My date with the Conservative Nutter lasted just under two hours and while her company wasn’t unpleasant, I am certain that at least some of that time (ok, just about all of that time) was spent in obligation. I felt obliged to give it every effort, give her every chance, and to be fully present despite our obvious disconnects. I might have been overcompensating just a bit, but the compulsory portion of the night had run its course.
I walked CN to her car, dodged an awkward moment when she tried to kiss me, and headed for the subway. Out of courtesy, I didn’t make post date plans, so I spent the subway ride texting for a drinking partner… that and hoping the bottle of benadryl I swallowed earlier would outlast my allergy to suburbs and wingnuts.
It was that tween part of the night – happy hour crowd mostly onto other things, post dinner crowds yet to arrive – and I found myself at one of my favorite bars/restaurants. I occupied one of two empty seats at the smallish bar while drinking a Santero and finishing my newspaper.
About ten minutes after my arrival I heard “Is this seat taken” asked by a well dressed 30something woman over my right shoulder.
“Just by you” I replied moving my briefcase to the back of my barstool.
Just after she settled into her seat, Jimmy, the bartender and a friend of mine, said “Jessica, whatcha drinking, and what the hell are you doing back so soon?” His tone was a touch louder than required – but that’s just Jimmy; there was no intent to harm or embarrass but Jessica turned a bit red nonetheless. I tried to focus on my paper, not wishing to deepen her blush by changing my body language or otherwise providing visual acknowledgment of the obvious fact that I overheard what should have been a more private question.
To Jessica’s immense credit, she channeled her blush into a subtle chide toward Jimmy and a conversation starter with me. “Dontcha just hate it when people ask you questions when the answer is obvious?” Jessica snarkasiticly querried with a slap to my right arm. She continued – in my direction but clearly intended for us both – “Jimmy knows full well that I left here ’bout an hour ago for a date and that if I’m back this quickly it must have sucked donkey balls.”
I’ve long found the well-timed and sparingly but properly used profanity to be particularly charming from a woman’s lips.
“So I guess we’re gonna start with a shot before I pour you a glass of wine?” Jimmy asked with just the slightest hint of sheepishness.
“Uh-huhhh” Jessica nodded as we all shared a half-laugh that didn’t fully indicate the levity of the moment.
Jimmy gave me a look, pointed a cocktail shaker in my direction, and asked “Refugee, you in on this?”
“I almost have to be since my date, though not quite hitting the inauspicious benchmark of sucking donkey testicles, wasn’t much better than Jessica’s.”
“Do you always use too many words like Cornell West, or is that just an affectation to impress a pretty girl?” Jessica asked in what was becoming clear was her favorite color of speech – a pale shade of snarkasm.
“I thought you had a disdain for the obvious questions” I replied as we shared the first of many flirtatious smiles. I changed the subject and inquired “So what was so what was so bad about your date, did he not get your particular brand of humor?”
“And why would you ask that?” Jessica responded in a thoughtfully suspicious tone that made me instantly think she was a barrister by academic training if not profession.
“Well, I get the sense, more from the tonality of your dialogue than its actual substance, that yours is a particular type of humor that is contraindicated for those lacking in appreciation of sarcasm and snark or as I like to say snarkasm.”
“Good god, you do love your 25-cent phrases, even when a nickle would do” Jessica replied as she cupped her hand to her forehead. “Are you a lawyer?”
“No, I’m not a lawyer, but I was just wondering the same thing about you… your tendency to answer questions with queries and all.”
Jimmy interrupted our sparring by placing three shot glasses on the bar and pouring a brownish liquid into each.
“Shall we drink to nights that don’t suck donkey gonads?” I offered. All agreed, we toasted, Jimmy & I tapped the bar with our shot glasses*, and all were upended.”
Perhaps sensing the problem-solving look on my face, Jimmy proudly declared “I call that Looziana Swamp Whater” in an exaggeration of the cajun accent he used to have and now mostly turns of and on whenever it suits him.
“So-Co… Lime Vodka, splash of sour, wait, no… Lime Vodka, splash of OJ, splash of coke?” I stated as more of a question than it should have been.
“Fuck you and the super-tasting palate you rode in, Refugee… I’ll get you one of these days” Jimmy replied with a melange of frustration and pride.
“So you wanna tell me why your date was… can we say ‘licking the donkey nuts’ if not sucking them?” Jessica said by way of returning us to a prior unfinished point of conversation.
“Well, Counselor, the short version is that I met my date through some online dating site. I wrote her a message, she replied and accepted my invitation to have a drink. However, in her acceptance, she gave me her email address and some internet stalking led me to her blog which seemed to indicate that she was a bit of conservative/libertarian nutter… like, is a birther and compares Glenn Beck to Edward R. Murrow kinda nutter. And for the record, of the two things, I am not sure which I consider the greater offense. But I met her for drinks because I had already extended the invitation, and I thought she was hot. Turns out, her pictures are old as hell – and the ensuing miles were city miles not highway miles, and 30 pounds out-of-date too. That’s the elevator version of the story, but I’m not saying another word until you answer one of my questions; why was your date so bad?”
Jessica took a deep breath, a mildly dramatic sigh, and did that look-down-look-up-look-down-pause-look-up maneuver, and finally said “You guessed that he didn’t get my humor and you’re slightly right… he spent most of the evening trying to impress me with his ‘Harh-varhd’ degrees and success. It was bullshit. He talked for 50 minutes and the only real question I got in, he didn’t get the question, and really flubbed the answer. It wasn’t just that he didn’t get me, it’s that it didn’t matter to him if he did. I could’ve been any woman sitting there… Ya know most people like to jack-off to something but this guy likes to do it to himself, so all I was doing was sitting there holding the mirror.”
“I get that, mostly because of my general understand of and disdain for Harh-varhd Men, but also and more specifically, because that behavior doesn’t surprise me from any man… but what question did you ask?
“He said something which prompted me to ask what he saw as the difference between foolish and romantic. He didn’t even understand the question.”
And that was the moment, either the question or the shared look afterward, but most likely the combination of the two. That was the moment when the potential became possible.
p.s. There is more to the story, but this post was getting a bit long. See ya tomorrow.