It’s been a couple weeks since I had a date. My last encounter with OkJessica left me feeling a bit perturbed and slightly slighted. The week after was Christmas, and then New Years followed almost immediately, like it always does. I called OkLipgloss on Christmas Eve. I kind of forgot it was a holiday and not just some random Tuesday. Maybe that was a mistake, but the one thing I did appreciate was the fact that she text me back saying “I know it’s rude to text back a callback but I’ve been sick and bedridden all day.” I think she’s telling the truth, and I’m surprisingly impressed by her text-side manner. There were a few other possibilities for dates in hand but unfortunately both OkLipgloss, and OkManda got sick the same week. I never met OkManda, but OkLipgloss called me back two days after Christmas and I got to know her for about half an hour on the phone before we hung up. We talked about music, food, and doing ecstasy which I told her I hadn’t done in about 7 years. She hates molly and so did I. She mentions her favorite pills were the “crowns” And I tell her, that’s actually a Rolex symbol, not a crown. She’s impressed with my drug-related knowledge, and she tells me a project of her is wanting to give ecstasy to senior citizens and watch their behavior and make a documentary movie about it. That’s a great idea I say to her. We make plans to go out the next week when she is feeling better and meet at the French bistro on Franklin Ave in Hollywood called La Poubelle. Christmas was over and the New Year was upon us and I had been texting with her a lot the last week and she had this really fun and silly sense of humor that I immediately bonded with. She sent me a picture of her squeezing a rubber chicken and in the picture the eggs were coming out of it’s butt.
“How does this make you feel?” She asks.
I responded with “It makes me hungry for an omlette.” So weird and random, but I like that style of humor. We had an instant rapport. Her name is Alize, and that name is very close to her real name. I almost decided to change her name completely like some of the others, but I feel like I would be doing her a disservice if I decided to change it because it’s such a cool name and it’s really unique. I practiced saying it at least 25 times before we spoke on the phone. It’s like saying “Ah-LEE-zay.” On the morning of our date I wake up with a funky ass scratch on my forehead so I inform OkAlize and I ask her not to stare too obviously at the center of my head tonight because I have this obnoxious scratch in the middle of it.
“Ok.” She says. “I’ll just stare at the spot to the left of it.”
I get to La Poubelle a full fifteen minutes early on January 3rd, but beforehand, I stop at the Gelson’s to pick up a pack of gum. I need fresh breath. I’ve also had this weird tradition of chewing a piece a gum before every date, and then putting it in a bar napkin when I get to the bar. I don’t know why I do this, but the most obvious reason is it’s a nervous habit. I’m kind of nervous and completely confident at the same time. The Gelson’s doesn’t have my brand of gum so I grab a pack of something peppermint and walk over to the bar. It’s filled with all sorts of people as it should be on a Friday night in Hollywood. There are no seats at 9 o’clock unless we are ordering food and there nothing at the bar except for a big douchey hipster with a beard, who is being loud and obnoxious while he drinks beer and sips what I assume is some sort of cheap whiskey like Evan Williams. His slurred words are echoing throughout the bar and I’m hoping that Alize makes an appearance soon cause I somehow managed to save one seat. I get a text from her telling me she is running little late. Traffic. Of course. Thanks L.A.
With nowhere to sit, and a low tolerance for loudmouth bearded craft beer drinking toolbags, I decide to stand outside and wait for her. This isn’t going exactly how I planned, but that wouldn’t really factor into the rest of my night. About five minutes later I see her pull up to the valet in an early 2000’s black Mustang GT. I am instantaneously impressed. She’s gorgeous, dressed in heels and wearing some skin tight black jeans and leather jacket. It looks like she stepped out of a music video. She reminds me of and Asian Joan Jett, and she would later tell me she sings and writes music so I wasn’t that far off. Her looks are anything but deceiving. I have this feeling she is exactly who she says she is fromt he start. We hug each other, and it’s nothing short of familiar to me. I tell her about the overcrowded La Poubelle and the douchey hipster, so we decide to go to the somehow less crowded Birds further down the block. We walk in, and two seats immediately open up for us at the bar. That’s some impeccable timing might I add.
