"Why don't you just take this back and bring me one that has been cooked on the premises,"
These are the words that are coming out of my date's mouth. I am sitting in a Pizza Express furiously twiddling with my hair as I'm watching my date argue with the waitress. Already he has fussed around how this restaurant is filled with too many children (it's a Saturday night and it's Pizza Express - what do you expect?), has fussed about the fact that he had to park too far away from the restaurant, which resulted in the scrapings of his shoes, AND ordered the house wine, asked to taste it, pulled a horrified face and then sent it back. It's official - I have hit a new low with this one.
I didn't necessarily want to go on a date with Grant, but somehow I found myself sitting in front of him, staring at his receeding hairline, the stuffed napkin hanging from his collar, and his not so pleasant manarisms. This was my only free Saturday night in a long time, but my friend asked me to entertain her out-of-town cousin and me, not being able to say no, happily obliged. I just didn't realise that her cousin would be this specimen sitting in front of me.
"I've been to the finest restaurants in Paris," he pronounces 'Paris' like he's French, "Food just has to pleasure my palette just so," he continues to slur with his cockney accent. "I've been to many wine tasting courses. The proper ones! You know, in France," he continues but I'm quickly losing interest. "It just doesn't compare with the piss poor stuff served here in England," he takes a sip of water and snorts. "Even the water has a better taste there," and lets out a huge chuckle.
"I'm sure living in France for so long has given you the manners and etiquette you so clearly display," I said sarcastically. If he caught what I meant he certainly didn't show it. He clicked his fingers at the approaching waitress and shouted, "Where's that cannelloni, love?"
When the waitress told him his food would be there in a few minutes, I knew we'd have problems. Five minutes later and Grant is getting restless and keeps repeating, "You just wouldn't find this sort of behaviour in Pareeee,"
That STUPID accent. I want to yell, You're from Islington. You only lived in Paris for three weeks! But miraculously I refrain.
We've been here two hours now. My food came and I ate it without a complaint - that was an hour and a half ago now. In that one hour and a half, Grant has been presented with an array of different options, all of which he has turned up his nose at and dismissed.
"Finally!" he states when the waitress presents his food. "Now that wasn't so hard, was it?"
She's about to walk away but Grant cuts her step by saying, "Hang on, let me try it first,"
The waitess and I are transfixed in awe hoping this mouthful with agree with him and there will be an end to his idiotic tantrums. We stare as he chews (with his mouth open), and wait until he swallows.
"Better," he says, digging in. "You can go now," he orders the waitress when he notices she's still standing there.
"Well, aren't you a charmer with the ladies," I joke but he appears to not have heard me over his canelloni chews. He really does look ridiculous when he's eating. It's like all his face muscles are twitching in unison making sure he devours the food fully.
"Want some?" he offers a forkful which splatters a little on my dress.
"No!" I snap a little harsher than I had meant to. I wipe the splutters off my new Karen Millen dress and curse under my breath. Why am I here? Why am I not at home watching Strictly Come Dancing?
A couple of minutes later and his plate has been (literally) licked clean. He's sitting back huffing at his fullness, pot belly proudly poking out.
There is nothing attractive about this man. Physically...well...let's just say he's an acquired taste, and as for mentally he's the most unattractive man I have ever encountered.
There is nothing chivalrous about him. An old lady asked him to scooch his chair forward so that she could get past and he pretended not to listen to her. When she gave up trying he turned to me and said, "Bloody coffin dodgers!"
The desert menus are thrusted in front of us by a waiter with a beaming smile. I have a feeling that smile will soon fade once he realises the sort of customer that's in front of him.
"I'll have the cheescake," I tell the waiter.
Grant is still perusing. "Ummm, I'll have a tarte au citron," he shoves the menu at the waiter.
"Sorry, what was that, Sir?" the waiter asks politely.
"A tarte au citron!" Grant enunciates every letter, then rolls his eyes at me.
The waiter is beginning to look uncomfortable. "...Umm, I don't believe we do that, Sir. We do a delicious lemon cheesecake. Would you like to try that?"
"Oh, please tell me you have a tarte au citron?" he asks, then looks back at me as if the waiter is being a moron. "Every fine restaurant in Pareeee serves a tarte au citron,"
"They don't serve that here!" I snap at him. "Just order something from the menu!" I'm getting rather impatient. With any luck he won't order any desert at all and I might make it back in time for the Strictly Come Dancing results.
The waiter hands the menu back, and like a bad tempered child, Grant yanks it from him and starts browsing again. "I don't want anything form the menu," he stomps his foot on the floor and crosses his arms.
Child! Petty little child!
"Fine, can we just get the bill please?" I kindly smile at the waiter who quickly leaves us.
Five minutes later he returns and puts a tray down on the table.
I dig my bag for my purse. From the corner of my eye I notice that Grant isn't even bothered about looking at the bill. He's still sitting there arms crossed looking around the restaurant.
"This is on you, yeah?" he asks as if it's general knowledge.
OK, I know it's wrong but I'm a little shocked. Almost always when I go on a date I offer to pay, but the guy always fights back and doesn't let me. But this one is actually blurting it out, not even offering to pay half for all the delays he caused.
"I guess so," I grunt and put the money on the table. The water soon swoops past and takes it, handing back a tray of change mere seconds later. "I'll leave a £5 tip," I say picking up the stray coins.
But Grant jumps in. "Nah, nah! Don't do that. They didn't do their job properly," and to my surprise he picks up the remaining coins and shoves them in his pocket! "Now, let's go. Dying for a shit,"
Wonderful! We must do this again sometime!