Thursday, 21 August 2008

Hello my name is Manuel and I'm a recovering Goth....

I was just thinking the other day about how Little Miss Manuel and I always have a good time when we go out to eat. We don't always have great meals but we always have a good laugh and a sparklingly entertaining time.

It's always been like that with LMM. Wasn't always like that with my previous relationships, although relationships is probably stretching it a bit. I remember with horror the first time I took a girl out for dinner. And she was a girl and I was a boy, a boy with one thing on my mind, obviously. Oh look I'm going red as I type this, how nice.

Sit back and cringe with me.

I'm sooooo fucking happy...
...no seriously

Her name was Linda and I worshipped her. I worshipped any girl that showed any interest in me. Hell I fell in love if they even spoke to me. I was an awkward teenager, unlike the striking lump of unflappable confidence I am now of course. Ahem.

I was also a Goth. Awkwardness and Gothness go together like ice cram and more ice cream. You can hide your awkwardness in your dark and brooding persona. I tried to be brooding but just looked huffy mostly. Linda was the polar opposite of a Goth. She was loud and colourful and didn't give a fiddlers fuck what people thought of her, other than her father that is. She made me hide under a motorway underpass one night as her dad was coming home early and wouldn't approve of his number one child going out with an extra from the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

After about a year of fumbling and many near misses I finally got my shit, and 12 inch quiff, together to ask her out. She said yes, I ran home and played The Cure. What else was a teenage Goth to do? My emotions were conflicted - in one corner you had the overwhelming joy that a girl had said yes and in the other you had my brooding Gothness which instinctively rejected such happiness because, "what was the point when we are all just gonna die."

Wow they really were my happiest days.

I booked a restaurant, Capers pizzeria on Shaftesbury Square. I knew about such things as I was a fledgling waiter at the time. This impressed her. It boded well for me that she was impressed easily. I got showered, a big enough deal for a teenage boy, and selected my favourite black shirt and favourite black army combats with matching boots. My hair was erect and pointy, as I intended it to be. The late summer sun was shining bright and hot, well we cant have everything, as I headed off to meet her. I was a good twenty minutes early. I didn't even smoke then so I just stood there with my heart racing like a humming bird on coke.

She arrived in a whirl of colour and noise and this unsettled me. I was stuttering and as red as my lipstick from the previous evening. She looked great, but then she always did. I wasn't the only one to notice, the charming 22 year old waiter noticed too. The fucker. He brought our cokes, and winked at Linda as he set them on the table. I was a mess, I was in over my head and I knew it.

We, or rather she, chatted about stuff and things. She was just back from holiday and she told me everything that happened, including the boys she met. ARRRRRRRRGGGGGHH! It was hard enough to contend with charming 22 year old waiters who were in the same building let alone boys in another country. She went on and on flitting from one story to the next without taking a breath. This was sort of good as I had fuck all to add to the conversation.

Our food arrived, pizza for her and Spaghetti Bolognese for me. What a fucking mistake that was. Mine was dumped in front of me by yer man whilst Linda's was lovingly set in front of her with flair and charming oozing from his pores. He held her shoulder as he checked if we needed anything else. Aye, five minutes peace from you chummy.

We ate, or rather she ate, and I threw spag bol over my chin and shirt. This was a nightmare, a wide awake nightmare. It was noticed too, not by Linda who was still yammering on about this and that and about she got offered a job in Ibiza as a club rep, but by yer man who offered to get me extra napkins. I knew what he was at. Why did I choose the spag bol? Why? Why? Why? Spag bol is not a first date food unless you are James Bond or an Italian, obviously.

It was so hot in the restaurant that I was sweating like a Goth in a disco, which was causing the hairspray that held my 12 inch quiff in place to melt. My hair was all I had, it was the only interesting thing about me. My whole teenage life was invested in that haircut. If it failed then all hope was lost. Just ask yer man Samson, hair is important.

I couldn't get the bloody food in my mouth. The waiter was hitting on the girl I had worshipped from afar and not so afar. My chin was burnt and covered in sticky red goo. My hair was wilting in the heat. And Linda had finally run out of conversation. Not cool, not cool at all.

And then it got worse. Was that possible? Well lets see....

The room seemed to be getting hotter as my teenage life was falling apart. The hairspray continued to melt as I continued to sweat. A diabolical mixture of hairspray and sweat was now trickling down my face. I kept dabbing at it with my paper napkin but soon I was out of those. Sleazy the waiter arrived back to clear our plates and sleaze some more at the girl who was clearly never going to be my girlfriend. I took this opportunity to wipe the crap from my face but instead I made things worse. I couldn't see now, the sweat, hairspray, and tomato sauce had come together to form something akin to acid. As I reached out for another napkin I knocked my glass of coke across the table and over Linda. Of course I did, it was the missing ingredient in this nightmare.

