Just Perfect for Me
I went on a blind date Friday night. Missed seeing (to quote Scrivener) the fan-f*cking-tastic Mountain Goats for this night on the town. But a someone in my universe knew someone just perfect for me, and talked (well, bullied) me into going out with him. I’ve never had a problem with blind dates. I like meeting people and, at the very least, I might get a good story to tell while cocktailing. What I’ve often had a problem with is who someone thinks is just perfect for me. Makes me wonder if the yenta has ever met me.
I’m not particularly interested in adding new male types to my life right now. I’m enjoying a couple of wicked crushes on a couple of wicked men, and there are more important things that need my attention at the moment. But I’m working on a short story about a single woman reentering the dating world post-breakup, so I saw this as a good research opportunity.
The descriptions you are about to read are a personal dating preference. I embrace people of all political and musical beliefs, heights and hair coloring, but I have a checklist of specifics for those I want to embrace.
I get dolled up. Tame the wild curls. Slip on nice pair of pinstriped trousers with a not-too-snug turtleneck. Downplay the baubles and heels. Drive off to the agreed-upon meeting place, a restaurant a couple of miles from my place (newbies are not allowed near the Cup’s cupboard) where there’s a heated patio romantically overlooking a busy five-lane road.
I arrive on time — seven minutes after, because a lady should always be a few minutes late in order make an entrance. And, well, the radio was playing a countdown of R.E.M.’s ten coolest songs in honor of their nomination, and I had to hear which was number one (“Radio Free Europe,” of course).
But the grand entrance was denied and I was left waiting. I’m an impatient one. I hate waiting on people, especially dates. I grabbed a dirty martini and sat with that “yes, I’m waiting for someone” look, quickly losing the high of meeting a new guy and that great R.E.M. set. Finally, fifteen minutes after my grandly denied entrance, he (we’ll call him Skip) strolls in. Hopes further dashed. Second cocktail quickly ordered.
Skip is not my physical type. I haven’t circulated flyers listing what I like, so I can’t fault the fixer-upper. But my toes don’t curl. Don’t even twitch. He’s a little on the short side, by my standards, maybe 5’8”. (In my head, I think I’m 5’10”, so I like ‘em 6’0” to 6’4”.) Blond hair combed so perfectly I can see his comb’s teeth (I prefer wild, dark male hair … much like the men themselves). A bit bland, average, boring; Kevin Costner in a golf get-up — vanilla country club button-down, khakis, loafers, his BlackBerry holstered to his belt.
Back in the early 1980s, I had a friend who used to wear his garage door opener on his belt when he trolled Buckhead. He told the little chippies he was a doctor and the opener was his pager. It surprisingly worked about eighty percent of the time.
He says hello and shakes my hand. As if we’re about to review his taxes. No grip, a little clammy. I know it’s awkward when you’re meeting a blind date, but a handshake? He picks up my just-ordered martini and gets a light beer. Light beer? I can’t respect a man who drinks a light beer at first meeting; be a man and order a full-bodied British ale. Or scotch.
And then we sat. Uncomfortably. For far too many beats. He asked a question. I answer. He moved on to the next question. (What? None of my answers were worth a follow-up?) Standard job interview Q&A — occupation, hometown, where I currently reside, where I went to school, whether or not I’d been married, number of kids. The boring stuff. I got the same info from him: sales, Nashville, Alpharetta, Tennessee, divorced five years, no children, no pets. What does he like to do? Play golf. Go to Braves game. “Well, not this year,” Skip scoffed. “You know, they sucked this year, so I gave away most of my tickets.” I dislike fair-weather fans. He lives for SEC football. “You can’t get me on any Saturday in the fall. And Tennessee kicked Georgia’s ass this year,” Skip yelps as he punches me in the arm. Who does he think I am — Peppermint Patty?
Fifteen minutes and two strikes. Looks like he’ll be fanning the plate all night.
So I move on to music. A man can always come from behind if I approve of his CD collection. Well, he saw that awesome James Blunt concert this summer (huge yawn; respect now chopped at knees). I bemoaned the fact that I missed Beck’s secret show on Halloween; he’s crushed because he didn’t know Jeff Beck was touring these days. He loves Jimmy Buffett and his 1980s hair bands, especially Jon Bon Jovi (“ewww!” snarkily escaped between my lips). And then he mentions the name that makes my skin crawl: Toby Keith. I’m on a date with a Republican.
I don’t have a problem with friends who are Republicans. Our debates and discussions make me think, stay aware, help me to see the other side of the political coin. I do not, however, want to date a Republican.
He won’t stop sneaking non-subtle peeks at my not-on-display boobs. That brings out the catty Cup. I tell Skip I don’t listen to country music much these days since it’s really warmed-over adult contemporary pop sung by pretty people, that I prefer traditional country music, but I do have the new Dixie Chicks album, and I’m considering seeing them with Pete Yorn next month. That gets him started. The Dixie Chicks are un-American because they spoke out against Dubya and the war, and he’s glad our fine city’s country stations have banned playing their records. “But, Skip,” I ask innocently, “isn’t the foundation of this great republic the right to say what you believe?” Got a lot of Boortz-spewing on that one.
Must. Stop. The Boortzing. So I move on to books. Does he read a lot? A lot of political books, such as Zell Miller’s, and he g*ddamn loved The DaVinci Code. Didn’t I love it? No, I did not read it. He declares that I must not be a booklover after all. He declares moi a non-booklover, and he’s never read The Great Gatsby or The World According to Garp or In Cold Blood? I don’t even waste my breath asking about dear Tim Sandlin or beloved T.C. Boyle; this guy doesn’t deserve to know about them.
I’ve drained two martinis by this time, so Skip suggests that we “move the party” to a European-style dessert place. It’s a wonderful spot, especially if there’s a spark of romance flickering. Me? I’m just looking forward to chocolate.
We walk to our cars (I want to be sure of the quick getaway). He has a big-ass SUV. “Oh, I thought you said you don’t have children or dogs,” I bitchily cooed. I don’t think he caught the bitch tone, because he bragged about what a great behemoth it is.
Dessert was much of the same. Struggles for conversation, no hits on similar interests, some quibbling about local politics and TV shows and books. He’s sucking out all my energy; the black hole of my Friday night. I pull out the fake yawns … mentioning how rough my work week was … my brunch plans for early the next day … any possible excuse I can think of to get to the end of the evening. But the chocolate torte and cappuccino were scrumptious.
How can I make sure he doesn’t call? I start playing the psycho-girl card. I get faux-weepy over “the guy I just broke up with.” Pull out the reliable male-chiller and talk about my biological clock, how I need to settle down soon so that I can get pregnant in the next year. Tell him about my MoveOn.org and Drinking Liberally activities. Anything that will turn him off. I even giggle about how we have nothing in common and don’t understand how our mutual friend thought we’d be a match.
Of course, he called Saturday afternoon. I have yet to return his call.