John decided I should date. I had no idea what this meant, as I was under the impression "dates" were part of how humans measured time. But he explained that it meant going to dinner with a girl, or seeing a movie.
"I will do this with Lucy." I decide, heading to the toilet where Lucy has been for the past few minutes. I raise my hand to knock it on the wood, when John grabs my arm and pulls me away.
"No! No. Lucy is my girlfriend. We go on dates. You have to go on dates with a different girl. Get it? It is a crucial part of human life." John guides me back to the sofa. "Or a guy," he says after a minute. "You could go on a date with a guy, if that's your thing. Any human really."
"I could go on a date with you?" I ask. I'm much more comfortable having dinner with John than anyone else.
"Sorry, bud. I told you, I'm spoken for."
"It means I'm taken. I already have someone I go on dates and stuff with. Lucy." He explains.
"Oh. A date is someone you wish to mate with?"
"Well, yeah, if you're lucky."
"Lucky?" I tilt my head to the side.
"Forget it. I will find you a date!"
A few Earth hours later John tells me he has found me a date and to get ready. I make sure I'm clean and well groomed like John taught me in college and put on a white shirt and black trousers. John says I am too formal but I have seen many Earth men dress the way I do and they always seem to have the most updated technology available.
Lucy and John drive me to my date. It is at a pizza place, in the basement of an old building. Despite the misleading name, it is not a place made of pizza. It isn't particularly nice but at least it is clean. The tables have red and white checked tablecloths and a candle in the middle. It smells of cigarette smoke and melted cheese and tomatoes. I listen to the other customers speak and try to make out what individual people are saying as I get used to my surroundings.
"Now, we'll be just over here," Lucy assures me, pointing to a table across the room.
"Give us a shout if you need us." John taps my shoulder.
"How would I 'give' you a shout?"
"Just go sit down," John sighs, pushing me towards a table set for two.
My date arrives after a few minutes. She walks in and quickly scans the room to find me, avoiding the eyes of the other customers. When she spots me she walks quickly over and sits down, as if scared that the other humans will notice her if she is up too long.
"Aislinn?" I ask. Just to be sure it is her.
"Duh." She rolls her brown eyes and looks around uncomfortably. "Do you usually get random girls sitting at your table?"
"This isn't my table, it belongs to the restaurant. But no, not usually." She looks at me like I'm, well, an alien.
"I was being sarcastic." She says slowly, as if talking to a mentally incompetent person. Sarcasm. Why for the love of neptune couldn't I grasp sarcasm?!
"I was joking?" I try. She looks sceptical but studies her menu.
I take in her appearance while she looks at the different options. John has taught me it is rude to stare outright at people if they are looking at you, so I usually wait until their attention is elsewhere. She has blond hair that falls around her face in waves. She is wearing a dark purple jumper, with the sleeves pulled over her hands so only her fingers are visible. I wonder if she is cold.
Remembering something John said, I take my jacket off.
"Erm. Are you cold?" I say offering it to her. She looks at my jacket and then back at me in surprise.
"Wouldn't I have brought my own jacket if I was cold?" She asks.
"I don't know I - I am sorry. I just noticed that you held your sleeves down over your hands as if you were cold." I put my jacket back on.
After a few minutes of silence, she clears her throat.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't be so snarky with you, I just get really uncomfortable when I'm out, especially on dates with strangers, even if they are cute." Her face has gone an alarming shade of red. I know that as a sign of embarrassment from our college years.
"I forgive you. Would you prefer to leave?"
"No, that's okay. I should start taking chances." She smiles to herself. "I got a fortune cookie today that said 'take risks and you will be rewarded.' I'm just doing what the fortune cookie said. Who am I to stand in the way of fate?" She looks into my eyes and I feel myself smile in response. Strange human girl.
The date goes surprisingly well. Aislinn is a friend of Lucys, so we have some common ground to start on. We talk and eat pizza. Over the years, through my friendship with John and our social encounters with peers, I have picked up on several things. The way I speak is different to how it was when I first arrived. This is probably a good thing as other humans found my formal language to be offensive in some way, and tried to physically accost me several times or, as John would put it, hand my ass to me. I understand humor much better now, although sarcasm still eludes me.
Aislinn uses sarcasm a lot. But she is very funny and she seems to think I am too. Unlike some humans, she doesn't fill every silence with useless chatter. I appreciate this as it gives me a chance to absorb any new information I learn.
A few days later Lucy tells me Aislinn likes me. Apparently she thinks I am 'quirky.'
"I will ask her to mate then!" I announce and head towards the telephone.
"Woah there," Lucy stops me. "You can't just 'ask her to mate.'"
"Why not?" I ask. "Her body type is pleasing and we enjoy each others presence."
"Be still my beating heart," Lucy mutters.
"But you would die," I say, my head tilted to the side. Lucy rolls her eyes.
"Just ask her on another date, okay? Get to know her a bit better."
Aislinn says yes to another date with me. Once I put the telephone down, John and Lucy sit me down to give me some advice. They seem to think I need help.