She shrieked.

Sleazy the waiter swore.

And I went red.

I recovered my sight to find sleazy the waiter dabbing carefully at Linda's wet top. The absolute fucker. We got the bill, paid, and I walked her round to get the bus home, it wasn't even the last bus home.

When I got home I played The Cure's "Disintegration" for about 4 hours. I swore by the hair of Fat Robert Smith that I wouldn't take a girl out for dinner again. And I didn't for about four years.

First dinner dates eh, yours couldn't have been worse than that could they?

30 People trying to get Manuel's attention:

Silverstar said...

I'll give you that that one is definitely bad. But then I'm so old I can't remember my first dinner date. I guess you win this one.

Anonymous Boxer said...

I have a list of things NOT to eat during a first date:

1. Roast Beef with Au Jus. - there is NO way you can eat a large stack of beef like a lady. Or not pull the entire sandwich out.

2. Spaghetti.

3. Artichokes.

Just writing these brings up pain. So much pain. Mainly because it appears I've only been on three first dates.

Manuel said...

silverstar: only the waiter won that night......and not this waiter either....

boxer: it's okay, your in a friendly place now....share your pain.......hehehehehe

savannah said...

i married my first dinner date, sugar! ;-) xoxox

Medbh said...

That it one of the sweetest stories that I've ever read, Manuel.
Ah, the growing pains!
I don't say or acknowledge this enough, but it's so hard to be a young man growing up when all you have for a guide or role model are macho thugs and douche bags who only want to get into a woman's pants instead of actually having a two-sided conversation with a young woman.

MJ said...

This posting is meaningless without a pic of a young Manuel Goth.

G'won.

harried_dad said...

I have to start by saying that my mother was a very sociable person who could talk the hind legs off a donkey. She also tended to drink a bit too much when she started talking. The more she talked the more she drank, and the more she drank the more she talked.

My first date was with someone that I met from our local sports club. Life being the way it is, it turns out that our parents knew each other, and so some bright spark thought that if I was going to take out their daughter, then perhaps they should invite my parents over for dinner. That way they could give me a lift home.

I begged my parents not to go. I promised to do every household chore for a month if they would cry off sick or something. But they were having none of it.

In the end we all got in the car and trouped off to her place. My mum kept a straight face, but my dad kept winding me up with his oh so helpful hints ("Never eat an apple before giving a girl a kiss","Always have a paperclip in your pocket in case you need one").

Finally we got to her house, both parents wound up their kids and then let us beat a hasty retreat. I was so nervous I actually followed Dads advice on the off chance that it was true (hey what did I know). Scoured the menu for any dishes potentially containing apple etc.

Too be honest I was so nervous that the next two hours sort of pass in a blur. There was definitely some laughter at my jokes, but that was about it.

After dinner we walked and talked some more. Then we started off back to her place.

I knew there was still a chance for a bit of a snog before we went in the front door, so nerves were on overdrive.

Her parents were quite well to do, and their house was a bit of a local icon. It had a sort of sweeping drive that went through some trees and then you emerged onto this large lawn with an ornamental fish pond.

So as we turned the final corner of the drive and emerged out onto the lawn, my arm crept to her shoulder (wink wink).

All looked good, front door was closed, no lights on at the front of the house, evertything was looking promising.

Except for what appeared to be somebody kneeling on all fours throwing up into the fishpond.

"Is that a tramp?" I blurted out
"No, its alright, its just your mum".

Gutted.

Maxi Cane loves those two words (Yer Mum), me I can't stand them because they will forever remind me of what I missed out on.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. On my first dinner date my girlfriend dumped me, right before the main course, tortellini alfredo, arrived. After that my ride took us to the dance where exgf spent time getting to know my best friend who we met up with at the dance. On the way home my ride's car broke down so we had to walk back home to my place so my mother could give my friend and ex-girlfriend a ride home. You plan for a nice night and it blows up in your face. Other times you luck into some of the best times of your life.

Alan in Belfast said...

Rule of life - always avoid eating shirt stainer. It's never worth it.

toast said...

dinner dates? hell 'dates' of any kind - i think i had my first 'date' when i was about 22 - christ it was more horrible than i ever imagined - drunken snogs, thats the answer, drunken snogs in the downstairs bar of kellys on a friday night or drinking a carry out on the beach - that too was the answer... dinner was chips from rudys on the way back

LL Cool T

sheepworrier said...

Are you and Maxi just wallowing in self pity / nostalgia today? Whats goin on!?

Ah, dinner dates - when you want to seem more sophisticated than you actually are and cant just go to the pub again because you'll look like a raving alco.

jen said...

