Date from Hell – Argentine style

In my quest to be a true local, one of the things that was on my list was to try dating here.  I had been having some success but nothing really sticking as it were.  I was chatting with Marcos, the owner of the loft I’m renting, about the local scene and he said he had a friend that spoke English who would be good to go on a date.  I thought that would be fun so I got her info and set up a call to chat with her.

I should have trusted my Spidey sense from the call that this woman wasn’t someone I’d want to actually go out with as she came across as very bossy.  She bombarded me with questions and barely let me reply before going on to another one.  Still, I did want to venture out of my comfort zone so I decided to give it a shot.  The original plan was to go out on Thurs but I knew I wanted to go to Unik then so I rescheduled for Fri.  She was first OK with it but then emailed this:

R u sure u will not cancell again?  Cos I have to make the same bookings again and I do not like to push around the restó’s people .

I should have cut and run after that but again thought at the very least it would make for a good story.  Boy was I right about that.  My first mistake was that I forgotten she told me to come at 9 versus 8:30, which was the plan for Thursday.  I showed up to her apartment at 8:30 on the dot and buzzed her on the intercom.  She was clearly flustered and said that she had specifically told me 9PM and started asking me why I was there early.  I cut her off and said I’d come back at 9 – no problem.

Her place was right next to the massive Alto Palermo shopping mall so killing time was easy.  I came back at 9PM and this time she said she’d be right down.  While not a looker, she wasn’t ugly either but her outfit was a bit strange.  She was wearing a halter top floral dress with sparkly high heels and a ton of jewelery along with a Dolce and Gabana clutch.  She looked at my quizzically and asked again why I came early.  By this time, I was getting a bit annoyed with the questioning and tried to get her to stop.  She did and hailed a cab for us.  However, when we got in the cab she started up again.  “I specifically told you 9PM.  Did you not read the email?  I put it in capital letters so your reading comprehension must not be so good.”  Grrrr

We pulled up to the restaurant and I paid the cab.  The restaurant was a new place inside a very cool boutique hotel.  She had read that this chef was the next big thing and seemed to know the hot spots so I thought maybe this night could be saved.  When we sat down, I could now finally see the jewelry and noticed how strange it was.  She was covered in, what I assumed, were fake diamonds, including this hideous diamond crusted spider, which wrapped around her left arm.  And then said this “Just so you know, I have no money with me and if you don’t have enough for both of us we should just leave.”

I had already started to look at the menu prices and knew there was no way I’d have enough cash.  She asked if I had cards and I told her I had a visa debt card.  After a few minutes of arguing with her that yes, a debit card acts like a credit card, she called the waiter over to see if they took that.  He nodded and then she said “OK, good now you can pay for us.”  Gee, thanks.

She went through the menu and decided to get the duck (of course the most expensive item on the menu.)  This was proceeded by her peppering our poor waiter with a series of questions in a really bossy tone.  I felt myself gradually lowering in my chair, trying to shield myself from this embarrassing display.  If there’s one thing I cannot stand, it’s when someone is rude to a waiter.  I opted for the veal and then it was time for a drink order.  I ordered a Malbec and she wanted a Semillon.  The waiter explained that was a dessert wine but she waived him off saying that’s what she wanted.

The waiter came back with a large glass for my Malbec and a very small glass for her.  Given that it was a dessert wine, this was par for the course, but she freaked out.  I tried to also point out that she did order a dessert wine but she demanded that she been given the same size glass as mine.  The waiter was getting exasperated by this point but came back with a large glass.  We placed our orders and now it was time to chat again.

I found out that she was a GP with her own practice.  She talked about normally spending the summer in her home in Mar del Plata and it was clear she was pretty well off.  She asked about my education and when I tried to explain my major of International Studies, she said that it was not a serious degree like her PreMed, adding “American education is inferior anyway.”  I decided to fight back a bit and explained that people from all over the world come to the US to go to our “inferior” schools.  This led to extended discussion on higher education and the value of a degree.  “Your country has so many stupid degrees.  People can do whatever they want and waste their education.”

