I am going to tell you a story. A very sad story. A story that will make you pity me with every ounce of human empathy that resides in your soul assuming that you’re not a heartless robot. So settle in, brace yourself, and prepare to cringe inwardly and outwardly for the next 10 minutes…I am going to tell you the story of the worst date I have ever been on. And before you roll your eyes at me, I want you to know that this wasn’t a scenario where he didn’t hold my hand (gasp!) or where he made me pay for my own meal (a travesty!) or something petty like that. This was a date where I spent the majority of the time trying to decide whether God was testing me or punishing me (I still haven’t come to a conclusion on that—I’ll get back to you.) So here is my story which also functions as an explanation for why I haven’t eaten at P.F. Chang’s in over 3 years…
So my boyfriend at the time, whom we shall call Finn for our intents and purposes, invited me to P.F. Chang’s for his little brother’s 10th birthday dinner with the family. We had been dating for maybe a little over a month. The “family” that night consisted of Finn, his brother, his dad, and his dad’s second wife whose name was tattooed down the length of the dad’s forearm so there was no chance of anyone forgetting it. So convenient. Thankfully, the ex-wife and the baby momma were not invited. I had met Finn’s family before and it had been fine so it never really occurred to me that this night was going to be a problem. But I was oh so wrong. We started the night off with a bang as Finn and his dad had a riveting ten minute conversation about Finn’s bank account and totally ignored the rest of us for the duration. Then both of the “adults” (notice the sarcastic quotations) ordered huge glasses of wine and proceeded to get super tipsy. Finn and I had driven separately but as I watched the two down the wine, I looked from one to the other and was thinking “Well, I hope your 10-year-old is a good driver.” Finn’s dad then began to openly mock Finn’s biological mom (the ex-wife) and her new Canadian boyfriend. Excellent. Let’s bring up your deep-seated dysfunctional family issues at the dinner table in front of company out in public at the 10-year-old’s birthday dinner. That’s a great idea. At this point, however, I was only mildly uncomfortable. Every family has its issues, right?
But then the waitress came to take our order. If you’ve never been to P.F. Chang’s, they have these huge horse statues as part of their décor inside and they rise well above the heads of the dining guests. It was to one of these statues that Finn’s dad pointed as he boldly and unabashedly asked the waitress, “Why doesn’t the horse have a thingy?” The waitress looked confused. Finn’s dad went on. “You know…a ding-dong. A hmm-hmm. Why doesn’t the horse have one? It should have one. ” In one horrible second it became clear to us all what Finn’s dad was asking this waitress. This poor, poor waitress. She shrugged her shoulders, took our orders, and hurried away alarmed. But it wasn’t over that easily. Finn’s dad asked two more times why the horse was not “anatomically correct”. He just kept on bringing it up and each time I was squirming in my seat and frankly I wanted to go crawl in a hole and die somewhere because I could hardly stand the stifling awkwardness. At one point Finn’s dad asked his second wife’s opinion on the matter and I thought surely this woman would be more mature than he was and tell him to quit acting like an obnoxious, perverted teenage boy. But she simply said, “Yeah, that’s how horses are in the wild. Why don’t the statues here have them?” Hmmm maybe because giant horse penises are likely to make the customers lose their appetites and simultaneously scare little children, you IMBECILES. Like who were these people? Who asks such a question at a nice food establishment? Who asks such a question, period? I feel like this waitress could have filed for sexual harassment or something like geez who would blame her?
But the ball had only just begun to roll. During the rest of the dinner, the following events occurred:
1) Finn’s dad took his chopsticks and shoved them up into his gums and mimicked a walrus (always classy.) He then took the aforementioned chopsticks and stuck them up into a metal piece of art on the wall. Apparently there were two 10-year-olds at the table that night.
2) Finn’s dad decided that it would be totally appropriate to begin sensually kissing his wife’s neck as she giggled like a schoolgirl—no doubt a wine-aided behavior. This went on for some time as I sat in mortified silence/astonished disbelief/nauseating disgust. There went my appetite.
3) Finn’s dad began flinging food at me and Finn. Mainly at Finn, but he was such a bad shot that I had a little pile of red peppers in my lap and rice on my shirt after a few minutes. A grown man throwing food in a restaurant. He’s lucky I didn’t retaliate and hurl a fork at his jugular.
At this point I had begun to wonder if I was on one of those prank shows or something. Really guys, where’s the camera? This can’t be real. Thankfully, Finn and I had planned to see a movie after dinner, so we had a valid reason to get the heck out of there. But before we left, this awko-taco dinner came to a beautiful swan song as Finn’s dad winked at Finn slyly and asked aloud if I was staying over at their house for the night. I looked him straight in the eye and said in my sweetest, most innocent voice “No sir, I have church tomorrow morning.” Boom. Take that you heathens! Because when you don’t know what to say, Jesus is always the answer. Amen. And with that, I held my head high, walked out past the penis-less horse statue with my dignity, and went to go see Men in Black III (which was absolutely phenom by the way.) Needless to say, Finn and I didn’t date for too much longer after that. As much as I enjoyed discussing horse genitalia at the dinner table, his family was just a big ol’ pot of crazy that I didn’t want to get mixed up in. But thankfully I have an outstanding sense of humor and was able to appreciate then and now the hilarity of the situation. I mean hey, at least I got a good story out of it. And the cashew chicken was to die for.