There was no need to consult the monkey bones for an oracle, when the question, “What am I doing here?” keeps going through your head like a mantra, the date is not going well. I looked over at her. She was studying the menu intently. I watched her eyes loiter around a section I’d rather they not be hanging out in. Go ahead and stick me for the lobster. You know you want to. Who knows how this evening is going to turn out? You might as well ride the gravy train while you can. Get while the gettin’ is good.
“I think I’m going to have the lobster,” she announced, and set down the menu.
“Good choice,” I nodded.
I don’t think it would’ve bothered me if I didn’t know it was coming. I get so disappointed with people when they meet my expectations. Now I had no choice but to get something really cheap to mitigate the damage, and hopefully shame her. Grilled cheese? Too obvious. Hamburger. Yeah. Simple burger. What am I doing here?
That was the million dollar question. I couldn’t answer you then, and today, after years of reflection, I can only take a stab at it. Boredom? The idea that being out with any woman was better than sitting at home? A desperate grab for validation? Something to write about later?
I can honestly tell you it wasn’t for sex. Not in this case. It may have started off that way. I can’t imagine any other reason someone would on-line date, except maybe to find a soul-mate, to spend the rest of your life with having sex. No, dear friends, as soon as I saw her, I knew this date wouldn’t be about sex. Not if I had any say. And as the man, I thought I had a pretty good say.
I was living in Redondo Beach with my bubby, Spike. I was newly sober and “lonely” as hell. I was not doing all that well in the bars now that I was deprived of charm juice. I thought about maybe using this newfangled computer contraption and enrolling in an on-line dating service. I was hesitant. It seemed sleazy and demeaning, which if you know any stories about me, you’ll know is a total howler. Really? This is too low?
I can’t explain it, but I was getting all Amish, and felt like computer dating was interfering with Divine Will. What about meeting a girlfriend the old-fashioned way, hung over, doing laundry at the mat? This was like reaching into a bag of snakes and trying to grab the non-poisonous one. It seemed wrong. I thought about it. Wrong in my world usually says “Green Flag.” I sat down at Spike’s computer.
I hated filling out the profile thing. I stared at the questions. I could fill out the parts that required scientific facts, like weight and height, hair and eye color, but after that…shit.
Hobbies and interests? I don’t have any. Not ones, I could list and expect a date. But, I didn’t want to lie either. Not out of some ethical concern. I didn’t want to rattle off a bunch of bullshit like skydiving and chess, because with my luck, I’d wind up with someone who insists on jumping out of an airplane together or staring at a dusty board for hours in her favorite cafe. That or any other pain in the ass thing that people like do for fun.
I decided to gamble and be honest.
“Laying around thinking about Stalingrad or contemplating the collapse of civilization. As a youth, I was a champion drinker and marathon brooder. I also enjoy studying criminal history, and reading about the lives of social misfits, deviants, holy madmen and psychopaths.” There, that wasn’t so bad. What else?
Under spiritual life I put “It’s complicated.”
How would I describe myself? “Deeply troubled, but in a happy-go-lucky way.”
Okay, likes and dislikes. Be careful here. Really? Why now?
“I like sunsets, romantic evenings by the fire, good movies, music and food. But also don’t really feel like going out of my way for them. Oh, I like aliens, too. ”
Nice. Brief and concise.
Dislikes? This probably won’t be as brief. Let’s see…
“I dislike food poisoning, organ music, jail, pushy people, greedy people, arrogant, slick, vain, pompous, shallow, craven, know-it-all blowhard people, people who slow down walking across the crosswalk when they can see you’re waiting to turn, people who try to push the lifestyle that’s making them miserable on you, people who have to actually tell you they have a great sense of humor (they never do), people who take the last slice of pizza without a courtesy inquiry, rats, back-stabbers, hypocrites, snobs, bad eggs and chiselers, but overall I’m easy-going and non-judgmental.”
Under education I listed my degree. Pretty worthless, until just right then. That’s right, ladies, a college man. Let’s talk about a book.
Current Occupation: Bouncer at a strip club.
I looked it over for any blatant grammatical errors. None that I saw, but how would I know? I’m the one who wrote it.
There, that should do it. Don’t forget to put you’re a Cancer. Ha-ha. Boy, ain’t that right.
My finger hovered over the send button. You’re really going to do this? Pretty honest little resume you whipped up there. Not exactly using the best bait. Maybe put in some cute and charming. A wee sprinkle? Fuck it! We’re going to press with what we have. Let’s see what this gets, if anything at all. I pushed send. I like doing stuff like that. Just-to-see kind of stuff.
My first response was an ex-porn star. Heart-attack serious, folks. Ask Spike. She contacted me. In her e-mail she said flat-out that she was an ex-skin starlet, and was now producing adult films. I could see her photo on the web site of the company she worked for. I clicked on the link expecting it to take me to some Dr. Viagra M.D. Next Day Delivery web site, but there it was, her porn company. I clicked under producers and looked her up.
No way. I think I know her. Not sure how. She looked good. Major Mid-forties Milfage.
