Saturday, July 08, 2006


The usual plans for Friday night: Not a damn thing. But an evening of sloth was interrupted by an email from my online dating service. Someone has emailed me. Her communique read, in part, that she believes in doing things spontaneously, she'd read my profile and I seemed "cool." And she left her phone number.

I called, we talked. "Allow me to be bold," she said. "Maybe we should meet tonight." Um, okay. "What's your favorite spot that you haven't been to for awhile?"

Well, if I haven't been there for awhile, it's probably not a favorite spot.

"Then what's your favorite regular haunt?"

I like hanging out at book stores. How about we meet at a book store?

So the plans were made. We'd meet at a local chain book store at 7:30. Her manner over the phone seemed a bit self-consciously high-flown--does anybody use terms like "regular haunt" in a non-ironic way?--and I knew that by asking me for a favorite spot, she was testing me to see if I'd name an official "in" place. But I figure there's a coffee shop at the book store, plus literature, music and DVDs. If we can't bond over these things, there's no point. Besides, it's just a meeting place. We can go elsewhere later, if we're so inclined.

I told her I'd be hanging out in the magazine section, and she approached me there. She told me she was 43, with a few extra pounds, and was 5' 7". Well, the first may have been true, the second definitely, but I'm 5'6", and I had a slight edge on her height-wise. Not a big deal, but something I noticed.

We start to wander through the store. There was a prominent display of recordings from Tony-nominated musicals. (Note to Borders: The Tonys have come and gone. Update your display items.) "Oh," she said, examining a CD, "what's this? The Drowsy Chaperone? I've never heard of it."

Yeah, I said, probably the least lame nominated show this year. It didn't win. I don't know why I know this stuff. Just a theater geek, I guess.

"Well, not much of a theater geek, since you don't recognize me."

And I would know you from--?

She rattled off a couple of credits, and I realized I wasn't being properly awed to be in the presence of an icon of community theater, and I thought, oh no, if there's one thing I know, it's stay the hell away from theater people.

We continued walking through the store, to no apparent purpose, and arrived at the music section. She would mention something, I'd start to respond and she'd talk over my response, already on to another subject. She picked up a copy of the O Brother, Where Art Thou soundtrack and started to rhapsodize about it in a particularly patronizing manner.

Yeah, that's one of my favorite movies, I said. In fact, I love it so much I named my cat Delmar.

She studied the back of the album. "Who's Delmar?"

Ah, one of those. She has the album because it was trendy for awhile there, psuedo-sophisticated NPR types decided that Ralph Stanley was worth their time, at least for a moment. The movie, feh, she'd probably never bothered.

We wandered back through the store. Maybe she'd just made a bad first impression on me, and I certainly had nothing better to do, so I started to suggest making our way over to the cafe and sharing a nice, overpriced drink. But literally as I opened my mouth to suggest this, she said, "Well, thanks for sharing some time with me," and marched straight out the door.

I stood, slightly perplexed, somewhat relieved. Am I that much of a loser? She spends maybe five minutes, tops, with me, then kicks me to the curb? Really? Do I deserve that? Really?

The best I can figure is...hell, I don't know. Maybe if I had recognized her from her extensive body of work (in community fucking theater--that's it, I'm never going to a locally produced play ever again; it only encourages these people), been properly dferential, I'd have gotten somewhere. No place I wanted to go, but somewhere.

The amusing postscript is, I come home, sit down in front of the computer and start to write a post, this very post, about what happened. The phone rings, it's a girl I briefly went out with over a year ago. We'd talked a few times since then, but nothing much. I asked her if she wanted to go have a few drinks, she said yes, and we went out and had a great time, the type of evening I could never have had with Theater Queen.

But then again, it's a scientifically proven fact that you can't have fun amongst theater people. Unless you're one of them, but I prefer to keep my soul.