Tuesday, August 12, 2008

O Henry

Going on a lousy first date can be hard.

Especially if you're in a long-term monogamous relationship.

But my squeeze the Cheez and I managed it.

Though we couldn't have done it without Doc Henry, as we like to call him. Since Doc Henry was really the one whose first date it was.

We were just the collateral damage at the next table, watching Doc Henry set off a series of incendiaries that pretty much decimated any chance of him getting any.

Cheez and I were in Seattle for a nice romantic getaway. Bear in mind, for us that means two nights at the Travelodge.
Dig that Groovy Water Feature

Well, the Travelodge wasn't our first choice.

Or our second. Or third.

But last Friday was the eighth of August. As in 8/8/08. And 8 being a lucky number, everyone of Chinese ancestry from here to Hong Kong was attending a wedding. So most hotels were booked full by the time we got around to planning our semi-spontaneous getaway.

Okay, it's an exaggeration to say every Chinese-American was at a wedding. One was just on a bad first date.

Oh, it looked promising at first. At first being when Cheez and I turned up at a sweet little French bistro in downtown Seattle. We were starving. I surveyed the occupied tables like a . . . well, like a blogger so famished she can't come up with a witty metaphor.

That couple should be leaving soon I observed to the Cheez. They've got dessert and they're pawing each other.

It's true that for a Jewish woman, dessert IS foreplay. But apparently not for Doc Henry. Because he and his date stayed at that table for another whole hour after dessert, providing a veritable Dinner Theater of Dating Don'ts for me and the Cheez to observe, seated as we finally were 8 not-so-lucky inches away.

Maybe I am narrow minded, but any conversation that includes the query So how do you usually meet people, besides Speed Dating? seems about as awkward as the Science Fair blue ribbon winner at the 9th grade dance.

Or really as awkward as that same geek some thirty-plus years later, when he is on his first date since his divorce became final six months ago.

How did we know this was his first ate since his divorce became final six months ago? Because he told the lucky lady, This is my first date since my divorce became final six months ago. Loudly.

Just as loudly as he told her I am the best eye doctor for your daughter to see. (Er, is juvenile optometry code for some sort of consenting adult sex game no one told me about? Do you prefer position 1 or 2? 1 or 2?)

Also as loudly as he told her My income has taken a real hit this year, since I opened the second office.

And I don't date Chinese women, they're too flat-chested.

And I wouldn't use an online dating service. You just get stuck with some divorcee with a couple of kids.

That was the moment when the date finally broke in to remind him that she was divorced and had a kid. Luckily, he reassured her that a divorcee with one kid was okay for him to date. Because he is only going to date someone he can be serious about, and when he gets married again, he'll want to have two or three kids, until he has a son, so the new wife having one kid of her own was okay (presumably this would be some proof of her fertile ability to produce said son of a Henry), but more than that would be a problem, crowding out all his future progeny and all.

I don't know why this line of reasoning didn't have the date running screaming from the restaurant.

I'm not even sure why it didn't have those of us at the next table running screaming from the restaurant.

In contrast to the first date from hell, there sat Cheez and I, who have been together so long that even you, dear reader, know our cutsey-wootsie, doofy-oofy pet names for each other.

We have also been together so long we can communicate long, complicated thoughts with just a few coded words.

Thank god. Because Doc Henry was showing no signs of leaving, and we were about to freakin' explode if we couldn't start mocking him immediately.

Do you remember in grad school? I asked. Yes Cheez answered.

In normal speak, this means:
Do you remember in grad school how Rosemary always had a million crazy jobs to supplement her grad school stipend, including volunteering for medical experiments, driving restaurant meals to celebrities too lazy to leave their homes, and working for that service in which a loser guy pays some astute woman to go on a date with him and then critique everything he does wrong on the date because his lovelife sucks so bad there is no way that he is ever going to have a real relationship without some woman like Rosemary comporting herself like a bizarre cross between Henry Higgins and Chuck Woolery to give him personal instruction on how to make a Love Connection?

To his credit, the eye doctor had at least picked a nice white-tablecloth restaurant. Which was good, because by the time he got around to asking his date So, are you into Asians? we were pretty much waving our white tablecloth as a flag of surrender.

Needless to say, we won't be asking him out on a second date.

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