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 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.
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?