Discontent isn’t a good look on a date

“Now is the winter of our discontent,” once wrote a man famous for his dysfunctional relationships. Well, not his, really, but rather the relationships of his characters. His own marriage to a woman eight years his elder lasted 34 years until his death.

But the winter in question was not back then, it was now, and discontent was without a doubt on its way.

A couple had just sat down a seat from the wall, virtually guaranteeing that no one could sit next to them. That didn’t matter this evening because there was only one other person, a man sipping scotch, and the couple. But bartenders notice things like this.

A dirty martini for the her and a Manhattan for the him led to a brief discussion on the “dirty.” Sometimes things are ordered merely for their theatric effect, something I’m sure that writer dude knew a little about.

“Tommy is doing much better,” Ms. Dirty said.

“Yeah,” Mr. Manhattan answered. “His defense is much better.”

The rest of their conversation involved some more fawning about Tommy on the mister’s part.

I wouldn’t call this a date. I’ve seen a lot of dates from where I stand. A date involves at least some level of mutual planning. Instead this had all the hallmarks of a carefully arranged contrivance of events by one person in order to get the other somewhere alone.

Well, at least alone in the sense of their mutual friends and acquaintances.

I don’t know the contrivance in question, but it seemed to involve the pair’s two children and some sort of school/sports/hobby convergence. It was also equally clear that the two were not married to each other, nor to anyone else. They say politics makes strange bedfellows; they, however, are remarkable silent on the bedfellows of divorce.

But I say love is love, beautiful in all its forms.

“I’m fat,” said the woman, who clearly was not.

“No you’re not,” he said a little too quickly.

I don’t know exactly what lead up to this exchange because the scotch drinker wanted another one as well as a rundown on selections. But sometimes we all need a little reassurance, prompted or not.

It’s not that uncommon on a first date (or first arranged contrivance) to fish for a compliment here and there.

“No,” she said. “I’ve got a big [insert posterior slang here].”

Now that was odd. It’s not that unusual for a woman in a moment of public intimacy to tell her date exactly what it is that she doesn’t like about herself. It’s a different thing to insist upon it.

This contrivance soon took on a theme. And it started to look less and less intimate. The woman made denigrating remarks about herself only for the man to attempt reassurance.

“I look terrible without makeup.”

“I bet you look great.”

“You’re just saying that.”

“Well I’d like to find out.”

She ignored the subtle meaning of his suggestion.

“You have no idea,” she said.

“Yes I do. You are beautiful.”

“Oh yeah. Am I wearing makeup right now?”

A trap to be sure. His answer was lost with the order of another Scotch by my solo customer.

“We better get going,” she said.

“Would you like to go back to your place?” he asked leaning close.

“My place is such a mess,” she said leaning away.

On and on it went, he offered and she rejected. She derided and he complimented.

I have to give him an A for effort.

Later, after closing, I passed the two of them in the parking lot. She was in her car and he was attempting to lean in the window. I’m sure that was because her car was “a mess.”

Leaving me with these thoughts:

• An A for effort, but an F for execution.

• If two people really want to be together they will both make excuses for it to happen, not excuses for it not to happen.

• When a date deliberately tells you things that make her seem unattractive to you, what she’s really saying is that you are unattractive to her.

• Shakespeare’s 34 works total nearly 900,000 words. Not one of them seems to be inspired by or directed toward his wife.