My friend, Steve, didn’t approve.
“Jules, you don’t even know this guy.� You’re going to get in a car with a guy you don’t know and drive to LA?� This doesn’t sound like you.� The drive alone will take you an hour and what happens if you don’t like him or you get a bad feeling?� Why don’t you do something local, like a movie or grab some coffee?”
“I don’t like coffee.”
The Mister didn’t fare much better with his roommate.
“Dude.� You’re taking a girl from the bar to a museum?� Why? You’re going to be stuck with her for an hour before you even get there.� Do something safer, like coffee.”
“She doesn’t like coffee.”
I picked The Mister up for our first date.� His apartment was on the way to LACMA and even though I was acting completely out of character by going on a date with someone I didn’t really know, I’d seen enough episodes of Law & Order to know the handsome guys can have a touch of The Crazy.
I knocked on the door; he called me in. I poked in my head and smiled like someone who goes out on first dates all the time.� The Mister stood up from the sofa where he was sitting and smiled, his right hand loosely holding the strap of a backpack sitting next to him.
His roommate, Chad, was aloof.� He still thought the museum idea was stupid.
I realized I was still wearing my sunglasses and pushed them up quickly, not wanting to appear rude.� They got tangled in my hair and I yanked at them too hard from the nerves.� They fell off my forehead and landed lopsided on my nose, giving me the appearance of a nerd freshly shaken by a bully.
The Mister smiled wider.
On the car ride to LACMA he was direct and upfront, like a candidate for a government position who believes in full disclosure.
“You should know I have two tattoos.”
“One on my calf and another on my back.� Is that going to be a problem?”
“I don’t think so.� I always wanted a tattoo, but I don’t know.� They’re permanent, you know?”
“Yeah.� Sometimes I like mine, sometimes I don’t.”
I didn’t know what I was doing, so I went for coy and casual.
“I’m not looking for a serious boyfriend.”
“No, I don’t need to get married anytime soon.”
“Well, I would like to get married.”
“Eventually, sure.� My brother just got married.� He seems happy.� Being happy with someone doesn’t seem so bad.”
When we got to the museum we continued to talk.� I told him everything I remembered from the biographies of Freida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh I had read that year.� He told me everything he knew about ancient Egypt and the antiquities, a subject that up until that very moment used to bore me to tears.
We were there for hours and then it was dark.� On the way home, we stopped at Acapulco for dinner.� I ordered something grilled, probably fajitas.� He ordered a combo plate with a little of everything.� He offered me one of his enchiladas, cheese oozing everywhere.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t.� I’m lactose intolerant.”� Always with the TMI.
“Oh, I’m sorry.� I didn’t know.� Did I just lose points?”
We considered going to a movie after dinner, but decided 8 hours was long enough for a first date.
I figured he would call me two days later.� He did, at 8:00am.� He went with me to buy shoes but I couldn’t find anything because I was too nervous to concentrate on footwear.� At the end of our second date he invited me to visit him at the bar the next day during his shift.� I showed up as planned and he offered to make me a smoothie of my choice.� Restaurant smoothies are usually full of milk, but I didn’t want to hurt his feelings.� I told him to make me whatever everyone usually gets, figuring I would leave shortly before the milk ate away at my bowels.
I watched him talk easily to his customers and toss a few bottles in the air, showing off just a little.� He walked back to me, smoothie in hand.
“I made you a Gold Medalist, but I left out the cream.� You’re lactose intolerant so no dairy, right?”
Right.� I’m lactose intolerant.
And that is how I met The Mister.