Thursday, February 28, 2013

Lancelot Writes Back

You might remember that I shared My Best Worst Date Story a couple of weeks ago. Well, Lancelot read it and requested that he be given the opportunity to share his side of the story. So here it goes:

[Hello. My name, apparently, is Lancelot. The following is written by the esteemed author of this blog. It is a description of her “best worst date” story, and I am the unfortunate subject of her good-natured diatribe. In the interest of fairness, I have provided my version of events, which are in bold alongside her original text:]

*disclaimer: The fellow in the story is a FANTASTIC guy. This story is in no way meant to be a vituperative speech against him, just a funny retelling of the events that unfolded.

Thanks for the disclaimer, Guinevere. It almost makes up for the fact that you ripped out my heart, set it on fire, and sacrificed it to the Hindu goddess Kali. Or maybe I’m exaggerating slightly. I wouldn’t the only one guilty of a little embellishment for entertainment’s sake. . . .

You know those nights? The nights when your roommates and some random guys from across the street are hanging out in your living room telling stories? Usually someone asks about first kiss stories and worst date stories. Well, here's my contribution to the collection of Worst-Date stories:

In the words of Maria from The Sound of Music, "Let's start at the very beginning. A very good place to start."

The beginning of my dating career, the end of my best, worst-date story:

And with a slip and a splash, he fell into the river.

I was a typical BYU freshman. I'm sure you can imagine how naive I was. I was a lot like Maria Von Trapp before she left the convent: singing and swinging from trees, spinning on the tops of hills (Squaw Peak stories to come...), and daydreaming about who-knows-what.

The (Heritage) Halls are alive with the idea of dating. ....R.M.'s

I lived in Heritage Halls, (my building is no longer standing; they knocked it down last year). After settling in to my dust-encrusted cinder block room, I was ready to tackle the first day of classes. It was on that first day that I met a young man. I didn’t realize this was your first day of college. Had I know that, I would have tread a little more carefully. Girls are as unpredictable and inscrutable as wild animals, except there are no helpful nature shows on the Discovery Channel to describe the secret world of female courtship rituals. We’ll call him Lancelot. Lancelot was cute, in his nerdy Star Wars way. Um . . . thanks. (I've never met anyone who knew as much about Star Wars as Lancelot, it was impressive. Really, it was.) Sure. I’ll take it.

The pre-lecture silence remained unbroken until I walked into the room and sat down in the last empty seat next to the only boy in the classroom (lucky me!). She was—is—cute, in her intelligent, innocent, wide-eyed, gee-whiz sort of way. She had a smile that made you stop and say, “It would be in my best interest to get to know this girl.” We exchanged names, majors, addresses, phone numbers. Only joking... only names. When it was time for class to start, the teacher had to ask if we could please stop talking.

We got in trouble for talking throughout the first half of the semester for this. Until Guinevere got spooked by my advances and decided to relocate herself to the other side of the room.

I feel embarrassed just thinking about it. (By the way, you should ask her about Number 22 sometime.)

I didn’t have to wait long before Lancelot asked me out. One night while chatting on Facebook he mentioned that he had two tickets to an upcoming concert on campus and asked if I’d like to go with him. She added me on Facebook right after we met in class, and she engaged me in conversation every night. It seemed promising to me. Of course I accepted. I was flattered by the fact that someone more than 3 months older than me would want to ask me out. (Up to that point my dating experience consisted of a few group dates, school dances, Prom, etc.) Dating in college is quite different from dating in high school.

And I was a jaded returned missionary, home from the field for a good four years and generally perturbed at the female half of the species in general. I had long ago vowed to go after more experienced girls, but I was still a sucker for big blue eyes and a cute smile.

Our first date was fun. The concert was entertaining, and afterwards I had my first SLAB-pizza-with-an-RM experience. He was intelligent and fun to talk to. Two—it was four—days later he called me.

“Would you like to go to a movie with me tonight?”

I accepted. We had a good time, the movie was interesting and on the drive home we had fun singing along to Disney songs. She didn’t mention that her hand placement the entire night was extremely promising. Maybe she was unaware of the signals she was sending, but she couldn’t have sent stronger “Hold my hand, you fool!” signals without tattooing the message on her forehead. It’s good thing I was too cautious. But not cautious enough, it seems. He called a week later to ask if I’d like to go hiking. I wasn't sure I wanted to go, but I didn’t know how to say no (don’t worry, I’ve since learned how to decline graciously). Besides, from the sound of things, it would probably be a group outing, so it couldn't be anything too serious. I’ve got not idea where she got that idea. Nothing to worry about. ...or so I thought.

When she ends with that ominous note of foreboding, she makes it sound like I was going to lure her into the mountains, trap her in a cabin, chop her into little bits, and keep her embalmed head as a trophy. I’m a perfectly normal guy, so ignore the fact that I did fill the preceding sentence with maybe a little too much detail.

The evening of the hiking date arrived. He picked me up 25 minutes late with no explanation. I have no memory of this. I am never late without giving my date advance notice. Perhaps there was some sort of miscommunication. I was surprised to see that he was still in his work clothes, but I didn't say anything, I just hoped he hadn't changed our plans... In a t-shirt, shorts, and tennis shoes, I wasn't exactly dressed for the opera. He walked me to his car, I got in and then he went to find a restroom so he could change his clothes. Again, I have no memory of this. Waiting in the oven-of-a car with the door propped wide open, I realized that this was definitely not a group date. Part of me wanted to get out of the car and climb into the nearest tree. I think she might be exaggerating here. It wasn’t that bad. But I gave up on that since there weren't any trees in or near the parking lot. I think I was a bit nervous.

