On failing a test

Brandon* was the second guy I dated. He was handsome with green eyes, brown skin and an easy smile. I liked him a lot, but our relationship was doomed from the beginning.

He met me on campus on a Friday afternoon by the Bruin Bear for our first date. We walked over to his green Ford Explorer. He unlocked the passenger side door for me and opened the door. I got in, smoothed out my skirt and sat down. He shut the door and walked behind the car.

I just sat there.

A moment later, Brandon unlocked his door, got in and started the car.

“Have you ever seen A Bronx Tale?”

“Uh, no.”

“Well, there’s this thing called the door test and you just failed it.”


Brandon explained what I’d done wrong, or rather what I hadn’t done. While he was walking around the car, I should have unlocked and opened his door. Instead, I just waited and assumed the door would be unlocked as I was used to keyless entry and automatic locks.

“I should dump you right now,” he continued.


He didn’t dump me then. Instead, we had a great a dinner, had fun at a party and continued dating each other. A few weeks later the initial spark fizzled and we were through.

I lost contact with Brandon about 5 years ago**, but I still remember his lesson. It might not be the most significant thing I’ve learned from someone I’ve dated, but it’s definitely useful.

At least I don’t get dumped after the first date… it just comes a little later.

* Name changed to protect the innocent.

** Last time I saw him was outside of the Avalon in Hollywood in ’04. He looked good. Don’t you hate when that happens?.

*** Thanks to Joel for inspiring this piece with his own post on the topic and his reaction to my confession: “I am shocked, shocked that you of all people would fail the door test! I would never think that about you. I feel like I just found out you have a weekend coke habit or that you’re a closet republican… wow… just wow…”


10 thoughts on “On failing a test

  1. i think taking the door test seriously is probably grounds for dumping in itself. there’s enough hollywood bs subconciously screwing with our ideas about relationships already.. to consciously embrace something you saw in a movie as a/the relationship barometer is.. ergh.

    (how do you feel about movie quoters? not the once in a while kind, but the ones who are constantly doing it.)

  2. jms says:

    Actually he failed the test before you did. He walked “behind” the car instead of more properly in “front” of it which is the gentleman thing to do. Also the “test” inself is flawed because a gentleman would not expect a favor in return.

  3. Hi Cindy,

    Ironically, I did see the movie the Bronx Tale and know better to do it every time, especially on the first date. I always imagine myself some cool sexy mulata from the bronx with smarts. However, I do think its a stupid reason to “kill the moment.” You can’t judge a person entirely by its cover. Besides, Its just a stupid man killer movie with a “cute” ending for guys who this is as “loving” as it gets for them. I mean, if he/she asked me to swallow matches with them after making love, well, now that is a keeper, I would say. tee hee, j/k
    (film reference: like water for chocolate)

  4. frank says:

    What a jack-ass “Brandon” is, if any man says to a woman on the first date “I should dump you right now” for something as innocent as the “door test” you should coun’t your blessings that he is history.

    Brandon may be trying to judge a woman’s willingness to help the man whenever possible, but to take this one event and mention on a first date only shows Brandon’s immaturity and stupidity.

  5. AJ says:

    My upbringing prevents me from ever passing that test. When I was a kid (way back in the 80s, pre-power lock takeover), I used to lean over to unlock the door and my mom would have a cow about it. She always said it wasn’t ladylike to lean over your seat like that…a proper gentleman will always unlock his own door. Maybe it’s an Asian thing.

  6. wow, looks like the car door test got some really mixed reviews from your readers… in my, and the door test’s defense, let me say that [a] my father told me about the door test, and he was allegedly told about the test by his father, way before De Niro ever inflicted the overrated Bronx Tale on the movie going public, [b] Brandon did screw up by walking behind the car, [c] I once dated a girl who failed the test, it didn’t end any better than Cindy and “Brandon”, and [d] my wife passed the car door test. So that’s 3 documented cases of the Test’s accuracy right there.

    And thanks for the plug Cindylu!

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