page21Some vague approximation of the person portrayed on PerfectForeverLoveMatch.com plops down across from you. Missing from the ad, though, were the vacant stare, the slack-jawed expression and the exaggerated slouch. There’s no apology for the spill, or even an acknowledgment that water is still dripping from the table. Yeah. The bunny thing’s a deal breaker, you think. Your disappointment ends quickly, though, as you catch a whiff of something powerful and rancid. The singles profile had mentioned working as a dental hygienist, and yet hygiene is clearly not your date’s top priority.

You introduce yourself with a slightly forced smile and get a low grunt in return. Classy. Okay, time to launch into the mind-numbing small talk. “So, you work in a dentist’s office, huh? My aunt actually works for a—”

“Nnnnnnngggg,” your date cuts you off.

“You’re right. Let’s not talk about work.” You were going to tell a story about a free promotional tube of toothpaste, and you realize with embarrassment that it was the most potentially interesting thing you had up your sleeve. “Uh, should we ask for some more water?” What you actually need is a towel, since you’re still sopping wet from the spilled drinks. “Do you want to get an appetizer or something?”

“Brrraaaaaaains,” your date replies.

Splendid. You were hoping to get food on the table as quickly as possible so you’d both have something to distract from the strained conversation, but if it comes to a choice between trying the sweetbread and actually talking to your dream date here, you’re not sure which appeals to you less. You glance at your watch—7:03—and can’t help contemplating escape routes.

If you say you’re heading to the restroom to dry off your clothes and then break into a run as soon as you’ve cleared your date’s line of vision, turn to page 4.

If you stick around just a little longer—it’s humiliating, but you have to admit that so far this is only your third or fourth worst blind date—turn to page 7.

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