What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dating Disaster

"Everyone has these days." That's what I told myself during a sixteen hour period when everything went wrong before even considering going right. You know what I'm talking about: Nothing works out as it should. Regularly taken gambles and risks are rewarded with the sort of destitution normally reserved for the risk addicted, things that should go up go down and vice versa, polite comments are interpreted as premeditated insults and even friends begin to question your sanity.

You've probably had these kinds of days - you may have even had a day as bad as mine - but it is unlikely that you shared that experience with a beautiful woman.

We'll call her "Alexis" because I don't want to spend a great deal of time agonizing over a name for a woman who probably detests me and wouldn't read my writing for all the orange juice in Florida. But I'm getting ahead of myself. I met Alexis at a nondescript social function through school, the kind of affair that the politically and socially savvy frequent and that neck ties enjoy because they provide a vacation from their wrinkled and lonely closet existence. One look at Alexis revealed she was out of my league. Blond and attractive, she had radiant features and a captivating smile that every guy in the room noticed.

When I first saw her, I was mid sentence with a group of jocks talking about n'importe quoi. I stopped and my jaw must have gone slack since the whole group turned to follow my gaze. As one they answered my unstated question: "She's out of your league, man."

With my friends' statement as encouragement, I grabbed a couple of the cheesy fondue pieces that passed as "refreshments" at the shing-ding and moseyed in her general direction. When we met I was pleasantly surprised that she was able to overlook my many social faux pas and general lack of grace. We had a conversation (she was more than just a pretty face) and, by the end of the evening, a scheduled date. Take that, jealous jocks.

To get to the distant amusement park for which I'd bummed tickets in time to enjoy an entire day of nauseating fun, Alexis and I had to leave at an ungodly early hour. For a derelict like me, any hour before noon is early, but when the alarm rings much before twelve it's easy to ignore the noise as irritation and sleep on. That's exactly what I did. When I rolled out of bed, groggy eyed and rested, I glanced at my clock radio with the curious expression of a six year-old. The green numbers were not what I expected to see when I'd prepared myself for an early departure the night before. Nor, for that matter, did they represent a time at all close to the rendez-vous time Alexis and I had set for our trip.

It's always a tad embarrassing to stand a girl up. There was that time my senior year in High School when I accidentally scheduled two dates at once and took the "where are you?" call from one girl while dining with another. My "thanks for the call, mom" hang up line managed to further infuriate the girl I'd stood up and was unconvincing to the young woman I was with. If you're reading this, Liz, I'm sorry. And you deserve better, too, Becky. Then there was the time I decided to stop for pizza on the way to pick up my date for a dinner and dance. She smelled the pepperoni on my breath when I got to her house thirty minutes late and my flat tire excuse deflated quickly. There was also the time I plumb forgot about a lunch obligation and was halfway through my break and on the other side of town when the young woman called with a reminder.

These "Great Moments in Stand Up History" pale in comparison to my half-dressed, 45 minute late arrival. As soon as I remembered my date, I determined I didn't have time to shower, shave or shine, the three Ss of my morning routine. So I grabbed Lysol from under the bathroom sink and gave my entire body a quick application. The smell was overpowering, so I dug around for the Febreze and gave the strategic locations a few squirts. Still dissatisfied, I turned a bottle of aftershave upside down over my head and toweled my hair dry. In retrospect, a little cologne might have added some musk to my potpourri of scents, but I didn't think to reach for my room mate's bottle of Stetson.

I actually entered my car wearing only underwear but managed to dress while averaging over ninety miles per hour on the freeway. Did I mention I was driving a manual transmission? Or that my super efficient economy car is on the opposite end of the spacious spectrum from Loretta Lynn's Lincoln. I pulled into the parking lot where we were to meet, having been awake only 45 minutes, but smelling, I'm sure, like I'd just gotten out of the soap factory. When Alexis sat down in the passenger seat, she wrinkled her nose and stifled a sneeze. I pointed to my car's frame, which was home to more dirt than the underside of a horse's hoof, and said I'd just had it waxed. Alexis' nonpulsed answer revealed my lie's ineffectiveness and I noticed her glancing furtively at my hair which I admit had a sort of Vegas air.

