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Yes, it sometimes feels like my life is a B-movie. Not horribly bad. But just as bizarre as, well, a B-movie.
My feeble attempts at dating have yielded some interesting experiences. I seem to be following a “three strikes” rule – meaning no one has gotten beyond date number three. At this point, I’m okay with that. I’m not in a place in my heart yet to even give a single strand of it to anyone else. I suppose if the right person came along, I would do so. Knowing myself as I do, I couldn’t help it. But, the right person is an illusive concept these days.
And so, I date. And debate becoming a nun, because honestly, I might as well. But that’s another post.
My first out of the inning was a very nice guy who, while a little proper, and a little controlling, I discovered after three dates, was really just a little old lady in disguise. I’m not sure quite how I found this out. Maybe it was the pride in which he spoke about his matching Tupperware. Or his inability to drive more than 10 miles under the speed limit. Still, he was a nice guy. Just not the guy for me, as I decided on the third date.
My second out of the inning, was undoubtedly the strangest first date I’ve ever had. We had a very nice time. We talked about everything. He was properly impressed with my weird knowledge of history and off-beat things. We met for drinks at the Brown Palace, talked about music and family and cocktails and abstract art and his business doing something with petroleum and…just everything. Then we moved onto dinner at Marlowe’s (which was absolutely yummy, and I highly recommend the salmon) at a table outside by the 16th Street Mall, where we discussed horse-drawn carriages and remodeling old houses and various sundry things and how things in Denver had changed over the years. Then we got to talking about what to do after dinner. And he had an idea. And the next thing I know, we’re at BJ’s Carousel, home of Denver’s friendliest drag queen show.
Now, you guys know me. I’m pretty much up for anything, especially if it makes a good story for the theoretical grandkids, or at least a good story to tell any stray parrots I happen to round up. What’s my motto? All together now. That’s right. ”She who dies with the most stories, wins.” It’s a hefty responsiblity and not one I take lightly. So, since this was something I’d never done, we went.
I’ll tell you, for a first date with a professed Christian, this one took the urinal cake. I was the only woman (??) in the place, and I do have to say, that everybody there was very friendly. I’m serious. They were all incredibly nice. But I suppose that being the only woman there, and sitting at a ringside table, I was bound to attract the attention of the performers. And so it was, that Fantasia, during her (his?) first number, shone the spotlight on us, introduced her(him?) self, drank my vodka and soda, and sang a Lady Gaga song to me. How nice. Really. It was. Someday, I want to try to wear eyelashes that long.
A few other performers came and went. And I know that even I, with my puny fashion sense, could make a little money on the side by being a fashion consultant for this population. Again, seriously. I don’t even know where to start. Each seemed to have their own little following, and several patrons lined up to place dollars in the star-of-the-moment’s curious cleavage.
And then, Fantasia was back, still enamored of me and my date. She approached the table. She paused in her song. She grabbed my face between her two hands, and I thought she was going to kiss me. But no. She buried my head between her fake boobs and tried to suffocate me for about three seconds. A very long three seconds. Then she proceeded to give my date one of said fake boobs. At that point, it was time for me to get some air. So we went.
I was not uncomfortable or unhappy with this date. I was just bemused and baffled. And Kelsea said I was extremely jumpy the next day. I decided he was pleasantly eccentric and I’d see what happened next. I like eccentric people.
Our second date was drinks and dinner. Pretty normal, although he drank more than I was expecting. And our third date was drinks (do we see a pattern here? yes, and we’re not sure we like it), a Rockies game, and dinner. I wasn’t in the drinking mood, which he didn’t seem to care for too much, and over dinner, he called me a flaming liberal and started bashing gay marriage (yes, the same guy who took me to a drag club) and told me I was an idiot for believing in health care reform, Obama, or anything any semi-rational human being believes in. Well, buddy, let me stick a fork in you, because you’re done.
Ah, the irony of having my second third strike be a baseball game date. And I did feel a small pill of pride about “breaking up” with somebody over health care reform.
I’m wondering if this is a trend. I don’t really know if I’m ready for dating. Right now, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be ready to date. When you’ve had magic, it feels impossible to go back to ordinary. But I will continue to give it the old college try when I have time. At least until I’ve gone through a full nine innings.
Just in case, if anyone has the number for a good nunnery, let me know.
The Bonnet Channel (aka Turner Classic Movies) is focusing on the work of director Hal Roach this week. Among many other movies, Hal Roach did a series of short films featuring a goofy taxi driver in various mishaps with friends, reminiscent of Laurel and Hardy.
