I ask you: what does it say about me that I prefer to spend my time listening to, watching, and gabbing about a guy young enough to be my son whom I will likely never meet and who certainly doesn’t know or care a thing about me? And, I hasten to add, about whom I am not the least bit obsessive? Well, since Clay came along about 20 years too late for me, I’ve had to make do with, well, lesser mortals...
In the course of my adult life -- 100% of it as a single person -- I have dated (and kissed) a lot of frogs. And for the life of me I can’t recall any of them turning into princes. The Brothers Grimm have a lot to answer for, if you ask me. At this point, if someone offered me a choice between an income tax audit or a blind date, I’d have to sit down and think it over.
Here’s where Clay comes in: a couple of years ago, I was suffering through my umpteenth blind date -- a fix-up, as opposed to the personals ad variety. This is my least favorite kind because the friend fixing you up a) doesn’t think enough of this person to date them herself but thinks they'd be just PERFECT for you) and b) as such, is usually unduly anxious for the date to be a success. And I’ve always hated to let people down.
Anyway, I don’t even remember much about this mope, except that as we were awkwardly discussing our music preferences over the salads, I mentioned that I was a Clay fan. He said something derogatory about him that I won’t repeat here -- just think of it as typical Conan material. It’s odd -- one minute I was sitting there demurely sipping a tall glass of ice water, and the next thing I knew, it was running off the guy’s chin. And the glass, having bounced off his chest, was in his lap. It just...somehow...flew out of my hand, in his general direction. And the next thing after that, I was slipping the waiter a five to clean up the mess as I strode indignantly out of there. (Dating Rule #27: Always bring plenty of money, in case you need to cover the bill or beat a hasty retreat.) Did I feel badly about dousing the louse? Nah. Did I hear from the guy again? What do YOU think?
Did you know that I hold the record for the shortest blind date on record? (Really. Look it up in the Guinness Book.) Another fix-up: I arrived and here’s what happened. Take out your watch and time this and you’ll see that I’m right:
Me: Hi...Kathryn’s told me a lot about you.
Him (dismayed): I thought you’d be better-looking.
Me (huffily): And I thought YOU’D have some class. (EXIT!)
See? What did I tell you?
Another "friend" set me up with (shudders) my first and only Republican. No offense to any Republicans out there; I’m sure you’re all very nice. But I knew this particular relationship was probably doomed when he swaggered into my 1920’s vintage hardwood floor walkup, looked around and said, “This is okay, but I don’t see why you don’t live in a high-rise on Lake Shore Drive [the most expensive street in the city]. It’s a lot nicer.” I’m sure he thought homeless folks, with the limitless options open to them, choose to live in cardboard boxes in the subway tunnel, too. After a long ravenous drive to the restaurant, during which he said he wished Reagan could stay in office forever (grrrr) and I contemplated taking a bite out of the dashboard, it turned out that he was one of those guys who insists on ordering for you, which he did, much to my displeasure. A few days later, after our date ended abruptly when an undeclared ingredient in the polenta landed me in the emergency room, he called and, as a consolation, offered to escort me to our mutual "friend's" New Year’s Eve party. Since I didn’t yet have a date (read: ride), I reluctantly agreed. Then...you guessed it...he stood me up. Oh, my...what was a girl to do? I dressed up my Ken doll in his best tux, affixed him to my shoulder with a big safety pin, and introduced him to everyone at the party as “my date.” He was a hit. And better company than the elephant. Understandably, that "friend" never again tried to set me up with anybody. Hmmm...I wonder why.
I also dated my share of actor types -- generally a poverty-stricken, narcisisstic breed -- including a perfectly charming guy whose gums started bleeding spontaneously right there in the restaurant. Ewwwww. Also, memorably, one who had neglected to mention his glass eye and thought it would be fun to float it in my water glass as a joke. Double ewwwww. And last but not least, the male model I caught in my bedroom, trying on my red patent leather slingbacks. Triple--well, you get the picture. (Dating Rule #54: Never date a guy way prettier than YOU are.)
Probably my most lethal blind date disaster was a pudgy guy named Marty, whom I met in the co-ed jacuzzi at the YMCA one January day. One advantage of meeting a man when he is wearing a Speedo is that there are few remaining secrets. Naturally, that works both ways -- and any guy who hits on you having actually seen the expanse of mottled dead-of-winter white flesh protruding from your chlorine-faded tank suit is probably not very discriminating. Just sayin.’ Of course, in all fairness, the fact that in NO universe did he have any business appearing in public in a Speedo also tells you how discriminating I was, I suppose. Might as well admit it: we were equally indiscriminate.
I always tell people this, and they never believe me: He showed up for our first date with...an OVERNIGHT BAG. Confident much? Moreover, he somehow contrived to leave it at my apartment when we left for dinner, giving him the perfect excuse to come back afterwards and...get it (get it? *g*). During a way-too-salty dinner at a bad Mexican restaurant, he rattled on and on about himself, recounting in excruciating detail his recent oral surgery, even going so far to floss at the table. (Damn...and I liked that blouse.) Some cronies of his stopped by our table, and smirking, he introduced me to them as “his lady.” HOLY CRAP.
It’s a damned good thing that restaurants have back doors, isn’t it? I wonder how long it took him to figure out that I hadn’t gone to the ladies room. (Dating Rule #98: Always scope out an escape route.) I wish I could tell you that nobody stole his overnight bag after I left it out on the front steps, but... Now, you would think he’d never have anything to do with me again after that, but you’d be wrong. I got awfully tired of deleting his messages off my voicemail. Some folks are a glutton for punishment, I guess.
Now, I’m not suggesting for an instant that all men are worthless louts, selfish egomaniacs or classless idiots. Just the ones I’ve dated.