Silent Night

Posted on April 24, 2012

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This story is from Michelle, a 24-year-old fashion editor living in NYC, as told to Raz:

For our fourth date, Charlie invited me to a classical concert. It was a little out of character for him, but nice, I thought, and very mature. We heard the weather might get bad, so we gave ourselves plenty of time to drive there in case of traffic. There was none, so we arrived about forty minutes early. Still, he rushed us to our seats. Thinking he was just excited for the show, I went along with it. And when we got to our row, he stepped back to allow me to enter first. I sat down next to an elderly couple.

“Michelle,” Charlie said. “I’d like you to meet my parents.”

The couple turned to me and smiled. I was in total shock. He couldn’t have mentioned this on the twenty-minute ride here?!

“Well,” Charlie continued. “I’m going to run to the bathroom while you all get to know each other.”

I shot him a death glare, but he must have missed it. Normally, I’m decent at making small talk, but I found myself at a total loss for words. They were both staring at me, which was a little creepy, and I just stared right back, wondering what I could possible say to make this less awkward. I’ve heard so much about you? I hadn’t! I’m so excited to meet you? I wasn’t!

“Are you excited for the show?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Charlie’s mom.

“Did you hit any traffic on the way?” I asked.

“No,” said Charlie’s dad.

I was out of ideas. The more time that passed, the more uncomfortable the situation became. They weren’t even talking to each other! I decided to become fascinated with reading the program.

When I’d practically memorized the names of every member of the orchestra, Charlie still wasn’t back. I was convinced that he had fallen in, and was considering asking his parents if their son made a habit of spending thirty minutes in the bathroom, when I saw that Charlie was finally approaching. He was beaming. I was livid. As he saw my face—and noticed that I was clearly not enjoying a deep conversation with my potential future in-laws—his smile instantly faded. He sat down in a huff, and, thank goodness, the concert began.

Before we left, I exchanged jilted handshakes with Mr. and Mrs. Awkward.

On the car ride back, I again found myself at a loss for words. I was angry and embarrassed and utterly exhausted.

Finally, he spoke: “I’m really disapointed in you. I just thought you would get along with my parents.”

I didn’t respond. I had clearly failed his test, and I knew at that moment that this date would be our last. I took solace in the fact that, if we made the same time we had on the way there, I would only have to spend 15 more minutes in a state of uncomfortable non-conversation. Turns out, the weather man had been about two hours off in his prediction. The storm’s timing was perfect, and our trip home took over an hour.

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