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THE SHOW OFF

You may remember your Mum or Dad telling you to be careful of men, as they come in all forms, ...some are strange, some are weird, some are evil and some are nice and kind and caring. Well, this man came in the form of a show-off!

After weeks of speaking on the phone, I finally decided to meet Mr. Show-Off. I got the impression on the phone that he was a little full of himself, but just put it down to nerves or him trying to impress me. Either way, I went against my better judgement and agreed to meet him.

He suggested we meet at a world grill buffet place near me for dinner. I actually suggested coffee, but he'd driven a long way down and said he was starving, so I just went with it. Once I got to the venue, I noticed him sitting behind the table. He looks decent enough from here, I thought, until he stood up, and there was the belly!

He looked as if he was ready to give birth, and I was worried about whether I should have brought a midwife with me or not. I'm sure his profile said he was "athletic", and in his pictures, he certainly looked "athletic". What happened to all the athleticism? He looked like he just swallowed an entire oversized meatball whilst waiting for me!

I tried not to be so judgemental and walked over towards him. He simply plonked himself down and began to talk. He talked about himself, then talked about how he's a Franchise Manager, then talked a little bit more about himself, then some more about him being a Franchise Manager, and then some more about himself, and then chucked in a fun fact that people think he looks like a celebrity. He really didn't. I then opened my mouth to talk and he just talked right over me. More about himself, of course. Oh, and did I mention he's a Franchise Manager?

By the end of it all, I was feeling rather bored, and was still concerned about the meatball in his belly. It looked about ready to explode by now. His belly was peeking up over the table to say hello. He then suddenly got up (belly bouncing) and walked off. I turned my head to see where he was going, and there he was, filling his plate to the brim with food. A few thoughts crossed my mind: What a sweet guy, putting food on a plate for me so I don't have to get up. Oh no, maybe he wants to share a plate? So early on? How cringe-worthy! My mind raced with thoughts.

It wasn't until he came back with his plate full of food falling off the sides and piled high, and started scoffing it that I realised it wasn't for me at all. He hadn't even considered me, or what I wanted to eat. Okay, so I guess I'll go plate up, then? I got up by myself and put a small amount in my plate (trying to be a little classy), and returned to the table, where he was still scoffing the food down, and by now, poking the rest of it with his finger, until he flicked a piece of meat right off his plate. The meat rolled on the table for what seemed a while, until it landed on me. I looked at him with disgust.

"This meat doesn't look cooked properly," he said. "Where I work, they always cook the meat properly because I'm supervising." (Did I mention he's a Franchise Manager?). I suggested that he shouldn’t eat it if he didn’t like it. Anything to stop the meat poking! He then rudely called the waitress over and said a few rude words to her and then stormed off to get more food!

When he returned, he told me that he had a confession to make and that he had been lying to me about something. I thought he was going to confess that he's not athletic, and thought, I've already established that, thanks. Or maybe he was going to tell me that he was going into labour and he was the first man ever to give birth?

He went on to tell me that he actually owned a few restaurant franchises, and he isn't just the Manager, but is in fact the owner of a highly successful restaurant chain. I asked him why he'd lied, and he said it was because women are always after his money, and he didn't like to show off his money, and he didn't like people knowing he had so much money, because women were all gold diggers (Yes, he really said that! Apparently, we are all gold diggers!). I thought this was rather odd and didn't quite know what to believe anymore.

Long story short, the evening dragged on with more moaning, self-praise, and meat poking, which then led into dessert poking, and by now, I wasn't hungry anymore, and wished we'd just gone for a coffee. It came to that crucial time of paying for the bill. I always offer to pay to be polite, but really, he should have been paying, in all fairness.

He offered to pay the bill, and I thought, "At least he has some manners", but just as I thought this, he pulled out a big lump of cash tied up in an elastic band like he was part of drug cartel and started counting it. Now, I'm not one for carrying cash, and I certainly wouldn't pull it out in lump sums like I just robbed a bank or was in a hip-hop video.

He then began to count it over and over again, just in case I didn't notice that he had a lump of cash in his hands. Sometimes, he would place some of it on the table in front of me, and then put it back in the pile. This showing off went on for a while, so I pretended to not notice and acted as if I was engrossed in reading a text.

I thought he said he wasn't a show-off and didn't like women knowing how much money he has? I wondered. I continued to pretend not to acknowledge his money counting, so I wouldn't feed his ego any more than it had already been fed that night.

The same waitress then came over and he paid the bill with his lump of cash, counting each note as he passed it to her. Mind you, the bill was only like £30, so he must have been giving her in £1 notes at a time. I mentioned how rude he was to the waitress earlier, so he got up and said, "Fine, then I'll help her put the dishes away." When the waitress returned to take the dishes, he got up and started vigorously cleaning the table with his dirty, used napkin, took the dishes, and started walking off towards the kitchen with them, mumbling to himself the whole way. Both the waitress and I were very embarrassed!

I then got up to leave after the waitress quickly scooped the dishes out of his hands before he got to the kitchen, and she up and scurried off with them before he embarrassed her further. By then, the whole restaurant was looking. He then said that he needed to fuel his car (no doubt with his lump of cash) and asked if I could guide him to the petrol station. As he was in my neck of the woods and I was heading that way, I asked him to follow me.

Once we got to the petrol station, when he went in to pay, I asked if I could sit in his car, as it was cold, and took the opportunity to have a good snoop through his car and looked into his glove compartment. His car was immaculate and looked almost hired. I found nothing in the glove compartment other than what looked like car hire documents. I saw him approaching, so I quickly closed the glove compartment and got out of the car.

I asked how long he'd had the car, and he told me he's had the car for ages. I felt like something fishy was going on, and that all night he'd been trying to make himself out to be something he wasn’t. When I got back, I googled him and found out that he had been a director, but it was over five years ago, and the company was in debt and dissolved. There was no other company under his name. I did some further research and eventually found that he did work in the food industry after all, but as a chicken shop manager. So much for the successful franchise.

I soon cut him off. Shame, though, as I could have had free chicken and chips!

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