The next two hours go by so much faster than I remember. I order vodka and tonic, she retaliates with vodka and water with slices of lemon and lime. I make fun of her for her “Bella” tattoo on her wrist which she absolutely got because of the Twilight books, and she gives me shit for having a tattoo of a cat getting electrocuted on my leg which I got for no real good reason other than I had a friend who tattooed people out of my kitchen back in 1995. She likes Entourage, but hates Vinny Chase just like me. She has big features, and huge lips and I catch myself staring at them for a few seconds every time she says something interesting, which is every other word. I’m interested in her, and I forget for a minute that Alize is 25, she was born and raised in Los Angeles, and right around the same time that I was getting ready to graduate high school in New Jersey, she was in Van Nuys getting ready to graduate…to the 1st grade. She is mainly Korean, but mixed with some sort of European decent because I also notice the freckles on her face. She tells me her roots but it’s kind of a mixed ethnicity and I think the last thing she says is that she is part Welsh. I would later tell my friends that she is Korean and British, and she thought that was actually really funny. I can’t help but notice that we both have tattoos on opposite arms. I have one on my left wrist and right forearm, she has one on her right wrist and left forearm. I immediately think to myself that she is some female mirror image of me… give or take 13 years. Wow, look how self indulgent this date is making me look. I don’t really care.
It starts to get loud in Birds and at some point, we decide to leave the bar because they are blasting Led Zeppelin at such a enormously high decibel level that I feel like both my ears are going to fall off. We make our way back to La Poubelle which has cleared out a bit, although the hipster douchebag is now barking some story to his friends out on the patio.
“Good…stay there.” I say out loud as we walk in. She smiles and laughs and we take a seat at the bar inside and order some food.
Here is one major revelation I can make from going out on all these dates. Chicks love brussel sprouts. They are the coolest most hip vegetable in the coolest and most hip cities in America right now. You tell some girl you know a place with really good brussels, and you’re almost guaranteed to get a response, maybe even a date from it. It’s the latest pick-up line. Works every time for me. Seriously. So of course we order the brussels and some frittes, and I have one more drink because I want to be coherent for the remainder of the date and the three block drive home. She has four drinks, and I have three. She drinks me under the table the first night I meet her. She thinks she sees someone from a CW Vampire TV show at the bar, and I do not recognize who it is, and I have no idea who she is talking about. This is the only time I felt like remembering our age difference is 13 years. It never bothered me again. But what bothers me is the fact that I have to eventually tell her that I’m really 13 years older, not 8 years older like she thinks now. Things are going pretty good and I’m having a great time and I know it’s not going to be tonight. Definitely not tonight. I’ll tell her on our next date. I swear to God.
I pay the check so enthusiastically, that you would think I actually enjoyed it. Oh wait…what’s this feeling? It feels like I a spark with her and that I had fun on the date, and I’m attracted to her both two AND three dimensionally now. This is like… I want to see her again and I don’t mind paying because I actually WANT to pay for her because I enjoyed her company, instead of paying out of the idea that it’s part of a man’s basic dating protocol to pay. I haven’t felt like this since I met my last girlfriend 7 years ago.
We share a cigarette as we wait for the valet to get her car, and I want to kiss her, so I stare at her lips to tell her so, but I don’t see an opening yet and then neither one of us see her car pulling up in front of us until it’s already there. We do the whole verbal “I had a good time, maybe let’s do this again” dance, and I know we both mean it. She hugs me goodbye and then smells me and says….
“What is that?”
“You mean my cologne?” I ask.
“Wow, you smell like whiskey and vanilla.”
“Thanks?” I say
She laughs and asks me for a piece of gum. I pull out the pack I bought earlier and she sees it and freaks out.
“Oh my GOD!” She exclaims like a valley girl, “I have the SAME kind of gum! “Sweet Peppermint!”
