When I was a sophomore in college, there was a freshman who lived on my floor. I think she was from Virginia, and boy did she want everyone to know it. In my self-concocted back story of her, her parents hosted her debutante ball immediately before packin’ her up for the vast and exotic Midwest. Sadly for her, she just wasn’t quite getting it. Her hair was usually a mop of frizz surrounding her face. Her eyeshadow was a smear of blue across her lids. Her dresses looked like they’d never been pressed. Her purse was an explosion of papers, pens, cell phone, tampons. She only had one pearl earring in. Now, the only reason why I would even NOTICE that this girl was a mess was because she wasn’t wearing the uniform of all the other gals on campus: no makeup, pajama bottoms, side ponytail. She was trying hard and failing monumentally. [True story: I once walked in on her in our dorm’s tiny gym. She was on the elliptical besuited thusly: full face of makeup, a pearl necklace, jean shorts, knee high socks, and open toe wedge sandals. I shit you not.]
Anyway. On her dorm room door, she proudly placed a sign that read:
I LOVE G.R.I.T.S.
(Guys Raised In The South)
Fast forward a few [ahem] years to me living in New York City. I had plans to meet a friend at a bar in my neighborhood. I was obviously running late, and arrived to find her already nuzzled up to some brown liquor. I ordered a drink, and somehow amidst the chaos of arrival managed to immediately knock the drink over with my elbow.
“That girl is an asshole!” I heard someone shout from a few stools down.
“YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE!” I retorted. [Creative, I know.]
Apparently, this “gentleman” wasn’t expecting such a ferocious response because he immediately approached me, tail between his legs, and apologized. I wasn’t about to let him off the hook that quickly. He took a seat next to me and worked inspiringly hard to gain a spot in my good graces. We began chatting, I forgave him for his prior outburst, and learned that he was new to the city, fresh from Atlanta (by way of Alabama). Eventually, he asked me if I would go out for tapas with him the following Tuesday. He took down my phone number and promised to text me the next morning.
What do you know? I awoke the next morning to said promised text from that Southern Gentleman.
In my experience, the odds of this happening are about 1 in 4,539,324.
On Tuesday, as is inevitable, I texted him that I was running late. I arrived at the restaurant about 15 minutes after our original meeting time. The Southern Gentleman was nowhere to be found. Twenty minutes later, he strolled down the sidewalk, explaining that he had been watching college basketball with his friends, the time slipped away from him, and they “forced” him to do a shot before he left. Also, the restaurant that he had chosen didn’t take reservations and there was now a 45 minute wait. Fail.
His charm quickly assuaged any snarktastic feelings I was having toward him, and we were soon bouncing around the West Village. Our conversation was lovely, and I wondered why, 4 hours earlier, I had contemplated sending the “Sorry, I’m not feeling well” text message.
We arrived at our final stop of the evening [French Lavender Martini is to die for] and secured two seats at the bar. Feeling the effects of a few glasses of wine and the deliriousness that accompanies a new crush, we engaged in some good old fashioned snogging right then and there. He then dropped the following bombshells on me.
1. He was raised by a single mother, who is, in a word, a rockstar. His father had never been in the picture, but she was the CEO and owner of an international business with offices in Miami, New York City, and Dublin. Awesome, right? A mama’s boy with an appreciation for strong, independent women. HOWEVER, he then informed me that he just recently quit his last job because his Supervisor was a female, and though she was his friend, he could not report to a woman.
[WHAT?! Did I just jump in a Delorean and travel back to 1953?!?!]
2. The shot that his friends had “forced” him to take before the date was actually SIX SHOTS. And 3 hours of beer drinking. [He had just quit his job, remember. So, he had been drinking since the early afternoon. On a weekday.] So basically, he arrived at our date wasted.
[He did say that he was really nervous, so… I guess we can forgive this one for now? Except that it was the beginning of a pattern wherein he arrived at our next two dates at least 4 drinks ahead of me.]
3. As we were ordering our second round of drinks, he informed our bartender that he was “Yelp Elite” and essentially insisted that she give us a free round in exchange for a positive review. As someone who worked in the service industry, I could feel the rage oozing from her every pore. He was oblivious. We eventually DID get a free round of drinks, for an entirely unrelated reason, thanks only to me.
[“Yelp Elite”? Ugh. Please. Tell me you’re a blogger for Eater and maybe I’ll feign interest. Also, trying to leverage that for free drinks? While on a date? Classy.]
These red flags aside, I DID still have a nice time with him. However, I was in the midst of a drama with another boy, so I was essentially unresponsive to his text messages and requests to hang out [and there were many].
Maybe G.R.I.T.S just can’t be stomached by this California-born Yankee.