As I relaxed into my couch with a very tall glass of wine, I flipped through the channels on my TV to see nothing but white people crying over food or their renovations. Australian TV can be really boring in between good seasons (Note to self: Get Netflix. We have it now. You have no more excuses.). It's only Tuesday night and it's been a shit of a week. Aside from the regular dramas that happen at work, my best friend had to cancel our scheduled dinner tonight, leaving me all dressed up and without plans.
After staring at my blank television screen while sipping my wine for ten minutes, it hit me that I didn't reply to the cute barista on Grindr. I open up the app and start replying to messages when:
HRNYTP4U - Hi.
I look at his blank, pictureless profile and roll my eyes, minimise the app and check my Facebook instead - which was a bad idea because it led to more eye rolling. I place my now empty glass on the coffee table when my phone vibrates again:
HRNYTP4U - ???
Taco Emoji - Hi there. How are you this evening?
HRNYTP4U - Fun?
Taco Emoji - No thanks.
Now my screen is blank. The fucker blocked me! No loss, really because it saves me from doing it myself three messages later. I go to put my phone down when:
FiremanSam - Good evening. How was your day today?
Wait. Is that... a full sentence? Enquiring into the other party? This is a rare occasion on Grindr. He's probably not my type. I had a quick look at him and not only was he cute... but he looked familiar. Where do I know you from?
Taco Emoji - Do you want the short story or the long?
FiremanSam - Fancy telling me the long one over a drink? Maybe even a bite to eat?
Taco Emoji - Sure! We can organise that.
A few flirty messages later I'm standing outside the same moderately priced Italian restaurant I was intending on taking my friend to tonight. After only a minute of waiting I see the handsome stranger walking towards me. He had a scruffy look about him with dark hair and a gorgeous smile. He was dressed very nicely in a slick black coat and nice pants. His brown suede shoes tied into the outfit very nicely. He leads me inside with a gentle hand on the small on my back - old school player. Nice touch. We sit down at a table with a view of the street below and order the first round of drinks.
"I guess your name isn't 'Taco Emoji', is it?" He asks while flashing that cheeky smile again.
"And I guess your name isn't really 'FiremanSam' is it?" I said back, trying to match the cheeky smile he flashed me.
"It is, actually!" He smiled at me. I think his mother needs a serious talking to. "Well, not really. It's Sam and I'm a fireman."
"Well that makes sense." I smile back at him. "I'm Danny."
"It's lovely to make your acquaintance, Danny." I'm sure I'm blushing by this point. "You look familiar. Are you a model or an actor?" This comment causes me to snort a little.
"I'm not, but thank you. I was thinking that you look familiar, too. You didn't happen to attend a job in Ne-"
"I know where! Your building. One of the other tenants was having trouble getting her cat out of the tree across from her."
"Number 8?" I ask as the waiter brings over our drinks.
"Yeah." He smiles at me with that perfect smile. Again! Again with the smile!
"That cat is a nuisance. You should have left it." I reply, which makes him giggle and put his drink down before he could take a sip. He nods, smiles and then finally takes a sip of his drink.
"So tell me about this bad day that you had."
I decided to keep the chat light because I didn't want to come off too bitchy. We sat in the warmth and laughed while enjoying our wine and food. He was kind and funny and mature. The kind of guy I would like to date but I always seem to end up dating assholes instead. As the conversation began to stagger I noticed he was looking over my shoulder quite often. I turned around to see one of the waiters flashing him a grin. He catches me staring so I smile and gesture as if I wanted him to come to our table.
"Could we please get another round?" I ask nicely. This bitch may have stolen the attention of my date for a few seconds but that doesn't mean I need to be mean.
"Which way are the bathrooms, too?" FiremanSam interjects.
"This way." He smiles, gesturing for FiremanSam to get up and follow him. "I'll be back with your drinks."
As FiremanSam and Cutebitchofawaiter left me at the table, I took a moment to relax. I pull out my phone and start scrolling through the various social media feeds. A few minutes later, a new waiter comes to my table with the glasses of wine that I ordered, making me wonder where the original waiter went. This person was dressed more formally than the last one who brought the drinks over.
"Excuse me, are you the manager?" I ask sincerely.
"I sure am! Is there something I can help you with?"
"I just wanted to compliment you on this lovely restaurant. I've been here a few times and the service is always above and beyond what's expected."
"Thank you so much!" She smiles at me. "Did you find out about us on UrbanSpoon?"
"No, just old fashioned word of mouth but I'll be sure to leave you a good review. While I have you - do you mind pointing me in the direction of the bathroom?"
"Just down that hall and to the left."
"You're fantastic, thank you! Is there any chance I could trouble you for two dirty martinis as well?" I smile, trying my best to channel Samantha Jones.
My new best friend smiles and makes her way to the bar and I head for the bathroom. At the end of the hall I see the door to the male toilets. I open the door to see a line of empty stalls all bar one. The large handicapped stall was closed. I stand quietly for a moment and check my reflection before hearing heavy breathing from behind the only closed stall door. I lean down far enough to have a look in the stall and sure enough I see a pair of stock standard hospitality worker shoes positioned in front of the same pair of brown suede shoes I was admiring outside.
For a second I contemplated kicking the door in and making a scene, but instead stood up straight and made my way back to the table because revenge is a dish best served cold. As I arrived at the table, the manager was coming over with the drinks. There's no time like the present, right?
"I'm sorry to be the one to tell you this, but the staff member who's supposed to be looking after this table right now is in the men's toilet having sex with my date." I picked up the first martini and downed it in a mouthful. I offered the second to her but she politely refused it. Bless her.
"I knew it! He's disappears during his shifts every now and then. Now I know why!"
"Are you sure you don't want this second martini?" I slurred across the table. She nodded so I downed it in two mouthfuls. "Don't worry about the bill. My date will pay."
I stood up and straightened up my outfit right as the light began to shift at the end of the corridor where the bathrooms are. I chose this moment to make my dignified exit from the restaurant.
I was pissed about what happened. I was pissed from all of the drinks. I was mostly pissed because I was left feeling second best.
I wrote a letter of apology to the restaurant manager, who informed me that she had a conversation with her waiter and they both came to the conclusion that it would be best for both him and the company if he no longer worked for that restaurant. She also told me that FiremanSam paid the bill in full and left almost as quickly as I did.
FiremanSam hasn't contacted me yet, and it's probably for the best. While he was handsome and charming, I don't think I could date anybody who had the nerve to cheat on someone in the middle of a date.