She minces no words.

Dont Mince Words

Is she really going out with him? Comments Off on Is she really going out with him?

Posted on November 26, 2003 by Marna

The first time I went to the bathroom to change my tampon, I noticed there was a window. I pulled back the curtain. The window was painted shut and there were security bars. Nope, there was no easy way of escaping this date. I’d have to hang-in there until closing time.

Chris found me online four days prior. His fascination with my writing and my red hair inspired him to inquire if I was still available. This led to a string of phone conversations and e-mails. “This one is different,” I told myself. He can communicate. He is compassionate. He knows what he wants. I was never so excited to meet someone for a first date. He had potential.

He suggested I come see his band perform on Saturday night at a bar in Monrovia, which is a community somewhere in the Valley near those mountains I can see for the smog. My red flag went up when he admitted he was a musician. Luckily, he doesn’t do it for-profit and has a day job as a sales person.

I accepted the invitation and made the trek to the inland empire. One hour, forty-five minutes and 30 miles later, I was parking at his apartment complex. When I walked up, the inside courtyard pool was a graveyard for leaves, almost filtering the backlighting. He stood in his door, smiling, and waited for me as I approached.

When I entered his apartment, I remembered all the questions I forgot to ask on the phone and in email. Questions I normally don’t have to ask the 28-33 year-olds I usually date.

“Welcome. Glad you made it. Here, let me give you the tour,” Chris said.

My five-second visual assessment had already delivered run-now-run results. From the multi-colored brown shag carpet to the brass and glass bookshelf adorned with trophies on the top shelf, I was not in the apartment of a successful, 43 year-old salesperson. Forgotten question: Do you own or rent?

It was a one-bedroom. Not much to see: galley kitchen, bathroom, bedroom with a down comforter. I sat down on the futon and he brought me a glass of water. I saw the ashtray on the coffee table. Forgotten question: Do you smoke?

“I had a great time at the birthday party today. My grandson was so excited,” Chris said.

“Grandson? I forgot to ask if you had been married before. Wow. How old is your son and where is your wife?” I asked.

“He’s 19 and my grandson just turned four. I never married the mother and didn’t know I had a son until they came to me for money. I only knew her for two weeks,” he answered.

I could almost forgive his living situation, but this was too much for me. I’d gone from dating boys who watch the Simpson’s and listen to Blink182 to dating NPR-listening grandpas with illegitimate children. Forgotten questions: Do you have children? Were the kids planned/do you use birth control? Were you married?

The first date now shifted to a “duty date.” This was like interviewing for a job I’d never take just to have the practice. I was there and I was going to make the most of it. I needed to shave my legs and color my hair…date or no date.

He insisted on driving to the bar. We got into his cracked-windshield pickup truck. The service engine soon light was on the whole time.

The bar was less than two miles from his apartment. It probably met Webster’s definition of dive: duck-taped naugahide bar stools, pool tables, electronic darts, and a neon chalkboard announcing that Sunday’s NASCAR special was $2.50, 20-ounce Budweiser. Music was not the primary function at this venue. I didn’t get the sense that musical tastes were very discriminating judging from the drunks at the bar. My nephew could play his Fisher-Price xylophone and deliver titillating entertainment to this audience.

But, as duty dates go, things could have been a lot worse. I had a seat at the groupie girlfriends table. I had a beer. I had musical entertainment. I had a lead singer date that didn’t actually have to interact with me. This permitted me to check my cell phone messages and write notes while the 40- and 50-something groupie girls went to the back to play darts.

Duty turned into agony when I realized I’d be on the barstool for five and one-half hours. I was being held hostage and force fed “Brown Eyed Girl” and a helping of “People are Strange” for good measure. I went to the bathroom every two hours to swap out tampons and to stretch my legs.

While I was on one of my final bathroom runs, the guys played a Joe Jackson-esque version of “Is she really going out with him.” I chuckled as I flushed and finished the song….’Cause if my eyes don’t deceive me, There’s something going wrong around here.’ When I came out, Chris was walking to the table. His Axl Rose bandana looked moist. He removed his prescription sunglasses and let them dangle from his neck on a leash.

“So, I have to ask. Is there a spark? Will we have a second date?” he said, panting like a pound puppy begging to be taken home.

I hate this part of dating. “I had a great time listening to you guys. You are such a talented singer. But, I’m not feeling it, I’m sorry.” He looked like he needed further explanation, so I added, “I have to be honest, I usually date much younger people. Your admission that you are a grandfather made me realize that I don’t think I’m ready for this,” I added. I know it was a lame excuse, but I had to pick something he couldn’t change or talk me out of.

I made the escape home in less than 30 minutes. The building alley cat came into my apartment and slept in between my legs. Until I can remember to ask the right questions for dates, I guess I’ll be the lady with the cat.

  • About Marna

    Marna’s writing career started as a Pentagon intern. Early exposure to $500 toilet seat press releases made her appreciate creative nonfiction. Now she has more than 25 years of senior-level marketing and communications success working with Fortune 100 companies, government, nonprofits, small businesses, startups, and agencies.

    Stats: 377 Posts, 132 Comments

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