Our First Date Ended In A Fight, & Here’s What It Taught Me

I’ve always been a perfectionist to a ridiculous extent. Think of the kid who gets the highest grade in the class or is friends with literally everyone — that’s me. I’m constantly being humbled and reminded of my imperfections, especially within my relationship with Vagner. Our first date started off on a sweet note, but it ended in disaster! We’re able to laugh about it today, but we actually learned a lot from that hot mess of a date.

Backstory: Vagner was my on-again, off-again crush for two years before we even had a first date, so our first date was less of an introduction and more of us finally confirming what I’d always suspected: that we belonged together. He called my parents and asked what they thought about us dating beforehand because he knew they didn’t trust him (see the on-again, off-again part) and I built it up. I picked him up from his parents’ house because he didn’t have a car, and we had a lovely dinner in South Tampa and walked on Bayshore Boulevard. Vagner picked a random bench, sat me down, held my hand and said, “Ayana Gabrielle Stewart, will you be my girlfriend?” (His first attempt was, “Hey, we should give this a shot for real” and I rebuffed it because I knew I might be telling my kids the story one day. Totally rational and cool of me, right?) I took out my digital camera— a Canon Rebel T3 I lugged everywhere — and captured the moment. This is usually where I end the story, but unfortunately, there’s more.

After I texted my mom and college roommates to let them know we were finally an exclusive couple, we decided to go to Starbucks to celebrate. We drank frappuccinos like the 18-year-old kids we were and updated our Facebook relationship statuses (cue a million people saying, “FINALLY!”) HERE’S WHERE IT GETS GOOD.

We get to my car and I put the key in the ignition to take Vagner home. MY CAR WON’T START. At this point, it’s 11 p.m., and I’m freaking out. Here’s the kicker: I knew my parents had a roadside service plan but had zero idea whether it was AAA or Allstate, and they were in Louisville for a church conference. They both sleep with their phones on silent, and I knew they wouldn’t be awake. We didn’t have the hotel name, so I began the painful process of calling up every hotel in the Louisville area.

I’m easily stressed out, but this is one of the few scenarios where my stress seemed warranted. I had no idea what was wrong with my car and no way to pay for a tow truck, so I needed their help. I was hitting dead ends and we were standing outside of a now-closed Starbucks trying to figure out what to do. I was getting snippy with Vagner (my boyfriend of two whole hours!) and he finally turns to me and says, “Why don’t you just calm down?” Listen, I’m loud, but I rarely actually get loud when I’m angry. But poor Vagner struck the wrong chord, and I responded by yelling, “DON’T EVER TELL ME TO CALM DOWN AGAIN.” Vagner was not happy. Woof. It’s a miracle we didn’t just call it off right there.

Clearly, we ended up alright in the end. But that night in the Starbucks parking lot taught me a few lessons that have come in handy in the seven years since.

  1. Things rarely go according to plan, and that’s okay. Life would be boring if they did.
  2. Even if you’re angry, think twice before yelling, especially on a first date. WOULD NOT RECOMMEND.
  3. Picture-perfect stories are boring. Our love story has been filled with awkward situations and silly misunderstandings, and that’s what makes it ours!

I have a post about authenticity on social media in the pipeline, but I hope this serves as a reminder that no one has a magical love story without any conflict. Don’t believe the hype on Instagram — we’re all imperfect, I promise!

 

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