I’ve never bought this gum, but before I have a chance to say that, she pulls out her pack and I am staring at two identical light blue pocket packs of Stride: Sweet Peppermint flavor gum. I NEVER buy stride. This is so weird that I think it’s cool. I immediately think this girl is the one…. for right now.
She texts me the next morning thanking me for last night and thanking me for the drinks and the food and reiterates that she had a really good time and hinting to the fact that she would like to do it again. So would I.
January 8th, 2014
I’m hiking with a buddy of mine, and we’re talking about and comparing OkCupid date stories. I tell him about the crazy girl, the frumpy girl, the invisible girl, and the typical asian girl I went out with, and then I wrap it up with OkAlize. I’m looking forward to seeing her again.
“We have another date tonight.” I say proudly.
“Have you gotten laid yet?” He asks?
“Nope, not even anywhere close.” I say.
And I really don’t care either. He tells me about his stage five clinger and some crazy psycho bitchy blonde west side girl he banged on New Year’s Eve. I’m not jealous or envious at all. Ok, maybe I’m a little envious that he is getting some and all I’ve managed to do was make out with one girl whose tongue reminded me of kissing wet pasta, but I have another date tonight and we’re doing something I love doing. Drinking beer, and eating burgers. For the record, that is the sexiest and most intriguing date a woman can ever suggest to me. I’m sure there’s something sexier, but throw in watching some hockey or football, and add some chicken wings to the tab and it would be hands down the best date ever.
That night, I pick up Alize and we head to the Blue Dog Beer tavern in Sherman Oaks near where she lives. It is ironically crowded for a Wednesday but we put our name in and we go to the bar to get a beer. She already has her debit card out in her hand when she asks me what I want. That was sweet, I think to myself. She’s not totally expecting anything, and she is making an effort to be equals. She must like me because this is not typical girl date protocol. Or is it? I’m not a girl, so I wouldn’t know. But this seems like this is “I like this guy and want to buy him a round” type of stuff. It’s rare on the first or second date, but it’s always appreciated.
We get our table and look through the menu and we settle on some burgers and fries and more beer. Eating a hamburger with someone on the second date means you throw all your inhibitions about etiquette out the window. I’m a messy eater first of all, but it doesn’t seem to bother Alize one bit. She works for a family as a nanny most of the time watching their kids so she is used to being around mess. She writes and sings and works on her music with a producer at night and on her days off. She’s a huge lover of all different types of music and I can tell she has passion for her craft. It’s sexy. She has confidence that is beyond her years and she knows of these cool and obscure bands that I’ve been wanting to listen to. I tell her about this group called HAIM and how they are all sisters and it’s off kilter modern new age indie rock and I just got their album and she gets excited cause they’re playing Coachella and she’s going and I promise her I’ll burn a copy of the cd. She has three more episodes of Breaking Bad to watch before it’s over. I ask her how why on earth is she out with me when she should be home watching the last three episodes of the best television show ever. (in my opinion) I can’t believe I have so much in common with her, especially since she was born in 1988, the same year I was getting my first cd player and watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit in the movie theaters. I don’t want the check to come because I don’t want the date to end, but when the waitress drops it off, I pick it up like it’s no big deal and I pay for the food. She thanks me and suggests we go outside for a smoke.
OkAlize and I are sitting in my car smoking when I notice there are apartments right above the burger place and I comment on how convenient and difficult it must be to live within a stones throw of a burger bar.
“So do you have a roommate?” She asks.
Hmmm…ok. What do I say here? The “I have a straggler” line? The “I’m roommates with a hot girl” one? We share an apartment and used to sleep together five years ago but don’t anymore, and BY THE WAY there are two beds in the same room that we have to share because all our money is tied up in paying for this TV pilot we’re about to shoot? Maybe I can go with something in the middle, but I settle on something so close to the truth that you’d think I have an honesty policy in my glove box next to my insurance card.
