Pasta Perfection

Day Twenty-two: Breanna

Comments

Demeanor: Greek salad-like: simple origins that yield complex results
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- ((realizing that she was served spaghetti, and not the fettucine she ordered)) "This is too much food. This isn't my fault."
Favorite demographic, out of 'children, convicts, or the elderly': Convicts by far
Snapshot:

I sit on my side of the booth, wolfing down my second bowl of ravioli, and watch Breanna work her seductive magic on our hapless waiter. She flirtatiously cons her way into a free "birthday" dessert before my very eyes.

Then, perhaps simply to prove she can, she gets all the waiters to sing for her. I'm amazed. It's like being on a date with a Disney princess.

--

Breanna has a natural charisma that makes her instantly likeable. Her sweetness is not cloying, and her intelligence is not haughty. I truly enjoyed my meal with her, and hope to see her again sometime after my world of pasta has come crumbling down around me.

27 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Stagnant Pond

Day Twenty-One: Lauren

Comments

Demeanor: Parmigiano-like: complex, though most people only experience a pale imitation
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- *taking a bite, seems surprised* "This is actually delicious."
Number of times she said the phrase "maybe that's why I'm single": Six
Snapshot:

((Lauren has multiple videos of her dog and cat, and jumped at every chance to show them off. They are very cute!))

--

My third Lauren in seven days, this one was determined to stand out. I actually was given her number by Jessica - I think they know each other through work or a mutual cult or something. I couldn't help but notice that she had Tinder up while waiting for our table, which definitely incentivized me to give 110% on this date - clearly, she always kept one eye open. I admire that go-get-'em attitude!

Like Jessica, Lauren works with the mentally disabled, and like Jessica, she didn't laugh when I said that was great experience for her online dating. She's a great person, though, and was a pleasure to dine with.

28 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Gumby

Weekend Trip - San Francisco

Comments

This weekend marked my first of my three planned road trips - the other two being Phoenix in two weeks, and Las Vegas on the last weekend. San Francisco is a dense and overwhelming city, yet only has one Olive Garden to its name! You can probably chalk that up to the type of image it strives to maintain - hip, young, independent, tech-oriented, et cetera. Still, for such a Cool Town, the Olive Garden was extremely popular.

The trip was uneventful, save for regular bilboards in the desert paid for by California farmers who blame the drought on Congress and wanted anyone driving by to know who's fault it really is. My AirBnB reservation didn't pan out (he rejected me after I told him about the blog), so I ended up having to sleep in my car at a rest stop. Womp.

Here it is - SF's extremely exclusive Olive Garden, with a grainy, foggy backdrop of the city! I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked - most turned out mediocre, since I left my camera at home and had to make do with a cell phone. We're off to a great start!!!!

Day Twenty - Claire

Comments

Demeanor: Provolone-like: pleasantly sharp
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- ((After her second, and last, bite of her entree)) "It's okay. I don't think it's poison or anything."
Killer app that she designed: Automatically scans the news article you're reading and embeds a link to related charity that deals with whatever horrible thing is happening, to optimize your slacktivism and white guilt.
Snapshot:

Here is a list of pug puns that Claire seems to enjoy, ordered by how long they made her say "eee!" when she saw them on shirts/notebooks/bumper stickers/etc in the store we went to after dinner.

"Pug Life"
"Pugs Not Drugs"
"Pug And Play"
"Pug-et Sound"
"Pugs A Lot"
"Puggin' It!"
"PUG" (underneath an Andre the Giant OBEY style image of a pug)
"The Pug Is My Favorite Kind Of Dog; Here Is A Picture Of One"

--

A former manager-turned-coder, Claire takes a good deal of pride in knowing what she's talking about and understanding the way the world works; you can understand why management was not a good fit for her. More than anyone else I've dated so far, she seemed to genuinely dislike the food at Olive Garden, though she was very polite about it and not at all snobby - I really appreciated that!

Claire spends her free time in her apartment, located in the most difficult-to-drop-someone-off-in-on-a-Saturday-night part of San Francisco that she could find.

