When taking a date to a Mexican restaurant, I tend to establish dominance right away. So when the server brings the chips and salsa, I’ll quickly drag them to my side of the table.
My date will laugh and reach for the chips … so I’ll fend her off by tucking the chip basket under my arm.
“C’mon,” she’ll say, laughing. “Don’t be greedy. Gimme one.”
So to show her I’m not fooling around, I’ll place the tabasco sauce, the bowl with the sugar and Splenda packets, and the salt and pepper shakers in a precise line down the middle of the table.
“This is the boundary,” I’ll say, motioning to the line. “You keep to your side of the table, and I’ll keep to mine. You are not permitted to reach across the boundary. I’m imposing a no-reaching rule as of right now, so consider yourself warned.”
She’ll laugh again and reach for the chips … so this time, I’ll push her hand away and hide the chips under the table.
“You just invaded my boundary,” I’ll say. “That’s a flagrant violation of the rule. Do you not recall our discussion from two seconds ago?”
She’ll frown. “OK. You’re being a little weird about the chips.”
“If you want chips, you’ll have to get your own,” I’ll say. “This isn’t a charity. I’m not going to sit here and allow you to purloin my reserves.”
“If you’re trying to be funny, I wish you’d stop,” my date will say. “Melanie said you were a little high-strung, but this is getting awkward.”
“I don’t give my chips to anyone — whether they’re a blind date or an old friend,” I’ll say. “Now keep your hands on your side of the boundary, where they belong. If I see so much as a fingernail slip across the saltshaker, you and I are going to tangle.”
“I think the joke’s gone a little too far,” my date will say, grimacing. “I’m getting uncomfortable.”
I’ll place the bowl of salsa on my lap, so that it’s securely out of her reach. Then, I’ll dip a chip into the salsa and eat it — all while maintaining an ominous gaze, and without breaking eye contact.
My date will swallow and reach for her purse. “Maybe I better go. Melanie didn’t mention how overprotective you were of your appetizers.”
The server will reappear at our table. “Are you two ready to order drinks?”
She’ll glance down at the basket of chips and the bowl of salsa in my lap. “Um. Is everything OK?”
“She tried to steal my chips and salsa,” I’ll say, pointing across the table at my date. “Maybe you should bring her her own basket, so she doesn’t have to pilfer from mine.”
“Don’t worry,” my date will say, grabbing her purse and jacket. “I was just leaving. You’re way too weird.”
As she gets up, she’ll swipe at the tabasco sauce, so that the bottle will tip over and fall into my lap, landing in the basket of chips. Then the basket will fall from my lap, spilling chips all over the floor.
“Oh, great,” I’ll say, as my date storms out of the restaurant. I’ll look up at the server. “See? Look what she did. This is why none of my dates ever works out. I swear, I’ll never let Melanie set me up with one of her psychopath friends again.”