Lost in Translation

The fun part about being single is that someone always knows a guy who would be just perfect for you. Their friend’s friend, neighbor’s son, or co-worker’s therapist is this amazing guy who’s nice and funny and has an awesome job! You have to meet him!! The reality is that they know nothing about him and have determined that since he is a living breathing single person, he’s obviously desperate and will agree to go on a blind date. This is how I ended up on a date with my co-worker’s neighbor’s friend’s son,are you following?

I was at a colleague’s wedding alone last summer (after RSVPing months earlier with a plus one) when her neighbor approached me excitedly asking about my relationship status. “Are you siiiiiingle?!” she drew the word out with a big grin on her face. No lady my boyfriend is home, I just roll solo to these things because I like the feeling of strangers pitying me. “I have an amazing man for you, he is so handsome and he’s a doctor!” She couldn’t contain the excitement and I didn’t want to shatter her dreams of being cupid, so I gave her my number to pass on. By the end of the night I had gone home, shoes in hand, with a solid buzz, and I did what most girls do when presented with the option of meeting a well-vetted guy, I planned our potential life together. A doctor? I’ve never dated a doctor before! I’ve never dated anyone smart before! I’ll learn soooo much! Maybe he’ll get me Xanax! I drifted off into a happy and peaceful (drunken) sleep that night knowing that my Mr. Right was within reach.

A few days had passed when I received a text. “Hi! I am Massimo, Maria has given your phone number, let me know when you can go for a drink. Ciao.” This could go one of two ways, he is either one of those Italian Americans who doesn’t speak Italian but knows the salutations and profanities OR he is straight-off-the-boat, and doesn’t speak any English. Either way I lose. My newly single brain however came up with a third option or what I like to call: the unicorn. He speaks English and Italian fluently, is well traveled and well read, and he’s a romantic lover with that hardworking American mentality. A mythical creature that clearly doesn’t fucking exist. From our initial flirty text exchange it quickly became clear that he is very new to the country. “If we want to drink a glass of wine I think we should go somewhere downtown (is Monday!) 8pm would be OK. Ciao!” (Actual text)

Shit.

Well I couldn’t back out at this point so I had to just keep going with it. I chose a wine bar downtown. He asked me to send him a picture so he could recognize me when we met up. I sent him one of my (very many) carefully planned selfies, perfected with the right combination of makeup, lighting and cleavage. You know, the way a selfie SHOULD be. Of course I asked for one in return and if I didn’t know he was European before, I was sure of it now. He acted a little coy taking about how he was at work and played up the idea of him in scrubs. He then sent me a picture of himself slouching down in a chair, stone faced with his belly hanging over his pants abandoning all of the fucks that he might have had to give. He wasn’t even smiling! Why would he send that? I was disappointed but I reminded myself to not judge a book by its cover, personality is so much more important anyway

That Wednesday, I left work and stopped off home to change into something really cute. I threw on a chic but casual outfit and I was “breakup thin” so I was feeling pretty good. I got to the bar and sent a quick text letting him know I had arrived and headed in to grab a seat. On my way in I noticed a man in a bright pink button down, slacks and a tie – that couldn’t be him. It’s a wine bar, nothing fancy! Two sips of wine in, I felt a tap on my shoulder and when I turned around pink button down was staring me in the face. I took a big gulp of wine and smiled (with wine lips already, I’m sure) to greet my date. He was coming off his shift and was hungry so we decided to grab a table and order some food. I waited and waited and when it became clear that we wasn’t going to speak to the hostess, I asked for the table myself. Maybe it’s not a European thing to make these kind of moves? Anyway… We sat down and ordered some appetizers and quickly got to talking. Massimo was very sweet in that he asked questions and actually listened to the answers. There were a few moments of awkward silence while he searched for the English words to say and when I struggled with my high school conversational Italian to respond but overall the date was going fine. Then things took a turn.

We started to talk about his work and he expressed interest in pharmaceuticals. Now, at this point in my life I was one of those granola types who believed in holistic remedies and fixing ailments with a healthy diet and steady exercise (well, minus the Xanax, that’s ok). Massimo did not share the same beliefs. He talked about how great it is to be able to take a pill if you have high cholesterol or blood pressure and when I suggested maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle instead, he laughed in my face and told me in so many words that I was an idiot. “You really don’t know anything” he said with a thick accent and a smug grin. I wasn’t about to fight with him, this is his job and he obviously cares about it so I backed off. I guess he was a bit insulted though because the hits kept on coming! He started telling me about women in New York City, how we were all lonely and how we would never get married. “There is no word in American for it,” he said, “you are like cat lady. Lonely cat lady!”

I believe “spinster” was the “American” word he was reaching for. Now I was offended! I mean, how dare he! The balls on this guy! I do NOT look like a cat person! I hate cats!

I excused myself to the bathroom where I sent a picture of myself fake crying to my girlfriends and planned my exit strategy. How rude of this guy! Maybe it’s a European thing where they just say whatever comes to mind without filtering or giving any shits. Even worse, maybe it’s a man thing where he genuinely feels like he doesn’t to have to impress anyone and that he is the catch going on this pity date with me. I should be totally elated that he took time out of his schedule to grace me with his presence.

As I got home all I could think was “How dare his make asinine assumptions about me, he couldn’t be more wrong, cats are the worst.” I then proceeded to feed the leftovers of my dinner to my puppy, the only man to ever truly understand me.

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