Bigot’s Banquet


Here’s Matt with a tale of a disastrous date:

“I was in a restaurant, on a second date with Veronika, a Russian girl from my Masters Program.

Half way through the first course, I realised that the fact she talks incessantly without pause wasn’t actually first date nerves, but a part of her character.

She’d frequently jump between topics, so one moment she’d be talking about her mother’s job as a surgeon and thirty seconds later she’d be talking about the knights of Charlemagne. I wouldn’t get to contribute on either topic.

Suddenly, a woman’s voice called’Help me!’; her husband was collapsing as they walked to their table.

I jumped out of my chair just in time to stop him from crashing his head to the floor. Veronika, although she was much closer to the man, stayed in her chair.

The man, probably in his late fifties, woke up and wanted to be helped to his feet. His wife helped me to lift him, and then a waiter took my place and I sat back down, but before they’ve walked another five paces, the man faints again. This time they got him into a chair and he began to recover.

After a moment to get over the shock of the incident, I began to talk to Veronika  about the man’s condition. But she launched into a loud rant about people looking after their own health, that it’s their own fault if they get ill, and then switched to a rant about obesity in the States before I could even get a word in. Neither person in the couple was fat, but both were still probably in earshot.

Mortified, I talk over her to get her to change the subject, asking her about her flat. She’d lived in America for 5 years, but she was new to my city, and had moved into a cheap neighbourhood with a lot of Moroccan and Middle Eastern immigrants.

She started complaining about her neighbours in the same building. They are Muslim, and at first I consider it a side detail before she explains what she doesn’t like about them. She then moved on to complain that all the Muslims in her street speaking a language she doesn’t understand, and I realise that it’s something bigger than that.

I should point out that we were both studying Linguistics, so it’s pretty bizarre to be complaining about people speaking their native languages.

Then she came out with this little speech; please believe me, I was trying to interrupt her during this whole spiel, but couldn’t get a word in:

‘I don’t know why linguistics professors allow stupid immigrants into their studies, they only skew the results. You know, it’s like Muslims are like insects. Of course, there are some insects that are great, some beneficial, in particular bees are excellent, they produce honey, it is a marvellous process that I don’t understand but I love honey, and there are other insects that are no trouble, but really, we’d be better off with no insects at all.’

I try to leap to the defence of other religions and cultures (and, as a side point, the value of insects in the eco-system), and also pointing out that she is an immigrant too, but she says that the Morrocans aren’t contributing to society, and that they shouldn’t be allowed to live here. And that countries should restrict religious practices that aren’t patriotic.

In despair, I managed to get her to talk about her life back in Russia, and spent the rest of the evening eating in silence and only suggesting new, safe topics for her to talk about.

She didn’t lift a finger to pay any of the bill. SHE thought the date had gone great, and invited me back to her place. I went home.

I tried to let her down easily, and told her I was ‘too busy and stressed’ to date right now. She quit the course 3 weeks later.”
Crikey. Thanks Matt for sending your tale in. My sympathies, that sounds like an agonising date.

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