Not only did Subodh have a good personality, he chose a really nice Japanese restaurant. And when I say really nice, it was nicer than he intended. When we asked for menus, the waitress informed us that they served omakase style, a set tasting menu of dishes selected by the chef. There were two menu options – one was $140 and one was $180. The difference was the number of items on the menu.
It was obvious that Subodh hadn’t realized this was an omakase place when he chose it. Apparently he hadn’t bothered to read the Yelp reviews either. I’d always wanted to try omakase, but I wanted to give him the option to bow out gracefully as I didn’t expect him to drop over $300 on dinner, especially for a first eHarmony date.
“Do you want to go somewhere else?” I asked when the waitress stepped away. We hadn’t yet chosen between the two menus.
“No,” he said good naturedly, smiling and showing his crooked teeth, “let’s do it!”
We ordered hot sake, and I assured him the $140 menu would be more than enough sushi for me.
It was, except I didn’t want to eat half the things that arrived. I gamely took at least one bite of everything . . . except what I knew I already hated, like sea urchin and octopus. I did try raw squid, which was virtually impossible to chew. My advice is stick to fried calamari.
Finally, a fun first date! It was adventurous and upscale, with the bonus that I got to see a lot about Subodh by how he handled a Japanese tasting menu of exotic and sometimes unidentifiable items.
It had taken me a month on eHarm to even go on a date, but it was worth the wait. Until now I thought I’d been wasting my time and money.
The bluefin tuna was amazing. I was pretty sure I’d heard that you weren’t supposed to eat bluefin for environmental reasons, but it was already sitting on the plate in front of me, and turning it down wasn’t going to save its life. Plus, it was delicious.
We worked our way through several orders of hot sake, served in a fancy teapot rather than the traditional flask.
I liked Subodh more and more with each new course. He was talkative, witty and could afford this dinner.
When the check came I didn’t see the total, but it had to be over $400 with tip. Subodh paid nonchalantly and offered to walk me to my car.
As we walked down Sawtelle, I could see Subodh trying awkwardly to put his arm around me or take my hand, but he couldn’t quite pull it off. He didn’t know how to make a move. That lack of confidence is usually a major turnoff, but he had engendered so much goodwill during dinner that I felt sorry for the guy and wanted to help him out.
When we got to my car, I leaned over and hugged him. I could tell he wanted to go in for the kiss, but he didn’t.
He got formal and stiffly announced, “Nice to meet you!” before turning away.
It was a disappointing ending to a surprisingly good date.
I stood there for a second wondering if I should let him just walk away.
“Come here,” I said.
He turned back towards me and I leaned over and hugged him again, this time putting my face close to his in just the right position so that even the most awkward man in the world would be able to go in for the kiss. He did. He was a good kisser, and we stood on the street making out for awhile before I told him that I’d give him a ride to his car, parked in the lot of the sister restaurant.
When we got into the car, I turned it on, but we didn’t drive anywhere for probably an hour. Subodh had quickly morphed from insecure to aggressive, and was trying to get his hands both down and up my dress. I kept him at bay as much as I could – and I probably should have stopped him altogether and taken him to his car – but I was caught up in the moment. Until he started to chant, “Let’s go back to your room. Let’s go back to your room.” Chant is the right word, because it sounded like an incantation as he repeated it over and over.
Then he did something no one had ever done to me before: he pinched my arm so hard that it bruised.
“What the fuck are you doing?” I asked. “That hurts!”
I was not into pain, and this interrupted my reverie and made me push him off of me and turn on the car.
“Don’t ever do that,” I said.
To be honest, it scared me. If he was into pinching so hard I bruised when we were in my car on the first date, what would he want to do naked in bed?
I pulled away from the curb and drove to the lot of the other restaurant. It was closed. No valet in sight.
“Fuck!” Subodh said. “My car is locked in.”
The lot didn’t look locked.
“Go check,” I said. There had to be some way to get his car.
He got out of my car, walked over to his, and came back with a note that said, “Valet closes at 11:30. Please come back tomorrow after 11 to get your car.”
You’ve got to be kidding.
“Shit. My house key is on my keychain with my car key,” he said.
What a moron! Who leaves their house key with their car key when they valet park?
He seemed to be implying I should invite him to come back to my place, but after the last few minutes, all I wanted was to get rid of him.
“Well, you better call an Uber,” I said.
“I’m locked out. I can’t get into my apartment.”
“Then you better call a friend,” I said.
“At 12:30?” he asked, incredulous.
I could see there were still lights on and people inside the restaurant, and I told him to go inside and check if his key was in there. It’s not like the valet took the keys home with him for the night.
He got out of the car and walked into the restaurant. I watched through the window as he talked to the host, waiting to see if he got the keys.
Then I texted him: “Do they have your keys?”
He didn’t respond. I waited a couple of minutes to see what happened, and when he didn’t give me any signal or respond to my text, I drove away.
When I got home I texted him again, “Are you ok?”
Why was I checking on a man who had just pinched me while making out and had been begging me to take him to “my room?”
He still didn’t respond.
I got in bed, and the next morning when I woke up to a big purple and yellow bruise on the top of my left arm, I blocked his number on my phone.
When I’d called eHarmomy “eHarm,” I wasn’t expecting to end up with bruises.