29 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Rice A Roni

Day Nineteen - Erica

Comments

Demeanor: Ricotta-like: versatile, flexible
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I feel...I feel like you're putting me on the spot, right now. It's okay. I don't come here that often."
Reaction to the food, date, me, life itself: Currently under NDA, will be posted in 2023
Snapshot:

"Oh my god, are those Crocs?" She has a look on her face like my shoes just crushed a puppy.

"I...I didn't think you'd see them. You were supposed to get up from the table first, and just walk away."

"I don't know how I feel right now."

"I'm sorry."

And I meant it, too. Clearly, I flew too close to the sun with nature's most perfect footwear: a mistake I won't soon repeat.

...Unless I'm pretty sure I can get away with it. Gotta have my Crocs.

--

Erica is a charming young woman working in the video game industry, which is apparently a much bigger world than I thought, because I seem to keep running into them. She hails from the far east(ern coast of the United States: Georgia) and taught me a lot about the horrors of online dating as a woman. Most of the stories she asked I not repeat here on the blog, but they can generally be summed up like this: dudes are weird.

To Erica's credit, she did at least *attempt* to win me a giant cat pillow from the arcade. One day, it will be mine.

30 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Trypophobia

Day Eighteen - Rosella

Comments

Demeanor: Pecorino-like: Gentle, sheepish
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I actually like [other restaurant who's name shall not be reprinted in MY blog] more." ((I don't know if she provided a reason; I stopped listening immediately))
Proof of parents' nerd cred: Is heir to the throne of Daventry
Snapshot:

"I hate mushrooms." she says, poking through her salad.

"I...don't think there's any mushrooms in that." I reply, taken aback.

"I know. I just hate them so much."

--

Rosella is no stranger to pasta craftsmanship - a professional chef in a competing noodle dispensary, she's probably served up more food than even I have eaten. In addition to your standard trifecta of nerd interests - video games, cosplay, anime - she also studies both French and Japanese, and hopes to one day be a professional translator. Neat!

Also, I'd like to give a shoutout to the manager of the city of Orange's Olive Garden. Rosella left her box of leftovers on the table, and it was long gone by the time I went to retrieve it. When the manager saw me sobbing on the floor, wailing to the sky, cursing the names of the uncaring gods, etc, she offered me a replacement bowl free of charge. That's service!!

31 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Raviocean

Day Seventeen - Erin

Comments

Demeanor -- Mascarpone-like: disconcertingly smooth
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I really love it. I know people say it's not real Italian, but I don't care."
Current relationship status: In a marriage that is so strong she found it depressingly easy to reject even my flirtatious advances
Snapshot:

((it took me several minutes to realize that what I thought was a bizarre game of coquettish footsie was actually me accidentally brushing against the table leg, then repeatedly nudging it and getting no response back))

--

Erin is an intelligent woman with a broad base of knowledge and experiences, ranging from cancer antigen research to seeing a man in the ER she worked in who had shot himself in the abdomen. *Pro tip for those of you who would like to go on dates: this isn't the best topic to bring up while eating heavily sauced pasta*.

Afterwards, she took me to an arcade and wouldn't even try to win me a stuffed cat pillow, even though I was staring at it with the biggest, saddest eyes ever.

32 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
How Much More Real Italian Can You Get?!

Day Sixteen - Lauren

Comments

Demeanor -- Mozzarella-like: soft, sweet
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I come here with my parents all the time. They find something they like and stick with it, and I just go along."
Worst first date, other than this one: Ended with her hand forcibly placed upon a trench-coat-wearing man's denim-clad herpetic bulge
Snapshot:

"Yeah, I usually go for nerds, but you're, like, an actual nerd." ((I'm pretty sure this was a compliment))

--

A hair stylist with a heart of gold, Lauren offered me a number of tips on maintaining good bounce, lift, and natural shine that, for all I know, she was secretly reading off the back of a bottle of dog shampoo. Still, I ended up buying like fifty bucks worth of gel that she happened to have brought with her. Look forward to a whole new Vino in the next selfie!

