He was a complete gentleman. I was a failure.

My date and I emailed back and forth a bit through Match Mail, and he asked me out for drinks. I replied that I was up for something low-key, and he suggested we go to Dave & Buster’s at 8pm on Monday.

Spoiler alert: mission accomplished.
Spoiler alert: mission accomplished.

He’d messaged me Sunday while I was helping a friend move, and I accepted the Monday-night date even though I knew I’d be wiped out. (Mistake #1)

My workweek was going to be chaotic, especially on Monday, but I figured I’d be fine. (Mistake #2)

Come Monday, I didn’t eat enough during the day. By the time I got to Dave & Buster’s, I was starving. (Mistake #3)

We met, and I was happy to see he was who his profile said he was. I wasn’t nervous… but I was famished. And exhausted, both mentally and physically. And this poor sucker was about to get the full brunt of Flop Mandy.

Five minutes later we were chatting over drinks, and my meal and his cheesecake were on the way. All the questions I’d thought of on the way over fluttered away, and my brain was fried from a long day at work. On top of that, my gin and tonic was pumping through my veins, further turning my brain into a pile of mush. So I did what every sane person does when they’re on a first date: I talked.

Talked and talked and talked and asked a question… then interrupted him to tell a story and talk and talk.

I COULDN’T SHUT UP. He laughed, sure, either out of honest enjoyment or to get me to shut up for half a second. And he was interested (or feigned interest) in my stories. I apologized multiple times for talking too much, which he waved off and said I was fine. But I kept talking. Except, of course, when he asked if I had any questions for him. I think that was the only time my brain completely shut down. What did I want to know about him?

Uh. Sooo… uh. “How’s your cheesecake?” (Yup.)

He offered me some, and I replied that I couldn’t eat sugar or I’d get sick. His face immediately showed concern, and I internally smacked myself. Abort! Abort! Run away from this conversation!

“You get sick?”

I stammered, hemmed and hawed, and just said that I’d been having trouble with it, and if I had too much, my body doesn’t react well. With every word that tumbled out of my mouth, he looked more worried. I just said, “You don’t want to know the details, I promise.”

A bit more back and forth, and his concern hadn’t abated. I was in rare form, throwing away all my PR abilities, chucking my common sense out the window, and stammering like an idiot. He wasn’t prying, but the conversation wasn’t dying, because I kept picking at it, like a scab.

I told him. In very general terms, I told him. And I realized at that moment that I was a flop at first dates. I was horrified with myself.

Thankfully, the “conversation” continued, with me talking in long spurts, him asking excellent questions, and crickets when he offered me a chance to ask questions.

Flop. Flop floppy floppity flop flop.

About an hour after we first sat down, he paid for us, and we stood to go play games. I had a blast, as I tend to when I’m in an arcade and have had alcohol. I’m pretty sure he had fun, too, but I was very focused on each game as we played: air hockey (I won), skee ball (I beat his score), a basket-shooting game (he won, barely, twice), Mario Kart (he came in first, me second), and this weird shooting game that I positively stunk at.

At 10:15pm, I apologized, but had to end the date. I had a 20-minute drive back to my apartment and was fading at an alarmingly rapid rate.

In the parking lot, as we walked to our cars, we said goodbye, and he kissed me goodnight. I wasn’t expecting it, and I ended up making it awkward, and the expression on my face must’ve screamed, “AAAGHWHATSHAPPENING?”

Even when my mouth was shut tight, my face was yelling. This poor guy never stood a chance.

As I climbed into my car, I sat for a moment, plugging my phone into the charger and letting the engine wake up. He drove over and waited for me to put my car in drive before he left. He was a gentleman even after the date had ended.

It’s been a very long time since I’ve been on a first date, and I flopped harder than Waterworld. I can blame exhaustion, drinking on an empty stomach, or whatever else, but the fact remains: I was an awful date. I sent him a Match Mail just before I went to bed and thanked him for being a great date – no more apologies, just a sincere thank you.

My next first date will be better. I’ll draw hints for questions on my arms like tattoos, and I won’t talk about weird, personal health issues. Most importantly, I’ll shut my mouth and let the poor man talk every once and a while. I’m normally really good at that.