm off into the distance.  Either that, or you don't do that at all - what's the difference?

Eventually, after it occurs to you that perhaps Dr. Gray was right - you might have an anger problem after all - you realize that the prospect of getting laid is now grim but, at the same time, you're definitely incapable of driving and you're loath to embrace the possibility of being issued a DUI, so you don't express your anger too passionately for now, lest it should inspire your gracious host to retract her offer to let you to stay at her place.  Plus, while the oversized third wheel may have obstructed your game, you're pretty sure he obstructed his own, too, by sheer virtue of the nose wrinkling and disgusted facial expressions that you so giddily notice are displayed by your (female) date. So you continue drinking.

At a certain point, when the girl goes to the bathroom - you can only imagine to vomit - Buddy Boy pulls you aside and says, "Hey, bro, every time you go to the bathroom, I'm like making out with this chick.  Can you leave?  I'll buy you a drink.  No hard feelings?"  You contemplate this statement with a surprisingly calm demeanor and, as the girl returns, remember that you have a friend who lives in the area - you’re fairly certain that you can cry yourself to sleep on his couch while he fucks his girlfriend.  Though you have great difficulty imagining that this savage made out with this girl, let alone with any sentient being, you've come close to exhausting your tolerance for this particular dating arrangement, so you grudgingly accept his offer.  You go up to the bartender and order a double of his "most expensive scotch," which is poured and given to you.  And eight years later, you're hell bent on taking solace from the fact that you got to drink said scotch on this scumbag's dime but you bitterly realize that you were all of twenty-one years old at the time and didn't know good scotch from your own asshole.