The taxi driver theme reminded me of the worst first date ever, one I had when I was 19, back in Boston. I worked in Harvard Square at a little clothing shop called Serendipity, and would take my dinner breaks at the old Mug n’ Muffin. I loved the Mug n’ Muffin. It had ancient waitresses who had been there forever, wooden chairs and tables with no tablecloths, and a big open space. It sounded mariner’s bells every fifteen minutes so you knew what time it was (which is how I learned what the mariner’s bells were.) And it had wonderful coffee. It was a local hangout, and people who frequented it had a nodding acquaintance with one another.
I had a nodding acquaintance with a handsome young man with beautiful blue eyes. We were quite shy around one another, but finally, we actually started talking. He was a taxi driver. After a couple of days of chatting over coffee, he asked me out. I was so excited. He picked me up a few days later at my house. The plan was to go to the movies and then go out to dinner. We were both so nervous – I think we really liked each other, and we both wanted to make a good impression.
I’d let him pick the movie – if it was produced after 1950, I knew very little about movies, even then, and I thought this would give me a good idea of his taste in such things. We parked at the theatre and waited in a long line to get tickets, encouraged that the film would be good because there was such a crowd. I thought in passing that the crowd was a little different, but didn’t really pay attention. It was a foreign film, but it had the word ‘Taxi’ in the title, which he took as a sign that it would be entertaining, since he knew that driving a cab was a world of entertainment in itself. Truly, he had some amazingly funny stories about his fares.
We got our tickets and settled into two seats in the center of an aisle in a packed theater. I noticed that I was about the only woman there, which I thought odd, but at the time, I just thought how many taxi drivers there were in Boston. (Can anyone see where this is going yet?)
The lights went down, the curtains opened (it was an old movie theater) and the film came on. The first frame was a full-body shot of a naked man sitting on a toilet taking a dump. Seriously. We were both a bit taken aback, but hey, it was an artsy foreign film, so let’s just stick with it. The man in the film gets up from the toilet, goes to the bedroom and proceeds to have sex with his male lover. And you saw everything. EVERYTHING. From every angle. Going into every orifice. Oh. My. Goodness.
We both just sat there, horrified, not looking at each other, not saying a word, mesmerized like two people watching a train wreck. After that endlessly long scene, the film progressed to a semblance of normalcy with German subtitles for about 5 minutes. Then we dived into graphic Glory Holes in department stores, Turkish Baths, and public park toilets. My date started whispering, “I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I really thought it was about taxis. Do you want to go? We can go.” Remember, I was 19. I wanted to be sophisticated. I didn’t really know if this guy was joking, testing me, being sincere, or just being a creeper. I still wanted to impress him, so I whispered back, “No, it’s okay, we can stay if you want to. Maybe it has some artistic merit.” Artistic merit my ass. Or the asses of everyone on the screen.
We continued to whisper these lines to each other through the entire highly intimate movie, all the way to the end. He could have just said, “Let’s go,” and I’d have said, “Right behind you.” OK, given the context, I wouldn’t have said “Right behind you,” but I would have agreed immediately. I spent the entire film aghast and trying to figure out if I should be offended, interested, aroused, shocked, suspcious…on and on and on. I had no idea what the right reaction should be. Maybe I should have said “Let’s go.” Maybe he thought I was into it. Who knows? As it was, we spent an endlessly uncomfortable two hours, and when we got out into the fading sunlight, we had no idea what to say to each other, except that we continued to apologize. I was pretty ready to laugh it off, but he remained positively mortified.
I suggested we put it behind us (or something like that) and go to dinner, and he readily agreed. We got to the cab, and it was dead. Dead. Dead like, I realized at this point, our freshly planted relationship. He tried and tried and tried to get it to start, with no success, until he finally had to call for a tow. This failure, even though it was no big deal, just added to his embarrassment. He couldn’t even look at me with his pretty blue eyes. In fact, he never met my gaze once after we left the theater.
So, he went off in the tow truck. I lived close by, so I walked home. He never called me again. He never came into the Mug n’ Muffin again. I saw him once, pulling out of an alley in his cab the following spring, and when our eyes met, the same look of terrified mortification rushed into them, and he pulled away quickly.
I suppose my reaction to the film wasn’t the right one. I should have insisted we leave immediately. Who knows what he thought of me that I sat through it. At any rate, it was a relationship that clearly was not meant to be. (And though this was both a first and a last date, it was not my “worst last date”, but that’s a story for another day.)
