I guess she was attractive enough, like if you were just getting out of prison or something. But, I wasn’t the one just getting out of prison. I don’t know how to put this delicately. I don’t want to come off as insensitive, but she just wasn’t a good-looking woman.
Ladies, you must agree that there are men out there that are not physically attractive to you. I’m sure that if you carefully studied them from a safe distance, and searched deep in your heart, you’d find a beautiful human inside. But I’m also sure that the thought of getting naked with them…would still make you want to vomit.
So let’s not pretend this game doesn’t work both ways.
Anyway, all I can say is she took a damn good driver’s license photo. Who does that? That’s the picture she used for her profile. I studied it and deduced it was some from some kind of ID, but didn’t think more of it. I was just relieved that she looked okay. Cute even. I also thought, “Hey, if this is her driver’s license photo, then she looks even better in real life.”
What I should’ve been thinking was, “Hey, what kind of person only has their ID photo to use in their profile?” Oh, I don’t know, like a newly released convict? Maybe. Let’s see.
This would be my second and last date via cyber-whoredom. Having just gotten sober, I found myself paralyzed around women. Not just internally, like always, but with my motor skills. I couldn’t make my feet walk over to the part of the room where the object of my desire was located. Desire is a powerful motivator and when it’s thwarted, it’s late breaking news. For me, at least. It’s also a king-sized drag.
I’d go to bars and just stand around drinking oceans of club soda. I was frozen in fear. I had lost my ability to charmingly convince a women to give me a try. To see if I would destroy her life or not. I had no game.
Did I drink away my game? Did I even have any to begin with? Was it all bottled game?
Beer made dancing through the complicated quadrille of courtship so much easier. Do you need to undress the hostess while her guests wait for dinner? Got just the thing. Beer made me bold, and bold makes things happen.
“Using the front porch swing like a Bangkok love basket with Thelma Lou, while her folks listen to Jack Benny on the radio is going to require some Moxie, young man. Try Sots, delicious whole-grain, yeast soda. It’ll put the giddy-up back in your gallop.”
Indeed. I needed a bucket of liquid oats in my feed bag to get trotting again, but that wasn’t going to happen. I needed help. Desperate times call for commensurate measures. Computer dating seemed appropriately desperate, but not without advantages.
You could weed out thousands of bummers by making your profile so insanely honest that only the hippest of chicks would reply. The easily terrified would be scared off. Whoever was left would be a woman so battle-hardened by life’s weirdness that a guy like myself could relax and be himself. That was the idea, at least.
My first nibble was an ex-porn starlet that ended the evening with a peck on the cheek and a fraternal pat on the back. The next bite on the line was a woman named Lana. I looked over her profile.
Lana. Sexy name. Rhymes with “I wanna.” Might be a fortuitous sign. What else? Likes sunsets, long walks on the beach, romantic evenings by the fire. I guess I can put up with that…for a while at least. I did some volume calculations with her weight and height. Adding some size for number padding, I estimated that she wasn’t going to be petite. Nothing wrong with that. I wasn’t averse to spanking a full fanny around the ballpark.
The problem is this here, this part-time job thing she listed, selling Mary Kay cosmetics. Those women are crazy. Trust me. Sure they’re great in bed, but you pay for it with your sanity. What meager remnants of mine remained, I guarded jealously. Part-time, too. Means she’ll be around. Cut into the napping schedule. Well, we’ll deal with that chestnut when it gets too hot.
I called her. She picked up on the second ring.
“Uh-huh? Hold on…Randy, if you don’t shut the fuck up right now, I’m going to come up there and beat your face in! Okay, I’m back.”
“Hi, my name is Marius, and I am the guy from on my profile you answered to by sending something to my e-mail which I answered you from, from.”
“Yeah yeah, hey, how’s it going?”
“Okay, well, nothing I guess. I mean good.”
Silence descended. A vast, eternal one. Pyramids were built and crumbled. Civilizations rose and collapsed. The distance between planets grew.
“So what’s up?” she volunteered.
“That’s funny, that’s what I was going to ask you? Ah-Hahahahahahahahahaha!”
“What? What’s funny?”
“I don’t know. So you like sunsets?”
Not the scintillating repartee of a Noel Coward bedroom comedy, and it would grind down from there. I remember having the stupidest conversations of my life with that woman. Not all her fault, either. I was still scrambled and remedial myself. Her being brick thick just anchored the dialogue to a muddy playing field. She would underhand pitch me a rotting grapefruit and I would splat that bitch out into the cheap seats.
I think we had two conversations on the phone before our date. They were just chock full o’ red flags, but I’m newly sober. What are red flags? I just learned what red stands for and don’t know yet what it means when it’s attached to a flag.
I was just happy to get through the conversation. When she told me she just got out of prison for interstate transportation of drugs, I thought, “Good, she can’t give me too much shit about my past.” Some of the best relationships start there. We decided to meet at a restaurant.
“That way you don’t have to worry about me raping and killing you,” I assured her.
