Dating: Choose Your Own Adventure

“First question,” I asserted. “How hungry are you?”

“Famished,” Bandersnatch replied dramatically, with a smile.

“Interested in taking dinner upstairs to the roof?”

“It’s kind of cold,” Bandersnatch replied hesitantly.

“No worries, I’m flexible. Let’s eat in here. I’ve attempted to make Thai coconut milk soup and it turned out okay, so that’s what we’ll eat. Please, don’t judge my cooking skills.”

This was actually the most nerve-wracking part of the night for me. I’m not a great cook; somehow I over or underuse spices to a degree that could ruin a meal. In the case of this night, I had severely overused ginger, and poor Bandersnatch had the unfortunate opportunity to taste my cooking shortcomings first-hand. Nevertheless, he managed to smile after gulping down a mound of ginger at the end of his soup. I reddened at the embarrassment of the situation, but I appreciated his good nature.

Was the night ruined by the lump of ginger? Y/N

Let’s find out!

“Alright, that’s the first narrative. The second step is to choose whether or not you would like to go out or stay in tonight,” I announced.

“Hmm…let’s go out.”

I looked at him inquisitively. I didn’t peg him as a going out kind of guy, if the option to stay in and hang out was on the table.

“Let’s go, then!” I replied enthusiastically. “I’m taking you to this place that sounded great when I looked it up. Let me just check on the address before we step out.”

I scrolled through Google to find the listing for Noir Lounge. One of the photos caught my eye as I was scrolling through again — I had been to this place before. I’d originally chosen it for this night because the Yelp page had mentioned old movies playing on the walls and a vintage feel. That wasn’t at all how I remembered it when I was there a few months ago. It was less than ideal — definitely not charming enough for my “choose your own adventure” date.

I explained the situation to Bandersnatch, and he quickly interjected to say, “Why don’t we just stay in and watch old movies? I can show you my all-time favorite.”

Ha. Knew he was more interested in staying in.

I agreed (“Look how chill I am!”), and we pulled up the movie on my laptop. The movie he had in mind was called The Apartment, an old 60s romantic comedy with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. The story follows C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) as he tries to excel in the corporate world by lending his apartment to executives so they had a haven to carry out their extra-marital affairs. One of the mistresses happens to be Fran Kubelik (MacLaine), which is a big bummer for C.C. since he has a giant crush on her. I won’t spoil the ending, but hilarity ensues throughout. It was a sweet film, littered with longing looks of unrequited love, sneaking around, and great hats. People in the 60s sure knew how to wear a hat.

When the credits rolled, somehow my head had ended up on his shoulder and he was holding my hand. There’s something so innocent about hand-holding. However, if I like someone enough, it becomes an unbridled sign of affection. When I start having feelings for someone, there’s no motive behind hand-holding except that I want to feel fully present in the moment with them.

It was then I realized — Bandersnatch had turned my “choose your own adventure” against me. He turned my options around back to me. He chose a path NOT in the game plan, which ultimately showed me a little more about him and his interests and forced me to catch more feelings. Gross. Bandersnatch had become the game master.

Do I ask Bandersnatch on another date? Y/N

Choose wisely. The outcome of the game depends on you.

— — -

Wins: Despite what Bandersnatch thought, I found my date to be quite creative! If you’re a Type A planner like me, this is a win (if you can actually follow through on all the steps).

Learnings: Sometimes, your date may have a plot twist. You just need to be prepared for any and all narratives.

Originally published at on January 11, 2019.

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