A Crabby Date Spoils the Seafood at Trulucks

Truluck's could be a great date place, if you're there with a good date. Intimate, cozy lit booths make you feel comfortable talking to someone without worrying about other customers hearing your banter. It even has a special Date Night Menu for $35 per person. A good date, however, did not accompany me when we ate dinner at the seafood, steak and crab house.

I raced down the stairs of my building ready for our second date. I climbed into the car expecting my date to notice my new hairstyle. Recall that I have curly hair, but on that particular Friday I'd spent the better part of my evening glued to my stylist's barber chair permitting her to blow dry and straight-iron my hair. My date didn't acknowledge my temporary sleek strands. Now, I'm not fishing for a compliment here. Really I'm not. I just know I look completely different with straight hair. And people always say something about the marked difference. My colleagues at work do double and triple takes when I come back from a lunch hour haircut and style. "You look so different," I hear them say one after the other. An executive even came up to me with an outstretched hand to introduce himself before he stood square in front of me finally realizing we'd spent that same morning together going over a convoluted contract.

But my date said nothing. I moved on to plan B and started asking him about his week. He didn't seem eager to share, so I started telling him about mine. He turned his head momentarily from the road. "Could we wait until we get to the restaurant before we start getting into a detailed discussion?" he asked. "Why?" I asked. "Because I want to focus on getting there [we were driving a mere four blocks] and then I can give you my full attention." I opted to ignore his inability to multitask and decided it was refreshing to hear someone say that he wanted to really listen and participate in our conversation. That doesn't overlook the fact, though, that the rest of our short car ride felt like a bizarre version of the quiet game.

Once we arrived at the restaurant the conversation didn't start flowing like I had expected. My date hadn't made a reservation. So half of Uptown and those people who drive to Uptown from other locations all had their names down before us or were already noshing on crab cakes and ceviche towers. What did my date expect? It's Friday night, in Dallas, at prime dinner time, at a nice restaurant. He became visibly agitated as he instructed the waitress how to spell his name for the waiting list. During their exchange I noticed that he had most certainly not given as much thought as I had to his diner attire. He wore a faded long sleeve T-shirt and jeans compared to my cowl neck purple dress.

Racing over to me huffed: "We have to wait 45 minutes to an hour." And added: "This means I can't do anything after dinner, I have to get home and go to sleep. I have to run with my running group tomorrow." "OK, OK," I replied. "It's no big deal. Calm down." Then I suggested another seafood joint that might not have as long a wait. "We can't go anywhere else! This is my favorite seafood restaurant and I want to eat here," he almost shrieked above the laughter and lively conversations the rest of the patrons were enjoying. "OK," I murmured. He started to freak out more--going on and on about his running and getting the proper amount of sleep. I started to think this guy took his seafood and his fitness a tad too seriously.

His labored pacing in front of the bar after shouting our drink orders to the bartender must have made her nervous...or sorry for us (me). She and another drink maker shifted people down the bar to make room for us and laid black napkins down for a makeshift tablecloth. The bartenders instructed us we could order and eat our dinner a top the high backed stools, which tucked us nicely behind the dark wood bar. This cordial act lessened the tension growing between me and my date. Since we weren't going to have to wait 45 minutes, my date started to calm down. We actually started talking.

My date ordered the Chilled Seafood Tower, his favorite, for us to share. I commend his ordering skills and Truluck's presentation skills. A tower swirling with steam from dried ice arrived at the bar piled high with oysters, cocktail shrimp, crab claws and a blue crab cocktail. While we ate our delicious meal I thought things had gotten better. Then he got worked up and anxious again. He excused himself to go to the bathroom and made a pointed gesture to take his iPhone with him (which he had let rest between us on the bar during our entire meal).

In most any situation I can think of, it's rude to leave your phone on the table, not to mention how rude it is to continually check it (unless you are a doctor...on call, which this guy was not) while you're on a date with someone. And I'm not going to get into how completely disgusting and unhygienic it is to actually take your phone into the bathroom with you. Hello? Germs--lots of them. By the time my date returned to our bar stools, I knew dessert was out of the question. Who could handle going halfsies on the Chocolate Bag dessert with this jumpy guy? He'd have a fork in one of his nervous hands and might unexpectedly try to jab me with it. Plus, this guy took his cues from the Abs Guy's [I mentioned him in The Common Table review] playbook--no dessert, he had to run in the morning. So he asked for the check, and I asked to be taken home, hoping that next time I'll come to this good date place with a guy who makes a reservation, wears a nice shirt and leaves his phone in the car.

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Monica Berry

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