The film was called “Taxi Zum Klo” for those of you who wish to see it or who wish to be sure to avoid it. It was actually a groundbreaking, award-winning film about gay male life. With a title like that, his thinking that it was about taxis was understandable, but a little extra research might have been helpful. Poor guy. I hope he, to this day, thinks of it as his “worst first date ever” story as well. And I hope that now he can laugh about it.
Today’s guest poet – Louise Bogan
I do not know where either of us can turn
Just at first, waking from the sleep of each other.
I do not know how we can bear
The river struck by the gold plummet of the moon,
Or many trees shaken together in the darkness.
We shall wish not to be alone
And that love were not dispersed and set free -
Though you defeat me,
And I be heavy upon you.
But like earth heaped over the heart
Is love grown perfect.
Like a shell over the beat of life
Is love perfect to the last.
So let it be the same
Whether we turn to the dark or to the kiss of another;
Let us know this for leavetaking,
That I may not be heavy upon you,
That you may blind me no more.
Today’s guest poet – Alfred Noyes, with my favorite childhood poem.
The wind was a torrent of darkness upon the gusty trees,
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
The road was a ribbon of moonlight looping the purple moor,
And the highwayman came riding–
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn door.
He’d a French cocked hat on his forehead, and a bunch of lace at his chin;
He’d a coat of the claret velvet, and breeches of fine doe-skin.
They fitted with never a wrinkle; his boots were up to his thigh!
And he rode with a jeweled twinkle–
His rapier hilt a-twinkle–
His pistol butts a-twinkle, under the jeweled sky.
Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,
He tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred,
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter–
Bess, the landlord’s daughter–
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.
Dark in the dark old inn-yard a stable-wicket creaked
Where Tim, the ostler listened–his face was white and peaked–
His eyes were hollows of madness, his hair like mouldy hay,
But he loved the landlord’s daughter–
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter;
Dumb as a dog he listened, and he heard the robber say:
“One kiss, my bonny sweetheart; I’m after a prize tonight,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light.
Yet if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though hell should bar the way.”
He stood upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand,
But she loosened her hair in the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the sweet black waves of perfume came tumbling o’er his breast,
Then he kissed its waves in the moonlight
(O sweet black waves in the moonlight!),
And he tugged at his reins in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.
He did not come in the dawning; he did not come at noon.
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise of the moon,
When the road was a gypsy’s ribbon over the purple moor,
The redcoat troops came marching–
King George’s men came marching, up to the old inn-door.
They said no word to the landlord; they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed.
Two of them knelt at her casement, with muskets by their side;
There was Death at every window,
And Hell at one dark window,
For Bess could see, through her casement, the road that he would ride.
They had bound her up at attention, with many a sniggering jest!
They had tied a rifle beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
“Now keep good watch!” and they kissed her. She heard the dead man say,
“Look for me by moonlight,
Watch for me by moonlight,
I’ll come to thee by moonlight, though Hell should bar the way.”
She twisted her hands behind her, but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They stretched and strained in the darkness, and the hours crawled by like years,
Till, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it! The trigger at least was hers!
The tip of one finger touched it, she strove no more for the rest;
Up, she stood up at attention, with the barrel beneath her breast.
She would not risk their hearing, she would not strive again,
For the road lay bare in the moonlight,
Blank and bare in the moonlight,
And the blood in her veins, in the moonlight, throbbed to her love’s refrain.
Tlot tlot, tlot tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hooves, ringing clear;
Tlot tlot, tlot tlot, in the distance! Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding–
The redcoats looked to their priming! She stood up straight and still.
Tlot tlot, in the frosty silence! Tlot tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment, she drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight–
Her musket shattered the moonlight–
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him–with her death.
He turned, he spurred to the West; he did not know who stood
Bowed, with her head o’er the casement, drenched in her own red blood!
Not till the dawn did he hear it, and his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord’s daughter,
The landlord’s black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.
Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky,
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were his spurs in the golden noon, wine-red was his velvet coat
When they shot him down in the highway,
Down like a dog in the highway,
And he lay in his blood in the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.
And still on a winter’s night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon tossed upon cloudy seas,
When the road is a gypsy’s ribbon looping the purple moor,
The highwayman comes riding–
The highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.
Over the cobbles he clatters and clangs in the dark inn-yard,
He taps with his whip on the shutters, but all is locked and barred,
He whistles a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter–
Bess, the landlord’s daughter–
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.