My Date with Pete

I think you can tell a lot about a person by the place they pick for drinks.

Pete chose Applebee’s.

I enjoy Applebee’s for late night half off appetizers with my friends or an inexpensive dinner. But I live in a college town, with a plethora of unique and interesting places to drink. And the boy who I could have sworn was wearing eyeliner when I first met him chose Applebee’s.

So I got ready with trepidation. Since I’ve become a firm believer in giving every date a fair shot no matter what your first impressions might be, I curled my hair, threw on some eye shadow, and actually tried on more than one outfit. But as my roomie said, “Have fun!” my response was–

“One can only hope.”

When I arrived he was waiting, looking a little less grunge but still with striking eyelashes. He suggested we sit at the corner of the bar instead of at a table, and I agreed, thinking that if this went from disappointing to disastrous, it’d be easier to get away from a bartender than a waitress.

When we sat down, I reached for the drink menu, but Pete stopped me.

“You’re not going to need that,” he said. “Hey, Paul!”

Apparently Pete was friends with the bartender. Apparently they went through bartending school together. And apparently Applebee’s can serve more than your standard mojito.

Pete asked me what I liked to drink and made suggestions that I had never even heard of. Since we were both driving, Paul served us in sampler size glasses. The last one was a drink Pete and Paul had made up on their own, and I would share the recipe with you but they made me promise not to tell anyone. It was good.

I was having fun, I’ll admit it. I mean, drinking for free with two attractive, reasonably funny guys? We spent the first half hour just joking around, swapping stories of irresponsibility [like the time I woke up after a night of excessive drinking and found a phone number in my pocket–my phone number–except for the last two digits. Oops?]. But as Paul was serving up their signature drink, I asked Pete, “So are you a bartender too?”

“Not really,” Pete replied. “I bartended for a couple months, but most of the bars here cater to the undergrad douche bag.”

“So what do you do now?”

This should be an easy question, right? RIGHT?

“I work for an undertaker,” Pete said. Very casually.

“You’re an undertaker?” I was still making the connection between man I was sitting next to and the cartoon hunchback carrying a lantern and a shovel through a graveyard.

“No, I’m his assistant.”

“So,” I started slowly, because I was unsure whether or not I really wanted to utter these words, “you’re an undertaker’s assistant.”

“Yeah, I’ve been there for almost a year.” Pete was momentarily transfixed by a playoff game. It might have been a move to give me sometime to think this through–stunned silence is probably something Pete encounters often–and if so, it was to his credit.

Because I took the minute to consider the job, decide to stop considering the job, and to make the choice to forge ahead on this date. Yeah, it’s not the most…conventional of careers. But a man is not his job. Sometimes you just have to pay the bills. And we’d have time to talk about it [assuming I wanted to know more about it]. If I liked Pete enough to go on a second date with him.

And you know what? Through the next hour of conversation, laughter, and maybe just enough alcohol, I decided I did like Pete enough to go out with him again.
And he decided the same.

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