Slip Slidin’ My Date Away With a Big Audience Watching

Sometime during my first year in Japan, long before I’d started dating She Who Must Be Obeyed, and probably during a fit of culture shock, I got word that one of the women I worked with like me and had even chased away the guy telling me. Despite alcohol being involved, and the information being dubious, I asked her out and, to my surprise, she said yes.

The plan was to go to a nearby, reasonably civilized town and hang out. She, of course, would drive. Then, when the big day arrived, I clean shaven, ironed and armed with cash, waited to be picked up. You can imagine my surprise then, when there were two other people in the car, including another man, who was one of the pair who’d suggested I ask the woman out.

I was informed that plans had changed and, in a fit of shock, climbed into the car. My first issue was that I was apparently expected to date in front of an audience. My second issue was deciding if it was still a date.

I then lost control of the events, although the Japanese teachers involved gave me the semblance of control. Somehow, and I still don’t remember how, but a causual answer to a question along the lines of “Yeah, I like to do that” was probably involved, we ended up at a game center.

After that, we ended up at a bowling alley which isn’t that bad a place to end up, especially when they actually have bowling shoes in your size. What happened next was kind of, well, not at all good.

I lined up my first shot, used my typically four step approach planted my left foot, did a two step “ice step” as if I’d just stepped on to a sheet of black ice and ended up flat on my butt on the foul line. This would keep happening. I told everyone that the approach was too heavily waxed/oiled and my shoes were too new. They, however, looked at me with a sad “poor child” look as they weren’t having any trouble. I tried scuffing my shoes, but it didn’t work.

For the record, it’s very hard to impress someone when you’re flopping around on wood boards and swearing. (But maybe that’s must me.)

In the end I just stood at the line and rolled the ball without any approach to give me momentum and my score improved.

After that, we went to lunch somewhere and then home. We never went out again, either the woman I’d originally asked or the other teachers.

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