I was performing in an improv show on the Lower East Side last Thursday night when one of the guys I was talking to mentioned that he'd never seen a live performance before. I was shocked but of course invited him out to our gig (yes, I am that bold.) I asked where he was coming from and it turns out that we share the same hometown. Even though he lived only 5 minutes away from me, this guy was willing to take the train into Manhattan and travel all the way down to the LES just to watch me perform. Now that's dedication! I'm impressed already!
Our show was from 7 - 9 pm. He walked in at 8:45. Needless to say, he completely missed us on stage which made me very sad, especially after he came so far to see it. He already had a full glass of red wine in his hand so I knew he had to have gotten to the bar within the past few minutes, fully ashamed not to have caught the performance. Oh well, there's always next time. We hug hello and he asks me how it went. I note how cute he is (a thought which is seconded by my peers.) The only thing everyone agrees on (not to his face, of course) is that the boy has an alarming rate of chest hair peeking out from his button down shirt. And the top two buttons are undone, allowing this monstrous bush of jet black curls to swarm up towards his neck like they're about to attack his face at any moment. One of two things needs to happen here: either wax your chest to smooth that bushy beast down or at the very least, BUTTON YOUR SHIRT!!!
Phew. Deep breaths.
I tell him how much courage it's gotta take to show up at an event where he knows that I'll be surrounded by friends and he'll be completely out of his element. He confesses that it's his first time meeting someone in person that he found online so he has no idea how it's supposed to go or what the rules are. He does tell me that he's very happy I'm even prettier in person than in my pictures as he's heard horror stories from other guys about dogs they've met who looked cute online but were hideous up close. Well, at least I'm not one of those girls!
We spend a few more minutes breaking the ice and he admits to having "a few" glasses of wine before coming tonight just to loosen up? Dude, your idea of pre-gaming before a date is to get shit-faced? That sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, no?
He talks about his day at work building prosthetic limbs and appendages for people. Shows me pictures of arms and legs he's built with plastic, vinyl and metal. Wow. I have to say...this is a first! Just when you thought you knew every cool (freaky) job out there, someone up and surprises you yet again!
He finishes his drink and offers to buy me one so we saunter up to the bar and grab two stools together while my friends mingle with some of the other guests. I order white wine and he gets another red. I do find it odd that he's been chewing gum the entire time he's been drinking. Perhaps he just hadn't found a place to throw the spearmint out?!?!
We chat some more and I smile and nod at everything he says. I'm not doing it just to be polite either. He actually has some really interesting stories. He's funny, smart, insightful, well read, creative and genuinely nice. I notice that the thoughts going through my head are things like: "well this could turn into something... I like him, he's nice... this guy is really intelligent... he sooooo needs to lose the chest hair... I didn't realize how comfortable I am with him... this is so easy..."
And then the shoe drops.
"So...um...I smoke cigarettes."
Can I just tell you, dearest readers, that I feel dirty even typing those words? Honestly, those are two of my least favorite words in the English language and I go to great lengths to avoid saying them out loud. I don't like the look of them, the feel of them, the image they create. I hate, detest, despise with a passion all things to do with smoking. My improv friends will tell you that I don't even mime doing it on stage. I never have and I never will. The whole concept grosses me out.
So the thought of kissing someone who smokes? Doubly disgusting.
I am so disheartened, I have to take a minute to let this news sink in. I look him in the eyes and tell him that this might be a deal breaker for me. That I'm upset because I certainly never saw it coming. That had I read that on his profile, I never would have gone out with him. Wait a minute, it wasn't on his profile. He asks me how I remember that. I say A) photographic memory and B) I never would've responded to a message from him had he said "yes" to the smoking and / or drugs question. Yeah, I know that I'm as straight edge as they come and I'm proud of it. So there!!!
He literally hangs his head and says "I'm sorry. I lied on my profile."
Great. So you're a smoker AND a liar!
Why would you do a thing like that?!?! People are bound to find out eventually. That's not exactly something you can hide. Although it does explain the gum chewing while drinking.
"Honestly?" (Yes, asshole, at this point, honesty would be awesome.)"I don't want to be with a girl who smokes."
Wow, that's amazing. I don't want to be with a guy who smokes!
"See, so we want the same thing!!!"
Um, no, that's not exactly how I see it. So wait a minute. Why is it ok for you to have that dirty little habit and not ok for whomever you're seeing?
"I know it's a double standard, I just think it's gross."
Funny. Me too. Well, are you at least planning on quitting???
"Oh yes, definitely."
"I don't know. Three weeks, three months, three years. It's hard to say really."
So not like tomorrow...
"No, definitely not tomorrow."
Ok. I think we're done here.
I down the rest of my drink and thank him for coming all the way into the city to see me. I wish he could've seen the show and at least gotten a few laughs out of the evening but c'est la vie. I gather my friends and tell them we're leaving. Now.
As they start to walk out slowly, I am pushing people towards the door. Faster, people, can we please move a littler faster?!?! They freak out for a minute upon realization that I've totally ditched my date and left him sitting alone with his half full (half empty???) glass of wine at the bar. And his gum, of course. I tell them the whole story and we commiserate over midnight pancakes at the diner. I think I should bring my friends on ALL my dates from now on!!!
Epilogue: There was one member of our group who didn't make it to the diner. He had many guests stay at the bar after the show. He told me in the subway on the ride home that my date stayed at the bar for several hours after I left him, hitting on almost every girl who walked in. I hope they like chest hair and liars!
Copyright Kimberly Spice 2010