Okay, just what the hell is going on here? Some sort of cosmic Candid Camera? It sounded too good to be true. I thought it was some off-shoot of a Nigerian banking swindle. I smelled some kind of rat trap or sting. Maybe a militant male-hating cyber terrorism group, dangling some candy so you’d open something you shouldn’t. Yeah, get infected with some kind of worm. It destroys your computer, but worse, dashes your hope of dating a milfy ex-porn queen.
Come on. My first tug on the line and I pull up this up? Could this be real? If this is real, it’s going to end bad. Maybe something so terrible and surreal you won’t ever recover from it.
Must pursue. Must.
She said she thought my profile was funny and wanted me to send her a photo of me without my shirt (at least I got to keep my pants on). I really felt like I was auditioning. She asked me to send it care of her company in the San Fernando Valley, of course.
I did, of course. Dirty whore. Me that is. The jury was still out on the other deal. In the meantime, I picked up the pace on the push-ups while I waited for her response.
She wrote back saying she got the pictures and was okay with meeting me. Then she sent me her cell number. Hmm… this may be real…and…I can’t do it. It’s too weird. Especially now without my handy judgement-impairment elixir. So much easier to step into any passing abyss with a little drinky-poo to cushion the fall. What’s the matter with me? Man up. Can’t I have impaired judgement without alcohol?
Of course you can. You have to learn how to do everything sober now, and that includes making bad decisions. Dating a porn star (ex) would so qualify. Even if she was now a polished successful professional business woman with two teenage sons and a track record longer than Santa Anita’s. I picked up the phone.
Now before you think that this was the lobster date, I can assure you I wouldn’t have bemoaned fine dining Pornula Von Milfenstein. That was another thing, and I’ll get back to Lobster Lana in a bit. Let me first finish up with the porn queen. Ha.
No, there was no dinner with the Baroness. She invited me to meet her at Hustler Hollywood. Her company was putting out (indeed) a new line of interactive porno CDs. I nodded, “yes that sounds so new to me- interactive porn. Technology is amazing.” They were going to have a big opening at the store with an after-party appropriately after. All the top people in her nasty, stinky business would be there.
Wow. Very weird first date. I’m in.
Friday night, I combed my shoes and shined my hair. I got in the car and headed for Hollywood. Nervous. A little thirsty. Having moments of kind of wanting to be dead that came and went. I parked the car at some rip-off and walked in.
The store was busy, and there were assorted bouquets of harlotry placed strategically here and there among the crowd. I started to shark my way through the crowd. She recognized me first, which was a total relief. Nice looking lady. Dressed classy, a tailored suit, probably a Valentino. Pearls. Expensive heels. My mom would approve. Hahahahahaha!
She really would have. That’s the thing. Drop the bomb later. Anyway, she turned out to be a nice lady, warm and friendly. Very normal. And that was a problem. I didn’t mind her being a porn queen. I tend not to begrudge women the amount of men they’ve been with. In this case, it just happened to be a lot, and in a lot of weird ways.
I was kind of hoping that she’d be more unorthodox, like with her thinking, and not just with the way she handed out slices of mango to every ape in Hollywood. From what I was picking up, she was pretty mainstream.
I don’t swim well in those waters. Pretty boring too. But then I watched her click across the floor to hug some up-and-coming starlet. They kissed on the mouth. Okay, this isn’t boring yet.
After the opening we drove over to a club on Vine St. that was holding the party. It was okay, as bummers go. It was the first time I tried to dance sober. Tried is the word. I would’ve rather crawled over broken glass. Fucking murder. Pretty bad deal.
Anyway, I couldn’t relax. I was stiff and insecure. I had no game, and just sort of stood around filling out a suit. Knowing I could light it up with a couple of cans of joy, but having to hold off. Knowing it’s not going well, and kind of resigned to be doomed for now. Taking it on the chin.
At the end of the evening I walked her out to her car. She drew close. Here it comes, Chip Chappy. Let’s see what your performance rates.
She gave me a hug…and then a peck on the cheek…and then…wait for it…a pitty-pat on the back.
Kill me now, God. I date a porn star and get a peck and a pitty-pat. The fraternal love death-blow. What sort of dastardly Lord of Fate was on duty when this shit was dreamed up? Seriously, that stings like a bitch, Dude. I knew it was a set-up. I smelled it!
The next night at work, one of the bouncers asked me how the date went. I told him I struck out.
“I realized I actually have a video of her,” he said, “giving John Leslie a Dirty Belgium Waffle.”
“That’s great. I got a pat on the back.”
I was sour for a while after that, but when I realized that I stayed sober through it, I felt a little better. What am I to learn from all this? That the Amish are right. That computer dating is worst thing ever invented. It’s beyond evil and I would never do it again.
After one more try.
That try got me Lobster Lana. But, we get to deal with her ex-con bad ass next week, in the second part of this saga, appropriately designated, Part 2.
“I almost got arrested at that place.” Photo by Guy Ambrosino