On Saturday night I did that thing where you spray the cologne in the air and walk through it. Walk through it and any nervousness. Without drinking. I can do this. I’ve lived through much, much worse than a bad date and rejection. And what else is life but a torture rack to endure until blessed oblivion?
I finished my pep self-talk and walked into the restaurant. “Are you Morris?” someone asked. I looked over. It was a woman.
And then I saw her face.
Holy shit! The smile did it. Not a sexy Lauren Hutton front gap, but a multiplicity of them, scattered as though from repeated BB gun accidents. Pellet gun, actually. She looked like a jammer from the old Roller Derby on channel 13. A Los Angeles T-Bird, but with a face someone carved in a pumpkin contest at Trader Joe’s.
She also still had a little prison smell behind the ears. They get a look after doing a few years that doesn’t shower off easy. I could see her spitting sunflower seeds while she walked the track in her utility CDC windbreaker. She was not bull-dikey enough to be a shot-caller or yard boss, but could be a unit soldier or shower hatchet. The other women wouldn’t try stealing her Ramen soups, that’s for sure.
While I do admire a woman who can protect her locker of canteen goods from the other convicts, it’s not much of a sexual turn-on either.
You know you could have offered to meet her at a coffee place. That’s a place where a lot of raping and killing doesn’t happen on dates, too. You’d only be out a cup of coffee, but no, your male ego wanted to impress. Unfortunately, that fucker isn’t going to pick up the check. Or be anywhere around when you try to parachute out of this flaming dirigible.
She had the lobster, of course. I hamburgered her in passive protest. As she told me about the third restraining order she’s ever had to file, I scrutinized her. How many beers would this take? We’re probably talking thirty to forty, and by then…well…ain’t nothing gonna happen. She was out of beer range. Sober? Not a chance. Or as much chance as me making out with my dad.
She yammered on and on but my brain couldn’t pay attention. It had to come up with an escape plan. Too early to fake a seizure. Someone needs to die. Not a family member, but like a co-worker or neighbor. Tell her I need to go and ID the body. Please, someone call me. Where are all the telemarketers when you need them?
One good thing, though. I stopped being nervous about the date not going well.
“I put on a lot of weight in prison,” she announced, while the waiter poured her some more wine, “They feed you nothing but starches.”
“That doesn’t bother me.”
“Thanks. I’m glad to hear that.”
“Yep.” I can eat starches all day.
Over dinner she told me about her bust. She said she was working for a woman who asked her to take a trailer full of furniture to Indiana.
Oh boy. NEVER take furniture to Indiana. My buddies Scott and Richie told me about that. Cops are hip to that one.
She said she got pulled over and right away they call in the dogs to sniff the trailer. I nodded. They saw the furniture.
She claimed she really didn’t know the drugs were in there. I kind of believed her. Why should she bullshit me at this point? It took her a long time to convince the feds she didn’t know. Eventually, they gave her a deal. Wear a wire and get the receiver to come out and pick up the trailer. After the sting she would also have to testify against them and the woman that sent her.
She said she was scared to death, but did it. The G-men got to polish their buttons over the bust and convictions, but screwed her anyway. She got three more years than the deal they agreed on.
“That’s dirty,” I said, and picked up a french fry, “Feds always want to get their money’s worth.”
It was a depressing conversation, and I noted with chagrin that the more wine she drank the more flirtatious she became.
I was getting antsy for the check. How much longer, O Lord, will You leave me tied to this stake,? The ravens have pecked out the flesh from between my ribs, letting the hot wind whistle through in mockery. I am humbled by Your might. I tremble at the thunder of Your wrath. I beseech Thy mercy.
The waiter finally came and set the check tray down. I paid the bill with singles the stripper’s at my work had tipped me out with. Quite a grip of them. The folder bulged when I handed it back to him. As I did, I realized I didn’t have an excuse ready for if she wanted to come back to my place. I was so busy beseeching that I forgot to come up with a plug-puller. Stupid, stupid, stupid. It’s 10 o’clock on a Saturday night! Where are you supposed to be instead?
Okay, now is the time for a seizure. Do it right here in the restaurant. You can’t be shy. You have to sell it. Knock over a table. It will be a little awkward but you’ll be home free before you know it. Do it. Let it rip.
“I’d like to come over to your place and hang out,” she said.
“Uh…sure.” I watched myself say it while hovering just above my body.
If she gets into my apartment, not only will she know where I live, but will probably rape and kill me, all the time. She only works part-time. I know how this works. First you try to let them down easy and say nice things about them, then you switch to why you are too terrible a person to deserve such a goddess, but as soon as they sniff out it’s a shove-off the tears turn on. The next thing you know, you’re engaged. It starts out as break-up speech and winds up being a marriage proposal–just to stop the crying. Or in this case, the stabbing.
As we got up from the table, she wobbled a bit.
“Whoa, that wine kicked my ass! I hope you don’t plan on taking advantage of me.” She winked and gave me a big Halloween smile.
Oh God. Here we go. I grabbed the tablecloth with both fists and started shaking.