I found myself in an odd situation last night. I sat in a cafe sipping a cup of tea, as my date had a booger hanging from her left nostril. It was one of those thick gooey ones that needed to be removed with a tissue, not one of those light flaky ones that could fall out on its own with a weak exhale. I sat there trying not to look at this piece of nasal mucus as it dangled there, but I felt guilty not saying anything. Is it proper etiquette to call attention to something like that on a first date? Is it rude to hand her a tissue and tell her she needed to do some housecleaning? Is it rude not to? As we discussed matters of work, family and life in general, I could only think - "Doesn't she feel it hanging there?" I could barely pay attention to the conversation.
If she were my 4 year old niece, I'd have gotten a tissue and grabbed it out of her nose myself. She would have pulled away, I'd have told her to stay still for a moment, she would have resisted a little, but the whole thing would have been over in a matter of seconds. Instead, I said and did nothing, thinking it would be too embarrassing for this woman, if I called attention to it. I got up to use the restroom, hoping that while I was gone she'd check her makeup in one of those little mirrors women carry around. Once she saw the booger, she'd take care of it, and it would never again have to be seen or discussed. I figured she may be a bit embarrassed, thinking I'd seen it, but the plan was to pay her a compliment of some kind when I got back so that she'd feel better about herself and hopefully forget the whole thing.
As I walked back to the table, I was thinking of things I could compliment her on, and hoping the nasal stalactite was no longer there. Of course, it was. I wished there was something interesting in the cafe's bathroom that I could have suggested she go check out. A cool painting perhaps. Maybe a nice potpourri basket. ... ANYTHING to get her in front of a mirror. But such was not the case, and I was stuck having to stare at the snot-sicle for the remainder of the date.
There won't be a second date. Not because of the booger, we just weren't a match. But I wonder if she ever did notice it. Maybe she jumped in the shower when she got home and washed it away without knowing it was ever there. Or maybe she's at work today with it still hanging there as her coworkers wonder whether to say anything to her about it.