My Weird Date to a Mall

Mar 3, 2020

When Johnny and I matched, he wanted to meet up immediately. I’ve learned that guys who rush are often looking for a hookup, so I replied, “Sorry, no hookups.” 

Johnny reassured me he just felt like being spontaneous. I asked what we would do and he replied, “Let’s go to the mall.” 

That made me laugh. I’m in my 30s, live in a dense urban area, and hadn’t been to a mall in ages. Malls remind me of my suburban teenage years, when I’d spend endless hours scoping out other high schoolers and trying to escape my parents.

I said yes. Johnny was cute, and I suddenly felt hungry for a Cinnabon cinnamon roll or Auntie Annie’s pretzel. 

We met at a nearby mall less than an hour after matching. Johnny acted relaxed and I felt comfortable around him immediately. The mall didn’t have a Cinnabon, but I saw a Dippin’ Dots ice cream kiosk and couldn’t resist. When I got brain freeze, he kissed my forehead.

We browsed clothing stores and Johnny joked about buying the ugliest outfits. We took photos in a photobooth. After a while, we even began holding hands. I felt happy.

Then Johnny said, “Let’s go in the jewelry store.” 

The store was gleaming white. The floor was made of shiny white tiles and the walls looked freshly painted. Only one employee was working, and she helped a couple, the only other people in the store. 

We looked at diamond necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, and Johnny asked which were my favorites. I pointed to a simple yet elegant tennis bracelet and matching stud earrings. He told me to stop being modest and said I deserve something flashier.

The couple left the store looking very happy, then the sales associate turned her attention to us. When she asked, “Can I help you?” I began to say no, but Johnny interrupted me, saying, “We’re interested in seeing your top-of-the-line engagement rings.” 

I giggled. Looking at engagement rings on a first date?! How playful and silly. The sales associate said, “What made you choose this store?” She sounded irritated. I figured she’d seen this joke before and knew we wouldn’t buy anything.

Johnny asked the associate if I could try some rings on. I said no, that’s okay, but he said he was “excited for it to feel real.” The associate looked angry. I thought he was taking the joke too far, so I said we should get going.

The associate looked at Johnny and asked, “Are you really this vengeful?” He laughed nervously and said to me, “Sure, let’s go.” 

I paused, asking, “Do you two know each other?”

“Oh yeah,” she said. “Didn’t he tell you? This isn’t his first time being engaged.” 

Johnny shrugged. I told his ex-fiance, “Just so you know, this was only our first date. We met on Tinder.” Then, I walked out. I figured they had some things to discuss. 

I’ll never talk to Johnny again, but I think I’ll always hold onto our photobooth photo strip, as a memento of the surreal mall date I went on in my mid-30s.

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