3/08/2012

A Family Affair

Story Sent in by Marilyn:

The dating pool was pretty shallow, where I used to be from. During that time, I met Travis online. He and I liked a lot of the same music, and we both worked in two different hardware stores, a town or two apart.

After talking online for a while, he asked me out on a proper date, to a popular steakhouse (actually the only steakhouse) in the area.

When I arrived there, I found him seated at a booth with four other people: on one side was a large, red-faced woman next to a tall, thick-bearded man, and on the other side, two younger girls: one around 16, the other couldn't have been older than 10. Travis sat next to them, all the way inside the booth.

"Marilyn!" Travis shoved himself out of the booth and over to where I stood, "Great to meet you! This is my family," he turned back to the group at the table, "My mom, dad, and sisters: Bea and Alice."

"Your family?" I asked, as in, "You brought your family?"

"They sure are!" he replied, "Here, I'll get you an extra chair."

I wanted to be polite, but I certainly didn't want to stay for long. Travis set up a chair for me at the end of the booth and sat back down, all the way inside, again.

Travis's mother asked me, "Where are you from?"

I replied, "Willington."

Travis's mother giggled and said, "Not what town, honey. Where's your family from? Your roots?"

I replied, "Way back? I think Germany, England, somewhere in there."

Travis's mother frowned and sat back, as if she had hoped for a better answer. As if in agreement, Travis's father leaned forward and said, "Aw, don't be like that, Irene. She's prettier than a pop can full o'sugar!"

Alice, the youngest sister, asked, "Where are your parents?"

I said, "At work and at home. Not here."

"Why?" she asked.

Travis cut in, "Isn't this great? Our first big dinner as a family!"

The waitress chose that moment to take our drink orders. Travis's father ordered five plates of nachos for the table and was sure to watch the waitress's ass as she walked away.

He caught me looking and said, "Mmm, yeah."

It made me shudder. I said, "I appreciate meeting... all of you for dinner, but I can't stay too long."

Travis asked, "Why?"

I said, "My...cousin was in an accident over in Mt. Carmel, and I have to drive my aunt to the hospital. Nothing bad. She just hit a hydrant, but they're checking her out, anyway."

"Sorry to hear," Travis's mother said.

Travis's father said something to me that sounded like, "You're real pretty," but it was low, so I couldn't hear him too well. It dawned on me a moment later that he was very likely drunk.

I said, "Yeah, so I kind of have to go..." and I stood up.

Travis shoved out of the booth again and said to me, "I'll walk you out."

He did, and when we made it outside, he wished me and my family well, then went for a kiss. I pushed him away, he said, "Okay," and shuffled back inside the restaurant.

I felt bad for lying to him and his family, but I thought that it was a small price to pay to escape that mess.

18 comments:

  1. You got a purdy mouth, OP.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Jared, do you change the names of the towns, or just the people? I don't mean to stereotype, but for the safety of our readership it's important for us to have this information in order to avoid this inbred clan of cattle-raping yokels.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha... I change the names of towns, streets, etc. I don't want any of you wackos stalking the writers.

      I reserve that for myself.

      Delete
    2. Wackos?
      There's Wackos on this site?
      Ha!
      Ha Ha!
      Mwhahahahaha.....uh, fuck it.

      Delete
    3. That's your answer for everything. Your revolution is over, Mr. Lebowski. The bums lost. Condolences.

      Delete
  3. At least she wasn't a dinner whore.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Two comments.

    One, Travis (and his entire family) are nuts. And probably racists too, to boot. Examine this paragraph:


    Travis's mother giggled and said, "Not what town, honey. Where's your family from? Your roots?"

    I replied, "Way back? I think Germany, England, somewhere in there."

    Travis's mother frowned and sat back, as if she had hoped for a better answer. As if in agreement, Travis's father leaned forward and said, "Aw, don't be like that, Irene. She's prettier than a pop can full o'sugar!"


    Why would the mother frown? And why would the father reassure the mother by saying the equivalent of, "oh, well, at least she's pretty, so it isn't *that* bad?" I smell a rat.

    As for my second comment, I would suspect that many, if not most, OPs fictionalize location/name info when submitting their entries. At least, that's what I would do if I were to ever submit an anecdote. So in many cases, Jared may not have the 'actual' info either.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The submission form says, "We will change all proper names within the story." I mean for that to be taken at face value.

      Delete
    2. Sorry - I didn't mean to imply people shouldn't trust you!

      Delete
    3. An apology in the comments section? Wow, this site is getting to be unrecognizable.

      Delete
    4. When I was 14, my first boyfriend showed his mom a picture of me while he and I were talking on the phone. (We had just started dating.) I could hear her ask him, "Ask her if she's Polish. She looks like a Pollack." I replied that I was most Italian, but also Polish, German, Austrian, and Irish. That was NOT a satisfactory response, apparently, because I could then hear her tell her son that he could do better than a "mutt."

      We broke up soon after that.

      Delete
  5. What happens when an OP sends in a fake location and you, Jared, change it, by coincidence to the real location. I bet that spells, trouble mister!?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe that something similar happened once, with an OP who sent in a story with changed names and I changed the name, by coincidence, to the actual name of the party involved. Hence the disclaimer on the submission form.

      If it's a particularly awful date, I assume that it's one of yours, so I'm sure to not use "Howie," despite it being one of my biggest temptations.

      Delete
  6. OP definitely did the right thing by ending the date and getting out of there quickly. What I DON'T think the OP did right was lie about why. Even the absolute worst date ever deserves the courtesy of an honest answer what they did wrong. It wouldn't have to be overly emotional, just "I thought I was going on a date, and I don't think it's appropriate that you brought your whole family." would do. As it is, he learns nothing at all from the experience.

    ReplyDelete
  7. If this were a big city then I would agree with you, Andrew. But in a shallow dating pool such as the one OP describes, it's important not to antagonize people or you get a bad rap. Even if she softened the blow and didn't tell him something like "I'm leaving because you're a clan of racist inbred savages reminiscent of an H.P. Lovecraft story" it's quite possible Travis could have taken offense and spread rumors about the OP being a slut, which would have sabotaged her dating life.

    In general, whenever you're dealing with smaller groups of people - whether it's a small town or a fringe subculture - it's best to err on the side of diplomacy, since everybody has some sort of tie to everybody else and therefore you never know the full repercussions that giving offense may have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. +1.

      That's a really nice post. Honesty is important, but there are times when protecting yourself takes precedence.

      Delete
  8. "Prettier than a pop can full'o sugar" is my new favorite phrase.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Why does this story somehow remind me of the X-Files episode "Home"?

    ReplyDelete

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