The Orangina Miser

File:Orangina.jpgEver wonder why some women can’t seem to stop talking about their ex-boyfriends? In some cases, the answer may surprise you.

I think every writer, regardless of his or her level, is most prolific when a certain emotion pushes the plume, or rather, the fingers on the keyboard. In my case, that emotion is a mix of hopelessness, annoyance and frustration at why the universe keeps throwing me men I could never possibly like. However, I have been incommunicado for a while because, for various reasons, I had not been feeling my blogging impetus. Don’t worry though, it’s back!

Last weekend I survived what could have been a nearly fatal head injury. It was like the powers that be decided I was not to die by slipping on the kitchen floor and cracking my head open on the rugged tiles—perhaps there was something more in store for me yet?

So after this possible cosmic message, I decided to accept a simu-date with Roland. I really had no interest in him but had small hopes that he might pleasantly surprise me.  Since I had recently suffered a head trauma, alcohol consumption was off the menu for me for the fear of giving the term ‘hammered’ a whole new perspective.

We sat down in the crowded restaurant.

“I’ll have an Orangina.” I said.
“Guess I’ll have a freshly squeezed orange juice” he said.
“That’s funny, some of the soft drinks cost more than beer and wine in this brasserie!” I pointed out. The OJ was 4 Euros and the Stella 3.90.
“In that event, I’ll have a Stella,” he decided.

He took out 3.90 in change although the bill had not come, and proceeded to play with the coins on the table throughout the ensuing conversation.

First conversations can be challenging and we can all ask a stupid question here and there but when idiocies cannonballed one after another from his mouth (which had chapped lips and a perpetual icky coat of saliva on it to make matters worse), I had to ask myself: “can I imagine listening to this or kissing that on a daily basis?” The obvious answer was “no,” however, it is rude to just get up and leave, so I stayed to finish my soda.

It was a painfully boring conversation.

Roland (after I told him I work in marketing): “So what if there were no marketing departments? Companies could just put their products out there, you see your whole specialty really isn’t necessary.”

Me: “Um, ok. Not sure where to start. And people would learn to differentiate products or brands how? And know about release dates and features in what way?”

The thing is though that men still tend to be the pursuers in the dating game and it can be awkward if he has a great time while you are contemplating a polite way to block his number and unfriend him on facebook. In these instances, it is useful to have such foresight and think strategically. As a former management student, I knew I had to develop my exit strategy immediately and put it into action at just the right moment. I decided the complete and totally ignorant denigration of my livelihood was the last straw.

Ladies and gentlemen, I will now share one of my lesser-known dating secrets and explain how this story relates to women who open the ex-file way too early. The less I like a guy, the more I will talk about my ex-boyfriend on the first date. It is so simple yet so effective. He will be likely not to enjoy himself and even leave thinking it was his decision not to want to see you again.

It goes something like this:

Me: “So Roland, why don’t you tell me, about your last relationship?”

Most guys will say in one sentence something like, “well, I stayed with my ex for [so many] years, but in the end it didn’t work out.” Then he will make the courtesy call, “when was your last serious relationship?”

So I went ahead and told him:

“I stayed with my ex for four years but he was totally critical of me. Whatever I would make in the kitchen, he would find fault, from overly thick split pea soup to burnt cream. He once told me that ‘real women are mothers and know that crème fraiche should never be allowed to bubble.’”

Roland said nothing as he shuffled the coins on the table. I continued:

“And so then it was hard for me but I eventually had to end things. He still calls me though, even though he has a new girlfriend now. You know what he said about her?  He says, ‘Albany, I am dating someone new. She is fat though but I still encourage her to wear miniskirts and high heels.’”

At this point, Roland seemed bored with the conversation and I hoped his eyes were scoping out the various emergency exits this hole in the wall had to offer. I thought he would be completely turned off at this point but the little engine that could gave it one last go with another stupid question.

“So, do you have friends?” he asked.

“Yes. Yes I do. [pause] Um, do you?” I didn’t know how else to respond to such a silly remark.

Then he proceeded with a short list of each of his friends and their respective cities and professions. I know studies have shown that a person cannot truly be friends with more than 150 people at a time. I probably have fewer close friends than that but am far from being able to list them all in such a manner. Roland was not put off enough by my ex stories. So, to ensure he would not think this was a magical evening, I took out the big guns.

Me: “You probably noticed I’m not drinking. It’s because I fell on my head yesterday. So far I only feel nauseous but have not thrown up but I’m telling you in case I fall down or something, so you know what happened.”

Then I proceeded to rub my head where I do actually have a giant scab and a bruise. He was totally uncomfortable. Doing something like this is actually good because if he truly were a nice guy, he would be concerned and I might give him another chance. Roland had no interest in my wellbeing.

Then the bill came. It totaled 7 euros. My cheapest date ever. Roland, with the 3.90 in his hand finally stopped fiddling with the change and left it on top of the bill. I looked at it and I looked at him. He looked at me blankly. About thirty seconds went by. Did he seriously not want to buy a piddly Orangina for a head trauma victim? To his credit he (eventually) said, “I got it” and produced the remaining change.

As we parted outside the brasserie, I had but one thought, “please keep those slimy lips away from me!” We left in opposite directions and I am confident he will not call me again. As I walked home, I was glad to be alone.

-Albany Eden

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