It’s never a good sign when 2 minutes into the date, you already want to go home. But there I was. Since I couldn’t see any polite way of getting out of the situation, I stayed. After Lancelot returned from changing into his shining white t-shirt and plaid shorts—Plaid shorts? I never wear plaid shorts. What am I, a math major?—we popped over to the Creamery on 9th. He had planned a picnic dinner but had forgotten to get himself something to drink. Fruit punch was his beverage of choice.

Then I almost died.

We were on the freeway, headed to our hiking destination when we hit a patch of slow traffic. The cars ahead of us were slowing, but Lancelot was not. He was animatedly recounting a story from his annual hunting trip with his father and brothers. When we were about 2 car lengths away from the vehicle ahead of us, I realized that Lancelot didn’t realize what I realized: that the distance between our car and the one ahead was getting smaller and that if we didn’t swerve, we would be smashed like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that's been in your backpack all day. The only thing is, I'm not a PB&J sandwich--I'm a living, breathing girl and I wanted to stay that way. So I shouted “look out!” and just in time he jerked into the right lane which was, thankfully, empty.

I do remember this part. Sorry, Guinevere. I think she’s exaggerating just a little, though. The worst that could have happened in this case was a little bit of damage to my front bumper. We were in no mortal danger.

Thinking back on the experience I think I’d like to write him a letter. It would go like this:

Dear Lancelot,
Please be cautious when you’re driving on a date. I don't blame you for our near-death experience; you were excited about telling me the hunting story, it's understandable. (Who knew you could actually bait a bear with Twinkies?!) As interesting as your family hunting escapades may be, they aren't as important as your date's mortal safety.

Your luckily-still-breathing date

In my defense . . . nah, it was my fault. Sorry. Despite my protestations that the peril she describes here is exaggerated, she’s right in one thing: I should never do anything to put my date’s safety at risk.

I’m sorry to say that due to an unfortunate chain of events, the date went downhill from there.

After barely escaping the freeway with our lives, we exited on the nearest off ramp. He pulled out his phone and handed it to me.

“Can you find out where we’re going?” he said. At this point, I did have the sense that my hopes of getting a goodnight kiss at the end were growing extremely remote. However, I harbored the naïve hope that maybe I could salvage things.

Now it was my turn to make some mistakes. I am awful with smartphone GPS programs, just awful.  But with his help we eventually found the right place. We parked the car, grabbed our water bottles, and headed up the trail. It was an easy hike, and we soon came to a place where we’d either have to cross a river or turn back. Seeing that the only way to the other side was by crossing a slippery, slimy, fallen log, I said I thought we should turn back. But my opinion was ignored and in an attempt to impress me with his manliness, Lancelot proceeded to cross the slippery log in his flat-soled converse shoes.


“An attempt to impress me with his manliness”? How dare she! How dare she imply such misplaced bravado—Actually, that’s exactly what that was.

Within 20 seconds he was half-soaked and completely embarrassed. I tried my best to not make a big deal about it. I didn’t want him to feel any more humiliated. After making sure he was okay, we headed back down the trail to find a place to eat our picnic dinner.

The dinner that he forgot the main course for. (...oops.) I had baked potatoes ahead of time . . . and summarily left those potatoes in the car.

We found a clearing with two medium-sized boulders, perfect for sitting on. Unfortunately, one of the rocks came to a perfect point. Guess which rock I sat on? Yep, you guessed it: Mount Pointy. So, while I was thoroughly uncomfortable, he proceeded to pull out our “dinner.” I didn't eat before the date because he said we’d be eating dinner, but when he pulled out grapes, and a box of Wheat Thins, I knew I was going to be having a second dinner when I got home.

He handed me the grapes and a box of Wheat Thins and pulled out two plastic wine glasses and the fruit punch. I wasn’t drinking sugary drinks at the time so I declined.
“No thank you, I brought my water bottle; I'll just drink water if that's okay.” Anyone playing a drinking game in which they keep track of my mistakes over the course of this date should probably be thoroughly inebriated by now.
He insisted that I at least drink out of the wine glass and filled it up with water. We sat there for five minutes. I ate a total of two wheat thins and one grape when he asked: “are you full?”

Pretty sure I didn’t ask that question. Or maybe I did. Yeah, I probably did. At this point, I mostly wanted to wiper her memory and leave her deposited safely at her apartment, where she would be unaware that this whole wretched experience was little more than an ice-cream induced dream. Alas, I had no memory-modifying facilities at my disposal. My hopes of a romantic dinner in the woods were steadily evolving into hopes of not looking like a complete fool, so “Are you full?” was probably my way of saying, “Are you ready to end this miserable exercise in dating futility and hit the road?”

I know that my friends make fun of me for eating bird-sized portions, but there’s no way he could have thought that two crackers, a grape, and one drink of water would fill me up. But I sensed that he was uncomfortable (probably because he was still wet from his unexpected dip in the river) and I nodded. We packed up the dinner and he took me home.

Thank you, Guinevere, for your courtesy throughout the date. I appreciate your going out with me and being polite when I was certainly not at my best. I also wish you long, happy life full of singing hills and men who can maintain their balance as they traverse sketchy logs over streams.

Thanks Lancelot.

**Side note, I hope Lancelot becomes rich and famous for his writing, it's fantastic.


  1. Reading blogs is not really my thing, but when I saw Ryan's link on Facebook I was intrigued. Thanks for sharing a most hilarious and captivating story!

  2. I'm significantly more confident in my own dating abilities after reading

  3. Hahaha...this is hilarious. I love that he responded:) It makes the story even better:)

  4. Hahaha.
    This is the best distraction I've experienced today. And that's saying something, because I've karaoked for, like, five hours.
    I feel oddly connected to this whole thing. I just wish you guys could have been a Composing Personal History success story.
    I hope you both become rich and famous for your writing.