The Language of Love Does Have Borders | Valentine's Day | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Valentine's Day

The Language of Love Does Have Borders

"Well, you don't know the language. How are you going to talk to people?"


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


[Romance is for suckers]

We asked readers to submit their least romantic stories for our Valentine's Day issue. To read the other tales of woe and regret, see the rest of our (almost) romance-free ode to Valentine's Day.

A couple years ago, I reentered the dating world after about a year of being attached. For the record, I'm not good at dating. I'm terribly shy. So as many people do, I turned to OkCupid. After a couple days, I had a date set up. The girl seemed nice based on the e-mails and text messages we exchanged.

The date began at a Mexican restaurant, where the conversation went pretty well. After we finished eating, we decided to head back to my place to watch a movie and hang out. (Yes, we were only there to watch a movie and hang out. I wasn't planning on anything else happening, you perverts.) As the movie played, we talked a bit more and eventually the topic turned to how I would like to move to London at some point.

And that's where things went bad.

After I told her I wanted to move to London, she asked, "Well, do you know any foreign languages?"

Now, I'm not sure why she'd ask that, but I thought maybe she was simply a subject jumper. You know the type­—the ones who randomly jump from topic to topic during conversation. So I didn't think too much of it when I responded, "Well, I took some Spanish in high school and college and could probably hold my own in a Spanish-speaking country. Why do you ask?"

She responded with this: "Well, then how are you going to get along in London?"

To which I said, "I won't have a problem."

Her response: "But how are you going to live there if you don't know the language?"


"Wait … what?" I asked.

"Well, you don't know the language. How are you going to talk to people?" she responded.

Double crap.

I said, "They speak English over there. Wait, what language did you think they spoke?"

Her response: "I don't know. French or something?"

Crap! Crap! Crap!

At this point, obviously, the date had to end. But there was a problem. She had no car. And I had agreed to drive her home. I put my brain into overdrive and eventually settled on the tried-and-true "Well, it's getting late and I'm pretty tired," followed by a big yawn. It didn't work. So I waited ten minutes and tried again. Still nothing. Finally, after another ten minutes, it seemed to work. We headed to the car, I took her home. She tried to call me a couple days later, I ignored her. Ignored her again when she called the day after that.

Add a comment