Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Great Dating Disasters (8)

Some years ago, I sort of almost very nearly dated a rather glamorous French lady for a week or two.

Our first 'proper' date (after an initial flirtation at a networking do, followed up by two or three less pressurised 'meeting with friends' encounters) went wrong in just about every way conceivable.

We had agreed to meet on Tiananmen Square (her idea). Not the best plan: it's a very BIG place, there are crowds of people around, and the phone reception's fairly shitty (or it was back then, anyway). And I couldn't understand exactly where she was suggesting we rendezvous. We managed to meet up eventually, but it took 20 minutes or so, which was a slightly angstful start to the evening.

We went to the Li Qun Roast Duck Restaurant for dinner (her idea). Again, not the best call: it's a very basic kind of place - tiny, noisy, dirty (part of its unique 'charm'; but not really conducive to a date). The service is surly, and they love to make you wait (especially if you're a foreigner). And it's more or less exclusively a kaoya place: people go there for their Beijing Duck; the rest of their food is, frankly, pretty ropey. We didn't have time for a duck dinner anyway; and this is not the kind of place you go for a quick snack. So, we left after just a few 'small dishes', feeling frustrated and hungry.

The centrepiece of our night out was to be a classical recital at the Forbidden City Concert Hall (my idea). Alas, it was one of the International Festival Chorus' shows. Not that there's anything wrong with the IFC... except that they do tend to draw big laowai crowds, and it is almost inevitable that you will run into a couple of dozen people you know at any of their events - not ideal for a first intimate evening with a romantic interest! However, it seemed particularly ill luck that her flatmate was there - just a couple of seats away from us. A bunch of my friends were in the vicinity as well. So much for the 'intimate evening'!

I was then rather appalled that - despite the lady's apparent credentials as a person of breeding and culture - she chattered throughout the concert (quite loudly at times) to her flatmate.

By the time we left the concert hall, the language barrier had divided us: she preferred to talk French with her flatmate, which left me with little choice but to chat in English with my friends (I used to read French pretty well, but I never developed any confidence in speaking it; and I am well rusty now). We all went off in a gaggle to get some drinks somewhere, but the 'date' was effectively over.

I think I only saw her once more after that.

Really, I can't conceive of anything else that could have gone wrong with that night. I mean, her flatmate just happened to be sitting in the same row as us at the concert??!! Could this possibly be The Worst Date In History? I think so.


The British Cowboy said...

I can give you a run for your money in great dating disasters, but I choose to block them from my memory.

Froog said...

I find it quite cathartic to tell the tale once in a while, Cowboy. You should give it a try.

In fact, you're welcome to contribute one or two guest posts to this series, if you really think you've got some experiences that could top this.