I start with “It’s a weird situation” and somehow through the fumbling of my words and the natural selection of the phrases I used, it all comes off so eloquently and she isn’t even the least bit turned off or weirded out by it. Do I tell her that my roommate used to be my ex? No. Definitely too much information for tonight has been offered up, and if this date continues and we get a little drunker, I feel like a lot more will be on the table too.
“Do you want to go to this dive bar I know of.” She asks. “It’s called the Chimney Sweep.”
There’s really only one way to answer this question. Do I want to continue to hang out with an attractive Korean-British hybrid girl with freckles and good taste in music who I met on OkCupid who is a lot of years younger than me, but who also hates Vinny Chase and loves Breaking Bad as much as I do?
“Absolutely I do.”
We arrive at the bar, park, walk in, and head to…the bar. It’s divey and dark and there’s barely anyone here except for a few locals and the deejay that is setting up for karaoke. She starts a tab and orders me a beer and we sit back and chat about her singing and her family life and her parents and her little brother. She grabs the book of songs at the end of the bar and asks me if I’m going to sing. Hahaha….There Is NO way I’m doing that tonight. She teases me a bit, and I take it and then I tell her I used to sing in a band and play guitar regularly but I’d have to be kind of drunk to sing karaoke in front of a girl I just met less than a week ago who I’m out with on a second date. She doesn’t call me a pussy to my face, but I know she’s thinking it. She smiles and then she orders us two shots. She goes with Fireball, I go with Jameson. I tell her about my mental allergy to cinnamon and she gets it. I’m going to end up drunk with her doing something I shouldn’t be doing later tonight, and by “something I shouldn’t be doing,” I mean she’s somehow going to convince me to get up in front of everyone in the bar and sing a song.
There is a free shot to the first person who signs up for karaoke. OkAlize puts her name down first, takes the free house shot, and walks over to the deejay corner and tells them which song she wants to sing. The music starts playing, and I know this one already. It’s “You Oughta Know” by Alanis Morisette. I fucking love it. She is a real good singer, and an even better performer. She is making out with the microphone as she exudes a captivating sense of sensual sexiness, and somehow when she sings the line “And every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back” I sure do feel it. I wonder if she is the type of girl who really would go down on me in a theater, just like Alanis says she does. Maybe I’ll find out if I’m lucky.
She finishes her set, the audience claps and she makes her way back over to me at the bar. Then I say the dumbest thing ever.
“You were really good, babe!” “BABE?” What the fuck am I saying?!! I never use that terminology, especially not with someone I just met kind of. I actually despise the word “babe” but somehow I hear it coming out of my mouth as the most natural and instinctual first thing to say to her as she returns to take a swing of her blue moon. Babe. It will always remind me of that talking pig movie, but I guess it didn’t for one split second. I never called her babe again, but it doesn’t seem to phase her either way. The next thing that happens is her kissing me….hard. It’s our first of many public displays of affection at the bar that night, and another shot of Jameson for me and Fireball for Alize later, it’s time for me to get up and sing. They didn’t have any Counting Crows in the book and it’s a bummer because it’s my go to for the ONE other time I did karaoke in Southern California. And if you don’t like Counting Crows or think they are douche rock, that’s fine with me. You are entitled to your opinion. I also share that same opinion about Dave Matthews Band which to me, is like the epitome of douche rock, on steroids. I settle for another song that has been given a bad reputation, but I know is in my vocal range. “Iris”, by The Goo Goo Dolls.
I’m a little buzzed, and I’m taking this song WAAAY too seriously but from five feet away Alize and some random couple she just made friends with all seem really into it. They’re sway dancing as my voice almost cracks slightly on the high note and I reach the end where the people on the smoking patio can hear me belting out “I just want you to know who I am.” I feel like such an idiot, but somehow it doesn’t even bother me one bit.