At that moment, sitting next to a young woman who really did justice to the term "beautiful" in her chic green jacket and white blouse, my day was not going badly. In fact, had it ended right then with some kind of meteoric disaster, I'd have few regrets.

But it didn't end there. Alexis has the political views of a slightly demented Maoist minion and, after a few minutes of listening to her compare Dennis Kucinich to Mike Gravel, two men who have the combined political clout of my deceased dog, I told her as much. Some people watch Crossfire for entertainment, but few want to experience that level of argumentative intensity on a first date. I was no exception. It took the restraint of a Gregorian Monk to keep from pulling to the side of the interstate and leaving her to walk back to her communal abode.

I was just starting to warm up to Alexis when we stopped for breakfast. For some reason Alexis wanted to take a walk, so we hoofed around for twenty minutes before selecting an eatery. With the words of Avril Lavigne ringing in my ears ("I have to pull my money out and that looks bad"), I insisted on paying for the meal. Only the restaurant didn't take credit. And I didn't have any cash on me. I turned glumly to my date. "Alexis?" Like me, Alexis was a plastic aficionado who had about as much of the green stuff as the hairy guy with the shopping cart on Fourth and Vine. In fact, the richest entity between us was my car, which likes to keep some money in the ashtray.

From car to eatery and back was a little over three miles, but I ran it in less than twenty minutes, a pretty good time for an out of shape derelict. I also ran it in jeans and shirt, both of which lost their soapy smell by the end of the ordeal. Alexis enjoyed her meal while my body recovered from the run.

After rinsing out my shirt (Alexis' idea), we got back in the car and continued toward our destination. That's when the unthinkable happened.

I was on a sparsely trafficked freeway, going at about the speed of the other cars, maybe a little faster. I'd stopped sweating and Alexis wasn't talking politics. Things were looking up. Then, in one moment, my biggest claim to driving fame evaporated and, with it, I lost my tax rebate. That's right, I got ticketed. I did everything right. I told the officer I was late for work at In N' Out burger (an establishment that gives uniformed police officers a discount), that my new shoes had a bigger sole than I was used to and that my friend was in labor and that I was driving her to the hospital. When I mentioned my date, the officer took a closer look. His reaction was as unpredictable as it was crushing.



That's right, I got pulled over by my date's cop dad. He wrote me up for the maximum and confiscated his daughter, telling her that she shouldn't be "keeping the company of such..." while gesturing toward me to emphasize his unfinished sentence. He also told me Alexis was out of my league. I drove home alone and went to bed as quickly as possible. I wanted that date to be over.

The next day, I called Alexis twice and left imploring messages. I emailed her, too. A few days later I blocked my number and called, but she hung up as soon as I identified myself. Her meaning could not have been more clear: another dating disaster.


Anonymous said...

Awwwwww so sad.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should devise a chart that can determine how a person is in one league or another, and if two people are compatible based on various traits.

some hot chick said...

aaaalll right bud. your pathetic romantic life has entertained me in the past, but by now you should know better. First of all, you are acting really superficial, judging only by the girl's looks, not her character (sorry to steal the line, Mommy G.) granted, looks are important to some extent, but they shouldn't be what your decistion is based on. Secondly, you sound as though you cared nothing for what the girl wanted or her needs or anything about her. no wonder you can't get a girlfriend. My advice: don't worry about having a girlfriend right now. they are totally overrated and are really expensive (I would know). For the present, focus on being a normal friend to everyone you meet, and eventually a good girl will come along. In the meantime, focus your attentions on God and meeting other peoples' needs above your own. I think I've told you off sufficiently now, goodbye.

Mrs. L said...

Celibacy sounds very good for you right now - until you learn to value a young woman enough to a) tell the truth, b) treat her with respect, and c) learn what "love" really means.