Another Interlude

25 Jul

In the morning, I woke to a bitter and weepy voicemail accusing me of deliberate malice by timing. She had just begun her trip. Clearly, I had conspired to ruin it. I thought about calling back to ask her when the optimal dumping window would be, but instead I went home and updated my profile.

Updating your profile makes you think about yourself. Rather, it made me think about myself. And about dating in general. As I may have mentioned before (or maybe not, and I’m too lazy to look), intimacy in internet dating advances according to a standard progression. It goes like this: Email, more email, phone call (optional—some people prefer to skip straight to the next step), coffee date, real date, sex, relationship. Refusal to follow the steps virtually assures failure, and each of these steps presents acute vulnerability to disaster. “Coffee date” represents the crisis point of potential failure. It’s the moment of first impression, visual and otherwise.

So, here’s what I look like.

I claim to be five-eight, and that’s probably what I am. Consensus on this point does not exist. The most vocal dissenters tend to be girls who also claim that particular height. This is not to say that two people can’t be the same height, but a visible difference in height makes reconciliation difficult. Probably we could use a ruler to settle things. That might be a reason I don’t keep one in the house.

My head is big, bearded, and shaped kind of like an angry potato. Steady, cyclical deposits of beer and burgers have slowly, in geologic time, laid down strata over my torso. My body is the sort that used to be thin, probably sometime in the late Paleozoic. The brutal ravages of time have eroded the top of my head down to the wispy bedrock. Despite these deficiencies, I’m not bad to look at. Certainly no one that you would be embarrassed to be seen in public with. I mean, probably not. Like most things, it’s a matter of taste.

So, here are some women who never called me back after a coffee date.


She was a pleasantly curvy librarian who’d agreed to meet me at Cup O’ Joe. I showed up early and ordered a mocha from the barista, a woman who turned out to be someone I’d known in college. I recognized her as soon as she opened the door. She wore a tight shirt with a clever graphic which drew attention to the fabric stretched taut over her boobs. She made eye contact, realized who I was, scanned the shop for someone, anyone else who could possibly be the person she was supposed to meet, and crossed her arms over her chest. With deep resignation apparent on her face, she walked over to say hi. I decided not to pay for her coffee and went to the bathroom to set an alarm on my phone for forty minutes.


Lynn showed up for our coffee date (Cup O’ Joe, natch) wearing something teetering on the business casual/business professional cusp. I’d dressed presentably, but more like someone who was going to a coffee shop. She was hot, Korean, nasally pierced, and in school to study something vaguely sciency that started with a P. I forget. She talked about herself for an hour, crossing and uncrossing her long, long legs, occasionally remembering that I was there for long enough to ask me a question. I mentioned my economic uncertainties. This is beyond doubt. The date seemed to go well, and in fact, she called me again later that day. The status of my employment came up again. Perhaps because we were on the phone, she heard me this time, and abruptly decided that we “weren’t right for each other.”

No, probably not.


Leave a Reply


  1. Bartholomew

    July 25, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    Your new nickname is the angry potato. I loved the entire physical description.

  2. Dan

    July 25, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Oh no . . . I have a new nickname.

    And thanks. :)