Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Bad Date vs. The Mexican Shrimp Wrap

On Saturday night, I went out with Devin, his cousin, and her boyfriend to see an improv show at UCB.  Afterward, we went next door to Birds for dinner and drinks.  And I was completely thrilled because this meant being reunited with my favorite item on the Birds menu: The Mexican Shrimp Wrap.

I am embarrassingly obsessed with this sandwich, though I'm not entirely sure what makes it so awesome. It's just shrimp, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and some sort of orange-colored sauce.

Anyway, while I was happily shoving my shrimp wrap in my face on Saturday, I was so enamored with it that I felt it necessary to force my dining companions to hear the story of the first time I tried this particular dish.

Yes, there's actually a story about this experience. And because it's a freshly resurrected memory (and because I have nothing else to write about) I'm going to share it with you.

Back when I first moved here, I was an innocent PYT with no job, no place to live, and no circle of friends. I did, however, have Kristen, who I'd buddied up with during my last semester of college because we both knew we were moving to L.A.

The second weekend I was in town, I went with Kristen to the birthday party of an acquaintance of ours. It was at this party that a guy started chatting me up. He was nice enough, but I wasn't at all attracted to him and we didn't appear to have anything in common. Still, I accepted his invitation to go out to dinner.  At this point in my life, I was desperate for free food and new friends, so I didn't think it wise to turn down an opportunity for both.  

And though I didn't know much about him, at the very least he didn't strike me as the sort of person who would suck me into a cult or expose me to intravenous drugs, so it didn't seem like giving him my number was the world's worst idea.

But Kristen did have quite the look on her face when I told her what I'd done.

He called me the next day.   He was bad on the phone and immediately got on my nerves.  He wanted to have dinner that very night, which bothered me because I would've liked him to at least entertain the idea that I might already have plans. 

But, of course, I didn't have plans.   And even though I just wanted to sit alone, drink wine and feel sorry for myself, we arranged for me to meet him at his place in Hollywood.

When I arrived at his doorstep, we had 2 minutes of awkward conversation, followed by a quick and unsolicited tour of his apartment. Then, he asked me where I wanted to go for dinner.

Annoyed, I reminded him that I'd just moved here and the only places I'd been so far were the bar where we met and a burrito stand near the place I was staying. So he thought about it for a while and then decided we should walk down the block to Birds.

As we set off on foot, I seriously began to regret my decision to go out with him.   We walked passed my parked car and I stared at her longingly, tempted to just make a run for it. But, realistically, I had nothing better to do with my evening than have dinner with this guy.

When we arrived at Birds, we were seated outside.

Me: This place seems really cool.
Him: (snotty) I can't believe you've never been here!
Me: I...just...moved here.  

I scanned the menu and then ordered the one non-chicken-based item on it: The Mexican Shrimp Wrap.

After 15 minutes of lousy conversation, the food arrived. I was pleased to learn that the wrap rocked my world, so while he prattled on about "the industry" and how much he hates hipsters, I zoned out and focused on eating without getting sauce on my face or seasoning stuck in my teeth.

Now, the wrap was sliced into two very sizeable halves. After I'd polished off the first, I hesitated to start on the second. If I just saved it for later, I'd already be set for lunch tomorrow. I had an opportunity to get 2 free meals outta this mess.

So I boxed up the second half, turned down the offer for dessert, and hurried us out of the restaurant. We walked silently back to his apartment.

Him: You wanna come inside and watch TV?
Me: Sure, why not?
Him: Cool. Six Feet Under is starting soon.
Me: I've never seen that show.
Him: What's wrong with you?!

What's WRONG with me?

Me: I just...I've been in school the past 4 years. I guess I didn't really have a lot of time to watch TV.
Him: Can we watch it tonight anyway?
Me: Fine. Is it something I'll be able to follow?
Him: Not really.


While we watched the episode, he was sweet enough to try to explain each and every character's background and motivation. But then while he was talking he'd miss what happened in the scene, so he'd just have to rewind it, then watch it, then explain what all of that meant. In the end, it took us 45 extra minutes to get through the one-hour program.

When the end-credits rolled, I jumped up from the couch.

Me: Welp, guess I should get going! You've got work tomorrow.
Him: Oh...okay. Don't you want to stay and watch 24? I have last week's episode on tivo.
Me: I've never seen that show either.
Him: Oh my God!
Me: Aaanway...thanks for dinner! (Forced hug good bye) See ya later!

I walked quickly down the pathway from his door to the street. I'd almost made it to the sidewalk when I realized I forgot to grab my box of Mexican Shrimp Wrap goodness.


I stood in place for a second to figure out my next move. Do I go forward and just forget about this whole evening? Or do I go back, risk him thinking I just can't get enough of him, and then have to explain how I'm too poor to give up my precious ingestible resources?

Ah, who was I kidding? I want that effing wrap! So I marched back up the path and knocked on his door.

And when he opened it, he wasn't wearing pants. Boxers, yes. Pants, no. Of course, I believe everyone has a right to be pantsless in his or her own home. But there were a number of things wrong with this scenario.

First of all, I'd only been gone for 15 seconds. Which means he would have had to close the door behind me when I left and then immediately un-buckle his belt, take off his pants, and put them somewhere clean out of sight.

And second, he could have only assumed that it would be ME knocking on his door. So why did he look so surprised and embarrassed? And, more importantly, WHY DIDN'T HE PUT ON HIS FUCKING PANTS?

Lucky for me, his vulnerable state meant that I no longer needed to explain myself.

Me: I forgot my leftovers.
Him: I'll get them.

He closed the door. I waited. He returned with my food.

Me: Thanks.
Him: Bye.

He didn't call me again after that. And that was obviously just fine by me.

This is the memory that, unfortunately, comes to mind whenever I have the Mexican Shrimp Wrap. 

But it's totally worth it.


Jack and Jill said...

This is fantastic. I feel like I have been on this date before. Like a million times.

Aren't you so happy you're done dating bozos??

Emily said...

haha this is hilarious. and now i'm starving. damnit. lol

surviving myself said...

He was going to whack it to Jack Bauer.

Felicia said...

This is hilarious!! I miss Birds's onion rings!!!!

Katelin said...

at least he didn't take off his pants and eat your leftovers in one swoop, that could have been awkward, haha.

miss clover said...

i love this story because it makes me feel less alone. i too have suffered for free meals.

but yes agreed. he was going to whack it to jack bauer.

JenBun said...

I thought maybe "Mexican Shrimp Wrap" was going to be a reference to his... um... area. Heh heh! :P