Op-ed: My Horrible Date With Roger at the Drive-thru
Editor's Note: Win a copy of 44 Horrible Dates by leaving the story of your absolute worst date below in the comments.
I met Roger when I was attending college at USC in the late 1990s. He was really stunning, with blond hair and amazing sky-blue eyes. Every time I saw him on campus, he made serious eye contact with me. I thought he was a little bit older, perhaps in grad school. But he was ridiculously hot, so who cares.
We didn’t say a word to each other for months. We just kept on passing each other between classes, and clearly neither of us had the nerve to approach the other. Roger and I shared a real college innocence, and lack of confidence in our eye contact. We would question each other with our eyes. He couldn’t tell why I was looking, and I wasn’t sure why he was looking.
Finally, one day he got the nerve to stop me and start a conversation. I was really nervous. As he spoke, I realized he was from Germany and had a sexy accent. We talked only briefly, because we were both nervous and both had classes to get to. We exchanged cell phone numbers.
Roger and I spoke later that night on the phone. (I called right away; I don’t like to play dating games.) We talked a lot. His accent was so endearing and attractive. He lived in West Hollywood, though, which was a concern for me. Guys who live in WEHO tend not to be my type. But I was open-minded, young, and naïve. Roger was a senior and I was a junior. An older man seemed like a hot idea. And he was my height, which meant if things worked out, I could double my wardrobe for free — something to seriously consider. (This can’t be done in the hetero world. It’s like one of the benefits of being a man: we can pee anywhere.)
It was Tuesday when we spoke on the phone and made plans for Friday night. We had several phone conversations between Tuesday and Friday and talked about superficial stuff like where each of us was from and so forth. It turned out he was an undergrad at the age of forty, which was not necessarily a problem, because a lot of people go back to school after they have worked awhile or taken care of their kids (although, in his case, he’d done neither). In addition, the problem is that 40-year-olds in Los Angeles look 28. I am convinced L.A. is the test city for aliens to study humanity, and the test isn’t going so well.
Roger and I spoke again on Thursday night and all still seemed fine. We made plans to get dinner and go to a movie if we could fit the movie into our schedule. He said he would pick me up at 8 p.m.
Friday came and I was so excited. I couldn’t focus all day in school. Every time one of my professors spoke, all I could hear was Roger’s voice on the phone. All of a sudden, everyone on campus looked like Roger. I drove home from school with such zest and joy that going only five miles in the epic span of two hours didn’t even bother me. Everything seemed better that day. The air seemed crisper. Food tasted better. I looked great, as I was glowing from the inside out with happiness.
So, the next thing I knew it was Friday, 8:30 p.m. Yeah, that’s right, 8:30 — and I was still sitting at home waiting for Mr. Right to show up for our 8:00 p.m. date.
No phone call.
Now, let’s get something straight. There are unspoken dating rules.
Five minutes late is normal, especially in Los Angeles traffic.
Ten minutes is okay and slightly accepted.
Fifteen minutes, though, requires a cell phone call or text message.
If someone doesn’t have a cell phone after the year 2000, they might not be from earth and are as un-datable as someone who wears still Ed Hardy-bedazzled clothes.
Thirty minutes late with no phone call, and you may as well not show up for the date unless you got into a car accident, the air bag went off, and you’ve had to spend the past 20 minutes filling out insurance papers at the hospital.
Finally, at 8:45 p.m., Roger called from the curb in front of my house and said to come out. As mad as I was, I figured, What the hell? I need food.
We proceeded to drive away, at which point he suggested we should just hit a drive-thru instead of going out to dinner, since the movie was starting at 9:30. I said nothing, because I was just trying to be easygoing, which at that time I was not. Plus, since he was late I had already eaten a brown sugar cinnamon Pop-Tart. (Okay, I really had four.)
The next thing I knew, he swiftly made a left turn and drove to an In-N-Out Burger. In all of our telephone conversations before the date, we had talked about the fact that I am a vegetarian. So, on top of everything that was about to occur, he’d never even listened to me.
I said, “What are we doing here?” He started acting rushed and jittery like when he had first picked me up. However, now he was fumbling with the radio, rolling down the windows, rolling up the windows, opening and closing the sunroof. I asked him if he was okay. He wouldn’t sit still. I said, “Hello, are you okay?”
Roger then told me he had hit a bump on the way over. I said, “Oh, I’m sorry. Is that why you were late? Is your car okay; are you okay?”
He looked at me and said, “No, stupid. I said … I did a bump.”
I had no idea what the hell he was talking about.
I asked him and he just looked at me. Finally I demanded he tell me what that meant.
He said, “You know, a bump, rhymes with stump,” and as he said this he grabbed his crotch and then he licked his lips. Then he said, “My mouth is so dry I need a drink.”
Then he burped.
Believe it or not, I still had no idea what he was talking about. What the hell was wrong with this dude?
Finally he told me I should “calm down” because a bump meant a “bump” of cocaine. And he said it with such arrogance, as if I was an idiot for not knowing what he was talking about.
So here I was, at the In-N-Out Burger drive-thru line, with a guy who was 45 minutes late for our date, with a cocaine high in full effect, and driving me around town on drugs. So I did what anyone with no common sense and no plan, but a lot of pride and self-esteem, would do.
I got out of the car and started walking home down Sunset Boulevard.
His car was blocked in by other cars, so I knew he couldn’t chase me down. I walked down Sunset with total pride, like I had just won an Olympic gold medal. He did his bump. I did the dump. Buh-bye.
Until I realized — I’d left my house keys in his car. Fuck. I had no intention of going back to grovel for my keys. I had a set of house keys hidden in the bushes at home, in a white-trash fake rock. So I kept walking.
I saw him on campus a few weeks later and walked the other direction.
To this day, I never leave my keys in anyone’s car.
Leave the tale of your absolute worst date in the comments below. Author Eddie Campbell will pick his favorite story, and the winner will receive a signed copy of 44 Horrible Dates.