There’s nothing better than a fix-up date. It’s like going to a potluck dinner in Ohio… you have no idea what you’re going to get but chances are the recipes include bacon and cheddar so it can’t be all that bad. When my friend Tammy introduced me to Thierry, I was intrigued by the accent for sure. His look wasn’t one that I really find attractive (you know… that gaunt “I just escaped a foreign prison” look), but he had a nice smile and was friendly. It did, however, take him a moment to put down his wine glass to shake my hand.
We met at a dinner my friend was hosting, so it was a scenario of “Craig meet Thierry, Thierry meet Craig… and here’s a glass of red and the appetizers are right here.”
Whether I liked it or not, I was going to be spending the next few hours with Thierry.
Appetizers preceded a very tasty soup, which led to an amazingly prepared dinner. I had no idea exactly how much wine Thierry had to drink prior to being presented with a meal that rivaled anything on the cover of Food and Wine. What was noticeable was that he was quite smashed. Of course, what does a smashed guy do? Keep drinking. He was more interested in drinking than contributing to the conversation, which ran the gamut from Manhattan real estate to yea or nay on Manolos for a first interview to the versatility of fruit. I learned that fruit was more versatile than I ever imagined. Thierry had no comments on any of these topics, not even on the fruit.
The dinner conversation was a lot of fun, partly because of the other guests and partly because I purposely didn’t sit next to the red wine infused fix-up. Overall, Thierry was a pleasant enough of a guy. Again, he didn’t contribute much to the conversation, but that all changed when the topic turned to relationships. That’s when Thierry decided to let loose.
“None of you have relationships. You just fuck around. You’re fooling yourselves. I’m done looking for love. DONE!” said Thierry as he poured more red in his glass. “Everybody is fake. Nobody is real. Tell me something… when was the last time one of the men you fuck actually did something romantic for you? Tell me!”
It was one of those moments you wished you were back at a potluck in Ohio, where nobody’s overtly drunk and the most awkward question is “Did you vote for Kasich?”.
At this point, it seemed to be an unspoken consensus between the rest of the table that ignoring Thierry was the new bill of fare. Nobody answered his question. I felt bad for our host and the other guests because this drunken giver-upper on love basically called us all sluts with no substance. I really wanted to ask him when the last time was that he did something romantic for someone else, but we all know that rational communication is impossible for drunks. And I’m willing to bet that in relationships, the only thing Thierry would give his partner was a bottle opener if the partner was lacking.
For the remainder of the night, Thierry kept quiet as he continued to drink. Once in a while he would utter something, but it was impossible to understand. Sloppy, unattractive and a really bad guest were just a few descriptors that came to mind as I watched him sit there on the verge of a full fledged pass-out.
When the evening came to an end, I did my best Edward R. Murrow and said, “Good night… and good luck.” as I walked behind Thierry.
He didn’t respond- he just took another sip of wine.
A reminder of the importance of a two drink maximum while on a date was never better illustrated. Granted, this wasn’t a “date”, but similar rules of decorum apply when in the home of a friend. I have no reason to believe that Thierry and a bottle behave no differently in any social situation.
The real lesson was found in looking straight into the eyes of the agony of defeat. Seeing that look of utter sadness; the expression of being beaten down by the lack of finding love. It was actually quite sad.
Life is all about choice. Even in the worst of situations, a positive person will realize that it’s only for now and will keep walking- if not running- to the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s what strong people do. Choosing to make lemonade when given a bushel of lemons takes work and grit, as opposed to the easier option of staring down the bushel in anger and despair as the lemons rot. Thierry chose the latter- he cried uncle and gave up.
Turning a negative into a positive takes determination. Are you up for the task?
We all have bad dates, good dates that never call for seconds, and other dating disappointments along the road. What we do with them and how we process the experience says volumes about us. If you stay the race and keep your eye on the prize, you’re sure to win.
There will be days you’ll want to throw in the towel and give up. Don’t do it.
Our friends at NASA said it best… failure is not an option. Five simple words to live by in all facets of life, especially while on your quest for 1FineD8.