The Worst Date Ever: in which I lose to a basketball game

Thursday, June 11, 2009
One of the first dates I went on after I started actively dating was with someone I had met through Yahoo Personals. We had a lot of things in common, we were both Illini alumni and runners, and we even lived in the same Chicago neighborhood. After exchanging a few emails we decided to meet up mid-week to watch an Illini basketball game.

It seemed like the perfect premise, the date had both a defined end time and a mitigating (and enjoyable) activity in case the conversation stalled or his true appearance was hideous.

When my date arrived we picked out a table with a clear view of the big TV and the waitress stopped by for our drink order. I ordered a beer; my date ordered water and said he was planning to go for a run after our date. Flag #1: this guy hasn’t even left room to extend the date should it go well. Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence!

We perused the menu, which had standard bar fare, and he remarked that there was little that he could eat from the menu. I wasn’t sure how to point out that HE had chosen the bar and should have checked the menu beforehand if he had special dietary needs so I just nodded and kept my mouth shut. Flag #2: this guy obviously didn’t put any thought into our date. And he’s a fussy eater.

The game started and our focus naturally turned to it. He was a crazy fan, commenting on every shot, foul, good calls, bad calls, etc. I asked him if he had played basketball - he seemed so into it - and he said no. In fact he pretty much answered all the questions I asked him during the first half with one-word answers and or responded with the counter question, for example I ask, “Are you training for any particular race?” He answers, “No, not really. Are you?” I was beginning to regret not having ordered a hard liquor drink instead of beer. Flag #3: this guy is more interested in watching a non-conference game where the Illini are up by 20 pts in the first half instead of getting to know me. I can watch basketball and talk, why couldn’t he?

When our food came, I waited until he had started eating, and asked how it was before actually starting my meal. He replied it was decent, and then asked me, without looking up, how mine was. I answered, “I don’t know, I haven’t started it yet”.

And then I decided to see how long it would take him to initiate conversation with me. Approximately twenty minutes later, with about 10 minutes of game time, he still hadn’t spoken. Final Flag: this guy isn’t even aware that you’re still at the table with him, on a date that he invited you to.

I did what any self-respecting gal would do… I stood up and said I was going to get going. He looked at me, for probably the first time in over an hour, with a quizzical look on his face. I put my share of the tab on the table, said it was nice to have met him, and walked out of the bar.

Was he one of those painfully shy guys who is great over email but terrible in person? Was he just that serious of a basketball fan that he couldn’t pull his attention from it? Perhaps, but neither of those reasons excuse his ignoring me after asking me out.

It was the first, and still the only time, I’ve walked out on a date. If I had the chance to do it over, I’d leave at halftime.