My first date with the dude who would become Mr. McDoogal was actually my only first date ever. I was 22 and had only been single for a few months after being dumped by my high school BF. This date was kind of destined for awkwardness because I didn’t know how to act. Later, I would learn that he actually liked my straightforward manner, when the truth was I just had no idea what I was doing.
Things started off easily enough: a quick handshake and we headed into Starbucks (I know). Since it was summer, we both got iced drinks, and on the way out the door, he tilted his drink toward me. A normal person would assume (correctly) that he was doing kind of a friendly “cheers!” thing, but I thought he was offering me a sip and I took a sip of his drink. Fortunately for me, he just kind of half-laughed and we moved on and I managed not to run away screaming and/or exploding from embarrassment.
So an hour or two later, he walked me to the door of my apartment building, and we stood on the sidewalk doing that “awkward extended goodbye; interested in you but sorry, not inviting you up” thing. My reasons for not inviting him up, by the way, were twofold: I was still smarting from the breakup and didn’t want rush into things, and I wasn’t ready for him to see my messy apartment and slightly-embarrassing geriatric pet hamster.
(An important sidebar here is that my spouse has kind of an angel face; strangers of all stripes find him very approachable. I didn’t know this yet, but I was about to learn.)
After a few minutes of talking and not making out, we heard a car pull up right next to us. Now, I lived in a cute neighborhood in a nice town right outside Washington, DC, so there was usually nothing to worry about, but it was late and there weren’t any other cars around, so we both took immediate notice. It was a guy, alone in a pickup truck, and as he rolled down his window and leaned over the passenger seat, I reflexively took a step backward.
The guy asked Mr. McD for some money for gas, and he truthfully answered that he didn’t have any cash. (These were the days when we never had cash on us, because having cash meant you actually had real money.) I thought it was weird enough that someone driving a car was panhandling, but it was about to get weirder.
“I just, I really need some cash, man. I hate to say this in front of your lady friend here” — which, by the way, lady friend, like it was the freaking 1950s — “but a bunch of guys just jumped me and they took my wallet, everything. They took my pants, man.” It was almost seven years ago, but I still remember his exact wording: They took my pants, man. He then gestured for Dave to look to confirm that he, indeed, was without trousers.
But ascertaining that his pants were missing just raised more questions than it answered. Who were these hooligans? Where were they now? What had made them decide to go jumping people and stealing pants in a quiet residential area? Why did they bother taking his pants when they could easily have just taken his wallet? Why did this guy go driving down a nearly empty street trying to beg for money when what he really should have been doing was going to the police station?
I don’t know, guys. Maybe they were nice pants. Maybe these were people he had planned on engaging in some sexytime with but things went horribly wrong. Maybe he was lying, and he’d lost his pants some other way. Maybe he was high. OK, no, he was definitely high. The point is, it was with heavy hearts that we had to send him on his way without any money and without his precious pants.
The only silver lining, I suppose, was that my sip-taking faux pas ending up not being the most memorable thing about our first date. And after that, a laugh, a shrug, and a hug goodnight didn’t feel nearly as awkward as it probably would have without that little icebreaker. So thank you, pantsless man. I hope wherever you are now, your ass is wrapped in beautiful fabric.