Op-ed: The $80 Chicken Salad
BY Eddie Campbell
November 13 2012 4:00 AM ET
I met young, 21-year-old Vince at the car wash through some flirting glances and a few smiles. He was extremely handsome. In a classic way. Like a Ralph Lauren countryside model. He had classic all-American features and great skin. We were both waiting for our cars to be finished. We were sitting in the outdoor waiting area, where everyone was wearing hats and sunglasses and texting on their phones. It is ironic that so many people here go out of their way to cover up when the weather is usually spectacular. I know a lot of people wouldn’t have noticed Vince. Most people would have noticed his Porsche. I, on the other hand, have seen many of my high school classmates drive Porsches and Mercedes (except me).
I couldn’t have cared less what type of car he was driving. Actually, I would have preferred he be in a more working class car. Nonetheless, we carefully, and discreetly, shared glances.
After an awkward final smile, he finally came over to me and said, “Hey, how’s it going?” He seemed really sweet and normal. Clearly he wasn’t shy, and that was a huge turn-on, as most people I see out appear to be shy. Confidence, but not cockiness, is a turn-on. We talked for a few moments and I gave him my business card.
He called that night around 10 p.m. WOW. No games? He asked me out to dinner the following Monday night. That worried me, as guys who ask you out on a Monday night are probably busy fucking other people on Friday and Saturday night. (ATTENTION EVERYONE: if someone only dates you on a Monday night, they don’t really like you.) But I thought Vince was sweet and interesting, so I wanted to have dinner with him.
I was pleasantly surprised when he picked me up on time. Being on time is an advantage in every situation. When he came to my door, I noticed he was dressed fairly snazzy with his Rolex watch, and now with a sassy diamond stud in his ear, which was screaming midlife crisis, and tacky. He was wearing expensive dress shoes and an expensive-looking shirt. I thought, I must be one hot bitch if he dressed to impress, because at the car wash he had looked so ordinary and refreshingly simple. Still, he seemed a bit over the top, since I don’t wear expensive shoes, nor do I own a Rolex or a diamond earring. Nevertheless, I didn’t care too much at first, as long as he didn’t start acting pretentious. As the years were ticking by, my dating standards were sinking like a vented canoe with no oars, but had they sunk this low?
One of the first things Vince asked when he came into my house was if I liked his new watch. As it happens, my sister and brother own a coin business and deal in high-end jewelry and watches, so a Rolex was a recent area of expertise for me. I do love the design of Rolex watches. Unfortunately, Mr. Porsche was wearing a fake Rolex (a Folex). I thought, My god, what a total douche-lord. There are few things worse than someone wearing a fake Rolex watch. So I assumed he was also wearing cubic zirconium in his ear. I was also assuming the Porsche, fake Rolex, and gaudy earring were making up for something he was lacking — a grown-up-size penis perhaps?
We were still in my house before leaving for dinner, and I was starting to realize I had made a mistake. Again! What kind of future would I have with this douche? Would we need Louis Vuitton wallets and Tiffany key chains? Now, don’t get me wrong, I love the finer things in life. I could easily become a spoiled divo (male diva) in a heartbeat. But I am not ostentatious. I like mutts over purebreds. I like cheap food over expensive food. I prefer to walk anywhere I can versus driving. I don’t need to have my Braque du Bourbonnais dog named Mimi walked by the butler. I am more likely to be the butler! Please, people, let us have some perspective.
I asked Vince if he wanted a drink, because I realized I was going to need to be drunk for this date. After I asked I thought, If this ass asks me for cognac or an apricot sour, I will lose it. Fortunately for me, he asked for some water. Now, no one in L.A. drinks tap water, not even me; everyone drinks bottled water. So, just to piss him off, I deliberately gave him tap water, to see if he would drink it. He drank the tap water. I was pleased to see he didn’t care about the water, and I thought maybe I had jumped the gun in judging him.
I realigned my thoughts.
Could Vince be an OK guy? What does he like? What does he hate? Does he care about people? Would he ever do charity work with me? Does he contribute to society? Has he ever been in love? Has anyone ever loved him? Vince’s drinking the tap water threw me off base. I wanted to get to know more about him just in case I was wrong. I am wrong about a lot of things on a daily basis, and this could have been one of those times.
We left for dinner. He drove us in his fancy-pants Porsche.
We ended up at a hip little restaurant/bar in Hollywood. I could tell Vince didn’t have much to say when, during dinner, he blurted out, “Did I ever tell you about the time I was in Saint Barts?”
How could he have ever told me anything? We just met.
