A friend recently reminded me of a letter I sent her a very long time ago. It was my long-winded rant to let off steam after a blind date gone horribly wrong. And while the original of that letter most likely vanished years ago, the memories of that night are indelibly burned into my brain, never to be forgotten. And believe me, I’ve tried to forget.
I was in my mid-twenties and tired of being single. I blamed it on being overweight and less than attractive, but I can be honest enough with myself now to say that it probably had more to do with my attitude. Well, attitude and the fact that I never went to places where I might actually meet single men.
I don’t like bars; I can’t dance and I have some sensory issues in loud places. I get tense and bitchy and defensive, and I start liberally applying alcohol to calm myself down. The problem is that I usually calm myself down a little too much, which is why there are stories out there about my dancing on the tables at La Senorita while belting out Is She Really Going Out With Him? and other Joe Jackson classics.
For some reason, I always sing Joe Jackson when I’m drunk. I’ve been known to do the full repertoire, from Play Us a Slow Song to Steppin’ Out, complete with my own very uncoordinated version of air-piano. There’s no real cause for concern until I hit Memphis, because that means I’ve become an angry drunk and I’m about to start screaming “Where the HELL is Memphis!”
I’ve also been known to perform The Jazz Butcher’s The Devil is My Friend or D.R.I.N.K. under certain influences, but let’s not follow that tangent in a blog that may someday be read by future employers.
At any rate, I had a hard time meeting men. I joined a few singles groups, which turned out to be three or four balding and paunchy men surrounded by twenty desperate females, most of whom were younger, slimmer and prettier than I was. If you can imagine the scene in Monty Python’s Holy Grail where the virgins surround Lancelot and clamor for a spanking, you’ve pretty much just attended a meeting of the Kalamazoo Area Singles Club.
So I decided to answer a personal ad. Here’s the logic I applied to the situation: I was single and not a complete loser; I just didn’t seem to meet any single men. Therefore, it only seemed logical to assume that there were men out there in similar situations: single, not complete losers, just having a hard time meeting single women.
Sounded great in theory.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way. The first guy seemed like he was okay. We chatted on the phone and decided to meet at a local restaurant. I wore my nicest dress, spent some extra time on hair and makeup, and arrived a few minutes early.
He was twenty minutes late. Strike One.
He was wearing puke-green polyester stretch-knit slacks pulled up to his armpits. Strike Two.
I really tried to give him a chance. I tried not to judge this skinny, skinny man in the pukey polyester. He had a maximum of seven hairs on his sweaty head, swirled and combed into an artistic masterpiece that fooled absolutely no one. He had a nose big enough to provide shelter during a rainstorm – although anyone seeking shelter there would have been promptly soaked by the steady flow of snot. He had either a nervous tic or a dirty contact lens; either way, he blinked constantly as he gave me the “FUB Look.”
Come on, Ladies. You know the FUB Look. A man looks at you, and his smile half-freezes. Slowly, his eyes travel the length of your body, from head to toe and back up again, and the smile gradually turns to dismay or even outright horror. And whether he says it aloud or not, you instantly know what he is thinking: “Fat, Ugly Broad.” F.U.B.
The Polyester Prince gave me the FUB Look twice. Who can blame him? In all of his 5’10” 138-lb glory, he probably had to look twice to take it all in, what with his bulging, lashless eyes being the biggest part of him. Other than the Adam’s apple, of course. That thing was so big that I wondered if it was self-aware.
“Awww,” he said. “I thought you’d be slim.”
“I was hoping you’d be evolved,” I told him. “Looks like we’re both disappointed.”
I have no idea why the night didn’t end there. No, we decided to share a dinner anyway. And then I noticed his huge turquoise belt buckle. That thing was at least six inches in diameter, surrounded by gleaming filigree and silverwork, and probably weighed as much as he did. He looked like Ed Grimly wearing a WWE Championship belt. No man with an ounce of self respect would be caught dead wearing that thing.
I just had to mess with him. I couldn’t resist. I told him I didn’t want the corner booth because our Chakras wouldn’t be properly aligned there, and I babbled about auras and crystals and all of that New Age crap that was so popular in the early 1990’s. I had no clue what I was talking about, but did everything possible to seem utterly batty. I think I may have even told him I was a Wiccan at one point, and offered to read the Tarot for him.
“What I don’t get,” he interrupted, “is why you never mentioned on the phone that you are fat.”
“What I don’t get,” I said, “is how that belt buckle hasn’t severed your spinal cord.”
He took his food to go.
I went home to write an angry letter to my friend Michelle, describing the entire disaster and swearing off blind dates forever. No more fix-ups, no more blind dates. Never again.
Of course, I made one exception a few years later. This one took me bowling, tried to get the bowling ball stuck in the machinery at the end of the alley, and showed his butt-crack to the world every time he bent over. But he made up for it with a great sense of humor and some sparkling blue eyes.
That date lasted eighteen years, but that’s another tangent I don’t care to pursue today.