By senior year, I had earned the nickname “Petey” within my house. In all honesty, I deserved it. Forgive me for preferring the female form prior to the nightmare that is four (and sometimes five) years of binge drinking, late night fast food and countless frappuccinos, but freshman are just sort of my thing. I pillaged incoming pledge classes from year-to-year, using the always accepted “we’re both in college” logic. Starting grad school this year, I just wasn’t ready to give up my youthful fetish, though even I admit now it’s getting a bit weird.
Speaking of weird, when 19-year-old Alyson swiped right, I assumed I was dealing with, at worst, a rising sophomore — a wide, but relatively harmless, age gap that would allow me to continue my Peter Pan style dating profile without too much social backlash. Alyson is a 10, and I say that fully understanding that you won’t believe it, but maybe I can get her to be Instagram Babe of the Day at some point to prove it. We’ll see. Regardless, when I found out she was in high school (prom pictures = dead giveaway) the pros still outweighed the cons. Good by law, good by me. That’s the law student motto.
I took Alyson the same place I take every girl: an upscale tapas restaurant that says, “Hey, let’s be spontaneous, but here’s my platinum card.” We took shots of Patron and ordered a smorgasbord of chef chosen nonsense. See, I’m a fun guy, right? When she mentioned after our second shot that she wanted to see my place, I was in full Frank Reynolds mode. The Uber driver could have charged me anything he wanted. My buzz and her body made rational thought impossible. He had the car, and I needed to get home. It was that simple, really.
After a nightcap on my balcony and a makeout featuring a double nip slip, she abruptly goes home. A good girl — even better. I met her for brunch the next afternoon, getting there early enough to have a couple drinks. I’m a lightweight (no shame), so by the time she showed up, I was openly snapping pics of her to my friends and story with the tagline “SWISH.” She loved it — we’re modest people. Brunch turned into cocktails, which turned into shots, which turned into shopping.
While letting her pick a new cologne for me, she gets a call from her mother. Apparently it’s her parents’ 20th anniversary and they insist she joins them for pre-dinner drinks. I’m drunk, but not fucking insane. I want no part of this. But then it happens. “They would love if you came,” she says. Hmmm. This is absolutely not the type of coming I was hoping to experience today. I buy a new outfit and get ready for battle. Am I a cocky asshole? Maybe, but meeting the parents scares me worse than the first night of pledging. I highly doubt I’ll end up in my boxers with two 40s taped to my hands, but to be honest, that sounds better than this.
We get there a little early — prime opportunity to pound shots. A must. She somehow thinks this is a good time to inform me that her father is a partner in a large law firm, one of the best in the city we now both live in. The drinks keep coming. After charging my way through two shots and an old fashioned, I thought I was ready.
This, of course, all changed when they actually arrived. Her parents approached the bar as I chugged my drink like kickoff was in five minutes. Jesus, I should’ve fucking shaved.
I could tell instantly that her mom was fun. She was young, good looking, and instantly ordered a drink like it was a natural reflex. The girls had wine, I mimicked her father like a puppy, trading generic law school stories and get-to-know-you questions over another old fashioned. After a drink, I figured I was home free. Like Patrick Bateman getting a good table, “relief washed over me like an awesome wave.”
But then they ordered another round for everyone. Don’t these people have a fucking reservation at some point? As time ticked away, I started to wonder if this could turn into a dinner situation. Now, this would pose a litany of issues, but most notably that I was piss drunk and focusing on not dropping my 7th or 8th or 9th drink as if it was the fucking SAT.
Sure enough, the invite came and of course I accepted. We made our way to the booth, and though my nerves had eased, my buzz had accelerated. The menu might as well have been in Arabic. I couldn’t see the letters. Pretty sure I claimed to be a skier, feigned a love of soccer and perhaps described my political ideology as “moderate.” It was a landslide of bullshit while the six-course tasting menu and the accompanying wine selections buried me further.
Like a true gentleman, I took each break between courses as an opportunity for a restroom break. Each unique in their own way, the second featuring a desperate call to my father leaned up against the urinal, the third a double shot of espresso, but none quite like the fourth when Alyson’s father accompanied me. I’m not sure if he had to pee or feared for my safety. Maybe he thought I would get lost. Either way, I ended up six inches from crossing swords with her dad, and so drunk I wasn’t sure if I was standing at the sink or the urinal.
I leaned my head back and looked at the ceiling. It was like it spoke to me: “Matt, now you must do something incredibly fucking dumb.” I obliged. Mid-stream, I turned to her dad: “Sir,” as he looks at me shocked. “Yeah?” “I just wanted to let you know this…this whole thing, it’s not normal for me.” He asks me what I’m talking about.
“You know, this, your daughter…she’s like in fucking high school sort of — I mean she looks old, I don’t mean old, but you know what I mean…older.”
I’m making less sense than Obama on foreign policy at this point. “And like, I’m old and I feel weird so if you or Mrs. Freeman feel like I’m some old nut or perv or something I completely get it and I’ll…I don’t know — I’ll do whatever you guys want.”
He had been done peeing for about half of my blabbering eruption of nonsense, but waited kindly. “Matt…” I was too drunk to be anxious, though I knew this was an important moment. “Do you like my kid?” he said. “Yes sir, I do.” “Good, then make her happy. Nobody gives a fuck how old you are.” He smacked me on the back and walked out. Drops the mic, no hand wash. Total power move.
Now, I would like to say this is the cute ending to my first parental encounter. Unfortunately, it is not. I swayed my way back to the table feeling rejuvenated, sitting down to find a dessert portion featuring prosecco and “an after dinner shot.” I took the shot and almost instantaneously went full Linda Blaire from the Exorcist through my nose and mouth. A sinister concoction of bourbon and red wine scorched my nostrils and destroyed my clothing. Needless to say, dinner ended abruptly, and I assumed ISIS had a better chance of another date than I did..