Date Zero With Dirty Rotten Cat Lover, Also Known As The Man Who Would Become Mr. Right-Click: Part One
OK people, couple things . . . Saturday of this week is Valentine’s Day, and in case you haven’t heard, Valentine’s Day 2009 is also known as the day I feature my first bonafide guest post here on ABDPBT. Because of course Mini has guest posted all over this “shiznit,” as the kids like to say, but that doesn’t exactly count–look, I’m not going to spell it out for you, but suffice to say that if you believe that Mini knows the history of Van Gogh’s relationship to the Impressionist Movement, then I also have a bridge to sell you, &c. Anyway, Mr. Right-Click has requested that he be allowed to guest post on Saturday and although handing over the admin login makes me somewhat nervous, I’ve decided to be sporting about it in the name, as
the poet Bono writes, of love.
Since Mr. Right-Click will be guest posting, and because a delurker recently revealed that she would like to hear about when Mr. Right-Click and I met, I figured it was as good a time as any to tell you the story of our first date. I should preface this story by saying that by the time Mr. Right-Click’s and my paths were to cross, I had about had it with online dating. I had gone on about 100 first dates (or dates zero, as the message boards referred to them), had tussled with my fair share of wink wankers and poofers, and was ready to throw in the towel on this whole virtual dating reality once and for all. Which is what everyone tells you if you ask them about how they met their husband online–it’s always right about when you are thinking that another date sounds about as appealing as pulling out your own toenails that you meet someone you really like. Of course, it didn’t seem that way at first . . .
[screen goes wavy]
As a policy for online dating, I did not make it a practice to write to suitors first. I would wait for them to write to me, and after weeding out the sundry JoinPornGirls6969, “you-are-very-sexy-American-girl,” Nigerian princes, and “Well-if-you-want-to-go-dutch-on-coffee” emails, I would then write back to the prospects that seemed like they had promise. But I had hit kind of a dry spell and started searching one day, and found a guy from Santa Monica who seemed like he might be a good fit. True, he seemed to like cats an awful lot and he was a member of a certain profession, but I was willing to cut him some slack, I decided. There was something I liked about him right off the bat, though I am not sure specifically what it was–just a general likability. So I fired off an email to him, and he responded, and I responded back. Things were progressing, it seemed.
And then I heard nothing. For like a month. And this seemed odd, but then this was part of why I didn’t usually write to people–I preferred to have veto power, rather than to be the pursuer. Lesson learned–I moved on.
Then about a month later I got an email from this cat loving dude again, demanding to know why I had never written him back. I said, “Huh?” and explained that it was he who never wrote me back, and he assured me that I must be mistaken, and I countered that no, I can show you the entire conversation on gmail–gmail? what is that, he said, and that was how Mr. Right-Click first learned about gmail, by the way–and he said, “No, no, I’m sure you are the one who is wrong but anyway would you like to go out for drinks?”
OK, I said. And started obsessing about what I would order when we got “drinks,” since I don’t drink, and hate having to explain this on first dates.
But I gave him my number–this Dirty Rotten Cat Lover, and we made tentative plans to meet for drinks. He wanted me to come to Santa Monica, which I assured him was out of the question. You see, at the time, I lived in Hollywood, and though it’s only a distance of like 7 miles, it can take over an hour to get from one place to another in Los Angeles at certain times of day. And I had been on enough of these “meet for drinks” dates to know that the drink was just an audition–if the guy liked you, you’d get a call-back in the form of a dinner offer, but if he didn’t, then the whole date would be over in less than 30 minutes. And no way was I driving all the way across town at rush hour for this privilege.
At length, we hashed out a deal: we would meet at the legendary Beverly Hills Hotel (which was located about halfway between our respective homes) and “have drinks” at the Polo Lounge, which is the site of many a power breakfast and clandestine celebrity tryst. Dirty Rotten Cat Lover made a point of saying, “I have a dinner meeting, so I’ll already have eaten,” as if to underscore the fact that this was just a tryout date. I knowingly responded, “Yeah, sure,” and expected that we would be eating dinner if he decided he liked me, “dinner meeting” or no “dinner meeting.”
When it was time to meet I was in a foul mood. I almost didn’t go to the date, just out of annoyance with the whole process of online dating and because of Dirty Rotten Cat Lover’s presumed fib about the “dinner meeting” on the phone. At length I decided I had to go, since we had agreed to it, and besides, I couldn’t really blame him. These dates could get expensive and were mostly pointless, I could see wanting to iron out the details ahead of time, however crass it seemed. He had probably been burned just as many times as I had, and been stuck with the bill, to add insult to injury.
So I went. I got there, parked with the valet, and waited outside of the Polo Lounge. And waited. And waited. And waited. Finally, I decided to go inside and get something to drink, because if it was going to take forever for this dude to show up, I might as well have some concessions. It seemed unlikely that he would totally stand me up, but then that hadn’t happened to me yet, so perhaps it was my time. So I sat at the bar, drinking club soda, eating the tri-colored tortilla chips and guacamole that they give you to snack on at the Polo Lounge, when out of the corner of my eye I sensed that I was being watched.
And, sure enough, I was. There was the Dirty Rotten Cat Lover himself, paused in the middle of the restaurant, staring at me with the look on his face that my friend L and I used to describe as the “baby gas” look. Like he had walked to the middle of the room and somehow Hiro Yakamoto froze time and that was where he was stuck. If this were a Harlequin romance, then I suppose that it was one of those moments in which time seems to “stand still,” except the rest of us weren’t standing still. We were watching him suspiciously and holding onto our purses tightly.
And there was a sound, probably inaudible to everyone else but me, but present nonetheless–the sound of the power shifting out of the Cat Lover’s grasp and into mine, as he approached me at the bar.
“Will you make fun of me if I order a girly drink?” he asked, when he finally walked over to me.
“Not to your face,” I promised.
“I’ll have a Midori sour,” he told the bartender.
“What’s the alcohol content on that–like 2%?” I asked no one in particular.
“I think it’s less than that,” the bartender said.
“Are you hungry?” The Dirty Rotten Cat Lover asked.
“Oh, I thought you had a ‘dinner meeting’,” I said.
“That, oh–it was cancelled,” he explained.
“Let’s get a table,” he suggested.
“OK,” I said, and got up and started to walk towards the table seating area. The Dirty Rotten Cat Lover got out his cell phone and said, “What’s your number again?”
“Don’t you have it?”
“I want to make sure.”
“Seems like you must have it, since you called me.”
“When did you decide you needed to ‘make sure’? Was this before or after the ‘dinner meeting’ that ‘got cancelled’?”
“Just now,” he laughed, and opened up a menu.