Table for One, Please

By Grace Hardman

Today I had a date; a hot date with someone I have a lot in common with. I knew that this time was going to be different, and was almost certain that awkward silences and misinterpreted body language could be avoided. So as I applied my lipstick in the shade “Lady Danger” (seriously, whose job is it to invent those names), I glimpsed at my date in the reflection. Damn it, we’re wearing matching dresses.

It’s not that I’m self-obsessed or adore my own company; it’s just that the lack of boys on campus calls for me to take matters into my own hands. We decided (yes, we. Work with me here) to keep it casual and go out for lunch. There’s nothing worse than an awkward dinner-date where the room is gloomy and the smoke from the candles lingers and blurs your vision. Everything looks beautiful and romanticised under that light, and I wanted to get rid of that. Really get to know the other person without expectations or interference; even if that person happens to be yourself.

Things were going great, really they were. The sky was pale blue and the sunshine escaped the clouds to caress my face. I was happy to walk along the canal, to window-shop and watch the street performers before settling into a restaurant for lunch. But it was around this time that things started to go badly. As soon as there is interaction with other people, the game is over. You can no longer pretend you’re on a date without looking like a crazy person. Instead, I adopted the persona of a sophisticated lady-that-lunches and headed into a delightful café specialising in Mediterranean food, Bigoli.

Well, that was the aim. Anyone who knows me knows that I suffer from severe ordering-in-restaurants-phobia. Way too often I have reached the front of the line only to panic and run to the back. Today was no different, and unfortunately my date did not have the ability to shake my shoulders or order for me. After this somewhat false start, I hurriedly ordered and found a seat by the window. Catastrophe. I had only sat beside the worlds most vomit-worthy affectionate couple, who persisted to kiss each other and giggle after every, single, bite of their paninni. And I wish to baby Jesus that I was joking.

Although I was optimistic about dating myself (I’d always seen myself as a bit of a catch) and I strongly believe that spending time alone is underrated, I was praying for more conversation. There’s only so many times you can say, “Hi beautiful, how are you” “Fine thanks” in your head. Fittingly, at this very moment of despair, the barista served me an incredibly bitter coffee and a biscuit in the shape of a heart. It was broken. I now fully understand the phrase, “you are what you eat”.

Bigoli is situated at Schoutenstraat, Utrecht Centre. Prices start at €4.

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