He said a lot more after that, but as soon as he said the words “Saint Barts,” I was once again assured he was a total douche. I don’t think to this day I have ever met anyone else who started a conversation with, “Did I ever tell you about the time I was in Saint Barts?” I turned my imaginary hearing aid to silent.
Vince kept talking. I tuned him out. He swiftly became Charlie Brown’s teacher, and all I could hear was “WA WA WA WA WA…WA WA…WA WA.” I thought of everything I could to shut Vince out of my cognitive thoughts. I started thinking about Final Jeopardy questions I knew the answers to (not many). I started to think about my grocery list. I started to wonder if I had already separated my darks and my whites. I pretended to be the First Lady and just smiled a lot in his direction. I thought about naked sailors. I wondered how long it takes a snail to go a mile. I wondered how many dimples were on a golf ball. (Don’t Google it; it’s 300-450 depending on the type of ball).
Meanwhile, the waiter passed by back and forth several times waiting for Mr. Folex to shut the fuck up. Finally the waiter stopped and took our orders. I ordered a chicken salad and a martini. I wanted to order a muzzle for Vince, and a transporter, for me, with a side order of “get me the hell out of here.” Vince ordered two appetizers, lobster, several martinis, and dessert. Then throughout our boring dinner, filled with conversation about places he had been and things he had bought and homes he owned, Vince ordered more martinis. I wanted to order a bottle of vodka with a funnel, or a beer in a paper bag, but I restrained myself.
Interestingly enough, and thankfully as well, the rest of the dinner went OK for me. His nonsensical ramblings gave me plenty of mental time to plan out my weekend — without him.
When I finally got the chance to talk, I made light, stupid conversation so I would appear dumb and uninteresting. “What kind of chips do you like? I love barbecue Lays. I wonder who invented crosswalk signs?”
Somewhere in the middle of my idiotic rants, Saint Barts mentioned he was a high roller in Vegas. My parents live in Las Vegas, so when he said that, I figured we could discuss Vegas and at least that would be interesting. The conversation took a slight turn for the better, as we had seen a lot of the same shows. I am a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil and so was he. I started to think I had some commonalities with Vince. I thought, Oh shit, might I be a douche too?
My dinner with Vince was developing into a unique experience for me. I felt a strange attraction and revulsion toward him at the same time, which I found difficult to reconcile. I almost started to think that perhaps I could take Vince on as a project, like a fixer-upper home with good bones but bad everything else.
Finally, after about an hour and a half of mixed conversation — some good, some bad — the bill came. Vince grabbed it. I then realized he was going to take care of the bill, and I appreciated that. It was the right thing to do, since he had invited me to dinner and took me to a place that was expensive. Besides, I’d only had a chicken salad and one drink while he feasted like a ye-olde-times king.
That’s when he flipped open the leather bill folder, examined the bill for one second, turned it toward me, and said, “We each owe 80 dollars!”
I was in shock. The nerve. The gall. Now I was certain — Vince was a total idiot.
I don’t know about you, but I have never had an $80 chicken salad. And how is it that he could afford a Porsche, a Folex, and a diamond earring but couldn’t pick up the tab when dinner was his idea? I started to wonder if he was a con artist, a control freak, or just plain nuts. I quickly reminded myself I didn’t care about him at all and I should stop psychoanalyzing him.
So, knowing this would be our first and last date, I told him I hadn’t brought my wallet, because I’d thought he was going to pay. In turn, he had the nerve to tell me I could pay him when he dropped me off. Can you believe he had the balls to say that?
My head starting spinning, imagining the scenario that was about to unfold: this guy was going to drive me back to my place in his Porsche and wait for me to go inside and come out and pay him for eating like a fucking pig.
The entire drive home, the fact that I had actually gone on a date with this douche-lord was making me more and more pissed off. By the time we got close to my apartment, I was really angry, at myself and him. But I remained pragmatic and devised a plan in my head.
When we got back to my place, he double-parked so that I could run up and get my wallet. I got out of his car. I went into my building, made sure the gate was tightly shut, and then went into my place. I locked my door, took off my clothes and got into my sweats, turned off all my lights, and gladly crawled into bed. There was no way in hell I was going to pay this asshole one single penny of my hard-earned money.
Oh, yes, he honked his horn once or twice, and my cell phone rang.
I turned my phone off.
I was not concerned that he would try to come up, nor did I care.
I heard his car screech away and soon after I fell asleep like a baby who just had its bottle.
Perhaps I should have just discussed dinner payment on our initial phone call like a hooker. Or perhaps I should send Vince a calculator?
Oh, by the way, did I ever tell you about the time I went to Saint Barts? What a douche.