innocent bystander //a weblog

Detail of original by glockgal.  Click on image to see her work!

Monday, February 24, 2003

11:20 PM: 

i went on the worst blind date this weekend. the horror started the moment he turned the corner. i recognized him from his picture, but just barely. and i thought, "oh, HELL no."

his name is paul, and he'd responded to a personals ad i'd posted online. hey, it was my friend's idea first. and my other friend dated a very nice girl he met off yahoo personals for a year and a half. they're on the rocks just now, but i think they would be great together if they patched things up. i guess what i'm trying to say is: no, i don't think this is abnormal.

anyways, he sounded good over e-mail. he seemed warm, enthusiastic, and very interested to meet me, and hey, attraction is attractive, no? but i took care not to put too much into the e-mails because i know those factors that make or break chemistry are nuanced, indeed. you have to meet the person. so i met the person.

i struggled to keep a poker face as he swung his arm over in chummy fashion to pump my hand. oookay, i thought. he was dressed in shapeless, baggy pants and a shapeless, baggy, lumpy knit sweater. these were draped over a physique of quite small stature, which was not flattered by his posture. i can't quite convey it: torso a little too stiff, chest out a little too far. head angled as if he were scanning the skies. hey, this kind of stuff only just barely worked for napoleon. somebody could try to stop looking cocky.

note: paul's ad said he was 5'4". i figured this would be okay, considering i'm 5'0" myself. his ad was wrong.

we walked into hal's bar and grill in venice. prior planning on my part paid off: i'd picked hal's so i wouldn't have to look too hard at paul if he turned out to be a woofer. paul wasn't just a woofer, he was a howler. everything about him screamed "personality deficit." i couldn't even bring myself to order drinks when we found a booth. i got water instead, figuring it was an emergency situation and i needed my wits about me. and i was absolutely right. over the course of the next 60-odd minutes paul said these things in all seriousness with absolutely no prompting on my part:

  • "i am a control freak"
  • "i'm not sociable"
  • "all guys like natalie portman because she was adorable in the professional"
  • "i've got to get a serious relationship before i start my restaurant because once it's going, i can't date the staff"
  • (regarding a chinese pick-up line he had been taught:) "i'm so set if i ever go to china. so set!"
  • "my sister is immature. she's crazy. she lives in her own little bubble. i just can't stand it."
  • "it kills me that my dad won't move out of orange county. i hate it there."
wow. i've never had a blind date this bad. the bons mots weren't even the end of it. he told me three times that he was "a wine snob." he referenced my liking for irish ales with ill-disguised disgust. being a sommelier, he tried to show off the way he poured wine for clients by emulating it, unrequested, with a glass bottle of evian. really-- i'm a college graduate. i'm not impressed by party tricks. he gripped his wine glass rather as a gorilla might. nervous tics danced across his face and shoulders. he insisted j.r.r. tolkien's silmarillion attempted to push religion on the reader. nobody reads the silmarillion that way. the night was a disaster. i begged off on an excuse after an hour. thank god he didn't try to kiss me as we parted. if he had, my mortification would have been boundless.


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