Recently I was out at dinner with a couple of friends when I realised that I had been on a date a few years back with a man sitting alone a few tables away. The dilemma arose, should I say hello or not...is that rude, am I ignoring him.. do I ‘have to say hello’ etc… The date itself was kind of ok. It started off really well, he took me to the exhibition opening of a friend of his (the works were interesting), but then the date became progressively...ummm… less fun. Dinner was at a really grotty Asian dumping place where the dirt on the floor had dirt on it. The toilets at the establishment were insanely unclean (I was scared to touch anything at all, including the flush button), I found myself wondering if they had ever been cleaned, at all, ever and then I started to freak out, so I distracted myself with optimistic thoughts of the evening.. and how I need to calm down, otherwise my date will think I am a loon. I composed myself and made my way back to the table... Thats when things took a turn for the bizarre. My date’s eye started to bleed internally…which meant that blackness slowly oozed over the white of his eye (which was apparently common for him). He talked about his ex, who was his favourite type of man- quiet and takes to being bossed about (yes…I began to have the same thoughts that you yourself are now having). It gets better, because my date then told me that I was lovely, because I reminded him of the ex he used to control…He then became a little saddened as he told me how the ex eventually worked up the courage to stand up for himself and left, but then my date looked up cheerfully and expectantly at me. The part of his eye that wasn’t black with oozing blood, twinkled. No need for me to tell you that I didn’t see this man again… well that was until the recent dinner.
I explained this to my friend’s.. who looked past that and still argued a point on etiquette… The whole 'Do I have to say hello or not?' debate raged. My friends felt that not only was it the polite thing to do, but I had to go over and say hello because by now, he had looked over a few times and it was obvious that we were talking about him. I argued that I could be wrong, it might not be him (as suggested by a scar on his scalp that I didn’t recall being there when we dated).. and anyway, he could always come over and say hello to me etc.....but alas, bloody majority rule ruled that I go and say hello… which I did.
The Conversation awkwardly went like this:
Him: looking at me puzzled, but with a polite smile.
Me: “did you used to work at….”
Me: “And your name is…..”
Him: “Yes..” (he still looks at me puzzled..) "do I know you?"
Me: “Umm.. not sure if you remember me, we went out on a date once…”
Him: “Did we?..(he now lights up as if he won the Lotto…can you blame him?).. where did we go?….”
So, after much explaining… it turns out he didn’t recall me. He apologised and I turned and glared at my friends. He had had some brain trauma and surgery. This led to him losing part of his memory and gaining HUGE scars on his head! The scar on the side of his head not facing me was almost as big as his head. I joked that he should lie about the scars and say that he was in a fight and thrown through a window, It was much more ‘butch’ and exciting a story than the truth.. he politely smiled and I wondered why I often make such stupid statements. I mentioned that my friends thought they saw him looking over at us 'as if he knew me', he apologised for their mistake. Apparently he was just looking past us at through the window. I looked over and gave my friends a very ferocious glare.
The awkward part was when he asked me what happened after the date- how come we didn’t go on a second date etc… I was polite and said that he was still working through his break up.. etc
Anyway… after we exchanged phone numbers (yes, Those bloody HUGE scars were guilt inducing!!).. he instructed me that I was too call him first, quote’ “Now, YOU WILL call me and we will meet”. At this I went a little nuts.. my hands waived about manically and I was quite beside myself and forthright in voicing my objection (to put it mildly)… In fact I think I said rather incredulously (and with raised voice and those manically flailing arms)- “Why am I calling you??? I came over her and said hello to you, so if anything you should call me!!”. I then went on to repeat this, but louder (umm maybe a touch more hysterically now) and with even more exaggerated hand movements. Obviously I was on a soap box and was not going to let the fact that I didn’t want to say hello, let alone see him again, get in the way of a good argumentative point. Anyway, after making my point several times (a specialty of mine), breathing out quite loudly and giving him a look that stated ‘I cannot believe you!' I shook my head and stormed off in annoyance, well, as much as you can ‘storm off’ when you’re only going back to your place three tables away.
Moral of the story is:
It’s probably not best to go up to an ex and say hello...unless
a) You really want to
b) You are absolutely, positively sure that they saw and recognised you, and you want to follow etiquette and ‘do the right thing’.