Surprise!

Posted on April 19, 2012

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This story is from Megan, a 28-year-old writer in NYC, as told to Raz:

It was my third date with Alex, and I was excited about him. After all, he was sweet, smart and easy on the eyes—a rarity in NYC. He texted me the night before to say that he had exciting plans for us, but it was a surprise. In general, I don’t like surprises. What’s a girl to wear?!

The next day, he picked me up after work and lead me to the PATH train. Wondering what kind of fun plans could possibly be in New Jersey, I put on a smile and made the decision to go with the flow. But as the train started heading in the direction of the town where he grew up, my head started to reel. It was too soon (and my dress was too low cut) for meeting the parents! I tried to convince myself that this was just a trip to a favorite hometown restaurant or bar. No matter how many questions I asked, Alex’s lips were sealed. When we finally arrived at our final destination, I was shocked. It was a church.

“This is the church I grew up going to,” he said.

“Great!” This forced smile wasn’t going anywhere.

And the Giants’ coach is giving the sermon tonight!”

Side note: I do not watch football. I’m actually more of a theater buff. And, though I do go to church from time to time, it is not among my favorite activities. Especially on a date.

We walked inside and took our seats. He was visibly excited, which I have to admit, was kind of cute. The sermon was pretty boring, but at one point, the coach quoted Bette Milder, and I took pride in thinking I might have been the only one in the room who got the reference. So the church experience wasn’t a total loss.

It went downhill from there. When Alex’s 79-year-old uncle showed up to take us back to the train, he was not in a good mood. Apparently, traffic had been less than excellent on his way there. The profanities that man was screaming wouldn’t be acceptable at the rowdiest of football games, let alone in his family’s church. As Alex tried to calm him, I hung my head in a nearby pew. Uncle Swears-a-Lot didn’t calm down on the ride back to the station, either. But as we got back on the PATH train, I could feel the tension let up as Alex and I joked about the experience.

As we neared the city, Alex announced surprise number two. He walked me from the PATH station to a nearby building.

“I want to show you my office,” he announced.

Was this some kind of kinky fantasy of his? Had he laid out a picnic dinner on his office floor? None of the above. Turns out, Alex had remembered on the way home that he had some unfinished work to do. I sat there for an hour and watched him make phone calls and fill out paper work.

Church and the office in one night? By the end of the evening, I’d had enough of Alex’s surprises.

Out of the goodness of my heart, when he asked me out again, I gave him a second chance. I’m glad I did, because we’re still together two years later. I just don’t have the heart to tell him that that night was definitely the worst date ever, and now, I always make the plans.

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