The Date

Submitted by IN SEINE

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Long ago, somewhere east of Lancaster, there was a small town with a big problem. Almost all of the inhabitants were men. In fact, there was only one "eligible" woman in the entire town. And so it happened that all of the men lined up to arrange dates with Elizabeth.

After the first few men went out with her, it became no secret that Beth was less than desirable. She ate with her mouth open, always ordered the most expensive meal, made crude jokes about her companion, and rarely bathed.

A man who had spent an evening with Beth had a distinctive look to him. He would have an ashen complexion, sunken eyes that stared straight ahead, uncomprehending, and he would have a tendency to shudder from time to time. It became commonplace for the townfolk, upon encountering such a person, to remark, "You look like you've just had a date with Beth!"

And then one day everything changed; Norma moved into town. The menfolk all fell to their knees, offering praise to the deity of their choice, and flocked to Norma's door to seek an evening with her. Chester, the town's most eligible bachelor, was the first to be granted an evening with Norma.

The evening was a disaster. Norma, like Beth, ate with her mouth open, but had far fewer teeth. That was, perhaps, one of her more graceful attributes. She didn't use a knife or fork. In fact, she didn't even use her hands. She ate with her feet! And she liked to toss her food about the room, all the while spouting vulgarities that would make a sailor blush. And the rude noises... well, suffice it to say that a description would violate the norms of acceptable discourse. Chester barely got through the meal, and gratefully deposited Norma at her home.

As he made his way back to town, he encountered many of his friends, all of whom were curious about his evening. As he got closer, however, they all saw the unmistakable signs -- the ashen pallor, the halting gait. One of them approached Chester, put a hand on his shoulder, and said "Jeez, Chester, you look like you've had a date with..."

"No, my friend," Chester interrupted, "this was a date worse than Beth."

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