You can always tell how your friends really feel about you when they set you up on a blind date. Apparently my friends view me as a female Marty Feldman: How else to explain the parade of Men Whose Eyeballs Wander Off in Different Directions Like the Bedouin? I'm talking about lazy eye, folks. Then there are the plain old fat guys, to whom I must be attracted because I myself carry some extra baggage. Actually, I do like bigger guys, but that needn't be the only criterion for us to hit it off. Dudes who are big and attend a lot of sporting events, who think Adam Sandler is funny, and who live with their sisters do not count.
No, I tell my friends. I just want to meet someone in the real world, on my own.
"Yeah, but I thought of you immediately," said one friend, who shall remain anonymous. "He totally loves Breaking Bad, Henry James, and Steve Martin."
"You were a lit major, right?"
"That doesn't mean I like everyone who has ever published a novel in English."
And so it went, until I was beaten down and agreed to meet the guy. I chose Yancy's Saloon, because it rests on the N-Judah line and I could dip in after work — and easily dip out and reboard if things got dicey.
Yancy's, despite being in the Devil's Triangle I like to call the Inner Sunset, is really nice. It's big but cozy, with seating areas hither and yon, and a long, dark bar you can tuck into if you feel like striking up a conversation with a stranger. Oh, lord, was I wishin' I could do just that and not meet some guy my friend picked for me.
Here's the real danger of such matchups: The guys are almost always unattractive. I'm being blunt. I, who cause men to get off at the wrong BART stops due to my fatal beauty; the girl whom John William Waterhouse would have painted, had we lived in the same era; Katy St. Clair, the antidote to fugly, does not deserve a homely man. Yet usually they are. Now don't get me wrong. Almost every man I have loved has struck me as unattractive when we first met. Bob Kimball, my first love, wore bellbottoms in the '80s and had a Herman's Hermits haircut. "Oh, that poor, poor man," I muttered to myself upon first viewing him. Quickly, though, his personality won me over, and I found myself yearning to run my fingers through his Peter Noone-ness. Oh, how I longed to help him remove his flouncy cuff from his bicycle chain.
So I can work with ugly. But there needs to be something there that I can work with, ya dig?
If you haven't already figured it out, I wasn't feeling very optimistic. I decided to sit at the bar, where I could find someone interesting to talk to, perhaps. Maybe this person could even join us on our date, if it weren't going so well. I'm sort of famous for this: You bore me, and I find another person to enjoy until you get the picture.
There was a middle-aged guy in a baseball cap to my left, lost in thought. There was a gaggle of girls down on the right. My best bet was the guy. He ordered a greyhound, which is a vodka drink, so there was my in.
"Have you heard of that new Swedish vodka called Effen?" I asked. He said he hadn't. "They have a slogan like, 'It's not a good night without a little Effen,' or something." I said, jokily. He nodded, unamused. "Personally, I would go with, 'Let's get this Effen party started!' or something."
Crickets. Actually, he had a look on his face that said, perhaps you should go Eff yourself. Duly noted. I turned back to my drink.
Then something strange happened. It was about five minutes before the guy was supposed to show up, and I felt butterflies. My hands were sweaty. Holy shit, I was nervous! Weird. Maybe this was God or the universe letting me know that this guy was actually going to be the One. I checked my cellphone to see whether he had texted anything about being late, and he hadn't. I told him I would be wearing a red dress and a black jacket, and I was happy to see that I was the only woman in the place who looked like that. He couldn't miss me.
Ten minutes passed. Then 20. I ordered another drink and tried to look like someone who wasn't being stood up, because I wasn't. In fact I was just there to enjoy my drink and ponder life. Thirty minutes. I checked for a text. None. Hmm. I had stopped being nervous. No, now it was time for some crushing, self-defeating thoughts. He must have seen me first and turned tail. Oh, God, did he see me singing along with Bob Seger?
At 45 minutes, with no contact, I figured he was a lost cause. Boy, would I have some choice words for my friend who set this thing up. The Effen guy next to me didn't seem to notice one way or the other. I was glad I hadn't mentioned that I was waiting for a blind date. My shame would be my own.
I paid my bill and hopped down, relieved. I did, however, have one last thing to do, which was to text my friend who had dreamt up this whole date:
Hey Dipshit. Dorkface was no-show. Love, Dingus.
Spoken like a true lit major.
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