Another unsolicited absurdist date that begins one morning in an email delivered by JDate from a radiantly attractive little Jew wench. She thinks we have a lot in common. Getting email from JDate women isn’t shocking by itself, but to get one from an appropriate and, more to the point, a pretty one is a rare thing. It’s not to be taken lightly. It must be nurtured and even exploited. By definition, it will end in tears. Mine.
We set up our date quickly; we decide to meet that very evening at a tapas bar near our respective apartments. We live in the same neighborhood. Actually, we live only one block away from each other. This scares me. I already don’t talk to a woman in my own building.
“Looks like we’re neighbors,” I write. “Just don’t stalk me ;)”
“That’s almost too close. I only stalk when I can’t help it.”
She warns me that she might be prettier than her photo.
She is already there when I arrive, sitting at the bar and, well, well, if she isn’t prettier than her photo. That’s another rarity. Most people look worse. Looking better is almost unheard of. It’s also a terrible blow. I begin by going for cleverness, but it comes out awkwardly and paints me as poorly socialized. We find a table; I order a girly martini.
This one, her voice sounds like a stoned Californian, even though she grew up in Vermont.
“Vermont! I love Vermont,” I said.
“Not where I’m from, you wouldn’t.”
“Kraftsbury Kommons.” She looks at her drink. The name rings a bell, but I can’t place it. She’s lived in New York for a year. She had come with her fiancé, but that’s over now.
“When did this happen?”
She looks into her drink again. She decides to sip it.
“Well…” she begins. Her name is Kerri Kenner.
“Oh, no. No, what?”
“I moved out last week.”
“Last week. And you’re already doing online dates?”
“I needed a distraction.”
I relax when I realize that she’s a mess. I’m more comfortable with insane women, who torture men instead of facing up to their psychoses. I understand them. I’ve gone out with many, many crazy women. They like me; I like them. There is a deep insecurity at work here: perhaps I don’t believe that a sane woman could love me.
“Why did you break up?”
“It was dead. I don’t love him anymore. It’s been over for at least a year. I just didn’t do anything about it until now.”
“It happens. He must not have liked that.”
“No, he didn’t. We were together five years.”
We drop that and move on to other topics: work, the Jew stomach (my GERD, her seized-up intestines), her slacker colleagues. Kerri keeps on referring back to a particular one. A boy. She talks about him with exactly the right amount of scorn to indicate that something’s going on between them.
“Is something going on between you?”
“Okay, well, I slept with him.”
“Really? While you were still … ”
“Yes, I cheated on my fiancé.”
“Um, are you still … ”
“We’re still sleeping together, but I don’t want to. I don’t really like him. He’s not good for me. I just can’t stop.”
“What am I doing here?”
“What do you mean?”
“I want a girlfriend, get married, and have kids.”
“I just want a date. It said so on my profile. To distract me.”
“I just started smoking again, too.”
“That’s funny, I just quit.”
“You want one?”
So we go outside and smoke cigarettes. No, we share one. This makes us feel better.
“I quit smoking last year,” Kerri said. “Then I started running five miles a day.”
“What about now?” I ask, pointing at the cigarette between her fingers.
Back inside, she sighs.
“I’m going to a psychiatrist and a psychologist.”
“I don’t get it. Why both?”
“The psychiatrist prescribes and the psychologist talks.”
“Ah. What does he have you on?”
“Klonopin. Want one?”
The pill’s blue, like a little Viagra.
“Is there anything else?”
“No, that’s about it, I think.”
I’ve fallen in love with her. She has that ash pale face, the kind set off by blood lips that just makes me nuts.
Somehow, we get to my place; we smoke weed; I make a little video of her acting stoned; I try kissing her, but she turns her face away and whispers that she’s not ready. We hang out a little more to pretend that everything’s okay. She says that I need to walk her home, because she can’t make it on her own. It’s true: she’s stumbling through my apartment.
On the street, she bounces against buildings. First she goes down the wrong side of her street, gripping her keys like a dowser. We cross to the other side. We make it to an entrance.
“No, this isn’t it. Mine’s more ghetto.”
A few more doors down and we get to right building. It’s more ghetto.
She opens the door, waves goodbye, and disappears.
The next day Kerri sends me an email.
“That was fun! And odd.”
I thought I’d never hear from her again. I was wrong.