Friday, May 06, 2005

Dating in 2005

It is a fact. People are out there right now hoping to make the connections that will win them a place in the kingdom of their prescribed heavens. It seems that everytime I go out with my girlfriends we find ourselves in places where the meat is young, fresh, and on the prowl. Quite frankly it bores me. But I go because my friends want to go and what the hell I'll spend a few hours out at the local hangouts and observe the mating rituals of this rare animal called the human condition.

Whole pages can be dedicated to the myriad and fascinating ways people date nowadays.
I'll start with The Blind Date.

The Blind Date
Well meaning married friends always want to set you up with someone they think is perfect for you. Why do they think this? I can only think it's because the prospective guy in mind happens to be around your age and single. No other reason. Afterwards, when you've endured a few, fruitless dates with said individual, you've smiled his way, you've tried to make conversation inwardly you want to strangle your friend and ask her "What the hell where you thinking setting me up with that guy?"
One of my my friends is an immigration attorney and represents many clients seeking political asylum from their governments. She praised the qualities of one particular man, I'll call him Ben, and gave me his phone number. I called him and agreed to meet him at the Borders cafe. He was from a Middle Eastern country, his native language being Arabic but when he had to flee his country or be killed he went to Mexico. He learned to speak Spanish in the four or five years he was there. Now he is in the United States. I speak fluent Spanish, (that must have been another reason why my friend wanted me to meet him), we got along okay, but I didn't think we had much in common.

Still, not wanting to completely blow him out of the water, I agreed to a second date. He took me to a Middle Eastern grocery store, that had a small cafeteria, for dinner. That's when I knew this match was not for me. I forced myself to eat a greasy gyros sandwhich all the while thinking what length of cord would fit around my friend's neck. Ben worked for an uncle in his grocery store and he was used to keeping very late hours since the store didn't close until 11pm. This particular night he was off but when I suggested we could go get a beer at Sam's Boat after "dinner" he revolted utterly and said no, it was way too early. It was 8pm.

His bright idea instead was that we go back to his apartment because "he needed to get something". Red flash bulbs went off in my head but still I agreed to go with him. He lived in a part of the city I don't venture into very often and for good reason. But the apartment is right across the street from his uncle's grocery store. Did I mention he didn't have a car? I was the one driving. He showed me his small modest living space. It resembled a monk's cell. There was only the barest minimum of furniture that can get a person by in a living space; a table, some chairs, a sofa, a televsion, and upstairs, a bed. Nothing else. Not a single picture on the wall. No photographs, no posters. The apartment could have belonged to anyone. There wasn't a single thing in there to give any indication that a man named Ben ____ lived there. But what was truly unforgivable was the utter lack of reading material in that place. No books, no magazines, not even a dog-eared tv guide. I put Ben to the test and asked him if he read any books. He said no, never. that sealed his fate. I am a voracious reader, a writer, a lover of the written word, a connoisseur of all things bound, whether they contain my words or the words of someone else. To tell someone who loves books and writing that you don't read is like telling a surgeon that you don't believe in all that new fangled gadgetry like lasers to perform surgeries.

Once the tour of desolation was over he proceeded to call someone, I am assuming in another country, because he spoke Arabic. He left me sitting on his couch for almost an hour while he talked on the phone. All I could think about was what excuse I could give this guy to tell him it was time for this "date" to be over. And I was thinking of the earful my friend was going to get from me for setting me up with this jerk. I think Ben finally got the idea that I wanted to go. I said I had to pick up my son early from his dad's the next day and I needed to go home. As if this experience weren't bad enough Ben continued to call me for the next week. I have a rigorous schedule. As a single mom and a teacher I have to get my child in bed early and then go to bed early myself because I get up at 6am to get us ready for school. Ben was calling me at 11:30pm after he was getting off work and I'd already been in bed and asleep for an hour and a half. He told me that in Mexico he would work unitl late and then stay out until 3am so he's used to keeping really late hours. Well, guess what buster, we're not in Mexico and I have to be in bed early. He actually told me to make an effort to stay up late so I could talk to him. I told him I wasn't going to do that and there was no point in continuing our dating. End of story.

Later on my friend said she had thought we might get along because he seemed so soft-spoken and that he had really pretty green eyes. I wanted to slap her.

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