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Napoleon Dynamite, fresh out of jail

Chain-smoking and talking about his ex-girlfriend on a first date.

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This was probably close to 20 years ago. I was just out of college and my friend set me up with a friend of her boyfriend. Sure. Why not?

It's early September in Little Rock, so it's hot. I wore a cute skirt and top and sandals. He showed up in Napoleon Dynamite ski boots, jeans and a turtleneck. OK, maybe he's cold-natured.

Then we go to eat. Not somewhere fun. I was thinking Cafe Prego or even The Faded Rose would be nice. Nope. Applebee's. In the smoking section where he proceeds to chain-smoke through dinner and talk about the following things:

His ex-girlfriend.

How much he still loved above ex-girlfriend.

How amazing their sex life was.

How he still lives with his parents.

How he just got out of jail.

Maybe we can go to a movie after dinner?

Um — nope. Busy. Got to go to work early tomorrow.

(By the way, when he started in on his sex life — talking about how his ex was Asian and super kinky, so lots of S&M, swings and whips and chains — I just did my best to keep a straight face and remember everything because while I knew there would be no second date, there would be an outstanding story in this).

He takes me home. I say thank you and get out of the car. I go up to my apartment door, and he follows me. I tell him thank you again, and he leans in for a big stinky chain-smoking kiss. "Thanks — I don't kiss on the first date." (Not true, but true enough right then) and he responds with, "Well, I do." Thank goodness the phone rings (remember, pre-cell phone), so I run inside and slam the door and lock it. It's my mom, who was going to leave a message to tell me she hoped my date went OK. Her response was priceless. "Well, since it's 7 p.m. and you're answering the phone, can I assume there won't be a second date?"

There was not a second date, but he did send me flowers and called me repeatedly asking me out. I tried to be nice, but the gentle letdowns weren't working. It took a good firm "this isn't going to work; please don't ever call me again" to get him to leave me alone.

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