I don’t know about you, but I like my sake warm. Icy sake leaves me thinking of a cold eel pulled from the water, squirming, chilling the palm of my hand. Warm sake slides down the throat effortlessly, warming the centre of your belly. Kind of like laughter. Today, Sally Thelen is my sake. Please guffaw at this week’s story from Summer Chick Tales.
It was two days before my big date with the hot Japanese cop that I’d met at my friend’s party when he texted me to surprise me. Not in a romantic, cutesie, “I-can’t-wait-to-see-you-again” kind of way, but in a “Hey-guess-what! My-supervisor-is-going-to-join-us-on-our-date” kind of way.
Needless to say, it worked – I was, well, surprised.
But, hey, maybe this was just the Japanese way?
After all, what did I know? I hadn’t exactly been dating up a frenzy since arriving in Japan two years prior to meeting the hot cop. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in dating Japanese guys – I was. It’s just that they didn’t seem all that interested in dating me. Or, maybe “not interested” is not the right term for it — more like “completely terrified of the prospect.”
Not that this was anything new. I’ve been told my whole life that I can be a little bit, well, intimidating. I’ve never been completely sure what it is about me that puts men off – whether it’s my fierce independence or my intellect or my biting sarcasm or, say, my tendency to get loud and sloppy at parties and start dragging boys across the dance floor by their lapels in an effort to make them dance with me.
The only Japanese guy I’d gone out with before the cop had been a hulking, judo-practicing, night club bouncer. On our first date, I wore the most girlie dress I could find and carefully poured his beer before pouring my own (a little trick I’d picked up from watching Memoirs of a Geisha). I politely asked him questions and tried to keep my donkey-bray laugh to a minimum. Over dinner, he informed me that he was descended from a family of samurai. (“So what’s your dad do?” “He’s in the family business.” “And what is that?” “Oh, you know, samurai-ing.”)
Figuring the descendent of Japanese military nobility could handle a little more of the “real me,” for our second date, I invited him to my friend’s Hawaiian-themed house party.
I showed up in a coconut bra and a grass skirt.
Let’s just say he was a little surprised.
Let’s also just say he never called me again.
But, back to the hot cop.
After a bit of careful research (phoning all my friends who had ever been out on a date in Japan), I discovered that the whole chaperone-thing was, in fact, the Japanese way… well, kind of. You see, it’s quite common for a girl to bring along a friend with her on a first date to, you know, protect her virtue and stuff. It’s not nearly so common for a guy to bring along a chaperone — especially if that guy happens to be one of the few people legally allowed to carry a gun in Japan.
“Will he be bringing his wife?” I texted back hopefully. Why not make lemonade out of these lemons? So I couldn’t have the hot cop to myself? We could at least make this into a double date kind of thing! Wouldn’t that be fun?
He texted me back to tell me he’d ask. The next day, he texted with another surprise — not only was his supervisor bringing his wife but they would also be bringing their one-year-old child.
This was not exactly the kind of lemonade I had in mind.
But who was I to be picky? I hadn’t been on a date in almost a year and the cop was hot – like really, really, really hot.
And, hey, maybe I could make this whole date-with-a-one-year-old child thing work for me. After all, I had to be less intimidating than a screaming toddler, right? Right?!
On the evening of our date, I arrived at the restaurant to find the hot cop and his entourage. His supervisor was engaging and funny and chatted excitedly with me about Brazil. (He had lived there a couple years; I had lived there for one.) The supervisor’s wife was sweet and charming and also a big travel buff. She wanted to know which countries I’d been to and where I planned to go to next. The one-year-old child was adorable… and, well, kind of screamy but adorable, nonetheless.
And the cop?
The cop was hot – like really, really, really hot.
And, well, that was about it.
He seemed like a nice guy (and hot… I mentioned he was hot, right?).
But we didn’t really have much in common. His hobbies included martial arts and working on his six-pack (as in his six-pack abs, not, like, a six-pack of beer – which would have been a hobby we could have totally shared together). My hobbies included reading and eating ice cream and occasionally dragging hapless Japanese boys across the dance floor by their lapels. (In fact, that’s exactly how we met!)
He didn’t speak much English. I didn’t speak much Japanese. While this hadn’t seemed to matter much on the dance floor, it just made for awkward silence over dinner. (Well, it would have made for awkward silence if we hadn’t had his chatty supervisor and his charming wife and their screamy child to fill up the void. Talk about lemonade out of lemons!)
After our “date” together, I never heard from the hot cop again.
Let’s just say I wasn’t too surprised.
Let’s also just say I don’t think he could have handled me in a coconut bra.
Author bio: Sally Thelen is a writer, teacher, traveler, performer and all-around scaredy cat. She has been working, living and traveling in Asia since 2007. She currently lives in China, where she teaches English and blogs about cookies, pants and her fear of pretty much everything at Unbrave Girl. Alternatively, catch her comedy, caramel goodness on Twitter or Facebook.
And, yes, boys, she’s single!
Summer Chick Tales was conceived from my love of the season and my obsession with slurpees. I always have one every summer. I also love women writers. Lots. If you want to submit a story or be in charge of the mojito station, see the editorial schedule. Come on, join the XX chromosome party.
Photos provided by author.