So, to brighten the mood a touch, after all the Ten-Buck Bill/self-loathing/cancer/herp derp durr, I will now tell you the story of The Most Awesomest Date of My Life!!!!1
Let me set the stage: It was early autumn of 2010. I was newly single, with a new apartment and had not yet been diagnosed with cancer. The world was my oyster! Or, since oysters are repulsive and slimy, the world was my strand of perfectly matched Mikimoto pearls. Spin around and toss your tam-o-shanter in the air, girl, cos you’re gonna make it after all, doodle doot doot doot!
In a burst of optimism, and encouraged by friends, I signed up for an online dating service and soon was corresponding with a pleasant guy who seemed innocuous enough. Polite, well-spoken, like that.
Wary of false intimacy, I limited our communication to the basics, and we arranged to meet for drinks. “I’ll be wearing a black dress and grey boots,” I told him, and he responded that he would be wearing jeans and a blue shirt, and then added, oddly, “and boots… Just for you.” Just for me? I pondered, trying to remember if I’d said anything about boots. In truth, I am not crazy about most boots on most guys, and I certainly wouldn’t have requested that he specifically wear them. What was he talking about? I blew it off. “Absolut greyhound,” he said, acknowledging my drink of choice, and we rang off.
A few minutes before our appointed meeting time, I entered the restaurant and took a seat in the bar. The place was empty, but I was a bit early, so I tapped my fingers on the bar and bided my time. After fifteen minutes, annoyed, I ordered an Absolut greyhound and swizzled the straw around, watching the ice melt as I waited. Fifteen minutes later, more annoyed, I took an informal text poll of a few friends, all of whom advised me to bail. So, I finished my drink and bailed.
I took my ass across town to a little Italian restaurant I like, and ordered dinner. Only after my meal had arrived did I hear from my erstwhile date, apologizing profusely and begging me to come back. I said that I was sorry, but that no, an hour late is too much. He apologized more. He said he was late because he’d been buying me a present. I finally agreed to meet him after I’d finished my dinner.
And so I did. I drove back across town, parked the car, and walked to the restaurant, envisioning a frosty greyhound awaiting me, maybe with a bouquet of flowers from the farmers market one block away.
Instead, I found my date — in boots, as promised — sitting happily at the bar, drinking a draft beer, no flowers or obvious gift of any kind, no greyhound in sight. We greeted one another, and he pointed to his feet. “See?” he said, “Boots! Just for you.” Yup, boots. I get it. Ordinary brown leather boots, not particularly pointy, worn under jeans. Pressed jeans. My instincts, which I for some reason ignored, screamed RUN! But instead, I ordered a greyhound, and made polite conversation.
Did I say “polite”? I meant “agonized.” I don’t remember what we talked about. What I do remember is his revelation of the reason he’d been late: my present. I sat politely as he produced a black plastic bag of the sort you might expect to contain a can of watermelon Four Loko or an assortment of airplane-portioned mini liquor bottles.
I will just say that either of those things would have been preferable to what the bag actually contained, which was: a plastic package containing a pair of black lace crotchless panties, price still prominently displayed.
I have no explanation for the panties, just as I have no explanation for his enthusiasm about wearing boots. In retrospect, I wonder if he had confused me with some other girl he’d been chatting up online. I pondered all these things as I finished my drink, afraid that any sudden movement might set him off, and only then did I notice the distinct impression of a ring on his left ring finger. Not a tan line, but an impression, as if just before meeting me, he had taken off the ring and stuffed it in the pocket of his jeans, his pressed jeans.
Below, a photo approximating my reaction to the whole situation: