After four coffee shop dates, Stephen told me that he didn’t want to see me anymore because I drink alcohol, dance and don’t go to church.

I suppose his preference for someone WAY less fun than me (kidding. sort of.) doesn’t make him a toolbag per se, but the way he did it was just rude.

Stephen and I met at a town council meeting. I was there covering it for the newspaper and he was there as a concerned appraiser opposing a ban on large “McMansion” rental houses.

Granted, when we met, I wasn’t drinking and we were in a church (where the meeting was held) but, I did tell him I was from New Orleans so that should have given him a clue about my interest in alcohol.

We exchanged business cards (“in case you need me for a quote,” he said.) Stephen called me the very next day and asked me out for coffee.

If he had asked me if I liked coffee, I would have told him NO, and suggested a better meeting spot, like the park.

But he seemed excited about the date so I suffered through an iced chai tea that was too sweet, and sat in an overstuffed chair.

Stephen was good-looking, from South Carolina originally but lived in New York for a few years. He dabbled in acting and had a guest spot on an episode of Dawson’s Creek.

“Oh my God I love that show!” I exclaimed. I actually remembered the episode he was talking about. Joey Potter rules!

Stephen said he had a videotape of the episode somewhere and we should watch it together. “What are you doing later this weekend?” he asked. “We should hang out again.”

Two more consecutive coffee dates, (even though I never actually ordered coffee) we finally moved on to a lunch date.

It was only memorable because it was on a Monday, a holiday, and we both had to work that day. (The news never sleeps, people!!)

We had a nice talk on the phone the night before and agreed that lunch would be the best way to make the day not completely horrible while everyone else was at the beach.

Stephen made me laugh in a quirky way and I really wanted to see him in that Dawson’s Creek episode. I was looking forward to lunch.

That is, until I found out that his lunch spot of choice was rather…old. Like, Jell-O for dessert and early bird specials.

It seemed like an odd choice since there were a ton of trendy “young people” restaurants in the downtown area, and we were both 22 years old.

And at least one of us (me) was cool.

Even though I cringed (to myself) at his lunch spot suggestion, I didn’t argue because he seemed really excited that I hadn’t eaten there before and said the food was amazing.
(It was OK, if you’re into meatloaf.)

At lunch, we both complained lightheartedly about having to work on the holiday, and talked about other normal things and then he asked me what I did that past weekend.

(Does he want to know where I hang out so we can hang out together next weekend???)

I told him about my Saturday night, saying I had heard and enjoyed a really fun band at a restaurant/bar. (I didn’t mention that I also did several vodka shots with a friend from out of town.)

“You were dancing?” he asked. “Do you like to dance?”
“Uh, yea, who doesn’t like to dance?” I said, rhetorically.

“Are you a good dancer?” he asked.
“I think so,” I said. “A beer or two makes me dance better, though.” (Or five.)

“Oh,” Stephen said. “I’m not really into that.”

I shrugged and pushed cottage cheese around my plate.

The next day, Stephen asked me out for coffee again, which was getting pretty freaking monotonous. This time, however, he didn’t pay for my overpriced Chai Tea, and sat in the overstuffed chair looking concerned.

(He was also wearing really ugly bright red sneakers, I remember that distinctly.)

“Look,” he said after letting me buy a $5 tea and then sitting down next to him. “I don’t think we can see each other anymore.”

“I can’t go out with someone who drinks alcohol.”

“WHAT?” I repeated. “But, I haven’t…drank…alcohol…in front of you.”

“I know, but you said you had a few beers (ahem, five) the other night,” Stephen said. “And, you were dancing to music, and I really can’t go out with someone who thinks that stuff is fun.”

“You don’t think dancing is fun?” I asked, embarrassed for some reason, feeling like a criminal.

Then I added, “Maybe you should have told me that over the phone instead of ask me out again.”

He just sat there. I looked down at his ugly red shoes and suddenly got really angry. Like a bull.

“You know what, that’s bullshit!” I said. (get it? huh huh huh)
“The past two weeks, I’ve met you at places I really wasn’t into and I thought we had a good time,” I said. “And I still met you here after you said you weren’t into dancing or ‘my kind of stuff.’”

I was starting to raise my voice.


He sat there and then finally spoke up.

“You also said you were Catholic and you don’t go to church.”

“Church??? We’ve never even talked about church!!” I said. “You know what? WHAT. EVER.”

I stood up, looking down at him. “I thought we’ve been having a nice time and I think you’re being really judgemental,” I said.

I left the coffee shop, leaving him and his stupid shoes all alone.

I threw away my full cup of tea before I got to my car and secretly hoped that he saw that.

An hour later, Stephen called.

“I’m sorry. That was really judgemental of me,” he said. “I shouldn’t have assumed that you didn’t drink alcohol. I’d like to go out with you again.”

I felt my pride come back a little, but I was still fuming.

“Well, most people who are 22 years old DO drink,” I said. “You should assume that everyone you meet drinks alcohol.”

I then pointed out, “I’m also from New Orleans.”

“I know,” he said. Then he paused.
“Actually, you know what? I changed my mind again. I don’t think this is going to work out after all.”

He hung up right as I took the Lord’s name in vain.

And then I opened a beer.


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