Nothing like a heat wave to bring out the passion in people.
Last week I had a date with a guy I met on OKCupid. He sent me three emails, and finally after his fourth, I decided to go out with him. His email read like this:
“Hi! I just wanted to write you back because I promised I would write more later, but nothing really happened since I last emailed you. Except that I made some homemade sausages…and they were delicious!”
In these two simple lines he’d managed to meet my most basic requirements: he’s an attentive man who can prepare meat. I figured, what is there to lose? He looked attractive and athletic in his photographs, and according to his stats he’s 39 years old, so naturally, he has his life together. He just happened to have never married, and he just happened to have a spoon on his nose in his profile picture.
Despite the fact that it was 100 degrees at 8 pm, I went all the way uptown to meet him at The Fat Cat. He beat me there, and texted to indicate he was seated in the back, behind the microphone booth.
The microphone booth?
When I saw him he waved at me quickly, and pressed both hands to his face like Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone.
“OH. MY. GOD,” he said, “It’s soooo hot outside!”
Oh my god, I thought. He’s soooo gay.
After years in Boystown I have what is referred to as a highly tuned gaydar. And this man was what some would consider a Threat Level Pink. But I was thirsty, I had already commuted 35 minutes to get there, and the way I saw it, I might as well enjoy a beer.
“What’s with the microphone?” I asked.
“Oh,” he said, flashing me an over-exaggerated frown, “Turns out, Tuesday is trivia night.”
I did a quick mental calculation: four rounds of trivia would be at least an hour and a half. I could not, under any circumstance, commit to this.
“That’s ok, we don’t have to play,” I said, “I’d just get frustrated anyway.”
Now, here’s the thing about trivia night: if you’re in a bar with an emcee shouting trivia questions, whether you like it or not, you are going to wind up playing trivia. You can only listen to questions about the chronology of U.S. presidents, retired hockey jerseys and The Terminator so many times before you will spontaneously start shouting “Spiro Agnew!” “Wayne Gretzky!” and “James Cameron!” with the sudden fervor of trivia-induced tourrettes.
But not my date. He just sat there sipping his mojito, tapping the table with his straw. That is until the photo round, when the emcee announced with great bravado: “The theme of the photo round is actors in drag.”
My date stood up, grabbed the sheet from the microphone booth, and said, “We should have the pictures too, so we can see what we’re missing.”
I swear, I’ve never seen such intensity–it was like watching a Chinese student with an abacus. Within two minutes he had correctly identified all 15 of the actors dressed as women.
“This is so easy, it’s like cheating!” he said, reviewing each name. “Arsenio Hall, Coming to America, Tom Hanks, Bosom Buddies, Dustin Hoffman, Tootsie, Tyler Perry, Medea … And of course, David Cross from Arrested Development.” He looked up at me with utmost sincerity. “That is an amazing show. Have you seen it?”
“Seen it? I’ve own the DVDs and still watched all 53 episodes on Netflix. It’s probably the best show ever made.”
And with that, I had a flash-forward. I thought about our progressive home. We would grill organic meats. We would share a subscription to Vogue. We would have beautiful children who would eat Cocoa Puffs and then hang their spoons on their noses. And after breakfast I would go to work and hand over parent duty to Bob The Boyfriend who would share a basement apartment with my husband. I mean, maybe this could work, after all…
“Tobias is my favorite character,” he said, interrupting my daydream.
“You mean the repressed gay man married to a woman?” I asked.
“I don’t know if he’s necessarily gay,” he said. “But even if he is, he loves his family, and would do anything to make it work. Is that such a bad thing?”
“No, not at all,” I said, packing up my mental U-Haul in our imaginary driveway. “Here’s to Arrested Development,” I said.
And with that, my beer and his mojito met with a clink in the middle.
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