If you looked around the bar after my performance, you could find me and Alize making out sitting in a leather chair next to the fireplace in the bar. You could also find her sitting on my lap in that same chair doing the same thing near the same fireplace five minutes later. It’s then that I realized how much I hate public displays of affection…. unless I’m a part of them. We played some pool, had another drink, and then we went out on the patio for a smoke. It’s there that I tell her I’m really 38 years old, and it’s there that I come clean about my living situation and tell her it is in fact a one bedroom apartment that I share with this girl, but she is my business partner and my friend and we’re doing this because we’re helping each other out and all of our money is tied up in shooting this pilot which we’ve been working on for the last six months. She asks me if I hook up with my roommate and I tell the truth when I say no, but I don’t remember if the question she asked was “have I ever” or “do you ever.” I just shake my head and say no, because that’s the best answer for now. Who needs to know that I once dated my roommate way back in 2007, but we broke up for good in 2009? I know she isn’t a threat or an issue…ok maybe an issue but Alize already knows I’m 38, I live with a girl, and I share a room with two queen sizes beds in it, and she is still making out with me and putting her head on my shoulder…albeit because she might have been a little drunk, but still. We’re way too comfortable for me to take a chance of ruining this night with the truth. I’ll tell her on the next date. I swear to God I will.
We leave the bar, and we drive back to her house. She lives a few blocks from the 405 and Sepulveda and I make my way through the back streets using my GPS because Alize is a little confused as to where we are. Ok, she’s really drunk. I got to just be a good guy here and drop her off, kiss her good night, and make sure she gets in ok. I eventually pull up to her house and I keep the car running.
“I had a great time tonight. Thanks for making me get up there and sing.”
“You’re welcome.” she says with a smile. “You want to come sit on my porch?” She asks.
After about three seconds of deliberation, I decide to turn the car off and hang out for awhile. I spend the next two hours sitting on a futon outside of the house she rents with two other girls that luckily has a fence built around the outside so no one can see us while we make out and run our fingers through each other’s hair. We’re kissing each other and prodding each other, and I go to make a move that I think might be a bit premature, and of course she agrees by pushing my hand away from her jeans in a playful manner. I’m not even the least bit disappointed. I had to try, I tell myself. I had to. It’s chilly outside and there is a blanket over her and I’m dying of thirst and need water, but I don’t want to break up this session by asking her if she has anything to drink, so I put up with it for a few minutes more before I realize it’s after 4am and I should probably get going. Reluctantly, I somehow pull away from her lips and from her embrace which is actually comforting me and it is unlike anything I have felt in awhile. I like it. I really like this girl I think to myself, but I got to keep one eye open, much like I have to do on the ride home because I’m starting to think I’m a little too drunk to be driving. I make it home safe thanks to my prayers and the emptiness of the 101 at 4am and I promise myself NEVER to drive that intoxicated again. But was it the alcohol, the night with Alize, or a combination of both that made me this way? I guess it doesn’t matter because I’m home, and I’m happy, and I’m alive.
I text her the next morning that I had a blast last night and she responds a few minutes later expressing she had fun, but is a little hung over and paying for it at work today.
“Yeah, we were a little crazy last night.” I say. It’s ok to get a little crazy sometimes I think. Everything went great on that date and we text each other back and forth the next day and already are making plans for the weekend which is only two days from now. It’s my cat’s birthday I tell her, and I send her a picture of her, (the cat) that I posted on Facebook, and she tells me to tell my cat she said Happy 13th birthday. Aww, that’s cute….it’s also kind of gay that I’m sending her pictures of my cat but it doesn’t seem to matter because she asks me if I want to go see the movie “Her” with her this weekend. I haven’t had a third date with anyone yet because I haven’t liked anyone enough, but when she asks me if I want to see the new Spike Jonze film, I almost text her “yes” as I simultaneously go online to the Arclight website and purchase tickets for the movie in advance. She then goes on to tell me how much she liked the HAIM song I sent her and then that gives me the idea to do something I haven’t done for a girl I like in a long, long, long time. I make her a mix CD. Oh God….it’s over. I’m done. I must really like this one. I know because I have now chosen to use the words from someone else’s music to try and express to her how I really feel about her in this moment. It’s a big step for me. I’m channeling my inner John Cusack from the film “High Fidelity.” The 80s & 90s would be proud.
