You’ve been going on a lot of first dates. At this point you’d consider yourself a professional first dater; you can tell within the first five minutes if it will go beyond the initial sip and smile. On first dates you’ll only commit to late afternoon, early evening drinks, coffee or beer, with a prearranged out: “I’ve got dinner plans with my sister at 7.” Thank God you have a sister. One drink is plenty of time to determine basic levels of dating compatibility. He discusses his affection for ferrets. His go to drink is a Jack and Coke. He’s unemployed. He drives a monster truck. His favorite restaurant is Macaroni Grill. He seems completely unaware of your incompatibility. He asks you on a second date. You squirm. What’s the nicest way to say no?
Another first date. You meet for a drink. Within the first five minutes you’re pretty sure there will be a second date, maybe dinner, a movie? You discuss you’re shared enthusiasm for Belgian beers, Wes Anderson movies, dogs, John Denver songs, stand-up comedy. He has a college degree, owns his own home, has manners. You compliment him on his nice watch, he notices the color of your eyes…”they are like green grey but around the edges, orange. You’re eyes look like fall.” His eyes are kind, with laugh wrinkles at the corners. He asks you about your job and you realize you don’t know what he does for a living. You ask. He deftly changes the subject, you don’t really notice. Later in the conversation you attempt to segue back to employment…he’s working on his photography portfolio…. used to work as a concrete engineer… the economic downturn…he’s got a lot of free time…step, ball, change. He doesn’t seem unemployed: he’s got a new iPad, a fancy phone, that watch. He travels. How do you afford a house without a job? He pays for your drinks, he seems to have a lot of cash. You decide not to worry about it, just yet. He’d like to see you again. You’d like to see him again. No squirming. Well, maybe just a little.
You talk on the phone a couple of times. Make plans for dinner. There’s a fun new place he’d like to take you, he’ll pick you up. Okay!
You’re on the second floor looking out the living room window when he arrives. Is that him? A gleaming mid-70’s Cadillac, black and chrome, cherry. It rides low…the rims spin…the leather seats look soft…and the license plate reads “HILIFE.” You try not to impose a cliché onto the situation, but all of a sudden it seems clear.
He’s forgotten his wallet and you need to swing by his place before you head to the restaurant. His neighborhood seems a little sketchy, though his place is well kept with just a hint of bachelor. Out front are two fancy motorcycles. Across the street three giant guys are sitting on the porch drinking beer. They notice the return of the Cadillac and one of them stands up, “yo, Fisher, we need a refill, man!” He holds up his meaty hand and pinches his thumb together with his forefinger and lifts it to his lips. Fisher looks over at you and he knows that you know and you know that he knows that you know. You shrug. “I’m on a date, man!” he yells back at the guy. “Sorry.”