Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentines Day

On this day of love and romance, I thought it would be appropriate to share some dating horror stories. Here's mine.

In hindsight, I have to say this date was not necessarily horrible, but surreal in that 'I can't believe this is happening' kind of way, sort of like having your daughter pimp you in the supermarket. In fact, if I knew then that I would someday have a blog, I would have thanked the guy profusely for giving me such good material. Of course, there were no blogs back when I was dating - we shared our stories by carving them into stone tablets with chisels that we fashioned out of wooly mammoth tusks.

It started in a club's parking lot in Hollywood. Some girlfriends and I were getting out of my brand new car, a Suzuki Samurai. (Remember those? I believe they were made out of a soda can and four rubber washers.) A group of guys approached us, and one of them zeroed in on me and my slick new wheels. He started asking me various guy-questions, "What size engine? What's the mpg? Why didn't you opt for the mud flaps with the chick on 'em?" to which I replied, "All I know is, I put the key in and the thing goes." He must have found this answer charming because at the end of the evening there was a note on my windshield, "My name's Bob*. I liked hearing about your car. Now I'd like to hear about you." It was written on the back of a business card which had his name and the titles 'President and CEO.' Back then I thought that CEO stood for 'Colossal Elephantine Organ' and I sure as hell knew what 'President' meant. A phone call was in order!

He was nice during our conversation, but vague when I inquired about what type of business he was in. I figured he was being modest and didn't want to reveal the source of his untold riches too early. There would be plenty of time to unveil his private jet, homes on Cape Cod and his Rockefeller lineage.

We agreed to meet at a nice restaurant in Venice Beach. When I got there he hadn't arrived, and with my psychotic habit of revealing way too much to strangers I proceeded to tell the maitre'd the entire story of why I was there. He seemed to be intrigued by the whole thing and agreed to help me scope the guy out, since I couldn't really remember what he looked like. In the next ten minutes a barrage of single men walked through the door, and with every arrival I would look hopefully towards the maitre'd. After conferring with them he would give me the 'thumbs-down' signal, which meant that they were there for a purpose other than meeting a woman picked up in a parking lot next to her ten-dollar car.

About fifteen minutes into my wait I was looking through the window and saw a guy approaching the restaurant and my stomach dropped because I just knew it was him. The maitre'd saw him, too, and gave me one of those hand-over-gaping-mouth looks of mock horror. What walked in to the restaurant was a man wearing a suit made out of a circus tent and around five sizes too big. The fabric looked exactly like this:

He made a beeline for me, and I knew there was no way to escape. I looked over his shoulder at the maitre'd who was now doing a pantomime of hanging himself, his head rolled to one side with his eyes closed and tongue hanging out. So much for a tip, buddy.

After exchanging pleasantries with my clown friend and an awkward hug where I tried not to become entangled in his suit, we sat down at the bar. I proceeded to drink five gallons of tequila to numb myself. One of the first things he said was, "Now, I can finally tell you what I do for a living, but you'll have to close your eyes first." This made me a little suspicious. Was he an axe murderer looking for his next victim, readying to lop off my head, while I sat there with my eyes closed and my head in a liquor-induced spin? Would he peel off that hideous outfit to reveal an astronaut suit? These were the thoughts that were swirling through my young, empty head.

I heard what appeared to be heaving breaths, each one followed by, "Don't open your eyes yet!" I was getting worried now, and I vowed to God that if he spared me I would never speak to a man in a parking lot again. Ever. Finally after what seemed like an eternity, Bob told me to open my eyes. There, in front of me, was a huge inflatable giraffe.

Me: What the hell?

Bob: I own an inflatable toy company!

Me (suddenly aware that everyone in this nice establishment was staring at my new animal friend sitting next to me): Okay! More tequila please!

Bob (reaching into one of his large, voluminous suit pockets): Wait! There's more!

He then whipped out another inflatable, this one appearing to be a large hippo, and started blowing this one up as well. Hearing the snickers now coming from the other bar patrons, and dying of embarrassment, I tried to wrestle the vinyl toy away from him. What followed next was a minor 'scuffle' between us right there at the bar, as he held steadfast to the blow-up with his lips curled firmly around the valve and I pulled on the hippos rear end. This went on for a good three minutes, until I finally wrestled the thing away from him and threw it behind the bar.

By this time I wasn't sure if I was laughing or crying. I left to use the restroom with a stern admonition not to "inflate anything while I'm gone," a phrase that would become a well-worn euphemism among my girlfriends and I. When I returned, the vinyl hippo was inflated to its full glorious size and was sitting on the bar stool next to me, majestically ordering a martini along with his friend The Giraffe.

I remember managing to make it through the rest of the evening somehow. He didn't produce any more toys and I didn't have to wrestle his clown-ass to the ground to get him to behave. At the end of the night, after the valet had brought my car around and I was getting in, Bob opened up the passenger side door and fastened the seat belt around the giraffe. I drove straight to a girlfriends house with my new 'friend' sitting next to me because a story like this, it couldn't wait until the morning.

*I don't really remember his name. Bob? Ted? From that day on I only referred to him as 'Mr. Inflatable.'

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  1. I was totally expecting you to say that you'd been replaced with another kind of inflatable when you got back from the bathroom...

    ...seriously, tears are running down my face.

  2. Hey! That was my brother!

  3. You have insulted clowns everywhere! Of course, I hate clowns, so it's ok. Good one Marsha! I hate you had to live that date, but I sure enjoyed reading about it.

  4. Wow. That was one of the best blog posts I've ever read. If you've got a few more tales like these, you will likely land a book deal, my friend.

  5. NorCal Sistah2/15/2006 4:29 PM

    Well now, that explains everything. No wonder my brother seemed so normal to you that you thought it safe to marry him. I could never figure out how he got you to say "yes". You made me laugh out loud (several times) -- that one goes to the top of my "favorite list" for your blogs.

  6. I love the image of coming back from the restroom and finding two inflatable animals in the bar stools.

    The guy was giving you the best that he got!

    Can you bring one to BlogHer?

  7. G to the Sus, that shit is funny. I can't even pick a favorite part, really. hippo wrestling on the first date? man, you're a lucky girl.


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