It is literally impossible for me to think of the word Mississippi and not spell it out in my inner monologue. This is kind of a bad thing as it means whenever someone mentions the state I tune out for at least two and a half seconds while I spell the word loudly and occasionally sing-songily. By the time I’m done and checking back in with the conversation, I’ve always missed something important.
Anyway. Post polite date in Alabama, Megs and I were on our way to Mississippi proper, and truth be told, I was a little nervous. For one, I was worried the men of the deep south just really weren’t going to like me, as the past few dates hadn’t been worthy of the “#stellar” label. Was I falling off my game? Sure, I was still making connections and enjoying my time with people – and hopefully proving first dates don’t have to feel like a root canal while an elephant steps on your kneecaps – but we wasn’t hitting it off and blazing into a wonderful world of rockets and flags and parades.
Spoiler alert: This trend continued in Mississippi.*
Finding a date in rural Mississippi was, to put it bluntly, seemingly impossible. We were in the southern portion of the state, and pickings on OkCupid and How About We were slim. My second cousin (who lives in a small town) tried to help, but couldn’t find a guy to commit to a cup of coffee. Even the almighty Craigslist elicited zero – yes, zero – results. No one wrote me back. I was feel desperate enough to try shaking my booty on the highway, or finding a dive bar and soliciting dates to drunk guys, when a gentleman named Adam gave me a call. Potentially scandalous situation averted, we agreed to meet up.
Only then, Adam sent me an email that asked about Megan’s relationship status. He noted that while he would still go out with me, he was more into her (based on looks alone, yes). Since the Idaho incident, Megs and I had an agreement to tag-team out if a guy was more enamoured with her than me. Totally understandable, and totally expected. We’re realistic – I’m not for everyone, and it’s more than likely that you might meet both of us in person and feel attraction toward one rather than the other. So we decided to swap places. Adam got a date with Megs, I third-wheeled/took notes/took film. Done and done.
Our plan was to play disc-golf and then grab dinner. Disc-golf is a game that involves throwing a frisbee at little catching structures (they look like something between a giant chalice mixed with a torture device) and combines excellent getting-to-know-you elements: a task, being outdoors, and being in public enough so it’s not creepy and weird. Megs met Adam, hands were shaken, and voila! They were dating.
At first, the date seemed to be going rather well. Adam was gentlemanly and whenever Megs’ frisbee ended up in a gnarly bunch of shrubbery he was the first to fetch it for her. Conversation was a tad stagnate at first but fell into a flow, and I even witnessed some flirting. Yes, flirting. As day turned to dusk, we wrapped up and agreed to meet at a restaurant called Little Tokyo. Yes, in rural Mississippi. How could you say no to that?
It’s here where things started to get weird. As we were driving, Megan got a text from Adam that implied he had started hesitating on the whole dinner shebang. Not cool. No, not due to the fact that he might not be into Megs, but rather because we didn’t have much audio from the date and darn it, we were in Mississippi. Rather than textversate about the issue, Megs gave Adam a call to try and understand why he was feeling adversely to dinner.
The issue was money. Which we assured him we were taking care of. But he seemed to think, no matter what we said, that he was going to be expected to pay. Finally, Megs was able to get the point across that she was paying, that it was totally fine (and that we preferred it this way), and we met him at the restaurant – a Benihana-style establishment in which you order, then they cook food in front of you and make a little show of it. There’s fire involved. It’s cool.
Awkwardness set in right away, from where they would sit to what they would eat. Silence lapsed, and unlike the Adam who had tried to make conversation and responded to questions when asked back at the disc-golf course, this new Adam was really good at staring silently with a glazed expression. Megs dug into back-up conversation mode with the question “So what is dating like here?” but even that didn’t give way to actual discourse.
Perhaps the most perplexing moment came toward the end of the meal. We knew Adam was underemployed, and as the dishes were being cleared he said, “Hey, I wonder if this place is hiring!?” He proceeded to ask the waiter for an application, and the waiter directed Adam to speak to the managers. So while Megs and I paid the bill and took down the camera equipment, Adam wandered away to fill out an application for employment.**
The non-couple exited and as Megan tried to politely bid him adieu, she wound up having to ninja-move her way around a potential kiss. Once safely in our car and pulling out of the parking lot, we watched as Adam may or may not have bumped his car into another patron’s automobile. “Should we turn around?” I asked Megs. She gave me a look that I hadn’t witnessed so I drove on.
* I spent way too long trying to come up with cute ways to write Mississippi in shorthand. Like Miii. Or M x 4(i+s) + 2(p). Or Missy.
** I can think of a few reasons for this action…like maybe he wanted to see like he was trying? Or he thought he could capitalize on the situation where he had some sense of standing out from the pack? Or if he wasn’t into Megs, then hey, why make a second trip to the restaurant?