33 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Ariel's Feast

Day Fifteen - Jessica

Comments

Demeanor -- Gorgonzola-like: peppy, peppery
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "I haven't been here in years, though my waiter once gave me an entire to-go box filled with Andes mints. I'd never felt so loved before." *a brief, wistful pause* "Or since."
You're In The Wrong Neighborhood, Son -- Picked all the olives out of her salad
Snapshot:

Jessica: *clearly impressed* "You can really drink a lot of soda."
Vino: "Yeah! I think I have an extra pouch in my stomach for it."
Jessica: "Like a cow."
Vino: "Uh huh. Ruminate on that one!"
Jessica: *chooses not to acknowledge, possibly at a loss for words??*

--

Jessica agreed to meet up with me fairly last-minute as I had been cancelled on by a Tinder rando (imagine!), so for that I owe her my eternal thanks. And to that nameless rando who said "something came up" and then an hour later posted a picture of her rock climbing in a mall, I owe my eternal "c'mon, dude. C'mon".

Anyway! Jessica. She's great! For those of my audience looking for a charmingly witty dining companion who can regale you with stories of life in the big apple and her celebrity status (once appeared on a ten-year-old reality show) that rivals even my own, you can't do much better.

34 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Are You Alfredof The Dark

Day Fourteen - Lauren

Comments

Demeanor -- Orzo-like: Composed entirely of small grains (I realize that these are getting fairly abstract)
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- "When my family went here as kids, we had an awesome waiter, he'd always give us free desserts and stuff."
Claim to fame: Bravely corrected Conan O Brien on the unforgivable sin of not knowing Justin Bieber's age
Snapshot:

"Tricolor penne? That seems like a lot. Do you think they can get that down to a bicolor?"

--

Lauren is an independent contractor (not a prostitute (not that there's anything wrong with being a prostitute)) who lives about an hour away from my Olive Garden, so before I say anything else I really want to thank her for enduring the horrible California traffic to spend some time with me. Granted, she did get Olive Garden food, which is a reward in and of itself, but I just wanted to put that out there.

In addition to a love of cats and bats, Lauren has a special place in her heart for all things spooky and/or haunted. I don't know if that's just because it's October or something, but throughout the date I was acutely aware that both of our bodies were filled with skeletons, and it kinda freaked me out!

35 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Tony's Choice

Day Thirteen - Marty "The Party"

Comments

Demeanor -- Fettucine-like: flowing, free-spirited, approximately 6.5 millimeters wide
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- *mouth full of pasta, no words can escape*
Application for date:

You can see how I was intrigued.
Snapshot:

The time is 11:25, far beyond closing hours, but the ad said "neverending", and we're putting that to the test. The waitress stops by with another armful of Coke Zeroes for the two of us. She is long past the point of faux servile politeness, and curtly asks, "More?"

Marty and I nod simultaneously, and resume our gorging.

--

I've always said that even though I'm a heterosexual male, it's possible that I just haven't met the right guy yet. So when this mysterious man signed up on my site, I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

I'm not sure who Marty is or where he came from, but what I am sure of is that his love for pasta rivals even my own. We didn't exchange much in the way of words - in fact, the only thing he actually said was "The Party's here!!!" when he arrived twenty minutes late and immediately started working through the breadsticks.

Even so, I think we communicated through the medium of nonstop eating - and isn't that what Olive Garden is all about?

36 more dates to go.

Today's pasta was
Vegetarian Option

Day Twelve - Mary

Comments

Demeanor -- Canneloni-like: Compact, yet chock-full of fascinating insights
Feelings about the Olive Garden -- *taking her first bite of food* "I'd forgotten how salty it is."
90's kid fantasy brought to life -- Has spoken to both Nick Carter and Lance Bass
Snapshot:

As we walked and talked in the mall after our date, Mary offered me the most confidence-undermining compliment I've ever received.

"You're very funny. Is that a defense mechanism?"

--

A "PR and Marketing Consultant" working on a Master's in "Mass Communications Research and Theory" and writing a thesis on "Corporate Social Responsibility", Mary's friendly, warm nature overcame the intimidation factor of the aforementioned quoted phrases that, for all I know, she made from whole cloth.

On top of being a fun date, she gave me helpful tips on how to leverage the marketability of my brand, increase my buzz factor, and maximize my web presence utilizing the information superhighway and proper nettiquette. Granted, the only actionable advice she gave me was to email Buzzfeed and beg them to do a story on me, but that's more than I had before!

37 more dates to go - try not to have any dates on the way through the parking lot!

Today's pasta was
Applebee's Nachos

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