Thursday, November 02, 2006

the well is deep

A few days ago I was speaking with my friend Little Rock Arkansas. She works in war zones and stuff and is totally amazing.

Her work is hard and heavy on the heart, and even though I don't work or live in war zones my pretty good life sometimes totally bites, so when we talk on the phone, we are our silliest: stupid voices, hysteria, cackling.

Last weekend we were reminiscing about bad dates we'd been on and she urged me to write about this one. (The "Bad Date Story Well" is deep and dark, my friends.)

Rocky baby, this one's for you:

So, many months ago, there was this guy online. He was HANDSOME (by which I mean, attractive). He was FIT (by which I mean, athletic). He was SUCCESSFUL (by which I mean, not living in his parents' basement). He was a CANOER! He knew HOW TO DRESS! Check! Check! Check! Check! Check!

(I don't really have a checklist, I'm just expressing enthusiasm for these qualities.)

Anyway, we correspond. He's taking some time off work, he says, to train a bit, and to invest more time in his personal life. He makes it sound like he's taking a vacation from his business life because he's been so successful that he can afford it, and that he just values taking time to be active, travel, and hang with friends.

First clue that he's likely not the guy for me: he suggests we meet for a drink at a super cheesey yuppie martini bar. It's not even a pretentious-hip bar, (which can fun if you're in the mood, looking hot in those boots, and heading there with your least reverent friends). This place is wanna-be hip, (which means over-attentive waiters, a sneering hostess, tables that aren't quite clean, food that embeds its scent in your clothes even when it is served to a group 20 feet away).

But he's going to be handsome! fit! successful! (AND I wildly imagine: hilarious! warm! might like banjo AND electronica (not together)! knows how to fix stuff! well-read! left in his politics but fiscally responsible!) and so I put on that V-neck cashmere sweater and those hot boots and brush my teeth. I am excited. I am anxious. I am thinking:

"I better be on my best behaviour. I will probably have to be my most clever, my most alert, my most relaxed and confident, my most fun. Shit, I must stop being so self-conscious. Shit, I hope he doesn't want to discuss Turkey joining the EU. But I could probably do the Liberal Leadership race. Definitely could talk about the pesticide ban, or South American literature, or religious fundamentalism. See? That's not bad. Shit. How pathetic. Get a grip."

Anyway, I get there, and spot him almost immediately at the bar.

Thought #1: So that's why all your profile pictures are taken from the left.

Thought #2: Are you wearing a Christmas Sweater?

Thought #3: Oh thank God, no, it's not. But close.

Thought #6
(#4 and #5 were spent remembering how to greet someone politely): Wow, you talk JUST LIKE CAROL CHANNING. With an up-voice.

(Photo borrowed from here.)

So Mr. Handsome spends the first fifteen minutes talking. Non-stop. And he says (and try to hear a kind of masculine, toothy, spittley, run-on Carol Channing kind of "up-voice" in your head as you read this):

"So I'm not working right now. Yeah. Well see the thing is, I was having lots of ideas? So many ideas that my head started to hurt? Like, I started to get these headaches. So I don't really have a lot of energy. But I'm into dating? Like, it's fun to hang out! So I'm on quite a few drugs right now, that really helps, but I'm kind of in this haze? This emotional haze? So I can't really connect? But I'm totally into dating."

Thought #18: Uhhhhmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

(Thoughts #7 through #17 were spent selecting a glass of wine and calculating the pros and cons of downing that glass, along the lines of: CON, I'll have to wait an hour to drive and that might prolong things, whereas PRO, downing that glass might help me survive the minimum 30 minutes that this is going to take if I stay.)

Now don't get me wrong. I'm not actually a huge bitch, and I could see that this fellow was, under all that crazy, actually pretty sweet. I have lots of friends who are or were on medication for mood disorders, depression, etc. and have no problem with this. I support this. I am no Tom Cruise.

But dude? Maybe you aren't ready to be dating just yet.

And me? Maybe I have to talk on the phone with these guys first.*

And Rock? Maybe you need to get out of that warzone for a while so I can do these voices for you in person.

*As a sarcastic friend drily observed at the time: "And really, who's worth cashmere on the first date? Almost nobody."


At November 04, 2006 11:44 a.m., Anonymous Jonathan said...

I know I shouldn't feel this way, but I've been noticing more and more recently that very nearly all Americans I come across are on some form of medication - and to them it seems normal...

What the hell is going on with America?

Back to the subject of your post - I met my other half on the internet back when it was rare to do so. We both had some hilariously disastrous dates before meeting each other.

You get really good at getting back on the horse in the end...


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