On Match.com I met a woman who was 5’9 and had gone to NYU when I had gone to Parsons. She had two photos on her profile – none that were real clear, close ups of her face, which should have been a red flag.
We had had a decent conversation. She mentioned she had been an extra in Forrest Gump and I happened to have the DVD and I cued up her scene while we were on the phone. It confirmed she was cute.
When it came time to figuring out when to get together, she said, “I’d do Thursday, but I have a dinner party to go to in West Hollywood.” As if reading my mind, she said, “Do you want to come?”
At the time, I thought that was a genius idea – it would be kind of a ‘pre-date’, we’d meet in a social situation, with other people around, taking the one-on-one pressure off. Plus, I’d get a free meal, which would be a welcome change from having to pay for every date I’d ever met with, some of whom had been outright rude and unpleasant.
The night we were to meet, I dressed up for a dinner party in West Hollywood, which is very, very gay. It’s the type of place not only likely to have a bar called “Fist”, but probably a 6-foot fiberglass black fisted arm protruding above the door in lieu of a normal sign. I wore a Banana Republic collared shirt, a dark blazer, jeans and shoes.
I go to her building in Santa Monica, which was not far from me, but not on the way and finally found her apartment. She looked like the woman in the movie, but an older, less attractive version. Then it hit me, Forrest Gump was shot THIRTEEN YEARS earlier and not everyone ages as gracefully I did / I do (there was a reason she looked SIGNIFICANTLY older, which you’ll find out).
We awkwardly hung out in her apartment for a bit and then headed out to the dinner party which took NINETY MINUTES to get to. It took ninety minutes because she didn’t know where the party was and had a hard time getting a hold of the guy throwing it on the phone. Plus, it turned out it was not in West Hollywood, but Hollywood proper which is not gay and upscale, but generally low-rent, skanky and a bit dangerous. It’s entirely different vibe and economic class (broke artists, addicts, immigrants vs. stylish, well-employed gay guys).
By the time we get there, I have to pee so badly, it’s hurting my entire lower half.
The apartment is off of Franklin, right around the corner from the Scientology Center, It’s a gated building, but small and dumpy. I know immediately I’m way, way overdressed for this. Just from the neighborhood – where Birds is (and now the UCB theater), I knew I would have been better off wearing a vintage concert shirt and Converse.
I enter the apartment and it’s a complete shithole – there’s stained Goodwill furniture, LPs and books just piled up and spread across the small living room floor, along with amps and guitars thrown about. The living room looks like a 17-year old stoner’s bedroom. I rush to the bathroom and it’s even worse – there’s long strands of hair in the stained and filthy sink, there’s a tube of FUNGAL CREAM on the toilet tank, no SOAP (and they were having a party, mind you).
I decide I’m not going to eat anything because if the bathroom isn’t clean (especially on a party night), there’s no way the kitchen’s clean.
The host and his friends at the party were these strange, cyber-punk hippies – some wore ill-fitting vintage clothes, most were covered in tattoos, some had facial piercings, some were barefoot – the host had a long crazy beard and those thick rubber washers in his ears. They all apparently were philosophy majors at USC and all in their early to mid 20’s. I felt like a Banana Republic ad mistakenly placed in the middle of a punk fanzine.
My date abandoned me quite quickly and sat at the only fold-out chair available at the incredibly small kitchen table. I sat off to the side by myself on a stool.
At one point, one of the guests starts passing out weird vintage hats and boas for everyone to put on – guys and girls – it was the “weird hat and boa” part of the party. When they came to me, I politely demurred and you could feel the whole “us vs. him” divide get even bigger.
The host kept bringing out food from the kitchen, one dish at a time and although starving, I didn’t indulge, still worried about the cleanliness factor.
Then he brings out garlic baked squash in a casserole dish. It’s steaming and he’s holding it with oven mits. He begins dishing it out in small Styrofoam bowls at the table while I’m sitting a few feet outside the table on the stool.
“Yo, Dave, you want some squash?” he announces a bit too loudly.
“No, no, thank you.”
“What do you mean you don’t want squash?”
“Um, well, I had a bunch of squash before I came over so I’m all squashed out, but thanks. Looks great though.”
“Listen, man, you are going to eat this squash if I have to MOTHER FUCKIN’ FEED IT TO YOU.”
He said it in such a way that it was funny and theatrical and in fact, some people at the party laughed, but there was also a definite menacing edge.
The next thing I know, he’s bolting towards me with a bowl of squash and a metal fork.
He then straddles me – and he’s big, probably twice my size and over 5’10 and literally puts the fork full of hot squash – I can see it steaming — onto my lip – it burns it and I make this Rain Main spaz out “aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh” sound and he jumps off.
I should have, but I didn’t storm out and have my date make it back home by herself. An ex of mine asked me why I didn’t do something — storm out, push him off — but it happened so fast and it was so BLUE VELVET-ish — no one prepares you for such a scenario — I mean, for a fire, you are taught to stop, drop and roll — no one prepares you for a bearded fat man to attack you with a forkful of squash.
Shortly thereafter, someone needed to go to the store and a bunch of us went, including my date. On the way to the Mayfair Market, she smoked (which her profile said she didn’t and clearly had aged her in the post-Forrest Gump years.) while chatting with someone else.
At the market, I pulled her away from the others, “Hey, can talk to you over here, in the bread aisle?…When we get back, we are giving this 20 minutes more.”
“Are you not having a good time?”
“You know, when he force fed me the garlic baked squash, that was kind of the tipping point.”
(Epilogue – I just did a search for the girl and found her on Facebook and her profile pic was one of the two photos I saw on Match OVER FOUR YEARS AGO.)