I knew I needed to get out more, but I was cheap, so the idea of ponying up $49.99 to Match.com filled me with nausea. I had tried it three times previously: men from California inquired if I wanted a long distance relationship, mysterious men who wouldn't give their real name baited queries and became very coy when I asked for details about who they actually were. I'd send a picture of myself and my match wouldn't reply. I often told these men that cell phone pictures weren't ideal, that I wasn't photogenic, that I hated having my picture taken, but in the end would surrender to the logic that attraction was first based on the physical. Also, men I'd email back and forth with would invariably ask me how much I weighed by the fifth email. I'm a chef, and yes, I taste the food I make. Also, a twelve hour shift on my feet was normal, and working out after running around the kitchen all day was about as appealing as a root canal. I knew I had a pretty face; I'm tall and can carry the weight. I had good manners, I was well-read, educated, employed, caring, funny - wasn't I? And some asshole who probably sat at his desk all day screwing around on Facebook wanted to know how much I weighed?!
So I rolled the dice and came up snake eyes. Craigslist. Rolling in the mud. Men Seeking Women. I filtered through the "Daddy wants his submissive little girl," "Hairy Woman wanted for Oral," "Please, laid-back guy just wants a nice, sane, pretty girl for some good times." Then one post's obvious humor and intelligence caught my eye. He was smart. Jackpot. We emailed. We both coughed up photos. We agreed to meet halfway between our towns. I went through the preparations. I was a half an hour early and stared at every guy who walked into the Starbucks. Did I remember what he looked like? Wait, was that him? It was so obvious I was on a blind date that I felt like I was on fire. Finally, he appeared. He approached me slowly. He looked nothing like his picture. I unhooked my Coach leather high heels from the rung on my chair. We exchanged pleasantries. I led him out onto the street. He checked me up and down and said that he liked what he saw. I thanked him, since I had frantically attended to details like curling my hair, controlling the frizz, making sure I smelled amazing, painting my nails. This scrap of chivalry was like a banquet.
We decided to eat at a vegetarian restaurant. He was a chef as well. He knew the pain, so we chatted about annoying customers as we walked. We couldn't find the restaurant. My feet ached badly and I told him, so he suggested we go to Dunkin Donuts until we figured out what to do. I glanced at him incredulously. Dunkin Donuts? I liked their coffee, their customer service rocked, and they weren't incredibly expensive. No offense to Dunkies, but for a coffee date, its atmosphere sucked. My mood spiraled dangerously. We drove. We sat. He told me he had a business of his own and gave me his card. I wouldn't let him buy me a coffee. I found myself talking about a course I studied in college: a course whose syllabus included a book about the practice of torture by Latin American dictatorships. As I said the word "torture" I realized how inappropriate it was to discuss it as a topic on a first date, and I reflected on how on a first date, everything you say becomes fraught with significance.
And then we talked about politics. He voted Republican. He VOTED REPUBLICAN AND TOOK ME TO DUNKIN DONUTS. This "date" was so over. So, so over.