Photo by Ed Robertson on Unsplash

During the lockdown I created a list of all the things that I enjoyed in the past but now miss the most. 

On top of this list stood dating. Yes, I miss dating.

Let me take you back to the late 70s, early 80s. Our town had one restaurant: The Chinese Tiger. The owners weren’t Chinese, nor were there even Chinese dishes. They just had a lot of red and gold paint, and the name was catchy. The place did have something special — it had booths, so there was privacy. It became dating headquarters in our town. The old ladies on neighborhood watch never ran out of gossip.  

I know you have seen those flyers and posters promoting an event in your neighborhood as ”one night only!” Well, my dates became ”one evening only” affairs. I’m still not sure why. I always split the bill in the middle and let her take care of the tip.

My date nights could be described as fast and furious. I was fast and they were furious.

Once, I was the talk of the town. I grew up in a farming town, population less than 3,000. I took a girl to prom night on our farm tractor. Grandma decorated the tractor with ribbons, flowers, and some Brussels sprouts.

I was also the first guy to score a date with the newly crowned ”Miss Potato of 1979, and I invited Miss Potato to the Tiger. This was before I had a car, so we rode our bicycles. 

From the moment I walked in The Tiger, Miss Potato started with her nagging. 

”Do you always wear jeans and wooden klompen on a date?” she asked.

”Well, my legs are under the table, so what difference does it make?” was my reply.

Then she started on my shirt because it was all wrinkled. 

”But that’s how it came out of the dryer,” was my answer.

”Why are you wearing that fancy watch? Tat suppose to impress me?” 

”Well, yeah! Why else would I wear it?”

By then I kind of had more than enough of her nagging so I told her, ”Don’t let all this spoil your free dinner!”

I still wonder why she left me there sitting all by myself after I told her that she wasn’t exactly on the skinny side.

But that’s nothing compared to what my best friend Tim went through with his date. He went to pick up his girl, but she was still upstairs getting dressed. So her mom invited Tim inside. While they were waiting on Elisa to come downstairs, her mom asked what Tim’ s plan was for the evening. 

”Oh, we’re going to get a bite to eat at the Tiger, and then go dancing,” said Tim.

So her mom told Tim that Elisa likes to screw — that she likes to screw all night. And mom gave Tim a wink. 

An hour later, the front door burst open, and in walked Elisa with her clothes all disheveled, yelling at her mom, ”Mom! The name of the freaking dance is tango. Tango, mom!”

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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Rudy Vandenborre

Rudy Vandenborre is a writer incarcerated at Everglades Correctional Institution. He was born and raised in Belgium and was a member of the Belgian Armed Forces. He came to Washington, D.C. in 1986 to work at the Belgian Embassy before being sentenced to life in prison for murder in 1989. His story “Sheet Wappering in the Wind” was published in Exchange For Change’s “Don’t Shake the Spoon” anthology.