My roommate has been out of town all week. OkAlize knows the truth now, so I should definitely take advantage of having the place to myself for the night, right? Right. I make these plans for her to come over here tomorrow night for the date and I tell her she can park her car “underground” in my extra spot (like from the movie Singles) and then we can Uber to the Arclight so neither one of us has to drive. We can be responsible adults, and most importantly, she has to come back to my place to get her car. Hahaha…it’s a set up, and she goes for it because I knew she would.
Friday Night, January 10th 2014
I’m putting the finishing touches on a playlist I’m going to burn for Alize called “Songs To Make Out To.” I also burn her a copy of the HAIM album and I wonder if it’s too much to give her BOTH cds tomorrow night. Isn’t that like overkill? Maybe. Maybe I’ll hold off on one of them, but then something happens that completely takes me out of my creative mood and changes my focus for the night. I get a text from her that says…..
“Hey. I wanted to bring something up….I don’t want to make a big deal out of it. But I looked up your FB when you sent me that cat pic, and I saw some things that lead me to believe that your “roommate” is in fact an ex. Are there some things you were withholding? Or am I completely wrong?
FUUUUUUUUUUCCCCKKK! FUCK FUCK FUCK!!! FUCK ME! This fucking SUCKS!!!! Oh man, this is the fucking worst. This is absolutely the fucking worst thing that could have happened. FUCK YOU FACEBOOK! Why do you have to even exist! Why the fuck am I even on Facebook? I thought my privacy settings were up to date! Why does facebook keep changing them, and what did she see on my profile that made her believe my roommate is an ex? Oh right, the 124 mutual friends my roommate and I have in common, the status updates where I tag her and I at dinners at cheesy chain restaurants, and the four dozen or so photos of us at numerous sporting events, vacation spots, bars, restaurants and other friend’s weddings. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. It’s true Alize was snooping, but I would have done the same thing if the roles were reversed. I can’t blame her….and A part of me is a little bit mad at myself for leaving such a firewall like that open and unprotected. But another part of me knew that this would eventually have to come to light. I just wished it could have been me who told her the truth like I was planning on doing tomorrow night.
I text back and forth with her that night, and I try to explain to her that I really like her and it’s tricky because I don’t want to push her away by giving her that much information all at once. I know I should have just told her the other night, but against my better judgement, I didn’t. All I can do is apologize and listen to what she is saying when she tells me it’s a heavy subject, and when she tells me there are a lot of red flags, and when she tells me she’s “absorbing” after I ask her “Is that it then?” I have no idea how this is going to go. I have no idea if I’ll ever see her again, but I bet if I consulted the magic eight ball it would definitelty say “not very likely.” My heart sinks deep into my chest like the anchor of a boat thrown overboard to the bottom of the ocean floor. This is the worst feeling ever. I know myself and I know the truth and I know that I deserve to be happy at some point in my life. Maybe this is my chance, and this ONE fucking living situation in my waking life is blowing it for me. What a cockblock.
I’m angry. I’m angry that it isn’t five months from now that I met Alize when I won’t be living with my ex. I’m angry because what’s the fucking point of all this? Every time from here on out, as long as I still live with my “best friend/business partner/roommate-ex” of mine from 2009 and try to date other girls, I’m going to have to eventually tell them about this part of my life and they will most likely run away, laugh at me, or not take me seriously at all. What is the point of meeting anyone new? I can’t find the point anymore.
I make the decision to end it once and for all. I choose to break it off before anything else happens. It HAS to be done, so the very next thing I do is log on to OkCupid, and I deactivate my account. It’s over. Say goodbye to NJSS777.
Sometime after midnight, after a lot of going back and forth with “how would you feel if it happened to you” questions and “I understand how you might be a bit apprehensive” responses, Alize comes to a conclusion, and sends me this text:
“Ok, thank you for apologizing. I’m just going to give it some thought. I’ll text you tomorrow. Have a good night.”
Have a good night? How the fuck can I have a good night now?