I have to be honest: I am a love guru, just ask my wife. On second thought, maybe you shouldn’t. Either way, for whatever reason, she married me. Anyway, being the mensch that I am, I want to impart some lessons I learned on a particular date (not with my wife) I had seven years ago that will forever be burned in my mind.
An Accidental Meeting
Frantically grocery shopping for an upcoming party, I was zooming up and down the aisles like a drunk mother driving a van full of orphans towards happy hour. In my irresponsible haste, I crashed my cart into the cart of one of the most beautiful women you could imagine. I was taken back by the crash, her beauty and the box of tampons in her hand. She looked at me with an umbrage of embarrassment and a touch of whimsy as I attempted my recovery: “Shh… please don’t report this accident. This would be my third strike and I’ll lose my license.”
She looked at me plainly, not amused. Our eyes met in an uncomfortable yet powerful stare. In my typical fashion, I continued: “My mom uses the same kind,” pointing at the tampons in her hand. As soon as I had said it, I realized how ridiculous and uneasy it was. “I’ll just go.”
Turning my cart around and getting out of the aisle as fast as possible, I was filled with regret for a lost opportunity.
(RED FLAG #1 : Sometimes fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it, intervenes for a reason. Just let it be.)
Not satisfied with what just transpired, I raced down the aisle and came up the other end for a second chance with my crash-cart cutie. Of course my cart had that crazy squeaky wheel, so my presence was immediately known. I began to speak, much like the wheel on my cart, fast and incoherently in multiple directions.
“I’m sorry about before. I don’t know what kind-of tampons my mom uses. OK I do… they are next to the toilet. You use the same kind, but I am sorry for mentioning it. I was just taken back by the accident and think I might have suffered a concussion. You’re also beautiful. You should let me take you out to dinner and we can not talk about tampons.”
My grocery girl god smiled, laughed and left me with this: “I’m Jennifer. Where are you taking me?”
(RED FLAG #2 : If a pick-up line about your mother’s tampons works, question why and run away.)
A Painful Pick-up
I arrived at Jennifer’s house and rang the bell. Was this her house? Was this her parent’s? Is my fly down? Was she renting? Roommates? How was my breathe? Would she open the door? Would someone else? My mind was overwhelmed with questions in anticipation of that door opening. When it it did, Jennifer welcomed me with a warm smile, a hug, and invited me in. She looked absolutely beautiful. She asked me to give her a minute and she disappeared leaving me standing, presumably, in the living room. There were no curtains, no furniture, no television. The only thing occupying the room was a dust bunny in the corner, a phone wire (but no phone) and my thoughts. Jennifer returned to the room and I couldn’t help but ask: “Did you just move in?”
“No! Why would you ask that? I’ve been here for over three years now!” she said with pure amazement.
“Oh. This room is just really open and uncluttered, so I thought maybe you had just moved in and didn’t set it up yet.”
Guardedly, Jennifer examined the room. “That is an odd thing to say. It’s perfect! Let’s go, I’m starving!”
(RED FLAG #3: Finding it strange to have no furniture for over three years in a living room is a normal reaction. Do not doubt a gut feeling of the obvious.)
Following her out of the “living room” to the door, Jennifer attempted to open it. It was stuck. Really stuck. She asked for my assistance. As we both pulled at the door trying to relieve it from its door jam prison it seemed hopeless. Trying to make light of this odd turn of events, I decided it would be smooth to drop a compliment.
“I really love those shoes.” They were bright red yet looked very worn.
Jennifer smiled and excitedly offered, “These are my lucky Steve Madden flats. I practically don’t go anywhere without them.”
After that pleasant distracting exchange, I was focused back on the stuck door. I decided to put my leg up on the wall for added leverage and almost immediately, as if my foot hit some cartoon, ACME switch, her hand slipped off the knob and squarely swung back and nailed me in my naughty bits.
“Oh my God! I am so sorry! Are you ok?” she asked with sincerity laced with (at least in my mind) a perverse pleasure.
With what breath remained, I responded, “Yeah, I usually have three Adam’s apples.”
(RED FLAG #4: Divine intervention is real. Do not be afraid to hear (or feel) it.)
A Contemplative Car Ride
As we drove off towards our date, my mind began to race with the numerous red flags thus far. In trying to distract myself, I began car small talk.
“So how was your day today? Do anything exciting?”
“I over slept this morning and had to really rush out of the house. And, of course, what do I get stuck in?”
“Yeah, so, not just traffic… but a funereal procession! I almost honked but luckily realized what was going on before I did!”
Still no response. I became concerned.
“Is everything ok?”
“Hello! Jennifer! You there?” I reached out and placed my hand on her shoulder and she immediately jumped, startled by my touch, but at least finally spoke.
“Oh, sorry. I really don’t like car rides. It reminds me of when I was kid.”
(RED FLAG #5: Any clue to a deeply disturbing past is worth taking seriously)
An Alarming Appetizer
We were seated at the quaint little Italian restaurant filled with hunger and silence. To be honest, I was debating an exit strategy based on the complete lack of conversation thus far, but as soon as her butt hit the seat she was like a possessed Teddy Ruxpin Bear, verbally hemorrhaging on everything from work, her college days, friends, her love for TV’s Friends, Ross and Rachel and the Biblical implication layered in their relationships (I don’t get it either), books, music, insects, cheese, movies, food, shopping and her family. There was no stopping her, and the few attempts I made at getting a word in were run over with her continued rambling. Through the wine, through the bread and butter and through our appetizer (a delicious hot and cold antipasto), she went on a forty minute, seemingly stream of consciousness run-on sentence that would fill Benjy in the Sound and the Fury with envy.
TO BE CONTINUED…