I think my first date was in a pizza place as well, Mama's Pizza in Edinburgh... Oh god, that takes me back. I wore my best outfit of a long crushed velvet skirt and blue suede DMs. And I was painfully shy and awkward (sensitive indie chick y'see). We went out for about a year and a half after that, so it can't have been all bad on that first evening.

How I met Mr B is an entirely other story.

Manuel said...

savannah: nice......how sweet....

medbh: I was a walking Smiths album of angst and teenage worry......

mj: never gonna happen........ha

dad: good holy fuckarama......

anonymous: what doesn't kill you and all that......

alan: and where were you as I was getting ready ?!

toast: classy guy!!

sheepo: we bare our souls for you.....what can I say......

conortje said...

Oh dear - how I feel for you - even all those years later. It's a silly question but I am DYING to know. Did you give him a good tip??

Manuel said...

conortje: yes, yes I probably did.......but two quid was good back then.....

The Idle Wanderer said...

Sleazy waiter is everything I wish I could be. And spaghetti... what were you thinking!?

Mine has to be when I was about 19 and I asked a girl I'd pulled at some dure house party or the other out for a meal and for some reason her entire family came too. Please note, I am not a criminal or on the sex offenders register - they had nothing to fear.

Her dad was a complete tool, not in any overbearing kind of way, just his conversation was cringeworthy. And they were all well christianical.

So to cut a long story short, I never got anywhere with that one!

Caro said...

A friend of mine once had to do a legger through a bathroom window on a first date with a guy who had brought no money at all. She didn't have enough for both of them (this was years ago, broke student and no credit card) so she had no option but to scarper.

Kitty Cat said...

Aw cringe city, poor Manuel! I used to be a goth/metalhead type but I was rubbish at it. Far too happy and smiley.

daisyfae said...

first date in a nice restaurant? wad of lettuce, covered in orange French dressing, had apparently landed squarely on my chest (white blouse). i didn't notice it til dessert... thought my date, and the waiter, were just smitten with my breastages during the meal...

lorrainbow said...

'I swore by the hair of Fat Robert Smith' hehehe

No awful dinner dates, I think the time I got very drunk before a friend's bday and then ordered mussels is me covered for embarrassing dinner scenarios. When it came to me in my drunken state that I had a mussel shell in my mouth and was making very loud appreciative sucking noises it was time to go home. I was absolutely splatterd in whatever the sauce they came in was.

Worst ever date was a blind one, first question he asked me (after, em, hi, are you x?' was 'so, have you ever considered suicide yourself' and things slid nicely downhill from there.

Lottie said...

lol!

I remember feeling very grown up on my first dinner date. However, I don't remember the boy....

T cup said...

my first dinner date was in KK i was 20 and i didn't eat any of the food that arrived, too nervous, but as soon as he went to the bathroom i scoffed the lot!

dave said...

"My hair was erect and pointy"

Yeah, right! You sure it was your hair?

Jaffa said...

Oh looord...

Grandmother fixed me up at my 18th birthday party with a 'lovely young chap' (or acne-ridden, bespectacled, sorely malnourished wee geordie) she found malingering at the buffet table. I love my dear old gran, so followed through on her promise and let the poor boy take me to the picture house. I arrived stylishly late, and seeing him for the second time, cursed granny's beer goggles and vowed never again to let her speak on my behalf after her third snifter of harvey's bristol cream. I was mildly amused by the yawn-stretch-and-arm-around-the-shoulder, and the short-dash-from-cup-holder-to-leg-fondle (which was hastily brushed off, the poor boy just did not sense the tone and kept on trying...anyways, agonisingly awkward bus journey home (did you enjoy the film, wanna come back for a coffee, can I see you again...?...No, no, and no), the wee fucker still called the next day, I answered the phone not imagining in a million years it would be him...
He said 'is jen there?' I said 'no, this is her little sister, she left for Japan (?!)this morning, won't be back for months' and put the phone back on the hook. Didn't hear another peep out of him.

MrHippo2 said...

One first, only one, date was at a movie theater owned by my uncle. This was in the days before the cineplex. My date was late getting ready, so we arrived to a lobby full of people waiting to get in. The manager noticed me and my date and we were waved into the theater in front of the full lobby. I was too young to enjoy the experience and was too embarrassed. After the show, I drove her straight home and I never spoke to her again.

Manuel said...

many people need therapy......a lot of therapy....

Sharon said...

Your story reminded me of my own first time out for dinner. I was seeing a fella from home who was in the 1st year at Queen's while I was in 7th year at school. I met him in Belfast and we went to an Italian place on University street. I can't remember what we ate but I thought it was all very lovely, except when the fucker skilled his coke all over the table and onto my lap.

belfastyouthworker said...

Capers!!! Brings back memories :) They have a new restaurant now on the Upper Newtownards Road, well worth a visit

raptureponies said...

oh dear... I remember going out with a boy who only wore black, maybe because of the shirt stainer.

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