The following is a fictionalization of my first date with GrecoMorgan, of the Online Dating Chronicles fame, written way after the fact, but way before the Advent of Mr. Right-Click, and with only a very vague commitment to verisimilitude. Still, if you recognize some resemblance to real persons alive or dead, it is probably not coincidental. But we sha’n't speak of it.
At 30, Jane Fairfax was a spectacular disappointment to men and women alike. This was not her fault. It was just that the disparity between her ethereal appearance and her Mephistophelean personality troubled people. She was not As Advertised. Oh sure, people like to say you cannot judge a book by its cover, but even these very people tend to make a practice of doing just that. Let’s face it, there is a certain comfort in the practice of judging books by their covers, and the faith that the contents match the binding is a hard thing to let go. And the fact that her content was usually at war with her cover was a problem that had followed Jane wherever she went.
But Frank Christakis totally got Jane. It was his single recommendation.
Unlike most people, Frank knew immediately that there was nothing sweet about Jane, and if you had asked him why, he would not have been able to answer. But he knew it and he craved it, and he thought of her in the same way that one thinks of two Jack ‘n’ the Box tacos (only 99 cents!) at 2:00 a.m. after a night of drinking.
Which is to say, just enough.
For this was the sort of woman that had only entered the realm of possibility for Frank since his foray into investment banking post-Berkeley, post two years in the boiler rooms of JP Morgan, back in Manhattan, where people actually knew what investment banking was, and six foot models flanked the arms of tiny swarthy sweat hogs for the price of a Fendi purse. That was a world that Frank could get behind, he had thought, when he first picked up a copy of Liar’s Poker at age 16, hot off the press, the book that would become the blueprint for his life’s work, when it all seemed so glamorous back in Claremont, when he was fenced in by the walls of his decidedly Greek middle class home, under the tutelage of his intellectual, but overly traditional parents. That was the kind of life he could get behind.
There was much ado about nothing in the planning of the first date between Frank and Jane. Frank’s pursuit of Jane was lackluster from the start, he Could Not Commit® even to email her regularly, after initially responding to her ad, Frank had disappeared for weeks at a time, always resurfacing once she had officially given up on him, with a half-offer of a date of the variety that would have been deemed ‘gay’ by Jane’s friends because it was so noncommittal. Move on, date others, said the Chorus, and she knew they were right. Frank’s behavior had been decidedly gay, but she had some kind of resilient interest in him, and it frightened her, it encouraged her to overlook things
It was highly unlikely that Frank Christakis was in fact homosexual, his admittedly faggy approach to dating aside. But by the year 2000, it had become decidedly difficult to accurately predict the sexual orientation of a man in the under 40 age group within the city limits of Los Angeles, since everyone was on a diet, everyone went to salons, even many men were getting manicures and working out with personal trainers; but, at the very least, Frank was metrosexual in the interest he took in Jane, and Jane was disappointed in herself for agreeing to meet him after the barrage of stupid attempts and last-minute cancellations he had felt comfortable subjecting her to.
At long last, Jane had agreed to meet him at the last second at a bistro in Hollywood, where she was pointed in telling him that she would not be changing from her work clothes, as if this meant something to him, and so Jane showed up there, three minutes early, wearing a black v-neck sweater, a Banana Republic flounce skirt, mary janes, and the every present L’Artisan Tubereuse perfume. She looked OK. She didn’t feel gorgeous, but then, Frank was nothing to write home about. Naturally, Frank wasn’t there yet, so Jane did what any insecure person left waiting alone in Hollywood would do, and got on her cell phone, leaving messages haphazardly for friends of hers throughout the country. After checking her voicemail, and her watch, and beginning the descent into real annoyance with Frank, there he was, walking towards her, a man much darker, much swarthier than she had imagined. And that thought–the thought that goes through a woman’s head when she sees a man, that classifies him irrevocably, but that she will then spend at least three dates trying to battle–that thought, on this night and at this time, was “GAY.”
[To be continued . . .]