By this point, I felt my skin heat up and my pulse quicken as I resisted a multitude of options which would just escalate things.  I changed the subject and asked about her family/background.  That lasted about 30 seconds before she asked me if I had gone on any dates yet here.  “Do you like just women or men too?  I don’t know which way you go.”  I said that I was straight.  She then replied “Well, a lot of men go both ways these days.”  Gritting my teeth, I said “well, if that was the case, then I wouldn’t be buying your dinner.”

After having a truly superb amuse bouche of spot prawns with an asparagus foam, our meals arrived.  She looked at her duck, poked it a bit and wondered where the oranges were that was in the description.  I agreed that there didn’t seem to be any oranges and she snapped her fingers for our poor waiter.  She aggressively asked why there were no oranges and what was to be done about it.  The waiter explained that it was the chef’s take on duck a’lorange but even I had to admit that was a weird response.  Still, it seemed to quell the situation and we started eating our meals.  I had forgotten the 3 different sauces that came with my meal and she said “he explained them to you.  Wow, your listening skills are as good as your reading comprehension eh?”

After she mentioned that the chef had a French background, I noted that I could see that.  She said “well no this isn’t French cooking”  I explained that in fact it was and pointed out the French techniques being used in both of our dishes.  This led to more pointless insistence on her part that it wasn’t French “I’ve been to France and I know French cooking.” so I just shut up and kept eating.

By this time, I had long given up any hope salvaging things and just started thinking about how it would at least make for an amusing story.  The conversation turned weird when she started talking about dating in Buenos Aires.  It was clear that she was a) racist “Peru is full of stupid Indians who pollute the population” b) possibly bi-polar and c) basically a miserable human being.

I wanted nothing more than to get the hell out of there when the dessert menus came.  I declined but of course she wanted one.  There were several choices so she asked which one I’d like to split with her.  I chose the apple tart and she dismissed that saying “that’s like something you’d get at McDonalds”  I sighed and told her to pick.  After grilling our poor waiter on some the specifics about one the items, she picked that one.  I was already running a mental calculator in my head on the costs and generally trying not to engage her too much as I couldn’t stand her by now.

After more veiled implications that I might like men “when you and your friend went out, you must have had a hard time convincing people you weren’t a couple”, she announced she had to use the restroom.  As she left the table, I let out a huge deep breath and frantically tried to find a WiFi signal.  Alas there wasn’t one accessible so I had to sit there and wonder how much longer this night would last.  We had now been there over 2 hours, with dessert and tea yet to come.

It arrived when she was still gone so I just stared at it.  She came back to the table and motioned for me to start eating.  I thought she’d start as well but after I had a couple of bites, she stopped me, saying I was ruining the structural integrity of it.  I said that she had told me to start eating it and how that made it difficult not to affect that.  She said that I could continue eating and in my best dry, sarcastic tone replied “well, no I wouldn’t dare want to further ruin the structural integrity of such a magnificent creation.”

Part of the reason she hadn’t started eating was because her tea hadn’t arrived yet.  She scolded me for not grabbing the waiter while she was gone, saying that she would have done that.  When the tea arrived, after explaining to me how no one in Buenos Aires knows how to make good tea, she noticed that the tea was cold and her milk wasn’t there.  She snapped for the waiter and out of curiosity I touched the tea pot, which was perfectly warm.  That final move had vaulted her over the truly psychopathic woman I went out with in San Francisco once, who had freaked out and berated our waiter for daring to give her coffee in a glass vs. a ceramic cup, as the worst date ever.

When the check came, as suspected, I didn’t have nearly enough cash to cover.  However, I didn’t want to pay it all on the my card (and therefore end up paying even more for this awful night) so I took the cash I had and told them to charge the rest.  She explained that I had to give the waiter the tip in cash.  I said no, I can do that on the card and she said that wasn’t possible.  Truly hating her at this point, I shoved the bill in front of her and circled where it clearly stated “Propina” (tip)  This made her finally shut up about it and we left.

In the cab on the way home, I sat in stone silence, quietly seething at the blather she was spouting about dating in Buenos Aires and how terrible men are here.  I bit my tongue when she complained about men not meeting her standards and decided the best thing was to stay quiet.  We got back to her building and, gentleman that I am to the end, waived off her instructions to have the cabbie continue on to my place.  I walked her to the door and thanked her for the evening.  She at least thanked me for dinner and gave me a kiss on the cheek.  I saw those stupid sparkly heels go up the stairs as the door closed and realized I was free.

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