When your date disappears under the table

One woman tells the tale of a dinner gone terribly wrong

Doesn’t every woman want a man who is head over heels about them? Of course. That is, unless they are literally falling head over heels.

When I first met Ryan*, he was friendly, cool, calm and easy to chat to. We got on OK and all seemed well … even hopeful. We agreed to catch up again and have dinner the next week. When the next week rolled around, Ryan seemed like a different person. He was very nervous and could barely look me in the eye! I like to think it was due to a realisation of my outstanding beauty but, usually, that would have been recognised a bit sooner, probably in less than one week…

Jo Armstrong

Jo Armstrong Jo Armstrong

Ryan’s nerves made me talk more than usual (I do like a bit of a natter). Off I went on a monologue, trying to be light and friendly to my nervous-wreck of a date. Poor guy.

We were in a lovely Thai restaurant in Surry Hills, Sydney. It has concrete floors and everyone sits on stools and not chairs.

I suppose that’s “hipster.”

We order our food and when it arrives Ryan appears to be entirely captivated by his pad thai, because that is all he looks at. Perhaps it wasn’t that I am outstandingly beautiful after all.

Ryan starts to relax, though, and begins telling me a story about his lunch that day. Yes, seriously. I listen along as much as I can, trying to look interested – but I do catch my mind wondering if it could be as stunning as the pad thai before him. I am starting to feel tired and ready to make my excuses and head home. I was trying hard to muster some interest in what he had eaten that Saturday but, well, you might be able to imagine my struggle.

I wondered if Ryan had been raptured?

As Ryan lent back, mid-way through his monologue, he suddenly disappeared. In a flash, I saw the soles of his shoes and, again, he was gone! I was frozen in shock. I wondered if Ryan had been raptured? Then I saw his stool roll down the centre of the restaurant and, moments later, there was Ryan rolling on the floor after it. All of this was happening in slow motion. Silence fell on the restaurant.

Ryan had fallen off his chair.


This scene did strike me as, by far, the funniest thing I had seen in a long time (possibly ever).

The image will be forever burned on my brain. He seemed as if he was a cartoon character, slipping on a banana peel.

I’ll admit it. This scene did strike me as, by far, the funniest thing I had seen in a long time (possibly ever). But then it dawned on me – do not laugh. You cannot laugh.

Using every ounce of Christian benevolence that I have, I tried desperately to stifle an enormous belly laugh with a feeble disguise of a cough. Then another cough. And then a few more coughs and splutters and I kept replaying the moment through my mind.

To my utter bemusement, Ryan batted off the lovely, kind, caring Thai waitresses from helping him. Instead he immediately repositioned his stool at the table, opposite me and continued to tell me the story of his lunch. It was as if the whole spectacle had never happened. Or, perhaps, it happened so often it was just business as usual for Ryan? As you might expect, this made it even funnier for me. I found that disguising my giggles was making me red in the face and short of breath. All I yearned to ask, “Did you just fall off your chair?” But I had to behave.

I actually quite liked Ryan. He was a nice guy. I messaged him the next day, yet he didn’t ever reply.

Ten minutes after the scene, Ryan started rubbing his neck and I knew I just needed to leave before I embarrassed the poor guy even more by laughing in his face. He generously paid for our meal and we went our separate ways.

I actually quite liked Ryan. He was a nice guy. I messaged him the next day, yet he didn’t ever reply. Strange, because I thought my outstanding beauty had made him fall for me in such a way that no-one else ever has!

*Not his real name.